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Some Landmark Publications in the History of Anglo-Saxon Scholarship    1566 – 1863

Books that I know to be part of the permanent collections of the Newberry Library, Chicago, are highlighted in bold face type.  Shelf marks are given. 


Information about facsimile editions is also given below, as well as information about books that are part of the UW-Madison collections. 


Bibliographical information given here is incomplete, particularly as regards the more recent publications.  Additions and corrections are invited.

1566.  Matthew Parker.  A Testimonie of Antiqvitie, Shewing the Auncient Fayth in the Church of England Touching the Sacrament of the Body and Bloude of the Lord.  London.  The first modern edition of an OE text.  Features a sermon by Ælfric on the Eucharist, with a facing-page modern English translation.  Parker speaks of the “scrupulous accuracy” of this edition, but he must have known that he was suppressing Ælfric’s views when it suited his purposes. 

            Newberry Library: case Y1452.A265

            Facsimile reprint, Amsterdam: Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, 1970. 

            UW-Madison: microfilm.

1568.  William Lambarde.  Archaionomia.  London.  The first printed collection of Anglo-Saxon laws.  Based on Nowell’s transcription of laws in Textus Roffensis.  A bilingual edition in English and Latin. The edition was reprinted as a substantial appendix to Wheelock’s 1644 edition of Bede (see below).

            The Newberry Library has the 1644 edition: case folio D245.085.

            UW-Madison Law Library, Special Collections has the 1644 edition: oversize KD 544       A69 1644.

            UW – Madison: microfilm.

1571.  [Matthew Parker.]  The Gospels of the Fower Euangelistes.  London.  With a dedication to Queen Elizabeth I by John Foxe, to whom this edition is sometimes ascribed.  The first edition of an OE Scriptural text, with an English translation published en face.  The publication was meant to show precedent for translating the Bible into a vernacular tongue.

1574.  [Matthew Parker.]  Ælfredi Regis res gestae.  A compilation of many documents pertaining to King Alfred, in both Latin and English.  Based chiefly on Asser’s Vita Ælfredi.  Includes Alfred’s will.  Also includes Alfred’s letter prefacing his translation of the Pastoral Care, with an interlinear English translation, followed by the metrical preface to that translation wherein the book “speaks” to the reader. 

            Newberry Library: case F 451.05. 

1605.  Richard Verstegen.  A Restitvtion of Decayed Intelligence in Antiquities.  Antwerp.  Celebrates the Saxon, or German, origins of the English people and their language.  Includes fanciful images of the arrival of the Saxons in England and of the idols Woden, Thor, etc.  Lots of flattery of the English.  Verstegen is a true antiquarian and tries to be a scholar, though he bluffs a lot. 

            Newberry Library: case F 0245.94.

            Facsimile reprint, Scolar Press, 1976.

            UW-Madison has the facsimile reprint, DA 152 V4.  Copies of the 1628 and 1634 editions are in Special Collections.

1605.  William Camden.  Remaines of a Greater Worke, Concerning Britaine….    An encyclopedic review of early British antiquities.  The title alludes to the author’s claim that a yet more ambitious study was originally in mind.  A highly influential publication with many later editions.  Camden and Verstegen often cover the same ground and must have taken some things from one another.  Camden lacks Verstegen’s strong pro-German bias; apparently he rushed the work into print so as not to be left in the dust.


            Newberry Library: Bonaparte No. 10885.


1623.  William L’Isle.  A Saxon Treatise Concerning the Old and New Testament.  London.  Presents Ælfric’s lengthy letter to Sigeweard explicating the principles of Biblical exegesis.  Published with a facing-page modern English translation.  The treatise is followed by a reprint of Parker’s Testimonie of Antiqvuitie.  This is followed in turn by the Lord’s Prayer, the Creed, and the Ten Commandments “in the Saxon and English Tongue.”  These items are meant to support the claim that what the Reformed Church of England represented was a return to ancient practice.  L’Isle’s book was re-issued in 1638 under the title Divers Ancient Monuments in the Saxon Tongue. 

            Newberry Library: case Y 1452.A26.

