Event—Public Programming

Really Old English Proverb Collections and the Foundations of Medieval Poetry

Anthropologists have long recognized that a single proverb's meaning depends upon the context in which a speaker utters it, and literary scholars often consider how written proverbs frame and/or structure narrative works. Yet less scholarly attention has been paid to the genre, form, and anonymity of collections of really old English proverbs from the Middle Ages. We will survey the scribal corpus of early English proverb collections and its relationship to the development of vernacular poetry in manuscripts produced between 650-1250 A.D.