Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


The thesis is a new edition of the "Soul's Address to the Body," a poem from the period of transition between Old and Middle English that exists uniquely in Worcester Cathedral MS. F. 174. The MS. dates from either the late twelfth or early thirteenth century; the "Soul's Address" itself is generally dated to the early part of the twelfth century. The MS. presents many problems for the editor. It was disassembled, probably late in the medieval period, and its leaves were trimmed and used as stiffening in another bookbinding. It was not reassembled until the early nineteenth century.;The introductory portion of the edition begins with a description of the MS. that concentrates particularly on the last four leaves, ff. 63-66, which contain the "Soul's Address." The discussion of language which follows is divided into six parts: Phonemic-Graphemic Correspondences, Non-alphabetic Graphemes, Morphemic-Graphemic Correspondences, Syntax, Rhyming and Assonant Lines, and Dialect and Date. A section on prosody investigates the relation of the poem to both Old English verse and rhythmical prose and concludes with a discussion of rhyming lines in the work. After a brief discussion of the poet's style, the introductory material concludes with a long investigation of the relation of the "Soul's Address" to other 'body and soul' works. It is argued in this section that the current order of the poetic fragments is, in fact, not the most probable order of what remains. Rather, the repositioning of f. 66 between ff, 63 and 64, a change not denied by the facts of the MS., strengthens the poem's internal structure immeasurably and reveals that it is more closely related to the structures of other 'body and soul' poems than has hitherto been noticed.;The alternative order of the text is the one printed. Full explanatory notes follow in which all the previous suggestions for the filling of the various lacunae in the work are considered. The addition concludes with a glossary which, except for a handful of function words, contains a complete record for all the forms in the poem.



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