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Old English Studies in Spain: Past, Present and … Future?


Juan Camilo Conde-Silvestre, Universidad de Murcia and Mercedes Salvador, Universidad de Sevilla


1. Introduction [1]

The fate of linguistic and literary studies of Old English in Spain is, for obvious reasons, inevitably linked to the establishment of English studies at university level. Spain, in this respect, lagged behind other European countries, like Germany or France, which had already funded chairs during the nineteenth century; the study of English philology did not start here until the early 1950s, and only as part of a wide-ranging curriculum on Modern Languages and Literatures. [2] Nevertheless, the existence of a compelling philological stance in the new degree in Spanish language and literature—its inception being highly influenced by the Centro de Estudios Históricos, the philological institute founded in Madrid by Ramón Menéndez Pidal (1869-1968)—as well as the initial connections of English studies with departments of Romance languages, ensured that the early curricula had a strong philological component. For instance, the very first syllabus at Salamanca, where English and German were established in 1952, comprised the linguistic and literary study of Gothic, Old English, Old High German, Middle English and Middle High German, as well as an introduction to Old Norse literature (Guardia & Santoyo 1982: 8). This was, however, quite exceptional. In fact, although philology was present in all curricula, a specific focus on English usually started only in the fourth year of a five-year degree; during the first three students had to tackle a diverse range of subjects from geography and history, to philosophy or metaphysics and history of the Spanish language and literature, before they could specialize in English within the general degree of Filosofía y Letras. Consequently, the fields of English linguistics, literature, history and culture were compacted into the last two years. Despite these constrictions, an examination of the syllabuses of the sixteen universities that offered a degree in English studies up to 1981—as listed in Guardia and Santoyo's review of this crucial period for the establishment of the discipline (1982: 179–227)—reveals that all of them had room for annual compulsory courses on History of the English Language. Additionally, some had subjects like Germanic Philology and a few offered specialized courses on Old or Middle English language. The presence of specific seminars on OE literature may be hidden under more general labels, like "Historia de la literatura inglesa" or very often be a part of the contents of "Filología germánica."

In the the mid-1980s there was a boom in the general interest in English Studies, or Filología Inglesa: the professional options available to students with these qualifications—either as secondary school teachers of English, as translators or very often in banking, tourism or general administration—meant that the number of students soared and that a majority of Spanish universities offered degrees in English and thus had to hire specialized staff. The new situation also implied that English departments, whether newly-founded or well-established, became more powerful and managed to offer four- or five-year degrees whose contents were from the beginning based mainly on the study of English (occasionally with German), without the previous massive prerequisites in Spanish and the other Romance languages. One consequence of such expansion is that the curricula have become diversified and very often the number of optional subjects has increased, which, in theory, should be reflected either in the flourishing development of Anglo-Saxon studies or, at the very least, in the possibility that students could follow courses on OE language and/or literature if they wished.


2. Teaching OE in Spanish universities

In order to estimate the accuracy of this hypothesis, we have undertaken a survey of the current state of the teaching of OE in Spain. The webpages of thirty-six universities offering degrees in English have been scrutinized to gather as much data as possible on the subject: the number of courses and their duration, contents, and even methodology, whenever the information is available. [3] An important remark should be made beforehand: Spanish universities do not enjoy as much freedom as British and American ones when it comes to drawing up the contents of their degrees; on the contrary, educational authorities ensure that all degrees within the same field of studies share a percentage of core contents, ranging from 35% to 40%. As regards Filología Inglesa the core subjects (troncales) in the current curriculum include—in addition to Linguistics, English Grammar, Literary Theory, English and American Literature—at least ten credits of the History of the English Language: this ensures that all students of English throughout Spain must become familiar with some Old English (at least remotely) by the time they finish their degree. Additionally, the presence of one compulsory Introduction to History of English Literature—usually an annual subject of twelve credits—guarantees that students are acquainted with Beowulf, the Elegies and Ælfric before they leave university. Each faculty is free, of course, to include additional subjects (either compulsory or elective for students) which deal with some of the contents in greater depth. Obviously, the contents and subjects added depend on the expertise and interest of each department's members; interestingly, we assume that the choices affecting OE language and/or literature are clues on the health of the discipline and remarkable for the present survey.


2.1. Teaching OE and the History of the English Language

Only six universities, out of the thirty-six, include compulsory subjects on OE language: Alcalá, La Laguna, La Rioja, Murcia, Sevilla and Valladolid. They are all placed in the second or third year of the degree, with a number of credits ranging from 4.5 to 6. In all cases, a linguistic orientation is combined with the traditional philological aims, to the extent that students are encouraged to learn the rudiments of the language, analyze and translate some relevant texts, at the same time as they acquire basic concepts in historical linguistics. In the other twenty-nine universities, OE language, we assume, must be a part of the core contents of the History of the English Language, which receives a distinctive treatment in different departments. A majority split them into two compulsory subjects—although some offer three (Castilla-La Mancha, Madrid Complutense, Castellón, Málaga, Oviedo, Zaragoza) and even four (Santiago de Compostela). In general, the History of English appears in the second half of the degree (third and fourth years) with credits ranging from 4.5 to 14, with an average of 6. Not all the webpages specify the credits allotted to OE, though we have been able to reconstruct different situations. On the one hand, some degrees contain a substantial OE component, often sharing the space with (early) Middle English and separated from other courses on (late) Middle or (early) Modern English; such is the case of Salamanca (14 credits), Extremadura (12), Valencia (10), León (9), Oviedo (8), Madrid Complutense (6), Barcelona Central (6), País Vasco (6), Lleida (6) and Málaga (5). Additionally, some Departments offer earlier (first- or second-year) introductory courses on the history of English, where OE must also feature: Santiago de Compostela (9 credits), Madrid Complutense (6), Málaga (9), Valencia (5) and Zaragoza (6). A combination of the linguistic and the philological orientation is common in all cases, with the exception of Santiago, Madrid Autónoma, Castilla-La Mancha and Illes Balears, with a predominant linguistic stance. Finally, up to sixteen universities lump all the core contents of the history of English together into one massive compulsory subject, which ranges from 10 to 12 credits, one third of which, at least, we assume on chronological grounds, must be devoted to OE.

