The Dream of the Rood 江宛珍 49312009 蔡家瑋 49312022 簡佑潔 49312037 柳怡君 49312038 楊佩穎 49312040 陳瑾樺 49312041
The Dream of the Rood Introduction
The earliest dream-vision poem in the English language One of the central documents of Old English Literature The 8th century, the most probable date of composition The influence on later works in Old and Middle English
The most complete form in the Vercelli Book The monologues and subsequent dialogue between the Dreamer and the Rood Fresh words and phrases An inanimate object with personality and the power of speech Three parts
The Dreamer’s account of his vision of the Cross The Rood’s monologue describing the Crucifixion The Dreamer’s resolution to seek the salvation of the Cross
The Vercelli Manuscript • The Vercelli Book, old English manuscript written in the late 10th century. It is parchment and contains one hundred and thirty-six folios. • The book is so named because it was foundin the cathedral library at Vercelli, northwestern Italy, in 1822
Marginalia in the manuscript indicate that the manuscript was in English use in the 11th century. It was probably taken to Italy by one of the numerous Anglo-Saxon pilgrims on the way to Rome. • Along with The Dream of the Rood, five other poems, Andreas, The Fates of the Apostles, Soul and Body I, Homiletic Fragment I, and Elene, are contained in the Vercelli Book.
Though the poems were not initially provided with titles in the manuscript, an English historian, John Mitchell Kemble, named the poems in 1835. • The Vercelli Book provides a fascinating glimpse of Anglo-Saxon spirituality. Thorough a focus on and close examination of the Vercelli codex is a good way to study Anglo-Saxon literature and culture
Vercelli Book Folio 104v Vercelli Book Folio 105r
Major Theme • Some critics have contended that the poet had knowledge of the imagery of warfare. • Others believe that the composer of the poem must have been well acquainted with religious and ecclesiastical. • The diction in the poem is one of the most fascinating features of the text.
Major Theme • The representation of the Crucifixion as a battle. • In the metaphoric battle within the poem, Christ and the Cross are warriors. • “ whose deaths are victories, and whose burials are preludes to the triumph of their Resurrections.”
2. Some later critics called attention to a number of reasons for attributing the poem to Cynewulf (c. 770-840). • The general feeling and vocabulary of the poem suggest affinities with the school of Cynewulf rather than that of Cadmon. • Some supporters of the Cynewulfian theory were convinced that the ending lines of the poem were a personal signature of Cynewulf, while other supporters believed the third portion of the poem was a late addition created by Cynewulf.
Authorship There is no known source or author of The Dream of the Rood. In the early days of Rood scholarship, a theory developed in which Cadmon was asserted to be the author of the poem. b. In 1866, the Runic Scholar, William Stevens claimed that the Ruthwell Cross was inscribed on the upper panel with the phrase ‘Cadmon made me’. This assertion, however, was soon called into question by others who were unable to find any convincing traces of cadmon’s name on the cross.
3. But, contemporary critics remain unconvinced that Cynewulf was the author of any portion of the poem, because several other poems attributed to him are vastly different in technique from the long epic lines of The Dream of the Rood.
Anglo-Saxon Society’s Influence on the poem • According to Robert E. Diamond, two types of societies in Pre-Conquest England have been established; one steeped in the life of the great monasteries; and the other a military society dependent on comitatus relationships. • Though Christianity would have been in England for approximately 100 years prior to the composition of the poem, the blend of ecclesiastical and heroic elements in the piece reveals that the poet was well acquainted with both the pagan and Christian segments of Anglo-Saxon society.
Within the poem, there is a struggle between the heroic values and Christian ethics in which the poet serves as a mediator. • By depicting Christ as warrior, and through use of both heroic and ecclesiastical diction, the poem serves as an instrument of mediation in the struggle between the two dominant segments of Anglo-Saxon society. • As some scholars assert, heroic themes were sometimes of interest within ecclesiastical walls, and a common Anglo-Saxon convention was to treat Christian subject matter in terms of heroic themes
The Cross is a loyal retainer and Christ represents an earthly lord, the connection between the two major components of Anglo-Saxon society were obviously on the mind of the poet as he utilized the formulas of heroic poetry and applied them to Christian subjects. • The veneration with which the Old English poet glorifies Christ as an earthly lord and warrior cannot be considered in itself a derivative solely of the poetic imagination, as the poet drew upon the two dominant segments of his society. • Essentially, the poet did not rely on one part of Anglo-Saxon society or the other in composing the poem, rather, he skillfully borrowed from both worlds in order to strengthen the message of Salvation in The Dream of the Rood.
