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2024-06-12 Wed

#5525. 古英語文学 --- Baugh and Cable の英語史の第52節より [bchel][oe][literature][beowulf][wulfstan][voicy][heldio][notice][hel_education][link]

 Baugh and Cable の英語史の古典的名著 A History of the English Language (第6版)を原書で「超」精読する Voicy 「英語の語源が身につくラジオ」 (heldio) のシリーズ企画を進めています.このシリーズは普段は有料配信なのですが,この名著を広めていきたいという思いもあり,たまにテキストを公開しながら無料配信も行なっています.これまでのシリーズ配信回のバックナンバーは「#5291. heldio の「英語史の古典的名著 Baugh and Cable を読む」シリーズが順調に進んでいます」 ([2023-10-22-1]) でご確認ください.


Baugh, Albert C. and Thomas Cable. ''A History of the English Language''. 6th ed. London: Routledge, 2013.



 目下,第3章をおおよそ読了するところまで来ています.第3章の最後を飾るのが第52節 "Old English Literature" (pp. 65--68) です.古英語文学に関する重要な3ページ超の節で,短時間で超精読するにはなかなか手強い節です.これを私1人で解説するには荷が重いということで,本日6月12日(水)の夕方5時半頃より,強力な助っ人をお招きして,60分弱の対談精読実況生中継として2人でお届けする予定です(それでも終わらなければ,プレミアム限定配信 helwa で引き続き生配信することも十分にあり得ます).聴取はこちらからどうぞ.
 今回は公開配信ということで,テキストも以下に掲載し公開しておきます(が,シリーズ継続のために,ぜひ本書を入手していただければ).  *

