On Old English

From Tolkien Gateway
On Old English: Selected Papers
On Old English.png
AuthorBruce Mitchell
IllustratorCover illustration based on a ‘hawk seizing a duck’, a detail from the Sutton Hoo purse lid.[1]
PublisherOxford: Basil Blackwell
FormatHardback in dustwrapper

On Old English: Selected Papers is a collection of essays by Bruce Mitchell about Old English. Mitchell quotes from an undated letter from J.R.R. Tolkien discussing Beowulf (pp. 53-4). The author also quotes remarks made by Tolkien during a lecture on Exodus (p. 340).[1]

From the publisher[edit | edit source]

Bruce Mitchell is best known for his monumental Old English Syntax (Clarendon Press, 1985) and (with Fred C. Robinson) for the most popular and widely used introduction to the language and literature of the Anglo-Saxons, A Guide to Old English (fourth edition published by Blackwell in 1986). But in forty years of studying Old English, Bruce Mitchell has also published essays, articles, and reviews concerned with the interpretation and value of the literature and the way in which grammar -- in particular, morphology, syntax, and punctuation -- can crucially affect and has affected the translation and understanding of Old English prose and poetry. A selection of these articles is brought together here. The book is divided into five parts concerned with Beowulf, with the poet Caedmon, with The Wanderer, The Seafarer, The Wife's Lament, and other poems, with old English language, and with Old English studies today. This is literary scholarship at its best: readable, to the point, witty, and not infrequently impassioned (as in the author's defense of Beowulf as an optimistic poem). All students and scholars of Old English and Anglo-Saxon England will here find much in this book that will enlighten, stimulate and entertain them.[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "On Old English. 1988", TolkienBooks.net (accessed 21 January 2012)
  2. "On Old English: Selected Papers", AbeBoooks.com (accessed 21 January 2012)