• The Terrible Bite of Fire: Metre, Sound Change, and Emendation in Beowulf 1122

    Author(s):
    Nelson Goering (see profile)
    Date:
    2020
    Group(s):
    Linguistics, Old English / Early Medieval England
    Subject(s):
    Old English, Germanic philology, Germanic linguistics
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    Beowulf, Emendation, Kaluza's Law, Vowel Reduction, Alliterative verse
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/gt29-2f79
    Abstract:
    Line 1122 of Beowulf represents a problem where the findings of metrics, historical phonology, and the reading of the manuscript are in conflict with one another. I revive and adapt Tolkien's proposal to emend lāðbite līċes līġ ealle forswealg to lāðbite līġes līċ eall forswealg “the cruel bite of fire swallowed up the entire bodies”. This emended reading allows the line to be scanned in accordance with Kaluza's law without any complications to the standard historical phonology of Old English, and furthermore improves both the syntax and semantics of the overall passage.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    5 months ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved
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