1644.  Abraham Wheelock.  Historiæ Ecclesiasticæ Gentis Anglorum Libri V, a Venerabili Beda Presbytero Inscripti.  Cambridge.  A monumental book production overseen by a first-rate scholar whose chief academic training was in Arabic.  A parallel edition of Bede’s history in OE and Latin, with the former given greater prominence than the latter.   After the Historia Wheelock includes the texts of various prayers and devotional texts, again in bilingual 2-column format.  He then prints a “Saxon Chronological List” that is actually a transcription of a manuscript version of the A-S Chronicle (now lost), with translation into Latin.  There follows, with separate pagination, a corrected reprint of Lambarde’s edition of the laws.  Also included are later law codes and two glossaries.

            Newberry Library: case folio D 245.085.

            UW-Madison Law Library, Special Collections: oversize KD 544 A69 1644.

            UW – Madison: microfilm.

1655.  Franciscus Junius.  Cædmonis monachi paraphrases poetica Genesios ac præcipuarum sacræ paginæ historiarum, abhinc annos M.LXX. Anglo-Saxonice conscripta.  Amsterdam.  The earliest publication of a substantial body of OE poetry, the Biblical poems of what is now known as the Junius Manuscript.  Not an edition in the modern sense, as there are no study aids.  Carefully transcribed by Junius and written out as prose, with copious pointing as in the manuscript.

            Available at SIU - Carbondale.

            Facsimile reprint edited, with a substantial introduction, by Peter J. Lucas.  Amsterdam:    Rodolpi, 2000. 

1659.  William Somner.  Dictionarium Saxonico-Latino-Anglicum.  Oxford.  The first dictionary of OE, based on earlier sources that had long circulated in manuscript form but that had never been published.  All the apparatus is in Latin.  The Preface includes a rudimentary guide to the grammatical inflections of OE.  Includes a complete bilingual (English and Latin) edition of Ælfric’s Grammar and Glossary. 

            Newberry Library: Bonaparte No. 11660.

            Facsimile reprint, Scolar Press, 1970.

            UW – Madison has the facsimile reprint, PE 278 S7 1659a, as well as a copy in Special    Collections: PE 278 S7.

1665.  Thomas Marshall.  Quatuor D.N. Jesu Christi evangeliorum versions perantiquae duae.  Dordrecht, The Netherlands.  With a Latin preface by Franciscus Junius, who made the transcripts that are the basis of this edition.  Replaces Parker’s 1571 edition of the Gospels.  Includes the Gothic version of the Gospels, as transcribed from the Codex Argenteus.  A self-consciously learned publication, almost hyper-learned in some regards.  Versions of the Gospels in Latin, Greek, Gothic, Hebrew, Coptic, and Arabic are cited in the notes alongside translations by Tyndale and Wycliffe, but not necessarily in a manner that is easy to digest.

            Newberry Library case X 905.1a.

1670.  John Milton.  The History of Britain.  The first full modern history of England before the Norman Conquest.  Based chiefly on Milton’s reading of the chief Latin sources, including Bede, the Chronicon of Æthelweard, Wheelock’s 1644 edition of one version of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, and the major Anglo-Norman histories of England.  A “Whig” history of the Anglo-Saxons, and a vigorous one too, with appropriate reflections on the transience of political order by a man who had seen it come and go.

            Available in standard modern editions of Milton’s works.

            UW – Madison: microfilm.

1678.  John Spelman.  Ælfredi Magni Anglorum Regis Invictissimi Vita Tribus Libri Comprensa.  Oxford.  A fulsome contribution to the cult of King Alfred the Great, as well as to the cause of absolute monarchy versus the paraliamentarians.  Dedicated to King Charles II (no surprise).  Some Oxford boosterism can be discerned.  Includes seven appendices:

                        1. Encomia of Alfred from                                 various sources.

                        2. Alfred’s will, given in Latin.

                        3. Alfred’s Preface to the                                 Pastoral Care, together with                             the ærendgewrit (English                         and Latin).

                        4. Excerpt from the Chronicle.

                        5. Chronology of his life.

                        6. The voyages of Ohthere and                         Wulfstan.

                        7. A genealogy of Alfred that                             proves Charles II to be his                                 lineal descendant (!).

            UW – Madison Special Collections: Cutter F 4514 SP3.