As regards optional subjects, only four out of the thirty-six universities offer some which are specifically concerned with OE language: La Laguna, Málaga, Santiago de Compostela and Valencia. These subjects, which are variously named, focus on training students to read and translate OE texts and accordingly have a strong philological and, sometimes, literary orientation (see section 2.2.). The degree offered by other universities also comprises elective subjects that cover different aspects of the history of English—including, we assume, OE—either to complement the contents in the core ones (Castilla-La Mancha, Las Palmas), to cater for the special interests of members of the department—Coruña, for instance, offers a course on English etymology—or both, as Madrid Complutense, where three subjects on historical linguistics are offered in the fourth and fifth year, thus encouraging students to specialize, if they wish, in diachronic English linguistics. This quick review allows us to conclude that the study of OE language in Spanish universities is subsidiary to the history of English and historical linguistics: a situation which, in our opinion, far from being disheartening, should be received with approval. The philological context that attended the establishment of English studies in Spain laid the foundations which, in the course of time, have assured that a majority of Departments, complying with the national regulations, have retained the subject in their curricula. Nevertheless, the scarcity of more specialized courses, whether core or elective ones, is a symptom that the number of scholars who have really developed an interest in OE is not so high and, accordingly, should be a cause for concern.

The secondary status of OE to the more general field of English historical linguistics also finds reflection in the Spanish-authored materials available to students. A best-selling textbook since its first edition in 1981 is Francisco Fernández's Historia de la lengua inglesa; this handbook, which is recommended in most syllabuses, combines the traditional chronological approach with the analysis of the different linguistic systems throughout the history of the language. Substantial parts are devoted to OE phonology, lexis and semantics in each relevant section, including one separate chapter on OE morphology and syntax. The book also contains a brief selection of texts for translation and philological commentary and a concise glossary, which facilitates the philological training of students. The recently-published Historia esencial de la lengua inglesa (2003), coauthored by staff from Málaga (Juan de la Cruz, Ángel Cañete, Antonio Miranda, Javier Calle and David Moreno) has similar characteristics. Two recently-published general textbooks on the history of English, with completely different orientation, are El cambio lingüístico. Claves para interpretar la lengua inglesa by Paloma Tejada (1999) and Lingüística histórica inglesa, edited by Isabel de la Cruz and F. Javier Martín Arista (2001). Tejada's is a brief book, published in a paperback house with national distribution, which, together with an accompanying workbook (Tejada 2001), has become quite popular. The book has a linguistic orientation, though the author attempts to write for the general public as well as for undergraduate students; as such, the different chapters deal with recurring aspects in English historical linguistics such as language contact and standardization, lexico-semantic creativity, and the usual sections on phonology, morphology and syntax: there is room for OE in almost every chapter.

Lingüística histórica inglesa (de la Cruz Cabanillas & Martín Arista eds. 2001) is a massive multi-authored history of the English language with an irregular treatment of the different subjects and periods, mainly written with the expert in mind. After a historical linguistic introduction to the Germanic languages by Enrique Bernárdez (2001), seven of its seventeen chapters deal with the phonology, lexicon and grammar of medieval English, a substantial part of each one being, obviously, concerned with OE. Phonology is tackled in 45 pages by Javier Díaz Vera ("Fonología medieval: la lengua inglesa entre dos mutaciones vocálicas," 2001) while Luisa García García (2001) writes nearly 60 comprehensive pages on inflectional morphology ("La morfología flexiva del inglés medieval"). Syntax receives extensive treatment, with more than 150 pages in two chapters—"Sintaxis medieval inglesa I: complementación, casos y sintaxis verbal" and "Sintaxis medieval inglesa II: funciones, construcciones y orden de constituyentes"—written by Javier Martín Arista (2001a, 2001b). In contrast, only 27 pages are devoted to semantics and the lexicon by Manuela Romano Mozo (2001), and nearly 40 to language contact and borrowings by Ana Laura Rodríguez Redondo (2001). Finally, OE and ME dialectology ("Dialectología del inglés medieval: niveles fonético-grafémico y morfológico") receive a deeper treatment in a 60-page chapter written by Julia Fernández Cuesta and Nieves Rodríguez Ledesma (2001a), the only authors to provide a selection of texts for analysis (2001b). All in all, the book comprises 572 pages of material on the history of medieval (OE and ME) English, to which a useful final chapter on diachronic corpus linguistics has been added (Martín Arista 2001c).

