New PDF release: Anglo-Saxon Styles

By Catherine E. Karkov, George Hardin Brown

ISBN-10: 0791458695

ISBN-13: 9780791458693

Considers the definitions and implications of fashion in Anglo-Saxon artwork and literature.

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The art historian who is concerned with style proceeds as if by observing and describing facts—form, ornament, facture, or whatever—and then moves to the interpretation of those facts. The practical fiction there is important, because the art historian is really concerned not with observing and describing facts but with deciding and describing what counts as observable facts. He or she has always to get his or her observation to cohere according to certain seemingly reliable ways of seeing and saying.

In other words, the project enables an interpretive procedure based on an inventory of fixed relations between observable data and meanings that do not vary with context, a procedure that can be grasped by anyone who can perform the operations specified by the key and by using the key terms. 12 Needless to say, I am skeptical about that bit of the Corpus project that is concerned with style and stylistics. The Corpus is a useful resource insofar as it means that we will have a more or less complete photo archive of the surviving Anglo-Saxon stone sculptures.

42 Another “perhaps”: perhaps here we have, as in the verses on the Ruthwell monument, some evidence of ideas and beliefs about Anglo-Saxon kin and/or affinity relations and the actions appropriate to them—Cyneburh satisfying and asserting kin or affinity relations, for there seems little point to her being inscribed on the monument if she is not kin or did not have affinity by marriage to Alcfrith. 43 A rememberer remembering remembered, perhaps. That would figure Cyneburh. The differences between the two monuments: that one became a cross and the other seems to have remained a column; that one is predominantly ecclesiastical in production and use and the other is predominantly secular; that their schemes of ornament and decoration are different—difference.

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Anglo-Saxon Styles by Catherine E. Karkov, George Hardin Brown

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