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Cædmon's Hymn and Material Culture in the World of Bede

Edited by
Allen J. Frantzen and
John Hines

PB  978-1-933202-22-8 


The essays in this book use the nine-line poem known as Cædmon’s Hymn as a lens on the world of Bede’s Ecclesiastical History. A cowherd who is given a divine gift, Cædmon retells the great narratives of Christian history in the traditional form of Anglo-Saxon verse. An immense amount has been written about this episode, much of it concentrating on the hymn’s significance in the history of English literature. Relatively little attention, however, has been paid to what the story of Cædmon and his hymn might tell us about the material, as well as the textual, culture of Bede’s world. The essays in this collection seek to connect Cædmon’s Hymn to Bede’s material world in various ways. Each chapter begins with the hymn and moves from the text to the worlds of scientific thought, settlements and social hierarchy, monastic reform, and ordinary things. The connections explored here are a sampling of the material concerns Cædmon’s Hymn raises.


  • Preface
  • Abbreviations
  • Material Differences: The Place of Cædmon's Hymn in the History of Anglo-Saxon Vernacular Poetry
       Daniel P. O'Donnell, University of Lethbridge
  • Literary Contects: Cædmon's Hymn as a Center of Bede's World
       Scott DeGregorio, University of Michigan Dearborn
  • Cædmon's Created World and the Monastic Encyclopedia
       Faith Wallis, McGill University
  • All Created Things: Material Contexts for Bede's Story of Cædmon
       Allen J. Frantzen, Loyola University Chicago
  • Cædmon's World: Secular and Monastic Lifestules and Estate Organization in Northern England, A.D. 650-900
       Christopher Loveluck, University of Nottingham
  • Changes and Exchanges in Bede's and Cædmon's World
       John Hines, Univeristy of Cardiff
  • Bibliography
  • Index


Allen J. Frantzen is Professor of English at Loyola University Chicago and has been a Loyola University scholar since 2000. He is also the founding director of the Loyola Community Literacy Center.

John Hines is Professor at Cardiff University in Great Britain. He is currently working on a major and interdisciplinary cultural history of Anglo-Saxon England to provide a substantial and comprehensive discussion of life and conditions in the period from the Anglo-Saxon settlements to the Norman Conquest.