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Other People’s Thinking: Language and Mentality in England before the Conquest

April 17, 2009 @ 9:00 am - April 18, 2009 @ 6:00 pm

Image of a 7th or 8th century mount (metal sculpture shaped like a horse) from Veggersley, National Museum, Denmark


2009 Burdick-Vary Symposium


The effort to understand the inherited ideas that are operative in a society other than one’s own can require a historian’s patience, a linguist’s precision, a philosopher’s finesse, and an anthropologist’s tact. How did the people of the earliest period of English history and culture (the Anglo-Saxon period, ca. 500-1100 ad) conceive of their place in the world that they inhabited? To what extent do the textual records from that era reflect underlying assumptions that may have no exact equivalents today, and that require explication if those records, and hence this historical era in general, are not to be misunderstood? And what evidence from non-textual sources, or from other times and places, can help to promote this inquiry?



Robert E. Bjork, Arizona State University. “Representations of Anglo-Saxon Mentality in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Scandinavia.”

Antonette diPaolo Healey, University of Toronto. “Probing the Anglo-Saxon Mind: DOE Tools as Exploratory Instruments”

Kathleen Davis, University of Rhode Island. “Modes of Temporality in Old English Poetry.”

Nicole Discenza, University of South Florida. “Places and Spaces.”

Roberta Frank, Yale University. “A Poetics of Euphemism: Dangerous Propinquity in Beowulf.”

Joseph C. Harris, Harvard University. “Mentalities and Monstrosities.”

Karl Reichl, University of Bonn. “Words, Voice and Memory in Anglo-Saxon England.”

Elaine Treharne, Florida State University. “On the Same Page: Anglo-Saxon Responses to the Book.”


April 17, 2009 @ 9:00 am
April 18, 2009 @ 6:00 pm
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