LINGUIST List 13.2663

Wed Oct 16 2002

Books: Text/Corpus Linguistics: Getty

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  1. Julia.Ulrich, The Metre of Beowolf: Getty

Message 1: The Metre of Beowolf: Getty

Date: Wed, 16 Oct 2002 14:41:36 +0000
From: Julia.Ulrich <>
Subject: The Metre of Beowolf: Getty

Title: The Metre of Beowolf
Series Title: Topics in English Linguistics (TiEL) 36
Publication Year: 2002
Publisher: Mouton de Gruyter
Author: Michael G Getty 

Hardback: ISBN: 3110171058, Pages: viii, 280, Price: Euro 88.00 /
 sFr 141,- / approx. US$ 88.00

This book presents a new treatment of metre of Beowulf, an Old English
epic poem of uncertain date and origin which is nonetheless considered
one of the gems of Germanic Alliterative Verse. Grounded in the idea
of constraint interaction and conflict associated Optimality Theory,
this book presents the case that the alliterative lines of Beowulf are
based on an ideal structure consisting of trochaic metrical feet
organized into an iteratively binary, strong-weak structure. Around
this ideal hovers an apparently wild range of divergent structures
which have proven difficult to accommodate under a unified approach.
In fact, the considerable variation in Beowulf can be understood as
reflecting an inherently simple system of accommodating the diverse
phonological shapes of words within the Old English poetic
lexicon. Crucially, this accommodation takes place against a
background in which a number of independent and often conflicting
conditions on metrical and prosodic form are played out.

To a greater extent than previous approaches, this book establishes a
line of inquiry into the metre of Beowulf that is compatible with the
burgeoning fields of generative metrics and phonology. One important
fallout of this aim is the proposal to do away with the notion of
'metrical types,' the dominant thread in research on Old English metre
since the late nineteenth century. Crucially, both of these moves
allow for novel and compelling explanations for a range of metrical
peculiarities of Beowulf, from Kuhn's Laws to Kaluza's Law. Moreover,
the analysis points toward data on patterns which have, to date,
escaped scholars' notice, while at the same time showing surprising
consistencies between the metre of Beowulf and other, unrelated
metrical traditions.

I Introduction
II The stress phonology of Old English
III Metrical structure at the foot level: Part I
IV Metrical structure at the foot level: Part II
V Metrical structure at the level of the half-line and long-line
VI Conclusion

To order, please contact
SFG-Servicecenter-Fachverlage GmbH
Postfach 4343
72774 Reutlingen
Fax: +49 (0)7071 - 93 53 - 33

For USA, Canada and Mexico:
Walter de Gruyter, Inc.
200 Saw Mill River Road
Hawthorne, NY 10532, USA
Fax: +1 (914) 747-1326

Please visit our website for other publications by Mouton de Gruyter:

Lingfield(s): Text/Corpus Linguistics,

Subject Language(s): Old English (Language Code: XANG)
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Thursday, January 17, 2002