|dc.contributor.author||Wallace, Anna M||-|
|dc.description.abstract||This thesis examines the construction and poetics of time in Anglo-Saxon literature through a holistic approach to works of history, science, exegesis, and poetry. St Augustine conceived of time as distentio animi, the distention of the mind, and the thesis argues that the texts under discussion form responses to the problems of being in time, by looking to the stillness of eternity.
Chapter one demonstrates how the scientific, historical, and exegetical works of the Venerable Bede form a sustained project to construct time. In the conversion of King Edwin in the Historia Ecclesiastica, the famous flight of the sparrow in the hall emphasises the meaning that Christian time gives to both individuals and communities. Bede’s works both lay the foundation for the poetry of the later chapters and are texts worth studying in their own right.
The second chapter investigates two Old English saints’ lives. Elene affects historicity by beginning with a precise date, though incorrect. The duration of the narrative of Andreas comes to a biblically significant forty days. Through study of the likely sources of these poems, it can be seen that the poets made deliberate choices to construct time in their narratives. The poetics of time in these two works suggests that the two are alike both as saints’ lives and in their approaches to time.
Temporal markers within Beowulf provide clues to when certain events take place, as the third chapter discusses. The diurnal cycle that structures Beowulf on the micro level continues to the macro, and the poem as a whole depicts the day and the night of Beowulf’s life. The poem also engages in the elegiac mode, defined in chapter four as one in which time is largely unmarked, causing instability. The speakers of the Old English elegies are trapped in the present while their minds experience the distension described by Augustine; they recall memories of the past but to do so is painful. For some, time can come to seem ‘as if it never were’.||en_AU|
|dc.publisher||University of Sydney||en_AU|
|dc.publisher||Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences||en_AU|
|dc.publisher||School of Letters, Art and Media||en_AU|
|dc.publisher||Department of English||en_AU|
|dc.title||‘As if it never were’: the construct and poetics of time in Anglo-Saxon literature||en_AU|
|dc.type.pubtype||Doctor of Philosophy Ph.D.||en_AU|
|Appears in Collections:||Sydney Digital Theses (Open Access)|