1689.  George Hickes.  Institutiones grammaticæ Anglo-Saxonicæ et Moeso-Gothicæ.  Oxford.  The first proper grammar of OE.  One of the first fruits of the new Oxford learning.  Reprinted as part of Hickes’s 1703 Thesaurus (see below). There is a learned Latin Preface that includes an analysis of the linguistic affinities of the Western European languages.  Hickes identifies Gothic as the parent language of OE, German, and the Scandinavian languages.  The grammar of Anglo-Saxon is merged with Gothic grammar, as Hickes tries to show their essential identity. Part 3 of the book is a dictionary of Icelandic, with each word glossed in Latin, Gothic, Anglo-Saxon, and modern English, where possible.

            Newberry Library: Bonaparte No. 11616.

            Facsimile reprint, Scolar Press, 1971. 

            UW – Madison has the facsimile reprint, PE 135 H55 1689a, and a copy in Special Collections: PE 135 H55.        

1692.  Edmund Gibson.  Chronicon Saxonicum.  Oxford.  With a Latin preface.  A Latin translation is given in columns parallel to the OE text.  Includes a fold-out map of England showing OE place-names.  Gibbon gives textual variants.  This fine scholarly production also includes a chronological index, a glossary of names and terms, and an index of names.

            Newberry Library: case F 451.035 and case 5A 4.

            UW Madison Special Collections: DA 150 A588.

1695.  Edmund Gibson.  Camden’s Britannia, Newly Translated into English, with Large Additions and Improvements.  Organized by counties.  Lots of numismatic information.  Camden’s antiquarian researches, amateurish though they often were, did much to promote both British patriotism and the Local History movement that remains strong in Britain to the present day.

            Newberry Library: case folio G 4495.139.

1698.  Edward Thwaites.  Heptateuchus, liber Job, et evangelium Nicodemi.  Oxford.  Based partly on careful transcripts made by Junius.  Includes an engraving of Ælfric among his books, penning the prefatory letter to his patron, Ealdorman Æthelweard.  The poem of Judith is printed as an appendix, spaced on the page as prose, with pointing as in the manuscript. A beautiful book production, though with few notes and no glossary.  Dedicated to Hickes.

            Newberry Library: Bonaparte No. 11573.

            UW – Madison: microfilm.

1698.  Christopher Rawlinson.  Boethius, Consolatio Philosophicae.  Oxford.  The OE text is identified as having been “trans. by Alfredo.”  With a striking heroic portrait of Franciscus Junius on one of its two title pages.  The poems of Boethius are lineated as verse, the first instance of this practice to be found in modern editions of OE poetry.

            Newberry Library: case Y 672.B188.

            UW – Madison: microfilm.

1703.  George Hickes.  Linguarum vett. septentrionalium thesaurus grammatico-criticus et archæologicus.  Oxford.  A monumental book production presenting a great variety of materials relating to the language and literature of Anglo-Saxon England and related lands.  With a frontispiece showing Hickes, and another showing the Sheldonian theatre.  A new edition of Hickes’s 1689 Institutiones is followed by an edition of a number of literary texts, including the Rune Poem, for which this edition is now the primary source. Also includes a substantial contribution to numismatics.  Published with the next item as vol. 1 of a two-volume set.  An abridged edition was published by Edward Thwaites in 1711.

            Newberry Library: Bonaparte No. 11617 and case fX 0189.4  (vol. 1)

            Facsimile reprint, Scolar Press, 1970, of this and the next item.   Scolar Press has also       published a facsimile of Edward Thwaites’s 1711 abridgment of Hickes’s work.

            Madison has a microfilm, plus the facsimile reprint, PD 99H6 1705a, as well as the           facsimile of the 1711 abridged edition, PE 135 H5 1711a.

1705.  Humfrey Wanley.  Librorum vett. septentrionalium, qui in Anglicæ bibliothecis extant.  Oxford.  Volume 2 of Hickes’s edition. Consists of a virtually complete catalogue of manuscripts containing OE known at the beginning of the 18th century, with illustrative quotations drawn from them, sometimes at length.  The fruit of many years of patient scholarship on Wanley’s part.

            Newberry Library: Bonaparte No. 11617 and case fX 0189.4 (vol. 2)

            Madison has a microfilm, plus the facsimile reprint, PD 99H6 1705a.

1709.  Elizabeth Elstob.  An English-Saxon Homily on the Birth-Day of St. Gregory.  London.  In two columns: OE text and facing modern English translation. A clearly presented text. The title page shows Pope Gregory the Great to the left and Elstob herself to the right, making up an elegant if unlikely couple.

