Land & Book: Literature and Land Tenure in Anglo-Saxon England

Scott Smith, Land & Book: Literature and Land Tenure in Anglo-Saxon England (Toronto Anglo-Saxon Series 13), University of Toronto Press, 2012.

“In this original and innovative study, Scott T. Smith traces the intersections between land tenure and literature in Anglo-Saxon England. Smith aptly demonstrates that as land became property through the operations of writing, it came to assume a complex range of conceptual values that Anglo-Saxons could use to engage a number of vital cultural concerns beyond just the legal and practical – such as political dominion, salvation, sanctity, status, and social and spiritual obligations.
Land and Book places a variety of texts – including charters, dispute records, heroic poetry, homilies, and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle – in a dynamic conversation with the procedures and documents of land tenure, showing how its social practice led to innovation across written genres in both Latin and Old English. Through this, Smith provides an interdisciplinary synthesis of literary, legal, and historical interests.”

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