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The Alfredian Prefaces and Epilogues

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Chapter Summary

The works traditionally thought to be produced in or around Alfred's reign are accompanied in many cases by introductory and concluding pieces, known as prefaces and epilogues. These prefaces and epilogues, here called "Alfredian", are remarkable not only as compositions in their own right but also for the insights they offer into vernacular literary production and reception in Anglo-Saxon England. The OE Dialogues was probably composed before Alfred's translation programme was fully conceived. Two prefaces and a verse epilogue frame the OE Pastoral Care, all three independent of the main work which contains translations of Gregory's own preface and epilogue. The OE Boethius was furnished with a prose and a verse preface. The prefaces to the OE Laws and Soliloquies, circulated from an early stage with the works they introduced. CCCC MS 41, a copy of the OE Bede made in the first half of the eleventh century.

Keywords: Alfredian; Anglo-Saxon England; OE Bede; OE Boethius; OE Laws



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