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Anglo-Saxon England and the Visual Imagination

How did the Anglo-Saxons visualize the world that they inhabited? How did their artwork and iconography help to confirm their identity as a people? What influences shaped their visual imagination?

This volume brings together a wide range of scholarly perspectives on the role of visuality in the production of culture. Jewels, weapons, crosses, coins, and other artifacts; descriptive passages in literature; types of script; deluxe illuminated manuscripts; and runes and other written inscriptions, whether real or imagined — all receive scrutiny in this collection of new essays. Noteworthy for its interdisciplinary scope, the volume features arresting work by experts in archaeology, art history, literary studies, linguistics, numismatics, and manuscript studies. The volume as a whole demonstrates the power of current scholarship to cast light on the visual imagination of the past. 

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Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments


List of Figures and Plates

"Introduction: Negotiating the Anglo-Saxons’ Visual World"

John D. Niles

"Imagining Identities: The Case of the Staffordshire Hoard"

Leslie Webster, the British Museum

"Imagining, Imaging, and Experiencing the East in Insular and Anglo-Saxon Cultures: New Evidence for Contact"

Michelle P. Brown, University of London

"Kings, Moneyers, and Royal Imagery in the Late Eighth Century: Offa’s Coinage in Context"

Rory Naismith, King’s College london

"Early Anglo-Saxon Coins: Iconography and the Visual Imagination"

Anna Gannon, University of Cambridge

"O Domine libera animam meam! Visualizing Purgatory in 115 Anglo-Saxon England"

Helen Foxhall Forbes, University of Durham

"Visualizing Moses in the Illustrated Old English Hexateuch"

Herbert R. Broderick, Lehman College, CUNY

"Toward a Monastic Poetics: Envisioning King Edgar’s Privilege for 167 New Minster, Winchester, and 'Advent Lyric 11'"

Brian O’Camb, Indiana University Northwest

"Earthworms, Fire Serpents, and the Visual Imagination in the Old English Soul and Body"

Karin Olsen, University of Groningen

"Factual and Fictional Inscriptions: Literacy and the Visual Imagination 211 in Anglo-Saxon England"

Annina Seiler, University of Zurich

"Scarlet Letters: The Old English Daniel and the Materiality of Writing"

Matthew T. Hussey, Simon Fraser University

Index of Manuscripts Cited 265

General Index

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