The lady and the letter: Two ecclesiastical analogies in the Old English Soliloquies
PDF

Keywords

Anglo-Saxon literature
Augustine
King Alfred the Great
Old English prose

How to Cite

Jones , J. . (2021). The lady and the letter: Two ecclesiastical analogies in the Old English Soliloquies. SELIM. Journal of the Spanish Society for Medieval English Language and Literature., 26(1), 1-23. https://doi.org/10.17811/selim.26.2021.1-23

Abstract

This article analyses two ecclesiastical analogies in the Old English Soliloquies: the analogy of the lady and the analogy of the letter. It argues for a more nuanced and practical interpretation of Alfred’s analogies in the Old English Soliloquies than has previously been put forward. The analogies original to Alfred as well as those derived from Augustine’s Soliloquia, which he manipulates and omits, are designed to be useful, with practical implications for Anglo-Saxon society. Since his prose preface to Pastoral Care suggests that the demise of the Angelcynn is contingent on the demise of the English Church, Alfred’s analogies in Soliloquies prompt the reintegration of these two infrastructures, Church and state, to reconsolidate the Angelcynn and recover its sacred and secular ar (‘favour with God’ and ‘cultural capital’). By encouraging responses in the individual reader —recourse to the sacramental Church and renewed commitment to reading and prayer— Alfred’s analogies, particularly of the lady and the letter, seek to cultivate the Gregorian “mixed life”. Alfred thus aims to revive the terrestrial and celestial favour of the Angelcynn by fusing the concerns of Ecclesia and state, heaven and earth, contemplative, and active.

https://doi.org/10.17811/selim.26.2021.1-23
PDF

References

PRIMARY SOURCES:

Carnicelli, T. ed. 1969: King Alfred’s Version of St. Augustine’s Soliloquies. Massachusetts, Harvard University Press.

Evans, E. C. ed. 1964: Septimii Florentis Tertulliani: De Baptismo Liber. London, The Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. http://www.tertullian.org/articles/

evans_bapt/evans_bapt_text_trans.htm [Accessed 25 March 2020].

Godden, M. & S. Irvine eds. 2009: The Old English Boethius: An Edition of the Old English Versions of Boethius’s ‘De Consolatione Philosophiae’. Vol. 1. New York, Oxford University Press.

Green, R. P. H. ed. 1995: De Doctrina Christiana. Oxford, Oxford University Press. Hammond, C. J.-B. trans. 2014: Confessions. Vol. 1. Massachusetts, Harvard University Press.

Hammond, C. J.-B. trans. 2016: Confessions. Vol. 2. Massachusetts, Harvard University Press.

Hargrove, H. L. ed. 1902: King Alfred’s Old English Version of St. Augustine’s ‘Soliloquies’ New York, Henry Holt and Company.

Hargrove, H. L. trans. 1904: King Alfred’s Old English Version of St. Augustine’s ‘Soliloquies’ turned into Modern English. New York, Henry Holt and Company.

Hecht, H. ed. 1965: Bischof Wærferths von Worcester Übersetzung der Dialoge Gregors des Grossen. Darmstadt, Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaf.

Hurst, D. ed. 1983: In Cantica Canticorum. Turnhout, Brepols.

Irvine, S. & M. Godden ed. and trans. 2012: The Old English Boethius with Verse Prologues and Epilogues Associated with King Alfred. Harvard, Harvard University Press. Leslie, R. F. ed. 1966: The Wanderer. Manchester, Manchester University Press. Liebermann, F. 1903: Die Gesetze der Angelsachsen. Halle A. S., Max Niemeyer. Migne, J. P. ed. 1841–1855a: S. Aurelii Augustini Hipponensis Episcopi: De genesi ad litteram libri duodecim (Patrologiae cursus completes. Series (Latina) Prima, 34). Paris, Garnier Frères.

Migne, J. P. ed. 1841–1855b: Sancti Gregorii Papae I: Opera Omnia (Patrologiae cursus completes. Series (Latina) Prima, 77). Paris, Garnier Frères.

O’Neill, P. P. ed. and trans. 2016: Old English Psalms. Massachusetts, Harvard University Press.

Swanton, M. ed. 1970: The Dream of the Rood. Manchester, Manchester University Press.

Sweet, H. ed. and trans. 1871: King Alfred's West-Saxon Version of Gregory's Pastoral Care. London, Kegan Paul.

Watson, G. trans. 1990: Saint Augustine: Soliloquies and Immortality of the Soul. Warminster, Aris & Phillips Ltd.

Watson, J. E. 2016: An Edition of Gregory the Great's Dialogi based on Five Early Medieval Manuscripts of English Provenance. (Ph.D. dissertation.) Florida, Florida State University.

