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Literary Criticism Medieval

The Old English Rune Poem

A Critical Edition

by (author) Maureen Halsall

University of Toronto Press
Initial publish date
Dec 1981
Medieval, Poetry, English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
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    Publish Date
    Dec 1981
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This critical edition provides unique access to a work which has challenged scholars and students alike. The book is the first to deal fully with the poem as literature and to supply the runic background necessary for an understanding of the raw materials with which the poet was working.


The introduction offers a thorough discussion of the origin, development, and uses of runes before proceeding to the close examination of text, language, literary sources, style, and themes of the poem. Following the text and translation of the poem proper, detailed explanatory notes pay particular attention to the background of each individual rune and rune name, and the appendixes provide analogous material to assist in setting the poet's achievement into the runic context.


Since many of the sources necessary for an accurate assessement of the Old English Rune Poem are written in foreign or dead languages, modern English translations have been provided throughout to ensure that the poem will be accessible to students as well as to professional medievalists.


(McMaster Old English Studies and Texts 2)

About the author

Maureen Halsall is a professor emerita of the Department of English and served as Dean of Humanities at McMaster University.

Maureen Halsall's profile page