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📙 Dying and Death in Later Anglo-Saxon England by Victoria Thompson — free download


This wide-ranging analysis of later Anglo-Saxon culture and society will be indispensable to students of history, literature and archaeology. The death-bed and funerary practices of this period have been comparatively and unjustly neglected by historical scholarship; Victoria Thompson examines them in the context of confessional and penitential literature, wills, poetry, chronicles and homilies, to show that complex and ambiguous ideas about death were current at all levels of Anglo-Saxon society. An important pastoral handbook for the confessor (Bodley MS. Laud Misc. 482) is here given its first extended analysis. As well as these diverse textual sources, her study also takes in grave monuments, showing in particular how the Anglo-Scandinavian sculpture of the ninth to eleventh centuries may indicate not only the status, but also the religious and cultural alignment of those who commissioned and made them. What this study tells us about pre-Conquest attitudes towards the dying and the dead has implications for every aspect of culture, religion and society.

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