SECONDARY SOURCES

Abels, R. 1998: Alfred the Great: War, Kingship and Culture in Anglo-Saxon England. Essex, Addison Wesley Longman Limited.

Anlezark, D. 2017a: Alfred the Great. Michigan, Arc Humanities Press.

Anlezark, D. 2017b: The Psalms in the Old English Office of Prime. In T. Atkin & F. Leneghan eds. The Psalms and Medieval English Literature: From the Conversion to the Reformation. Cambridge, D. S. Brewer: 198–217.

Ashdowne, R. K., D. R. Howlett & R. E. Latham eds. 2018: Dictionary of Medieval Latin from British Sources (DMLBS). Oxford, British Academy. http://ezproxy-prd.bodleian.ox.ac.uk:2156/dmlbs/Default.aspx [Accessed 25 March 2020].

Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, University of Oxford. n.d. Jewelled terminal of aestel (The Alfred Jewel). http://collections.ashmolean.org/collection/ search/per_page/100/offset/0/sort_by/relevance/object/75670 [Accessed 19 March 2020].

Baldick, C. 2015: Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms. Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Bately, J. 2014: Alfred as Author and Translator. In N. G. Discenza & P. E. Szarmach eds. A Companion to Alfred the Great. Leiden, Brill: 113–142.

Bintley, M. D. J. 2013: Recasting the Role of Sacred Trees in Anglo-Saxon Spiritual History: The South Sandbach Cross “Ancestors of Christ” Panel in its Cultural Contexts. In M. D. J. Bintley & M. G. Shapland eds. Trees and Timber in the Anglo-Saxon World. Oxford, Oxford University Press: 212–226.

Bintley, M. D. J. 2020: Settlements and Strongholds in Early Medieval England: Texts, Landscapes, and Material Culture. Turnhout, Brepols.

Bosworth, J. & N. Toller eds. 2010: Anglo-Saxon Dictionary. Prague, Charles University. bosworthtoller.com/036352 [Accessed 25 March 2020].

Brooks, B. 2018: Intimacy, Interdependence and Interiority in the Old English Prose Boethius. Neophilologus 102: 525–542.

Cameron, A., A. C. Amos, A. diPaolo Healey et al. eds. 2007: Dictionary of Old English: A to I. Toronto, Dictionary of Old English Project. http://www.doe.utoronto.ca [Accessed 16 October 2020].

Carey, H. M. 1987: Devout Literate Laypeople and the Pursuit of the Mixed Life in Later Medieval England. Journal of Religious History 14.4: 361–381.

Deshman, R. 1997: The Galba Psalter: Pictures, Texts and Context in an Early Medieval Prayerbook. Anglo-Saxon England 26: 109–138.

Discenza, N. G. 2014: The Old English Boethius. In N. G. Discenza & P. E. Szarmach eds. A Companion to Alfred the Great. Leiden, Brill: 200–226.

Discenza, N. G. & P. E. Szarmach. 2014: Appendix: Annotated Bibliography on the Authorship Issue. In N. G. Discenza & P. E. Szarmach eds. A Companion to Alfred the Great. Leiden, Brill: 397–415.

Earl, J. W. 1989: King Alfred’s Talking Poems. Pacific Coast Philology 24.1–2: 49–61. Flight, T. 2016: Apophasis, Contemplation, and the Kenotic Moment in Anglo-Saxon

Literature. (Ph.D. dissertation.) Oxford, University of Oxford.

Foot, S. 1996: The Making of Angelcynn: English Identity before the Norman Conquest. Transactions of the Royal Society 6: 25–49.

Ganze, R. J. 2011: The Individual in the Afterlife: Theological and Sociopolitical Concerns in King Alfred’s Translation of Augustine’s Soliloquies. Studia Neophilologica 83.1: 21–40.

Godden, M. 1997: Wærferth and King Alfred: The Fate of the Old English Dialogues.In J. Roberts & J. L. Nelson with M. Godden eds. Alfred the Wise: Studies in Honour of Janet Bately on the Occasion of her Sixty-Fifth Birthday. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press: 35–51.

Godden, M. 2007: Did King Alfred Write Anything? Medium Ævum 76: 1–23.

Godden, M. 2009: The Alfredian Project and its Aftermath: Rethinking the Literary History of the Ninth and Tenth Centuries. Proceedings of the British Academy 162: 93–122.

Heuchan, V. 2007: God’s Co-workers and Powerful Tools: A Study of the Sources of Alfred’s Building Metaphor in his Old English Translation of Augustine’s Soliloquies. Notes and Queries 54.1: 1–11.

