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Our Catholic Heritage in English Literature of Pre-Conquest Days   By: (1845-1924)

Book cover

First Page:

OUR CATHOLIC HERITAGE IN ENGLISH LITERATURE OF PRE CONQUEST DAYS

Transcriber's Note: The author's inconsistent chapter descriptions and spelling of proper names have been preserved.

[Illustration: DEATH OF ST BEDE. (From the Original Picture at St Cuthbert's College, Ushaw.) [ Frontispiece ]

OUR CATHOLIC HERITAGE IN ENGLISH LITERATURE

BY EMILY HICKEY

WITH FRONTISPIECE IN COLOUR AND FOUR FULL PAGE ILLUSTRATIONS.

London SANDS & CO. 15 KING STREET, COVENT GARDEN AND EDINBURGH AND GLASGOW

1910

To

THE LORD ARCHBISHOP OF WESTMINSTER

THIS LITTLE BOOK IS INSCRIBED BY HIS GRACE'S KIND AND VALUED PERMISSION.

June, 1910.

CONTENTS

CHAPTER I

The beginnings of Literature in England. Two poets of the best period of our old poetry, Caedmon and Cynewulf. The language they wrote in. The monastery at Whitby. The story of Caedmon's gift of song. page 15

CHAPTER II

Caedmon and his influence. Poem, "Genesis." "The Fall of the Angels." "Exodus." English a war loving race. Destruction of the Egyptians. Fate and the Lord of Fate. 24

CHAPTER III

Allegory. Principle of comparison important in life, language, literature. Early use of symbolism; suggested reasons for this. Poem of the Phoenix. Allegorical interpretation of the story. Celtic influence on English poetry. Gifts of colour, fervour, glow. Various gifts of various nations enriching one another. 31

CHAPTER IV

Prose writing. St Bede the Venerable. His love of truth. His industry and carefulness. Cuthbert's account of his last days. "Bede whom God loved". 42

CHAPTER V

King Alfred, first layman to be a great power in literature; man of action; of thought; of endurance. Freedom first great possession; afterwards learning and culture. Alfred a loyal Son of the Church. Founder of English prose. Earliest literature of a nation in verse; why. Influence of Rome on Alfred. 48

CHAPTER VI

Decay of learning in England. Revival under Alfred. His translations. Edits English Chronicle. His helpers. Some of his sayings. Missionary spirit. "Alfred commanded to make me". 55

CHAPTER VII

Some of greatest pre Conquest poetry associated with name of Cynewulf. Guesses about him. Little known. Probably North countryman, eighth century, an educated man. Finding of the Cross. Elene, story of St Helena's mission. Constantine goes to fight invaders. Vision of the Cross. Victory. Journey of St Helena, and search for the Cross. The Finding. 64

CHAPTER VIII

The Poet's love of the Cross: how he saw it in a double aspect. The dream of the Holy Rood. The Ruthwell Cross. 73

CHAPTER IX

"Judith," a great poem founded on Scripture story. Authorship uncertain. Part of it lost. Quotations from it. Description of Holofernes' banquet as a Saxon feast. Story of Judith dwelt on to encourage resistance to Danes and Northmen. 83

CHAPTER X

Byrthnoth, the leader of the East Angles against Anlaf the Dane. Refusal to pay unjust tribute. Heroic fight. 90

CHAPTER XI

The literature of one people owes a debt to that of others. Help bringers. Great work of Benedictine monks. Our debt to Ireland. The English Chronicle's account of the Martyrdom of St Ælfeah. 97

CHAPTER XII

Abbot Ælfric, writer of Homilies, Lives of Saints, and other works. Wulfstan, Archbishop of Canterbury. 104

CHAPTER XIII

Love of books is love of part of God's world. In books we commune with the spirit of their writers. The Church the mother of all Christian art and literature. Catholic literature saturated with Holy Scripture... Continue reading book >>




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