            Newberry Library: case 4A 3062 and case D 245 .263.

1715.  Elizabeth Elstob.  The Rudiments of Grammar for the English-Saxon Tongue, First Given in English: With an Apology for the Study of Northern Antiquities.  London: W. Bowyer.  Sets forth a ‘user-friendly’ system for the English-based study of OE grammar.  With a spirited vindication of women’s scholarship, as well as of the field of Anglo-Saxon studies itself. 

            Newberry Library: Bonaparte No. 11595.

            Facsimile reprint, Scolar Press, 1968.

            UW – Madison has a microfilm, plus the facsimile reprint, PE 135 E4 1715a.

1722.  John Smith.  Historiae Ecclesiasticae Gentis Anglorum Libri Qiuinque, Auctore Sancto & Venerabilit Baeda Presbytero Anglo-Saxone.  Cambridge.  An ambitious new edition of Bede’s history.  The Latin text is given precedence; the OE translation of Bede’s history follows later.  A large fold-out map locates all Bede’s place names.  Also includes Bede’s Vita Cuthberti and Martyrologium.

            Newberry Library: fD245 086.

1772.  Edward Lye.  Dictionarium Saxonico et Gothico-Latinum.  London.  A more scholarly and systematic dictionary than Somner’s glorified word-list.

            Newberry Library: fX 892.53 and Bonaparte Collection, no. 8502 and X9882.53.

            UW – Madison Special Collections: Cutter X2D L98

1775.  Thomas Warton.  The History of English Poetry, from the close of the eleventh to the commencement of the eighteenth century.  Vol. 1, 2nd edition.  London.  The second edition includes some discussion of runes, bards, skalds, and so on, but without any real knowledge of OE poetry on the part of its author.

            UW – Madison Special Collections: CA 10347.

1799.  Sharon Turner.  The History of the Anglo-Saxons, from their First Appearance above the Elbe to the Death of Egbert [that is, to the year 836].  With a Map of their Ancient Territory.  London.  The first of 3 projected volumes (though 4 were in fact produced).  The fourth volume (1805) includes a spirited though highly inaccurate account of Beowulf.  An influential history that went through several successive editions.

            Newberry Library has  the 3rd edition (1820): case DA 152.T8 1820.

            UW – Madison has the 4th edition (1823).

1803.  George Ellis, Specimens of the Early English Poets.  3 vols.  Third edition.  London.  The second and third edition of this study include specimen texts of OE poetry, fancifully edited and translated.

1815.  Grimur Thorkelin.  De Danorum rebus gentis secul. III IV: Poema danicum dialecto anglo-saxonica. Copenhagen: T.E. Rangel.  The first edition of Beowulf; very far indeed from being a reliable one.  Provides an equally unreliable Latin translation in facing columns of text.

            UW – Madison Special Collections: X2Z B45.16.

1823.  James Ingram.  The Saxon Chronicle.  London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown.  With a modern English translation in facing columns.  Includes indexes, a short grammar, maps, and images of Anglo-Saxon coins.

            UW – Madison: DA 150.A9.

1826.  John J. Conybeare, Illustrations of Anglo-Saxon Poetry.  Edited together with additional notes, introductory notices, etc., by his brother William D. Conybeare.  London.  The first modern edition of OE poetry in which the elements of versification are correctly understood and are used as the basis of the layout of the text.  With translations that are sometimes more florid than accurate.

            UW – Madison: PR 1505.C63.

1830.    Benjamin Thorpe.  A Grammar of the Anglo-Saxon Tongue.  A translation into English of the grammar written by the Danish scholar Rasmus Rask, an outstanding linguist who, together with Jacob Grimm, helped to establish comparative philology on a sound footing.

1832.  Benjamin Thorpe.  Cædmon’s Metrical Paraphrase of Parts of the Holy Scriptures.  London, Society of Antiquaries, 1832.  A scholarly edition of the Junius MS of OE poetry.

            UW – Madison: PR 1601.T4.

1833-37.  John Mitchell Kemble.  The Anglo-Saxon Poems of Beowulf, The Travellers Song, and The Battle of Finnes-burh.  London.  Second edition, 1835.  Vol. 2 (consisting of translation, introduction, notes, glossary), 1837.  The first scholarly edition of Beowulf; sets a high standard in the field.   