Critical Reception • Critical analysis of The Dream of the Road has been abundant for over 150years, and the final lines have prompted significant debate. • Bruce Dickens& Alan S.C Ross • J.A Burrow
Bruce Dickens& Alan S.C Ross • They supported that the last few lines of the poem were added by other person when the poem was transcribed for the Vercelli Book. • They argue that the latter portion of the poem “seems definitely inferior and it is significant that the passages found on the Ruthwell Cross all correspond to passages in the first half of the Vercelli text"
J.A. Burrow • J.A. Burrow have maintained that the lines are indeed a part of the original poem despite their simplicity. • Burrow argues that it would be "natural to choose passages from the speech of the Cross for inscription on [the Ruthwell] Cross" • He asserts that “it is not difficult to see that the themes of the earlier part are developed consistently(符合) and meaningfully (242).
The Changes of The Phases of Road-criticism • Scholars have managed to analyze the poem in light of (1) the author, (2) ecclesiastical and pagan influences,(3) diction, (4) structure, and (5) history. • Early critics focused on the authorship, but modern scholars have concluded that there is not enough evidence to make a conclusion about the poem’s author.
The Changes of The Phases of Road-criticism • 1. In the 1940’s scholars investigated the doctrinal influences of the poem. • 2. Liturgical(宗教儀式的) influence on the poem had been discussed by Howard Patch in early 20th century.
The Changes of The Phases of Road-criticism • 3. Rosemary Woolf, added valuable analyses about the history of the Church, early heretical(異教徒的) views, the impact heresies had on the Church in Anglo-Saxon England, and the Church’s overall influence on the poem. • 4. The investigation of the religious aspects of the poem continued to flourish well into the late 1960’s with scholars like John V. Fleming, who explored the poem inrelation to themonastic society of Anglo-Saxon England.
5. In the 1960’s, critics like Robert E. Diamond and Stanley B. Greenfield examined the heroic diction and images within The Dream of the Rood. • 6. Diamond assert that the blend of Christian and military images and diction in Old English poetry was typical by the time of the composition of the Rood, so the poet was "in some sense a captive of traditional diction".
7. In 1960’s, Louis H. Leiter and Faith H introduced Structuralist readings to the poem, and they looked at the structural patterns and connections within the Rood and how such patterns work together. • 8. Critics of The Dream of the Rood continued to examine the religious and heroic elements of the text during the 1970’s and 80’s.
9. In 1980’s, critics like Edward B. Irving and C.B. Pasternack analyzed the poet’s style in relation to the representation of the Crucifixion. • 10. P. Clemoes introduced a fresh approach to the poem with a psychoanalysis of the Rood-poet, and an investigation of the connections between thought and language within the Rood.
11. Pauline E. Head incorporated theories such as hermeneutics(聖經註解) into their examination of the text .
Despite the numerous ambiguities within the text, The Dream of the Rood is clearly one of the best poems of the Passion ever composed and "above all others, [it] relays the spirit of tender yet passionate veneration of awe and adoration for the wondrous cross on which the Prince of glory died"
Conclusion ˙As “one of the first and most successful treatment of the theme of crucifixion” in the English language, the blend of Christian and Germanic elements gives “The dream of the Rood” great depth and complexity. ˙The layers of themes and the clues that shed light on Anglo-Saxon society make the poem not simply a literary piece of historical importance, but such layers within the text reveal the Old English poet’s ability to compose with stylistic grace and skill.
˙In the very process of depicting both the Dreamer and the Cross with consciousness, the poet attempts, through his art, to move his audience to the same virtuous state as those of the main character. ˙With the conscience-arousing experience that goes on when reading the poem, readers see how “The Dream of the Rood” superbly illustrates what substance and efficacy an Anglo-Saxon poet could give to an important Christian topic, such as that of the Crucifixion.