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Anglo-Saxon Poetics in the Linguarum Veterum Septentrionalium Thesaurus Grammatico-Criticus et Archaelogicus of George Hickes: A Translation, Analysis, and Contextualization

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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1928/12096

Anglo-Saxon Poetics in the Linguarum Veterum Septentrionalium Thesaurus Grammatico-Criticus et Archaelogicus of George Hickes: A Translation, Analysis, and Contextualization

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Title: Anglo-Saxon Poetics in the Linguarum Veterum Septentrionalium Thesaurus Grammatico-Criticus et Archaelogicus of George Hickes: A Translation, Analysis, and Contextualization
Author: McCabe, Shannon
Advisor(s): Graham, Timothy C.
Committee Member(s): Berkhout, Carl T.
Damico, Helen
Obermeier, Anita
Department: University of New Mexico. Dept. of English
Subject(s): translation, George Hickes, Anglo-Saxon, eighteenth-century, lingustics, philology
LC Subject(s): Hickes, George, 1642-1715--Criticism and interpretation
English poetry--Old English, ca. 450-1100--History and criticism
English poetry--Old English, ca. 450-1100--Aesthetics
Degree Level: Doctoral
Abstract: In 1705, the last fascicle of the Linguarum Veterum Septentrionalium Thesaurus Grammatico-Criticus et Archaeologicus of George Hickes was published in Oxford. This monumental volume represented a major step forward in Anglo-Saxon studies. This study translates the most monumental chapter of the Thesaurus, Chapter 23. Although this chapter ―On the Poetic Art of the Anglo-Saxons,‖ represents the first sustained attempt to apply a critical and theoretical apparatus to Anglo-Saxon poetry, it is also concerned with attempts to sort out a ―purer‖ language from the various dialects represented in Anglo-Saxon manuscripts. Hickes directly addresses two major Anglo-Saxon forms in Chapter 23, ―pure Saxon,‖ and ―Dano-Saxonic,‖ the lesser of the two languages, because of its ―foreignness,‖ a key term for Hickes, who sought to separate out what he believed to be the true Anglo-Saxon from dialectal languages which he believed to have introduced ―abhorrent‖ elements into Anglo-Saxon poetry. Ultimately, this desire of Hickes to divine the ―purer‖ language with respect to the Anglo-Saxon reflects a more general eighteenth century anxiety about the nationalistic uses of language and the attempt to control and modify the language, beginning with Sir William Temple‘s essay On Ancient and Modern Learning, as well as the response to it by William Wotton in his Reflections Upon Ancient and Modern Learning, culminating in Jonathan Swift‘s ―A Proposal for Correcting, Improving and Ascertaining the English Tongue,‖ and Elizabeth Elstob‘s An Apology for the Study of Northern Antiquities. Especially important was the linking of language to national identity and issues of nation building, as with the establishment of the Académie Française in 1635. This anxiety manifests itself in Swift as an attempt to purge the English language of ―barbaric‖ elements, namely Germanic words and grammatical forms, placing him and his supporters in direct opposition to the antiquarian movement headed by George Hickes and the Oxford Saxonists.
Graduation Date: December 2010
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1928/12096

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