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Bibliotheca Germanica Series Nova - Volume 2

Calvin B. Kendall (Ed.)


Bede's Art of Poetry and Rhetoric
(Beda Venerabilis)
Libri II: De Arte Metrica et De Schematibus et Tropis

Bilingual Edition (Latin/English) of the MS St. Gall 876
1991, 210 p. 49,- €

ISBN 978-3-922441-60-1



The Venerable Bede's Art of Poetry and Rhetoric is a milestone in the transmission and adaptation of the classical principles of poetry and rhetoric to the changing needs of the medieval world. Bede (ca. 673-735) wrote the work as a textbook for use in his monastic school at Jarrow in the north of England. It is in two parts. "The Art of Poetry" is a guide to the most important meters of Latin poetry and offers practical instruction in the composition of Latin verse. "The Figures of Rhetoric" defines some of the principle devices of rhetoric known to the Greco-Roman tradition and illustrates their usage with examples drawn from the Bible. Bede's fame as a scholar and theologian and the utility of The Art of Poetry and Rhetoric led to  its dissemination throughout Europe. For at least five centuries it was one of the basic textbooks of the Western world. Its influence, especially during the Carolingian period, can hardly be overestimated.

This first English translation of the complete work is presented on facing pages with a new edition of the original Latin text, based on the eighth-century manuscript in the monastic library of St. Gall. The translator's introduction explains the significance of The art of Poetry and Rhetoric for its time and for our understanding of the Middle Ages.
Calvin B. Kendall studied at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, and the University of California at Berkeley, where he received his Ph.D. Since 1967 he has taught Old and Middle English literature at the University of Minnesota, where he is now Professor of English. He is the author of The Metrical Grammar of Beowulf.


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