Hitch, S. 1986–1987: Alfred’s Cræft: Imagery in Alfred’s Version of Augustine’s Soliloquies. Journal of the Department of English, University of Calcutta 22: 130–147. Holder, A. G. 2006: Christ as Incarnate Wisdom in Bede’s Commentary on the Song of Songs. In S. Degregorio ed. Innovation and Tradition in the Writings of the Venerable Bede. Morgantown, West Virginia University Press: 169–188.

Irvine, S. 2005: Fragments of Boethius: The Reconstruction of the Cotton Manuscript of the Alfredian Text. Anglo-Saxon England 34.12: 169–181.

Irvine, S. 2014: The Alfredian Prefaces and Epilogues. In N. G. Discenza & P. E. Szarmach eds. A Companion to Alfred the Great. Leiden, Brill: 143–170.

Kuczynski, M. P. 2017: Vox Ecclesiae, Vox Christi: The Psalms and Medieval English Ecclesiology. In T. Atkin & F. Leneghan eds. The Psalms and Medieval English Literature: From the Conversion to the Reformation. Cambridge, D. S. Brewer: 318–335.

McC. Gatch, M. 1986: King Alfred’s Version of Augustine’s Soliloquia: Some Suggestions on its Rationale and Unity. In P. E. Szarmach ed. Studies in Earlier Old English Prose. Albany, State University of New York Press: 17–45.

Nelson, J. L. 1992: Charles the Bald. Essex, Longman Group UK Limited. O’Neill, P. P. 2014: The Prose Translation of Psalms 1–50. In N. G. Discenza & P. E.

Szarmach eds. A Companion to Alfred the Great. Leiden, Brill: 256–281.

Orton, D. 2014: Royal Piety and Davidic Imitation: Cultivating Political Capital in the Alfredian Psalms. Neophilologus 98: 477–492.

Pratt, D. 2007: The Political Thought of King Alfred the Great. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Preston, T. 2012: King Alfred’s Book of Laws: A Study of the ‘Domboc’ and its Influence on English Identity, with a Complete Translation. North Carolina, McFarland & Company.

Rutherford, R. 1980: Anglo-Saxon Antecedents of the Middle English Mystics. In M. Glasscoe ed. The Medieval Mystical Tradition in England: Papers Read at the Exeter Symposium, July 1980. Exeter, University of Exeter: 216–233.

Sayers, W. 2008: King Alfred's Timbers. SELIM 15: 117-124.

Schreiber, C. 2014: Searodonca hord: Alfred's Translation of Gregory the Great's Regula Pastoralis. In N. G. Discenza & P. E. Szarmach eds. A Companion to Alfred the Great. Leiden, Brill: 171-199.

Spiegel, F. 2007: The tabernacula of Gregory the Great and the Conversion of Anglo-Saxon England. Anglo-Saxon England 36: 1-13.

Szarmach, P. E. 2014: Augustine's Soliloquia in Old English. In N. G. Discenza & P. E. Szarmach eds. A Companion to Alfred the Great. Leiden, Brill: 227–255.

Teske, R. 2001a: Augustine’s Philosophy of Memory. In E. Stump & N. Kretzman eds. The Cambridge Companion to Augustine. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press: 148-158.

Teske, R. 2001b: Augustine’s Theory of Soul. In E. Stump & N. Kretzman eds. The Cambridge Companion to Augustine. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press: 116–123.

Thomas, R. 1988: The Binding Force of Friendship in King Alfred’s Consolation and Soliloquies. Ball State University Forum 29.1: 5–20. https://dmr.bsu.edu/digital/collection/frm/id/58/rec/1 [Accessed 25 March 2020].

Treschow, M. 2017: Wisdom’s Land: King Alfred’s Imagery in his Preface to his Translation of Augustine’s Soliloquies. In M. Treschow, W. Otten & W. Hannam eds. Divine Creation in Ancient, Medieval, and Early Modern Thought: Essays Presented to the Rev’d Dr Robert D. Crouse. Leiden, Brill: 257–284.

Waterhouse, R. 1986: Tone in Alfred’s Version of Augustine’s Soliloquies. In P. E. Szarmach ed. Studies in Earlier Old English Prose. Albany, State University of New York Press: 47–86.

Whobrey, W. T. 1991: King Alfred’s Metrical Epilogue to the Pastoral Care. The Journal of Germanic and English Philology 90.2: 175–186.

Wilcox, M. 2006: Alfred’s Epistemological Metaphors: eagan modes and scip modes. Anglo-Saxon England 35: 179–217.

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.