Monday, February 26, 2007

Anglo-Saxon Aloud

Am I busy this week? Well, it has taken me three days to post on this topic, so you be the judge.

Michael Drout announced an exciting new project recently, Anglo-Saxon Aloud. This is semi-daily podcasts of about 50-100 lines of Old English poetry from the six-volume set called the Anglo-Saxon Poetic Records (those of us in the biz usually just call it the ASPR). By Drout's calculation he'll have read the entire corpus of extant Old English poetry in a year.

In its current form, I'm not sure how much value the podcasts are. After all, who wants to know what the Old English Genesis lines 103-68 sounds like? After each poem is done, though, then you'll have something quite valuable, since someone might like to hear the the whole of the OE Genesis, conveniently broken up into little chapters.

I suspect that people won't really understand the value of the project until Drout gets to volumes III and VI of the ASPR. Vol III is the Exeter Book, and Vol VI is the Minor Poems. With the exception of Beowulf (in Vol IV), these two volumes represent the bulk of the most popular poems, I think. Indeed, in coming years lazy ol' me might not re-read the Anglo-Saxon poems I assign -- I might just download 'em and listen to them as podcasts.

A cool idea whose time has come.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous10:40 AM

    Your website is very helpful, humorous, and intelligent--a fine combination. Thanks! By the way, I went to Drout's Anglo-Saxon Aloud project, and, like you, I loved it. I listened to several things and most enjoyed The Dream of the Rood. I'm at Shorter College teaching Old English, etc. Best wishes, Carmen Acevedo Butcher