This collection celebrates the thirtieth anniversary of the Dutch Society for Old Germanic studies, the Vereniging voor Oudgermanisten. The collection brings together contributions by both veteran and early career members of the society and centres on the theme of the encounter between the familiar and the foreign. This theme is also of central importance in one of the most widely studied Old Germanic poems, the Hildebrandslied. This poem features the culmination of Hildebrand’s thirty-year exile: a one-on-one fight with his estranged son.
This article calls attention to documents relating to the early academic life of G. J. P. J. Bolland (1854–1922). During the late 1870s and early 1880s, Bolland was enthralled by the study of Old Germanic languages and Old English in particular. His endeavours soon caught the eye of Pieter Jacob Cosijn (1840–1899), Professor of Germanic Philology and Anglo-Saxon at Leiden University, who helped the Groningen-born student to further his studies. During his stays in London and Jena, Bolland communicated with prominent scholars, including Henry Sweet, Richard Morris and Eduard Sievers. Bolland’s annotated books, hand-written notes and scholarly correspondence provide a unique insight into academic life and student-professor relationships during the late nineteenth century. In addition, Bolland produced an Old English love poem and a Beowulf summary that are published here for the first time.
Edited by Guus Kroonen, Erika Langbroek, Thijs Porck and Arend Quak
Amsterdamer Beiträge zur älteren Germanistik was published as book series until end of 2015. It is now published as a print and e-journal.
All back volumes continue to be available as print volumes and as e-books.< br/>
Thijs Porck and Sander Stolk
In the Old English poem Beowulf, several body parts are put on display, including Grendel’s arm at Heorot and Æschere’s head on top of a cliff. The first instance has been widely discussed by various scholars, who have tried to find out why and where the arm was hung. By contrast, scholarly treatments of the second instance are relatively scarce. This article places the exhibition of Æschere’s head by Grendel’s mother in the context of similar practices of decapitation and display in Anglo-Saxon England. It will be argued that the placement of the head of Æschere on top of the cliff towering over Grendel’s mere resembles the Anglo-Saxon heafod stoccan, ‘head stakes’, which acted as boundary markers. The monster’s act, therefore, would not strike as foreign to the Anglo-Saxon audience, but would be familiar. As we will show, the identification of Æschere’s head as a boundary marker, placed at the edge of the monsters’ domain, also has some bearing on the interpretation of other potential boundary markers in the poem, including Grendel’s arm and the dragon’s corpse. Lastly, we will argue for a new reading of two textual cruces in Beowulf’s speech prior to his fight with Grendel.