Νoted linguist Kate Burridge launches Robert DiNapoli’s latest book, released this year by Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Reading Old English Wisdom: The Fetters in the Frost.
This book translates and comments on a selection of Old English poems that modern scholars identify as “wisdom” texts. These comprise collections of maxims, philosophical and cosmological speculation, and historical meditation. Composed by monastic authors from the ninth to the eleventh centuries, they mingle orthodox Christian beliefs with pre-Christian sensibilities embedded in the linguistic texture of Anglo-Saxon verse itself. Their preoccupation with how the human psyche responds to the challenges of incarnate life in space and time lends them a wide-ranging interest for students of medieval religion, social history, and psychology. Many are superb poems in their own right, whose quality the translations here serve to communicate to modern readers. The book’s commentaries engage sympathetically with patterns of thought and imagination both remote from us in time and yet strangely familiar.
At the launch, Bob will read from his translations, speak to the fascinatingly elusive concept of wisdom, and moderate whatever discussion the whole business prompts. And as anyone familiar with the AEMA conferences may attest, this promises to be a most excellent evening.
The Alderman, 134 Lygon Street, East Brunswick, VIC.
Wednesday 30 June, 6pm.