Besides general handbooks on English historical linguistics, Spanish authors have also produced grammars and anthologies of the language. Inevitably, they tend to be published by local university presses for the use of local students. They also share a common organization of the materials, proceeding from introductory sections on phonology, morphology and syntax (sometimes paying heed to the Indo-European and Germanic backgrounds), to a choice of texts for analysis and translation, varying in scope and extent, to the final glossary and, occasionally, the selected notes on cultural, historical, literary or editorial questions. The earliest of these textbooks was Juan de la Cruz's Iniciación práctica al inglés antiguo (1986), which stands out for its practical orientation (in fact it includes the keys to the morphological and syntactic analyses of the majority of texts anthologized). The author has also published other philological materials for the teaching of OE: La prosa de los anglosajones (1983), an anthology of prose texts with a glossary, and the recent Inglés antiguo. Base de la filología inglesa (2002a), coauthored with Pedro Jesús Marcos and Ángel Cañete, which has an accompanying workbook (2002b). Another early textbook is the Old English Anthology by Antonio Bravo, Fernando García and Santiago González, from Oviedo, with a varied selection of texts—twenty-eight both in prose and verse—and a robust introduction to the language (113 pages); this anthology has been extensively used in a number of universities since its publication in 1992 (rev. 1994).

The global interest in the early Germanic languages which has traditionally characterized the Faculty of Philology in Salamanca has an interesting reflex in the textbook El inglés antiguo en el marco de las lenguas germánicas occidentales (1995), by Catalina Montes, María Pilar Fernández and the late Gudelia Rodríguez, some of whose sections, as the title suggests, are devoted to tracing the origins of OE phonology and grammar in West Germanic and Indoeuropean. [4] Finally, other Spanish textbooks on OE, more practically-oriented, are An Introduction to the History of the English Language. Vol. 1: Old English published in Murcia by Conde-Silvestre and Sánchez Pérez (1996), Prosa Anglosajona: Traducción, Análisis y Comentario (1997), edited in Seville by Álvarez Benito, Fernández Cuesta and Rodríguez Ledesma (1997), An(Other) Introduction to Old English for non-English students, by Isabel Moskowich-Spiegel, from Coruña (1999), and the recent collection of texts and guidelines for philological translation compiled by Guarddón Anelo, from the Open University (UNED), Understanding Old and Middle English Texts. A Guide to Diachronic Translation (2005).


2.2. Teaching Anglo-Saxon literature in Spain

As regards the teaching of Anglo-Saxon literature, students' first contact with Old English texts usually takes place in introductory courses to English literature in the first or second years of their studies. In these courses, which are variously named in the different universities, students typically have access to passages from canonical texts like Beowulf, excerpts from poems of the Exeter Book or classical pieces from Bede's Ecclesiastical History like Cædmon's Hymn or the account of Edwin's conversion. [5] Apart from surveys on English literature or linguistic-oriented courses like "Old English" and "History of the English Language," Spanish students are usually granted access to Anglo-Saxon literature through period-based courses. Indeed, the majority of universities arrange the study of English literature in periodical courses that distribute its contents in blocks like "Medieval/Renaissance." But the scope of the teaching of Anglo-Saxon texts in these courses is frequently rather restricted, as the study of this period is usually incorporated in broader subjects that also include Middle English and sometimes even Renaissance literature. [6]

As far as we know, in Spanish universities there are no compulsory courses solely on OE literature. An exception to the rule is "Lengua y literatura del inglés antiguo" (4 credits), a fifth-year core course at the university of Oviedo wholly devoted to Anglo-Saxon literature. But in most universities compulsory courses normally combine the study of Old English texts with Middle English ones. A typical example of this is Seville's fifth-year "Literatura anglosajona y medieval inglesa 101" or Vigo's third-year "Literatura Anglosaxona e Medieval," both with 6 credits. Only a few universities include optional subjects concerning Old English literature. Cádiz, for example, offers an elective "Literatura anglosajona" (6 credits); Málaga's "Textos ingleses del periodo antiguo y medio temprano" (5 credits) and La Laguna's "Filología medieval inglesa I" (6 credits) both study OE texts although they are also taught from a linguistic point of view. But these courses are again an exception to the rule: like compulsory courses, electives normally combine the study of Old and Middle English texts. Seville's "Literatura anglosajona y medieval inglesa 102" (4.5 credits) and Murcia's "Literatura medieval inglesa" (6 credits) are typical, offering a survey of Anglo-Saxon and Middle English literature that ends in the fifteenth century.

As regards Spanish-authored materials intended for the teaching of medieval English literature in universities, there are some handbooks that have become popular in Spanish curricula. That is the case of Fernando Galván's Estudios literarios ingleses: Edad Media (1985), a collection of articles by various scholars that has also had much influence in Spanish curricula. The essays, which deal with both Anglo-Saxon and Middle English texts, are meant to serve as an introduction to the literature of the Middle Ages. The chapters of special interest for Anglo-Saxonists are "Poesía épica anglosajona: Beowulf," by Susana Onega (1985), Enrique Bernárdez's "El lenguaje de la poesía anglosajona" (1985) and the initial sections of "Elementos humorísticos en la literatura medieval inglesa, 800–1400" by the late Patricia Shaw (1985). Also by Galván, Literatura inglesa medieval (2001) is a history of medieval English literature in Spanish. As Galván himself indicates in the preface, it is the first time that a book dealing with both Old English and Middle English literature has ever been written in our country. The book is therefore divided into two blocks, the first (three chapters) being wholly devoted to Old English literature. The first chapter constitutes an introduction to the literature of this period; the second chapter deals with Anglo-Saxon poetry and the third chapter with prose. Interestingly, the author deliberately breaks this genre organization by including a section on Anglo-Latin literature in the third chapter. This first part of the book discusses major Anglo-Saxon works that are illustrated by representative passages, which are offered in modern English by different editors.

Finally, Jorge Luis Bueno Alonso's Literatura Inglesa Medieval y Renacentista: Guía Temática y Bibliográfica (2005) is a recent handbook in Spanish which, as the author indicates in the preface, targets both students and teachers of medieval and Renaissance English literature. Chapter Two of this book offers the basic guidelines of a course on medieval literature divided into two blocks: Old English and Middle English. A description of the contents of the course and the goals follow, together with a select bibliography of essential materials needed for the different topics included in the syllabus. Importantly, the bibliographic items that are listed in the book are described and commented by the author.


3. Spanish research on OE language and literature: the past and the present

It took some time for research in OE language and literature to develop in Spain. Despite the initial philological focus of English studies, the growth of scholarship on OE required the additional specialization in the early Germanic language which not all students at the time were willing or able to acquire. Accordingly, it was not until the early 1970s—twenty years after Filología Inglesa had been established in Salamanca—that the first publications appeared. [7] These were a series of articles by Juan de la Cruz Fernández on the origins and development of the phrasal verb in early English (1972, 1973). Juan de la Cruz, from the University of Málaga, has published extensively on English linguistics and the history of the English language and has never abandoned his early interest in OE morphology and syntax: in addition to the introductory textbooks mentioned above (de la Cruz 1983, 1986; de la Cruz et al. 2002, 2003), he has written articles, among other subjects, on OE inflectional and derivational morphology (1975, 1977, 1988, 1993). [8]

At the university of Málaga, a new generation of scholars have maintained and updated de la Cruz's research on OE, particularly on morphology and syntax, by analysing, for instance, the effects of certain OE word-order patterns on verbal morphology (Miranda 1997), the quantity of <i> in the OE words ending in –lic and -lice (Calle & Miranda 1997) or impersonal constructions in late OE texts (Miranda & Calle 1999). Members of this team have also made profit of the methodological improvements afforded by corpus linguistics and the computational treatment of diachronic materials and have produced MAOET, a morphological analyser of OE texts (see: Miranda, Triviño & Calle 2000), and CALLOE, a computer assisted program for language learning of Old English (see: http://rigel.lcc.uma.es/~trivino/calloe/index.html; Calle, Triviño & Miranda 2000), the latter being partly based on the OE Apollonius of Tyre, which the authors have also analysed extensively by means of an electronic OE concordance maker (OEC) (see: Miranda, Calle, Moreno & Muñoz 2006). [9] Interestingly, the adoption of new research methods has not deterred the youngest members of the group from the rigors of traditional philological work, as their concern with OE editorial questions attests (Moreno Olalla 2000, 2001; Marqués Aguado, forthcoming). Computer-assisted instruction in OE is also the subject of an extensive article by Alejandro Alcaraz Sintes (2002a), from Jaén, who lists and describes a vast number of resources for OE self-instruction available on the market and the internet. Alcaraz Sintes is the author of a Ph.D dissertation on adjective complementation in OE (2002b) and at present works on a project for a dictionary of syntactic and semantic complementation of OE adjectives (2006). [10]

The field of syntax attracted a majority of Spanish scholars doing research on historical linguistics after the burgeoning of English studies from the mid-1980s, and the study of OE syntax was accordingly strengthened. One of the leading teams in this area is undoubtedly the research unit on Variation and Linguistic Change with special reference to English established at the English Department of Santiago de Compostela (http://www.usc.es/ia303/vlc/main.html) by Professor Teresa Fanego in the 1980s. The early interest of members of this group was the applicability of modern terminology and conceptualization to the structure of early English at large; this has yielded important discussions on a varied range of topics, including—among others which have some bearings on OE—subject clauses (López Couso & Méndez Naya 1993; Méndez Naya 1995b; 1997), finite complementation (Méndez Naya 1996), mood and modality in OE and ME subordinate clauses (Méndez Naya 1995a; López Couso & Méndez Naya 1996; Loureiro-Porto 2005), the development of impersonal constructions in the transition from OE to ME (López Couso & Méndez Naya 1997), the early history of conditional and adversative clauses with if and though (López Couso & Méndez Naya 2001), the origins of the progressive construction (Núñez Pertejo 1999, 2004), the auxiliarization of OE weorthan (Núñez Pertejo 1997), etc. Members of this group have also explored diverse aspects of grammaticalization (Méndez Naya 2003; López Couso, Méndez Naya, Núñez Pertejo, Seoane 2004) and, at present, some of them are studying its possible connection to relativization strategies in OE and early ME (Suárez Gómez 2001, forth.).

A number of Spanish scholars, quite often in isolation and independently from larger teams, have also conducted research on OE morphology and syntax in the last fifteen years. Trinidad Guzmán González, from León, has devoted part of her efforts to unravel the different facets of grammatical and natural gender in the transition from OE to ME (1993, 2001), and Rodrigo Pérez Lorido, from the neighbouring university of Oviedo, has analysed OE sentence structure and word order (2000) in a number of texts, ranging from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (1997, 2001) to Ælfric's Lives of Saints (1993). Luisa García, from Seville, has explored some instances of morphological simplification in OE (1999), Ana Saorín Iborra studied the paradigm of personal pronouns in the Vespasian Psalter (1997) and María Ángeles Ruiz Moneva analysed derivational morphology in some texts from Ælfric's Lives of Saints (1998). Finally, Javier Martín Arista, from La Rioja, in addition to the extensive chapters on OE syntax included in the edited textbook Lingüística Histórica Inglesa (2001a, 2001b), has also dealt with the parallel syntactic behaviour of some Latin and OE predicates (Mairal Usón & Martín Arista 1993), and with iconicity in OE noun phrases (Martín Arista & Ortigosa 2000; Martín Arista & Caballero González 2001-02 ), among other topics.

Syntax was also the main focus of OE scholarship in one of the Spanish Departments that has also led teaching and research in English historical linguistics in the last twenty years: Madrid Complutense. However, some progress from the functional analysis to the textual approach can be traced in publications by members of the Department, in parallel to the engagement with text linguistics of Professor Enrique Bernárdez, one of the leading linguists in the field (see: Bernárdez & Tejada 1984 for a review of diachronic applications at large). Publications by scholars connected to this Department have explored a range of aspects where OE syntax converges with text linguistics, such as modality (Larsen 1989), word order and information structure (Tejada 1988) or the textual constraints of macrostructures on OE grammar (Bernárdez & Tejada 1991; Tejada 1991; Tejada & Bernárdez 1995; Romano Mozo 1995). The novel perspective of Chaos Theory has been adopted to investigate the compositional attributes of some OE text types (Rodríguez Redondo & Romano Mozo 1997) and even long-term diachronic processes, like grammaticalization (Romano Mozo 1997), or synonymy and polysemy in historical lexicography (Romano Mozo 2002). More recently, scholars from this group have taken up a cognitive perspective to illuminate some aspects of OE lexicon and semantics, like 'friendship' (Romano Mozo 1993), 'anger' (Romano Mozo 1999) or 'perception verbs' (Rodríguez Redondo & Contreras 2001) as well as the locative uses of some prepositions (Guarddón Anelo 2001, 2003; see also González Orta 2004). In fact, the cognitive approach is becoming fairly popular among OE linguists in Spain; it supplies Isabel de la Cruz and Cristina Tejedor the theoretical framework for their analysis of terms for 'horse' and related items in the history of English (2002), and is the foundation to Vazquez Gonzalez's study of OE verbs of 'giving' and 'granting': Diccionario conceptual de verbos para la donación en inglés antiguo (2005).

The study of OE lexis and semantics rivals syntax for the lead in Spanish scholarship. Javier Díaz Vera, from Castilla-La Mancha, is partly responsible for the shift of interest; he has done theoretical research on the interface between syntax and semantics in diachronic linguistics (2000a) and has applied some models, like the cognitive and the lexematic-functional ones, to the OE verbal dimensions of 'birth' (2000b), 'causation' (2000c), 'memory' (2000d) and 'light' (2004). In 2002 he edited for Rodopi the collection of essays A Changing World of Words: Studies in English Historical Lexicography, Lexicology and Semantics, which features articles by historical linguists from Spain and abroad. A majority of the Spanish-authored papers which have some bearings on OE follow the lexematic-functional model, a sequel to Dik's Functional Grammar, which has become quite popular in Spain during the last fifteen years. Within this framework, Díaz Vera himself contributes an analysis of the lexical domain of 'touching' in OE (2002), and Pamela Faber & Juan Gabriel Vázquez González (2002; see also: Vázquez González 2002, 2004) use the model to analyse the structure of the OE field of 'possession'. The possibilities of applying the lexematic-functional model to specify the semantic architecture of the lexicon renders it a useful tool to grapple with the interface between syntax and semantics in dictionary building. This is the aim of two research projects funded by the Spanish Ministry of Education which are being carried out by scholars from the English Department in La Laguna, under the leadership of Francisco J. Cortés Rodríguez: Diccionario nuclear sintáctico de base semántica del léxico en inglés antiguo (1999-2002) and Gramática y mecanismos de interficie de las clases verbales del inglés antiguo (2002-2006). In addition to theoretical discussions on the applicability of the functional-lexematic model to OE (Cortés Rodríguez & Mairal Usón 2002; Martín Díaz & Cortés Rodríguez 2003), the two projects have yielded analyses of the OE semantic domains of 'healing' (Pérez Quintero & Cortés Rodríguez 2001), 'prediction' (González Orta 2000b), 'dreaming' (Mele Marrero 2001), 'warning' (González Orta 2002a), 'saying' (González Orta 2000a, 2002b, 2004), 'running' (Cortés Rodríguez & Torres Medina 2003) and 'smelling' (González Orta 2005). Finally, some authors have approached aspects of the OE lexicon from an ethnographic perspective; this is the case, among others, of Aguirre's analysis of the semantic implications of OE wyrd (1995) or Fidalgo Monge's study of the terminology for 'sea' in Beowulf, The Wanderer and The Seafarer (1999).

Spanish scholars have also approached OE texts from the perspective afforded by pragmatics and discourse analysis. In addition to the textual stance adopted in research by staff at Madrid Complutense, some authors have applied these methods and findings to a number of texts, mainly literary. Manuel Gómez Lara, for instance, made use of speech act theory to study heroic poetry in the late 1980s (1987, 1988), while Eduardo Varela Bravo opted for Sperber and Wilson's theory of relevance to provide some novel interpretations of Ælfric's Colloquy (1989, 2000) and other pieces, like The Fall of the Angels (1995) and Ælfric's Homily on the Parable of the Vineyard (1999). Relevance theory has also been applied by Ruiz Moneva to the translation of sections from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (1995). Other scholars, like Garcés Conejos and Fernández Cuesta used the theory of courtesy to analyse some passages from The Battle of Maldon and Ælfric's Saint Edmund (1994). Juan Camilo Conde-Silvestre, from Murcia, has dealt with textual organization in some sections of The Wanderer (1993) and The Ruin (2000) with the aim of disclosing the basic stylistic features of OE poetry like variatio or understatement. Finally, Dolores Fernández Martínez has recently applied some of the systemic tools developed by Critical Discourse Analysis in the 1990s to expose the strategies of manipulation in OE religious discourse, particularly Bede's Ecclesiastical History, Alfred's Preface to the Pastoral Care and Wulfstan's Sermon to the English (2001, 2003).

In general, OE phonology and orthography have been the Cinderella of OE research in Spain. One important exception, which nevertheless encroaches on Middle English, is the work by María Auxiliadora Martín Díaz, from La Laguna, on the reflexes of OE <y>, <æ> and <eo> in Kentish place-names (2000, 2001, 2002, 2003). Another interesting analysis, with implications for OE phonology and dialectology, is the study of the linguistic information supplied by the Anglo-Saxon coins at the Royal Museum of Scotland developed by María José Esteve Ramos (2000). Finally, Javier Díaz Vera, besides writing the section on medieval phonology in the textbook Lingüística histórica inglesa (2001), has approached the system of OE phonemes from the perspective of dependency phonology (1997).

In the interface between phonology and graphics, language and literature, the study of runes in OE inscriptions has attracted the interest of some scholars from Seville: Julia Fernández Cuesta started research in this field in the early 1990s and has made a complete analysis of the Ruthwell Cross (1994) and other Anglo-Saxon memorial inscriptions (1999); more recently, Inmaculada Senra Silva has joined in this enterprise with a number of publications on Anglo-Saxon runic inscriptions (1998, 2000, 2005), including a Ph.D. dissertation on The Significance of Rune-Names: Evidence from the Anglo-Saxon and Nordic Sources (2003). The study of runes in northern OE texts has also awoken in these authors an interest in Northumbrian OE (Fernández Cuesta 2004) and in the history of the northern dialects at large, especially in ME: indeed the research project Variedades del norte del inglés británico: evolución histórica y descripción has been funded by the Spanish Ministry of Education and hopefully will produce important results soon.

Another source of interest for Spanish scholars of OE is borrowing and etymology. Andrew Breeze, from the University of Navarra, has published extensively on possible Celtic origins for some OE hapax legomena, like clædur 'clapper' or hreol 'reel' (1995a, 1995b). The Scandinavian presence in Anglo-Saxon England and the linguistic effects of contact between these communities have also been favourite topics of research for Spanish historical linguists, like Bernárdez (1993) who dealt with the possibility of mutual intelligibility between speakers of OE and ON in the Danelaw. Even though the consequences of contact on grammar and lexicon are mainly explored in ME texts—a subject that has been extensively researched by Moskowich-Spiegel (1995)—a couple of promising young scholars in this field have also tackled the question of Scandinavian borrowings in late OE. Dolores Pérez Raja, from the University of Murcia, is currently working on a dissertation on the application of archaelogical findings to the study of Scandinavian loanwords as part of the research project Aproximación sociolingüística al estudio de los préstamos escandinavos en inglés antiguo y medio, funded by the educational authorities for the period 2006-07. Another young Spanish scholar working in this field is Sara Pons Sanz (University of Nottingham), who has analysed Scandinavian borrowings in late OE northern texts such as the glosses to the Lindisfarne and Rushworth Gospels (2000, 2001, 2004). In the forthcoming book Norse-Derived Vocabulary in Late Old English Texts: Wulfstan's Works, a Case Study Pons Sanz compares the possible Scandinavian loans in texts attributed to Wulfstan with equivalent native vocabulary in semantic and stylistic terms, and explores different possible reasons for the occurrence of those loans in Wulfstan's works.

As for editions, translations and studies of Anglo-Saxon literature, Spanish scholarship has paid much attention to heroic texts. It should be no surprise that the earliest research by members of Spanish universities on OE literature was inspired by the canonical Beowulf, Bravo García being probably one of the first scholars to publish his research on the heroic poem (1974). Bravo himself dealt with different aspects of the poem in several articles written in the 1980s (1979, 1983) and has also touched on other texts like The Battle of Maldon (1976, 1992). More recently, he has produced an anthology of Anglo-Saxon heroic verse, Los lays heroicos y los cantos épicos cortos en el inglés antiguo (1998a), in which Widsith, Deor, The Battle of Finnsburh, excerpts from Beowulf, and other poems are offered with a detailed introduction and commentary. Other Spanish scholars have studied different aspects of OE heroic literature. In addition to Gómez Lara's approach to Beowulf and Maldon within the pragmatic framework of speech-act theory mentioned above (1987, 1988), Manuel Aguirre has dealt with the symbol of 'weaving' (1995) and with the connections between boasting and determination in Beowulf (1996), and Mercedes Salvador has drawn parallels between the account of Scyld Scefing and early Anglo-Saxon regnal lists (1998). An interesting paper on The Battle of Maldon is Carrera de la Red's exploration of the possible reliance of the scop on Prudentius' Psychomachia for the presentation of some of the psychological conflicts exposed in the poem (1995).

