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The audience for Old English texts: Ælfric, rhetoric and ‘the edification of the simple’

Gittos, Helen (2014) The audience for Old English texts: Ælfric, rhetoric and ‘the edification of the simple’. Anglo-Saxon England, 43 . pp. 231-266. ISSN 0263-6751. E-ISSN 1474-0532. (doi:10.1017/S0263675114000106) (KAR id:41971)


There is a persistent view that Old English texts were mostly written to be read or heard by people with no knowledge of Latin, or little understanding of it, especially the laity. This is not surprising because it is what the texts themselves tend to say. In this article I argue that these statements about audience reflect two rhetorical devices and should not be understood literally. This has implications for our understanding of the reasons why writers chose to use Old English and their attitudes towards translation of various kinds into the vernacular.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1017/S0263675114000106
Uncontrolled keywords: Old English, Middle English, Audience, Vernacular, Aelfric
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D111 Medieval History
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of English
Depositing User: H.B. Gittos
Date Deposited: 25 Jul 2014 12:29 UTC
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2022 22:49 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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