52. Old English Literature. The language of a past time is know by the quality of its literature. Charters and records yield their secrets the philologist and contribute their quota of words and inflections to our dictionaries and grammars. But it is in literature that a language displays its full power, its ability to convey in vivid and memorable form the thoughts and emotions of a people. The literature of the Anglo-Saxons is fortunately one of the richest and most significant of any preserved among the early Germanic peoples. Because it is the language mobilized, the language in action, we must say a word about it.
   Generally speaking, this literature is of two sorts. Some of it was undoubtedly brought to England by the Germanic conquerors from their continental homes and preserved for a time in oral tradition. All of it owes its preservation, however, and not a little its inspiration to the reintroduction of Christianity into the southern part of the island at the end of the sixth century, an event whose significance for the English language will be discussed in the next chapter. Two streams thus mingle in Old English literature, the pagan and the Christian, and they are never quite distinct. The poetry of pagan origin is constantly overlaid with Christian sentiment, while even those poems that treat of purely Christian themes contain every now and again traces of an earlier philosophy not wholly forgotten. We can indicate only in the briefest way the scope and content of this literature, and we shall begin with that which embodies the native traditions of the people.
   The greatest single work of Old English literature is Beowulf. It is a poem of some 3,000 lines belonging to the type known as the folk epic, that is to say, a poem which, whatever it may owe to the individual poet who gave it final form, embodies material long current among the people. It is a narrative of heroic adventure relating how a young warrior, Beowulf, fought the monster Grendel, which was ravaging the land of King Hrothgar, slew it and its mother, and years later met his death while ridding his own country of an equally destructive foe, a fire-breathing dragon. The theme seems somewhat fanciful to a modern reader, but the character of the hero, the social conditions pictured, and the portrayal of the motives and ideals that animated people in early Germanic times make the poem one of the most vivid records we have of life in the heroic age. It is not an easy life. It is a life that calls for physical endurance, unflinching courage, and a fine sense of duty, loyalty, and honor. A stirring expression of the heroic ideal is in the words that Beowulf addresses to Hrothgar before going to his dangerous encounter with Grendel's mother: "Sorrow not... . Better is it for every man that he avenge his friend than that he mourn greatly. Each of us must abide the end of this world's life; let him who may, work mighty deeds ere he die, for afterwards, when he lies lifeless, that is best for the warrior."
   Outside of Beowulf, Old English poetry of the native tradition is represented by a number of shorter pieces. Anglo-Saxon poets sang of the things that entered most deeply into their experience---of war and of exile, of the sea with its hardships and its fascination, of ruined cities, and of minstrel life. One of the earliest products of Germanic tradition is a short poem called Widsith in which a scop or minstrel pretends to give an account of his wanderings and of the many famous kings and princes before whom he has exercised his craft. Deor, another poem about a minstrel, is the lament of a scop who for years has been in the service of his lord and now finds himself thrust out by a younger man. But he is no whiner. Life is like that. Age will be displaced by youth. He has his day. Peace, my heart! Deor is one of the most human of Old English poems. The Wanderer is a tragedy in the medieval sense, the story of a man who once enjoyed a high place and has fallen upon evil times. His lord is dead and he has become a wanderer in strange courts, without friends. Where are the snows of yesteryear? The Seafarer is a monologue in which the speaker alternately describes the perils and hardships of the sea and the eager desire to dare again its dangers. In The Ruin, the poet reflects on a ruined city, once prosperous and imposing with its towers and halls, its stone courts and baths, now but the tragic shadow of what it once was. Two great war poems, the Battle of Brunanburh and the Battle of Maldon, celebrate with patriotic fervor stirring encounters of the English, equally heroic in victory and defeat. In its shorter poems, no less than in Beowulf, Old English literature reveals at wide intervals of time the outlook and temper of the Germanic mind.
   More than half of Anglo-Saxon poetry is concerned with Christian subjects. Translations and paraphrases of books of the Old and New Testament, legends of saints, and devotional and didactic pieces constitute the bulk of this verse. The most important of this poetry had its origin in Northumbria and Mercia in the seventh and eighth centuries. The earliest English poet whose name we know was Cædmon, a lay brother in the monastery at Whitby. The story of how the gift of song came to him in a dream and how he subsequently turned various parts of the Scriptures into beautiful English verse comes to us in the pages of Bede. Although we do not have his poems on Genesis, Exodus, Daniel, and the like, the poems on these subjects that we do have were most likely inspired by his example. About 800, and Anglian poet named Cynewulf wrote at least four poems on religious subjects, into which he ingeniously wove his name by means of runes. Two of these, Juliana and Elene, tell well-known legends of saints. A third, Christ, deals with Advent, the Ascension, and the Last Judgment. The fourth, The Fates of the Apostles, touches briefly on where and how the various apostles died. There are other religious poems besides those mentioned, such as the Andreas, two poems on the life of St. Guthlac, a portion of a fine poem on the story of Judith in the Apocrypha; The Phoenix, in which the bird is taken as a symbol of the Christian life; and Christ and Satan, which treats the expulsion of Satan from Paradise together with the Harrowing of Hell and Satan's tempting of Christ. All of these poems have their counterparts in other literatures of the Middle Ages. They show England in its cultural contact with Rome and being drawn into the general current of ideas on the continent, no longer simply Germanic, but cosmopolitan.
   In the development of literature, prose generally comes late. Verse is more effective for oral delivery and more easily retained in the memory. It is therefore a rather remarkable fact, and one well worthy of note, that English possessed a considerable body of prose literature in the ninth century, at a time when most other modern languages in Europe had scarcely developed a literature in verse. This unusual accomplishment was due to the inspiration of one man, the Anglo-Saxon king who is justly called Alfred the Great (871--99). Alfred's greatness rests not only on his capacity as a military leader and statesman but also on his realization that greatness in a nation is no simply physical thing. When he came to the throne he found that the learning which in the eight century, in the days of Bede and Alcuin, had placed England in the forefront of Europe, had greatly decayed. In an effort to restore England to something like its former state, he undertook to provide for his people certain books in English, books that he deemed most essential to their welfare. With this object in view, he undertook in mature life to learn Latin and either translated these books himself or caused others to translate them for him. First as a guide for the clergy he translated the Pastoral Care of Pope Gregory, and then, in order that the people might know something of their own past, inspired and may well have arranged for a translation of Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People. A history of the rest of the world also seemed desirable and was not so easily to be had. But in the fifth century when so many calamities were befalling the Roman Empire and those misfortunes were being attributed to the abandonment of the pagan deities in favor of Christianity, a Spanish priest named Orosius had undertaken to refute this idea. His method was to trace the rise of other empires to positions of great power and their subsequent collapse, a collapse in which obviously Christianity had had no part. The result was a book which, when its polemical aim had ceased to have any significance, was still widely read as a compendium of historical knowledge. This Alfred translated with omissions and some additions of his own. A fourth book that he turned into English was The Consolation of Philosophy b Boethius, one of the most famous books of the Middle Ages. Alfred also caused a record to be compiled of the important events of English history, past and present, and this, as continued for more than two centuries after his death, is the well-known Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. King Alfred was the founder of English prose, but there were others who carried on the tradition. Among these is Ælfric, the author of two books of homilies and numerous other works, and Wulfstan, whose Sermon to the English is an impassioned plea for moral and political reform.
   So large and varied a body of literature, in verse and prose, gives ample testimony to the universal competence, at times to the power of beauty, of the Old English language.


 終わり方も実に味わい深いですね.さて,次回からは第4章 "Foreign Influences on Old English" へと進みます.

(以下,後記:2024/06/16(Sun)
 上記の生放送は2時間かけて配信されました.アーカイヴでは2回に分けてお届けしました(2回目はプレミアム限定配信となります).
  (1) 「英語史の古典的名著 Baugh and Cable を読む (52) Old English Literature --- 和田忍さんとの実況中継(前半)」
  (2) 「【英語史の輪 #146】 英語史の古典的名著 Baugh and Cable を読む (52) Old English Literature --- 和田忍さんとの実況中継(後半)」

 ・ Baugh, Albert C. and Thomas Cable. A History of the English Language. 6th ed. London: Routledge, 2013.

Referrer (Inside): [2024-07-15-1]

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