Arendse Lund (UCL) - 2017-18 Students

Reading Power and Authority in Old English Literature and Law

While the nearly seventy pre-Conquest law-codes and approximately 1,500 Anglo-Saxon charters comprise the largest and most diverse corpus of legal texts surviving from early medieval Europe, scholars of early law have yet to delve fully into how these texts exercise and increase their own authority, both textual and otherwise. I will analyze how the way the language of law-codes develops over time speaks to the changing power and authority of Anglo-Saxon royalty and their relationship to their subjects. One of my primary concerns will be investigating this crossover between language and law to assess whether certain genres and modes of Old English literature are closer to the law codes than others and if we should take the Anglo-Saxon legal codes to have a more fluid relationship with Old English literature than previously acknowledged.

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