As elsewhere in medieval Europe, Anglo-Saxon England saw a development from an oral, vernacular, native, and pagan culture to one that was largely literate, Latinate, imported, and Christian: that development is particularly clear with respect to Anglo-Saxon verse. CLASP will focus on all surviving verse of Anglo-Saxon England composed in Old English and Anglo-Latin over more than four centuries (c. 670–1100 CE), a corpus comprising almost 60,000 lines of poetry, with about half surviving in each language, and will produce for the first time a comprehensive online and interactive library, marked up through TEI P5 XML to facilitate the identification of idiosyncratic features of sound, metre, spellings, diction, syntax, formulas, themes, and genres across the corpus. Such identifications will forge connections and demonstrate chains of influence both within and between the two main literary languages of Anglo-Saxon England.
Among the issues to be explored are: the distinctive nature of Anglo-Saxon verse; the choice of language; the shared techniques of poetic composition and how they changed; evidence of patterns of influence and borrowing both within and between languages; and how aspects of poetic style developed over time. CLASP will use the full panoply of digital resources, including sound- and image-files where relevant, to make the oldest surviving poetry from Anglo-Saxon England available to a modern audience for unprecedented kinds of exploration, comprehensive analysis, and interrogation.
This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (Grant No 695262).