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Neil's Books

Old English Syntax: 2 Volumes Volume I: Concord, the Parts of Speech, and the Sentence Volume II: Subordination, Independent Elements, and Element Order - Bruce Mitchell

Bruce Mitchell's two volume Old English Syntax was one of the most important publications in Anglo Saxon studies to be published in the twentieth century and ranks alongside Neil Ker's Catalogue and the Anglo Saxon Poetic Records in importance. 


After the initial struggle through the primers and readers or maybe Mitchell's own more user friendly Introduction or Guide to Old English, the sufficiently interested reader will move on to the standard but more difficult Old English Grammar by Alistair Campbell, which sadly, hardly touches the subject of syntax. Mitchell's Syntax nicely fills this gap and gives the reader the necessary tools to explore how the Anglo Saxons used their language and structured sentences in speech, prose and poetry. The first volume covers concord, parts of speech and the sentence, volume two covers subordination, independent elements and element order. 


Like all Clarendon Press releases, the book is extremely detailed and the reader will return to it again and again. Mitchell states that the bibliography is not complete and that he was working on a separate bibliographic volume. This volume was eventually published by Blackwells under the name of A Critical Bibliography of Old English Syntax, this volume provides an excellent companion piece for those who want to explore more works on Old English syntax.