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Multiple Perspectives on English Philology and History of Linguistics

A Festschrift for Shoichi Watanabe on his 80 th Birthday

Series:

Tetsuji Oda and Hiroyuki Eto

This collection of articles covers a wide range of topics in English philology and history of linguistics. The volume proceeds from Old English studies offering a unique perspective and approach in literary and linguistic research into Anglo-Saxon England. Two articles deal with English phonology from both historical and contemporary standpoints, and another with a theoretical discussion of etymological inquiry. The last section contains three articles focusing on the history of linguistics or the history of ideas. The wide range of topics addressed in the 12 chapters of this volume reflects the diversity of interests in the research efforts of Shoichi Watanabe, professor emeritus at Sophia University, to whom this volume is dedicated by his former students. He is not only highly valued as a distinguished professor of English philology, but also acknowledged for his critique of civilization with his unique view of history and culture.

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YUKI SHIMONAGA The Structure and the Thematic Unity of The Dream of the Rood 183

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YUKI SHIMONAGA The Structure and the Thematic Unity of The Dream of the Rood The thematic unity of The Dream of the Rood has long been disputed by many critics, but no decisive view of it has yet been presented. Dazzled probably by the title conventionally attached to the poem, some of the earlier critics thought too highly of the Cross’s speech on the crucifixion as being the main part, which often led them to conclude that nearly half of the poem was an inferior extension of the ‘original’ poem. In recent years, however, attempts have been made to discover the poet’s intentions hidden behind the poetic structure, and therefore the so-far neglected part of the poem is now being widely discussed. Such re-evaluations of the marginalised sections have also contributed to the recent discoveries of the poem’s exquisite design. It is most probable that the speech of the Cross is the oldest part of the whole poem,1 but if we examine the text of the Vercelli Book closely, it is not likely to be the absolute thematic centre. It does not mean, however, that the ‘extended’ part of the poem has brought in an imbalance and spoiled the over-all quality as a work of art, for the 1 In this particular point I disagree with Lee, who argues that “the Vercelli text preserves what is essentially the ‘original’ poem, of which excerpts are to be found in abbreviated form in the mid-eighth century Ruthwell Cross inscription” (Lee 1972:...

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