On bokes for to rede I me delyte ...
February 22, 2006 12:30 AM   Subscribe

TEAMS, The Consortium for the Teaching of the Middle Ages, in association with the University of Rochester, has long made available an impressive collection of medieval English texts in electronic format. More Middle English texts are available at the University of Michigan's Corpus of Middle English Prose and Verse, UVa's Middle English Collection, and Project Gutenberg's Middle English section.
posted by bcveen (15 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Whan that a pug, with his hattes cuute...
posted by fleacircus at 4:25 AM on February 22, 2006

Geek Heaven! Thanks!
posted by Medieval Maven at 4:35 AM on February 22, 2006

Oh wow! No "Sir Orfeo", though ...
posted by Pericles at 4:37 AM on February 22, 2006

Nice collection. Thanks.

(now if only something similar for Elizabethan drama were available...)
posted by the sobsister at 6:01 AM on February 22, 2006

Don't forget Beowulf on Steorarume where, if you are in the know you can have a nice read through with the Beowulf Semi-Diplomatic Edition.

(If you're a grade-a lame-o like myself who can barely comprehend something simple like Middle English, you'll have to read the Bilingual Edition.)

Extra treat: check out the mp3s of Ben Slade reading Beowulf Old English. It's really cool. You can almost understand it when it's read, sort of. If you also speak german & finnish, maybe.

And don't forget the wonders of Niw Englisc which I like to think of as Esperanto for the international aryan set.

posted by illovich at 6:29 AM on February 22, 2006

Excellent set of links. Thanks.
posted by OmieWise at 7:31 AM on February 22, 2006

... Tharfor, dame, gyf thee noght ill,
Bot be blythe and byde here styll,
For to my brether I will a space
To ask thair counsail in this case;
For omang many wytty men
Som gud counsail may thai ken,
And sykerer may it so be tane
Than of a man bi him allane.
Bot dame," he said, "I sall noght dwell." ...
--The Gast of Gy

: >
posted by amberglow at 7:38 AM on February 22, 2006

Illovich, Old English isn't related at all to Finnish. Old Norse helps, German is at least in the same family.

And, yes, you can almost understand it. An awful lot of short, common words haven't changed all that much.
posted by QIbHom at 9:47 AM on February 22, 2006

Excellent stuff! ๑۩۞۩๑
posted by chaz at 9:47 AM on February 22, 2006

Well, if we're posting Anglo-Saxon links, one of the best is the Circolwyrde Wordhord, aka Old English Computer Glossary, created by Carl Berkhout at the U. of Arizona. A tad out of date but a lot of fun.
posted by Creosote at 12:38 PM on February 22, 2006

Particularly recommended: Ancrene Wisse
posted by Zurishaddai at 1:43 PM on February 22, 2006

I'm in a Chaucer class right now, and was delighted to learn that without him we may not have the word "cunt" in our vocabulary today. Thanks, Geoff!
posted by danb at 1:58 PM on February 22, 2006

The history of "bad" words is an interesting one. A number of words that are considered rude today were once the value-neutral way of denoting their literal meaning. Medieval surgical manuals, for example, use words like cunt ("þe necke of þe bladdre is schort, & is maad fast to the cunte") or shit (If he may not schite oones a day, helpe him þerto ...), but eventually, as Latin-derived terms displaced the native terms as the standard for medicine and other educated uses, the "working-class" native words became pejorative.
posted by bcveen at 3:52 PM on February 22, 2006

Here's a bilingual edition of Middle English lyrics (Harley MS, etc.).
posted by Zurishaddai at 6:04 PM on March 1, 2006

Oh, and I shd mention that site has MS images too (linked example: Sumer is icumen in, with music).
posted by Zurishaddai at 6:22 PM on March 1, 2006

« Older Dapper doggies are delightful   |   Release the nasty (please!) Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments