Undoing Babel: The Tower of Babel in Anglo-Saxon Literature

Undoing Babel: The Tower of Babel in Anglo-Saxon Literature

Weight 0.00 lbs
By Tristan Major
Toronto Anglo-Saxon Series
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division © 2017
World Rights
320 Pages
ISBN 9781487500542
Available Dec 2017
Online discount: 25%
 $70.00    $52.50

The Tower of Babel narrative is one of the most memorable accounts of the Bible, and its interpretative potential has produced a vast array of literary adaptations.

Undoing Babel is the first extensive examination of the development of the Babel narrative amongst Anglo-Saxon authors from late antiquity to the eleventh century. Tristan Major’s illuminating and original insight into Anglo-Latin and Old English works, including the writings of Aldhelm, Bede, Alcuin, Ælfric, and Wulfstan, reveals the cultural ideologies and anxieties that transformed the Babel narrative. In doing so, Major argues that these Babel narratives provide a basis for understanding the world’s ethnic and linguistic diversity as well as a theological stimulus to evangelize non-Christian and non-European people. Undoing Babel highlights the depth of literary innovation in this period and disproves any notion of a single Anglo-Saxon reception of biblical sources.

Tristan Major is an assistant professor in the Department of English Literature and Linguistics at Qatar University.


Genesis 10–11


1 Early Jewish and Christian Antiquity

2 Latin Christian Antiquity

3 The Early Anglo-Saxon School at Canterbury

4 Bede and Alcuin

5 Alfred the Great and the Literature of his Reign

6 The Tenth and Early Eleventh Centuries

7 The Biblical Poems of Junius

8 Conclusion