Where are the wīcs in Old English poetry?

Book chapter


Bintley, M. 2015. Where are the wīcs in Old English poetry? in: Boulton, M., Hawkes, J. and Herman, M. (ed.) The Art, Literature and Material Culture of the Medieval World: Transition, Transformation and Taxonomy Dublin Four Courts Press.
AuthorsBintley, M.
EditorsBoulton, M., Hawkes, J. and Herman, M.
Abstract

Although various settlement types and architectural forms are described or alluded to in Old English poetry, there is little evidence for the major wīc sites that have emerged from the archaeological record in recent decades, which can be broadly defined as large, pre-Viking mercantile settlements characterized by a harbour. This chapter will begin by discussing the various meanings of the term wīc, before outlining the form of the maritime and riparian settlements at Southampton, London, Ipswich and York to which it was attached. This evidence will then be contrasted with the lack of evidence for their existence in Old English poetry, from which, although they are almost entirely absent, there remains some indication of how they may have been perceived. The discussion concludes by suggesting several possible reasons for this absence: the gradual pace of their development and decline; their possible lack of distinction from other contemporary settlements and attendant power structures; a functionality which did not merit poetic celebration; or simply the familiar difficulties associated with the dating and survival of Old English poetry.

Year2015
Book titleThe Art, Literature and Material Culture of the Medieval World: Transition, Transformation and Taxonomy
PublisherFour Courts Press
Output statusPublished
Place of publicationDublin
ISBN9781846825613
Publication dates
PrintJun 2015
Publication process dates
Deposited16 Jul 2015
Related URLhttp://www.fourcourtspress.ie/books/2015/the-art-literature-and-material-culture-of-the-medieval-world/contents
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https://repository.canterbury.ac.uk/item/8763y/where-are-the-wi-cs-in-old-english-poetry

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