Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 3155
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Gerli , E. Michael.
  • Contributor(s):
  • Title: The Nowell Codex: From "Judith" to "Beowulf"
  • Source: Old English Newsletter 34, 3 (Spring 2001): Appendix A: Abstracts of Papers in Anglo-Saxon Studies. Conference paper presented at the Thirty-Sixth International Congress on Medieval Studies, the Medieval Institute, Western Michigan University, May 3-6, 2001, Nineteenth Symposium on the Sources of A
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Conference Paper Abstract
  • Subject (See Also): Beowulf, Old English Epic Judith, Old English Poem Literature- Verse Manuscripts Nowell Codex
  • Geographic Area: British Isles
  • Century: 8-9
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  • Abstract: The integrity of the Nowell Codex as a hook. in its own right, merits more critical attention and apprecia-tion. I accept Peter Lucas's hypothesis that the poem Judith, which now sits at the end of the Codex, may well have been at or near the beginning of it when the tenth-century codex was compiled. This arrangement provides a locus of connection to analyze the interrela-tionship of the pieces in the Codex thematically in the sequence Judith, Saint Christopher, Wonders of the East, Alexander's Letter to ,4ristotle, Beowull. As a religious hero, Judith is Beowulf's altar ego where treasure-trove is heaven-bound rather than barrow-buried. Much as the Exeter Book starts in the tripartite unity of Christ's history and finally fragments into the Book's riddling pieces, Judith, at the head of' the Nowell Codex, is the exotic ideal, from which the Book devolves into varying patterns of earthly exile. A David/Goliath motif links Judith and Beowulf, but the Nowell Codex is not simply a Liber Monstrorurn. Saint Christopher is an ingenuous giant, foil to both the stupefied Holofernes and the ingenious Judith. Won-ders of the East and Alexander's Letter provide figura-tive exile in foreign lands, dislocation, estrangement of self. Finally, Beotir-tulfbegins with a kind of self-imposed exile, ends in a bone-chilling conflagration - a figural Doomsday. Overall, Judith and Beowull frame an exotic book of eschatological peregrination: the self as lone-goer. [Reproduced by permission of Robert Schicler, the “Abstracts of Papers in Anglo-Saxon Studies” editor, and the editors of the “Old English Newsletter.”].
  • Author's Affiliation: Georgetown University
  • Conference Info: - , -
  • Year of Publication: 2001.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 00301973
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