Humanistic Studies: Studies in Language and Literature, 1921

(1921) Humanistic Studies: Studies in Language and Literature, 1921. University of Iowa


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The following study was completed in 1917, but owning to conditions growing out of the war has remained unpublished. It grew out of an attempt to produce a satisfactory interpretation of the Finnsburg documents in Old English literature. An investigation of what scholarship had already accomplished in the field resulted in the publication of a monograph in which the various interpretations that had been suggested were analyzed and classified, and a complete bibliography was presented. This analysis made clear the necessity of numerous detailed investigations before any reliable interpretation could be worked out. The point most under discussion seemed to be the relation of Hengest to the events and persons of the texts. Accordingly, the field of research was narrowed to this point and an effort was made to bring together all that language, folk-lore, history, and legend could contribute to throw light upon the subject. This effort resulted in bringing together an unexpectedly large body of heroic legends gathered about the figure of Hengest. the way in which various details were added, and incidents grew and were combined furnishes an illuminating example of the method of growth in epic material. The query that led to the whole investigation- the question of what light this material may throw upon the interpretation of the Finnsburg passages- has been answered, naturally, in terms of my own personal reaction to the findings. To me the conclusion presented seems practically inevitable, but I trust that the warmth of my conviction will not give the impression that the usefulness of the work depends entirely or even principally upon the establishment of this conclusion. The material here brought together in convenient form lends itself readily to interpretation by those whose wide range of knowledge and technical skill fit them to make important suggestions, but who might not be willing or able to take the time to carry out all the preliminary investigation.

Item Type: Departmental Report
Keywords: Humanistic Studies, Language, Literature, University of Iowa
Subjects: Education
Social issues and programs > Civil and human rights
ID Code: 40176
Deposited By: Margaret Barr
Deposited On: 14 Mar 2022 20:01
Last Modified: 14 Mar 2022 20:01