Recently some scholars are starting to concentrate on the revisions and appropriations of Beowulf in contemporary culture. In this sense, María José Gómez Calderón's "La Mitificación de Beowulf" (2002) explores the process by which the Old English poem has become a literary icon in the past to such an extent that this has also greatly affected our present conception of the text. The author similarly provides a study of the poem as a mass-media phenomenon in contemporary film adaptations like The Thirteenth Warrior (1999) by John MacTiernan and Beowulf (2000) by Graham Baker. By the same author, "'My Name Is Beowulf': An Anglo-Saxon Hero on the Internet" (forthcoming) considers the study of medieval revisionism in popular culture and different media. Together with María José Mora, Gómez Calderón has also dealt with the appropriation of the Anglo-Saxon past in other historical periods, especially in nineteenth-century America (1998). [11] The interface between the OE text and popular culture has also been explored in "The Old English Poem 'A Vampyre of the Fens': A Bibliographical Ghost" (2005), where Eugenio Olivares Merino analyses the possible link between the myth of the vampire in contemporary culture and the characterization of Grendel and his mother in Beowulf (see also 1999; forthcoming).

However, the greatest effort has probably been devoted to editions and translations of Beowulf. A valuable contribution in this field was carried out by Luis Lerate, whose Beowulf y otros poemas épicos antiguos germánicos (1974, rev. 1986) has become a favourite translation in Spanish syllabi. Lerate renders the whole poem in verse and attempts to reproduce the peculiarities of Anglo-Saxon prosody. He is also quite successful at imitating the stylistic and rhetorical devices employed in the Old English text. This is a dual-language edition, fully annotated, with an appendix including, among other items, genealogies and a map of Scandinavia, which all offer a useful contextual background for readers. Antonio Bravo's Beowulf: Estudio y traducción (1981) is a prose translation of the poem, annotated and accompanied by a thorough introductory study dealing with general aspects like authorship, date, and audience. [12] Chronologically, the next translation of the poem to appear was Ángel Cañete Álvarez-Torrijos's (1991), another prose rendering that also includes an introduction dealing with traditional critical issues such as date and provenance. The first part is followed by two further separate sections offering a study of formal and stylistic aspects. In the past decade, there has been a tendency to translate Beowulf into different Iberian languages. A first outcome of this is Xavier Campos Vilanova's Beowulf: Traducció en prosa d'un poema epic de l'anglés antic (1998). This prose version in Catalan is preceded by a brief study of formal and epic features of the poem. [13] By the same token, Jorge Bueno Alonso and Ana Fernández Soneira are currently working on an alliterative translation of Beowulf into Galician, a first sample of which has recently been offered in "The Frisia a Fisterra, ou como facer unha tradución aliterativa á lingua galega do poema épico anglosaxón Beowulf" (2005).

Spanish scholars have also focused on the so-called 'elegies' of the Exeter Book. Bravo García (1975, 1993) had taken the first steps in this field; also notable is Amelia Fraga Fuentes' analysis of the voices in The Wife's Lament and the Galician poet Rosalía de Castro (1994), as well as her discussion of a possible translation of Deor into Galician (2003). A new generation of scholars has also concentrated on these texts. Juan Camilo Conde-Silvestre's Crítica literaria y poesía elegíaca anglo-sajona: Las Ruinas, El Exiliado Errante y El Navegante (1994a) is frequently recommended in Spanish syllabuses. The book offers a thorough preface dealing with the basic characteristics of the elegiac genre, then separate chapters on The Ruin, The Wanderer and The Seafarer. In each chapter, Conde-Silvestre addresses structural and rhetorical aspects as well as major critical readings related to each poem. A final appendix includes an edition of the texts and a Spanish translation in prose. The same author's "Discourse and Ideology in the Old English The Wanderer: Time and Eternity" (2003b) discusses the perception of time in that poem by means of an analysis of the organization of point of view in the light of the leading critical interpretations of this work. Conde-Silvestre has also carried out research on the interface between oral and literate culture in Deor (1995), as well as on the relevance of some medieval theories of allegory to the interpretation of The Seafarer (1994b).

María José Mora's "The Invention of the Old English Elegy" (1995; see also: 1993a) has had a major impact on scholarly publications related to this group of poems. In this article, the author discusses the arbitrariness with which the label 'elegiac' has been used by critics in the past. As she demonstrates, the ascription of poems like Deor, The Wanderer, The Seafarer, The Wife's Lament, The Husband's Message, The Ruin and Resignation to the elegiac category has frequently provoked biased readings and misinterpretations. She concludes that "the genre is a Romantic construct" and that "both the generic concept and the canon are essentially nineteenth-century fabrications" (p. 139). Another essay by the same author is "Un invierno entre los hielos: los paisajes en la poesía anglo-sajona," which illustrates different facets of the literary motif of wintry weather in a number of passages from the OE poetic corpus. Finally, Jorge Luis Bueno Alonso has also published much on these poems. In his El discurso poético elegíaco del inglés antiguo (2001a; see also 2004a) the author applies literary anthropology and hermeneutics to The Seafarer, The Wanderer, Deor, Wulf and Eadwacer and The Wife's Lament. As a result, he establishes a model of Anglo-Saxon elegiac discourse which emphasizes the special idiosyncrasy of these texts. In other publications, Bueno Alonso applies the same anthropological framework to individual poems from this group (1999, 2000, 2001b, 2003).

