Introduction
On Anglo-Saxon things
in Nonhuman voices in Anglo-Saxon literature and material culture

The book begins with a substantial introduction, which outlines the theoretical context of thing theory, considers some of the ways in which it has been brought into contact with medieval studies to date, and addresses its implications for early medieval literary culture more specifically. The word ‘thing’ now carries a great deal of weight in critical theory. Therefore, the introduction engages with the Old English þing as an assembly in the etymological, as well as material, sense and offers a detailed study of the origins of the word ‘thing’ in Old English and related Germanic languages. This is followed by an examination of how Anglo-Saxon riddles give voice to things in ways that overlap with modern ideas about the ‘agency’ and ‘vibrancy’ of nonhuman entities. Finally, an accessible overview of the speaking subjects and speaking objects in Anglo-Saxon literature (e.g. the Exeter Riddles) and material culture (e.g. the Alfred Jewel) demonstrates that the boundaries between subject and object, animate and animate, human and nonhuman, are not immutable but shaped by literary and cultural conventions

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