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The Old English Grammar of the Soul

The Old English Grammar of the Soul

Chapter:
(p.29) Chapter Two The Old English Grammar of the Soul
Source:
Arts of Dying
Author(s):
D. Vance Smith
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226641041.003.0003

This chapter examines the relation between death and the voice in Old English poetry and pedagogical texts, especially Aelfric's Grammar and Colloquies and two versions of a debate between the body and the soul. The division of the soul from the body at death is framed in terms similar to the division of being into constituent categories, and the partition of language into its smallest component. The relation between these elements and the meaning of which they are part is like the relation of the vox to the body, a cryptic figure like the riddle.

Keywords:   riddle, Aelfric, Old English poetry, medieval grammar, pedagogy

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