            Newberry Library: Bonaparte 11569 (vols. 1 & 2, 1835-37).  Also Y 1852 B403.

            UW – Madison: PR 1583 K38 (vol. 2 only).

1834.  Benjamin Thorpe.  Analecta Anglo-Saxonica.  London.  An instructional grammar and reader.  Gives one selection in the older type face so as to show the look of the original MSS; then modernizes, keeping only æ, ð, and þ as special characters.  Readings are presented in graduated order of increasing difficulty, e.g.:

                        1. Gospel extracts         

                        2. Selections from Ælfric (his preface to Genesis)

                        3. Selections from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle

                        4. Selections from the OE Orosius

                        5. Selections from the OE Bede (including the story of Cædmon)

                        6. Homilies by Ælfric

                        7. Selections from the OE Boethius              

            Also includes “semi-Saxon” selections, e.g. from the Ormulum and Lagamon.

1839-48. John Mitchell Kemble.  Codex Diplomaticus Aevi Saxonici.  6 vols.  An attempt at a complete collection of Anglo-Saxon charters, whether in Latin or English.  Kemble was well aware of the interest of these documents for social history, onomastics, and other aspects of Anglo-Saxon studies.

            UW – Madison: DA 150 K4.

1840.  Jacob Grimm.  Andreas und Elene.  Cassel: T. Fischer.  Grimm’s chief publication on OE language and literature, and of strong interest on that account.  Exemplifies, in most regards, the rigorous principles of comparative philology that Kemble sought to introduce among English scholars.

            Newberry Library: Y 1852 .C904.

            UW- Madison: Cutter X2Z AN2, and microfiche.

1840.  John Petheram.  An Historical Sketch of the Progress and Present State of Anglo-Saxon Literature in England.  Useful for its account of the work of Petheram’s 19th-century contemporaries John Mitchell Kemble and Benjamin Thorpe, among other figures in the history of the discipline.

            Facsimile reprint with an introduction by Karen Thomson.  Edinburgh: Stag Press, 2000.

            UW – Madison:  Cutter XA P48.

1843-56. John Mitchell Kemble.  The Poetry of Codex Vercellensis.  A scholarly edition of Andreas, The Dream of the Rood, Elene, and other poems.  An edition that sought to “out-Grimm Grimm.”

1844-46. Benjamin Thorpe.  The Homilies of the Anglo-Saxon Church.  The First Part, Containing the Sermones Catholici, or Homilies of Ælfric.  2 vols.  Until recent years the standard edition of most of Ælfric’s homilies.

            Newberry Library: Y N1092.02 and C 9945.02; Bonaparte No. 11562.

1847.  Benjamin Thorpe.  Codex Exoniensis.  London.  The editio princeps of this remarkable anthology of OE poetry.

            UW – Madison Special Collections: PR 1501 E8.

1848.  John Mitchell Kemble, ed., The Dialogue of Salomon and Saturnus, with a Historical Introduction.  A remarkably learned production; includes a good deal of comparative information relating to Anglo-Saxon runes and the arcane learning of the early Middle Ages.

            Facsimile edition, AMS Press, 1974.

            UW – Madison has the facsimile edition, PR 1770 A2 K4 1974.

1858.  John Mitchell Kemble and C. Hardwick.  The Gospel According to St. Matthew in Anglo-Saxon and Northumbrian Versions.  Cambridge.  An edition exemplifying the best methods in 19th-century comparative philology.  Before his untimely death, Kemble worked out the plan for this edition and did the main work of transcription for it; Hardwick completed the task.

            Newberry Library: Bonaparte 11668.

            UW – Madison: microfilm.

1861. Benjamin Thorpe.  The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, According to the Several Original Authorities.  An ambitious edition that facilitates comparative study of the Chronicle in its various recensions

            Facsimile edition, Krauss, 1964.

            Newberry Library has the facsimile edition: F451.362 no. 23, vols. 1-2.

1863.  John Mitchell Kemble.  Horae ferales.  Published after his death by a committee of scholars, this book is based on Kemble’s researches into ancient archaeological sites and their contents.  An attempt to put British prehistoric and early medieval archaeology on a scientific footing; it includes some handsome engravings.

            UW – Madison: Cutter oversize, FFB K31.







Updated: 10-Nov-2004