The Exeter Book Riddles have also been subject of several studies by Spanish scholars. Enigmas anglosajones del Codex Exoniensis: Selección bilingüe (1992) by Bernardo Santano and Adrian Birtwistle provides a selection of riddles with a translation into Spanish. The book offers an introduction, whose first part deals with the manuscript, the language, and stylistic and rhetorical aspects of the riddles; a second section of the introduction focuses on the concept of riddle and its significance in different periods and cultural contexts. Jorge Luis Bueno Alonso's "Actitudes anglosajonas hacia el humor: la caracterización del humor obsceno y sexual en los acertijos del Exeter Book" (2004b) examines obscene elements and humorous aspects in a group of double entendre riddles: numbers 25, 44, 45, 54 and 61. He then envisages the possible connection of these humorous ingredients with those found in contemporary English culture. A further study of the obscene category is given by Mercedes Salvador's "The Key to the Body: Unlocking Riddles 42-46" (2004a). In this article, the author argues that this group of riddles constitutes a thematic section which, despite their overtly sexual components, might have been read as enlightening examples of the dangers of the body and carnal desire in the context of the Benedictine reform. Salvador has also published extensively on the cultural context and the interpretation of other riddles from the Exeter Book, namely numbers 8, 35, 74, 77-78 (1998a, 1999, 2001, 2004b).

Old English biblical and religious poetry has not been the focus of much interest among Spanish scholars. Some exceptions to this rule can, however, be found. Bravo García, in addition to some articles on the subject (1978) including the analyses of sections from Genesis B (1994) and Juliana (2000), has recently written Fe y literatura en el periodo anglo-sajón: ss. VII-XI. La plegaria como texto literario (1998b), where the function of prayers in Christian narrative poetry is explored. Other scholars who have touched on this field are Fernando García García, from Oviedo, who studied the language and rhetoric of Cynewulf's Fates of the Apostles (1994), Laurence Erussard (Hobart and William Smith College) whose Ph.D. dissertation analyzes different facets of the female characters in Elene, Juliana and Judith (2001; see also: 2004) and Conde-Silvestre who has dealt with the function of demons in Genesis B, Guthlac, Elene and Juliana (2003b). More recently, Mercedes Salvador is doing research on the Advent Lyrics (2006).

Apart from the research carried out by Spanish linguists, there are few studies devoted to Anglo-Saxon prose from a literary point of view. An early exception is González Fernández-Corugedo's comparison between Ælfric and Berceo, a thirteenth-century hagiographer from La Rioja (1984). The joint efforts of Pedro Gonzalo Abascal and Antonio Bravo García have also worked in this direction (1993) as reflected, among other publications, in Héroes y santos en la literatura anglosajona (Bravo García & Gonzalo Abascal 1994; see also 1997), which offers a selection of Ælfric's hagiographic texts. The anthology includes a thorough introduction divided into several chapters that comment on different aspects of the works; the book then offers an OE edition and Spanish translation of the vitae of English saints included in Ælfric's hagiographic collection—Alban, Ætheltryth, Swithun, Oswald and Edmund. A number of scattered discussions of other Anglo-Saxon prose texts by Spanish scholars can be found, such as Salvador Insa Sales's study of the treatment of Spanish matters in the Orosius (1999), the examination of Latin culture and vocabulary in Alfred's Boethius and the Apollonius of Tyre carried out by Marta Iñigo Ros (1998, 2000) and Conde-Silvestre's approach to the "Cynewulf and Cyneheard" entry of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle from the perspective afforded by the theory of fiction (2004).

Last but not least, the contributions of Spanish scholars to the field of manuscript studies should be mentioned in this review. María José Mora has explored the relationship between images and text in Junius 11 (1993b) and BL Stowe 944 (1993c) and Asunción Salvador-Rabaza Ramos offers a diplomatic study of BL Cotton Vespasian D.viii (2000). A promising young scholar in this field is Francisco José Álvarez López (University of Manchester), whose Ph.D. dissertation is a comparative study of the paleography of Anglo-Saxon manuscripts containing both the Latin and the OE versions of the Rule of St. Benedict. In "The Palaeography of Oxford, Corpus Christi College, 197," Álvarez provides a detailed paleographical study of the manuscript containing the oldest bilingual copy of the Rule (2005; see also forthcoming).


4. Final considerations: on the future of OE studies in Spain

After presenting this list of what has been done and what is currently being done in the field of Anglo-Saxon studies by Spanish scholars, we would like to end this report by noting that all this production has been carried out within the restrictions and limitations imposed by "the lack of an academic tradition in Old English studies" as María José Mora has already pointed out (1995: 25). At the time professors Bravo and Mora published their report on Anglo-Saxon studies in OEN (1995), the situation was significantly worse, and Spanish Anglo-Saxonists had to cope with, among other things, a lack of bibliographical resources in university libraries. Today, online resources have greatly improved the conditions of research in Spain. Most universities have made a great effort to acquire access to new databases for the benefit of students, professors and researchers in general. The scarcity of books and journals in our libraries, however, is still unresolved. In Seville, library holdings in Anglo-Saxon studies were significantly increased thanks to the books of the renowned Robert E. Kaske, part of whose personal library was kindly donated by his widow Carol Kaske. Many students from the university of Seville, as well as from other universities through interlibrary loan, have benefited from this donation. Apart from such fortunate donations, however, English departments do not receive much funding for bibliographic resources, and subscription to electronic databases has sometimes entailed the cancellation of subscriptions to the print journals, a typical economy in our universities. This means that Spanish Anglo-Saxonists still depend on interlibrary loans and the help of British or American colleagues—or the kindness of co-workers travelling abroad.

In the past ten years the direction of research has significantly moved towards the study of the manuscript proper. