One of the missions of a university press is to publish important works of scholarship that might be overlooked by commercial publishers. The West Virginia University Press will again fulfill that mission with the release ofOld English Literature in its Manuscript Contextlater this month. This volume will be the fifth book to be published in the Presss landmark Medieval European Studies series.
At least once a year a new volume will be added to this series of scholarly titles dealing with history, literature, ethno-European language and art prior to 1700. The first two volumes in the series were published in the spring of 2002. Volume 1 is titledHeliand: Text and Commentaryand presents the life of Christ in Old Saxon, a Germanic language related to Old English. The second volume,Via Crucis,contains essays all written in memory of the scholar J.E. Cross on sources and concepts used in early Medieval religious writing.
Volumes 3 and 4 in this series were published last spring. The third volume,Naked
before God,explores how the human body was perceived and presented in England before the Norman Conquest and is lavishly illustrated from manuscripts and sculpture as well as literary texts. Volume 4,Theorizing Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture,is a series of studious interpretations of eighth and ninth-century English sculpture.
The fifth volume in the series,Old English Literature in its Manuscript Context,will be released at the end of June. In this volume, eight established scholars consider the ideas of textual identity, authorship and translation as well as editorial standards and obligations. Featuring a scholarly exchange of ideas and photographs of the original Anglo-Saxon manuscripts, this text is essential reading for anyone interested in the history and study of Old English literature of whichBeowulfis perhaps the most well known.