The Heroic Age
Welcome to the third issue of The Heroic Age, a Special Issue which concentrates upon the literature of the Anglo-Saxon period. The subjects discussed in the articles below range widely, from a critical evaluation offering re-readings of well known Anglo-Saxon texts, to scholarly studies of manuscript transmission, and a consideration of particular problems faced by modern teachers and students of Anglo-Saxon.
John Hill's essay, Shaping Anglo-Saxon Lordship in the Heroic Literature of the Tenth and Eleventh Centuries, considers a wide range of Anglo-Saxon literature in the context of political historiography. In clear terms, suitable both for the layman and scholars of the period, Hill illustrates the progression of Anglo-Saxon political philosophy as 'voiced' by texts such as The Battle of Maldon, The Battle of Brunanburh and most obviously Beowulf. When reading the essay I was struck by the impression that Hill has provided us with insight into the secular, political progression of Anglo-Saxon theories of lordship, which constitute the 'flip-side' of the political theology used to interpret works of Anglo-Saxon art and literature by scholars such as Kantorowicz and Deshman.
Margaret Locherbie-Cameron's article, A Consideration of the Proposed Route(s) of "The Admonition to a Spiritual Son" to Anglo-Saxon England, offers a scholarly analysis of the transmission and contemporary popularity of this hitherto little studied text. The Provisional Handlist of Manuscripts of the Admonition now in British Libraries she attaches to her article, offers an excellent source of reference for students and scholars of Ælfric alike.
My contribution to this issue's Forum, The Canonicity of Two Edgar Poems, briefly discusses the problems faced by teachers of Anglo-Saxon who only have a short period in which to familiarise their students with the Anglo-Saxon language, the literature of the period and the culture which produced it. I hope that the article will begin a discussion of various aspects of the teaching of Anglo-Saxon, and would encourage both students and teachers to continue the topic in the Forum of issue four.
In the Columns section of this issue, Brad Eden introduces and defines his column, The Independent Scholar, which caters for the needs of the growing number of medieval scholars who (whether they have an amateur or professional background) find themselves isolated from the arena of 'professional' scholarship. Jim Marchand's contribution, Humanities and the Web: From Whence We Came, to our regular Electronic Medievalia column considers the WWW in relation to the use of information storage and retrieval systems by medieval scholars through the ages.
The expansion and growth of The Heroic Age necessitates the occasional reorganisation of the publication. Therefore, in order to better express the wide range of information it contains, the subsection of the journal formerly known as Archaeology News Briefs has been re-titled Archaeology Digest. Our Book Reviews section remains unchanged, however, and still considers a wide range of works, both fiction and non-fiction, of interest to medievalists. Please don't forget to visit our revised and expanded Bookstore and remember that The Heroic Age site provides an Announcements List (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/HeroicAge/) which will keep you abreast of the latest calls for papers, newly released issues of The Heroic Age and generally relevant information. Should you wish to explore back issues of the journal The Heroic Age also provides an Archive (http://www.mun.ca/mst/heroicage/archive.php). Any comments or questions you have concerning this or other issues are welcomed by the Editor of the Journal.
It only remains for me to thank the editorial staff of The Heroic Age, without whose hard work and dedication it would have been impossible to produce such an interesting Special Issue of The Heroic Age.
James Ceri Weale
Issue Editor, The Heroic Age.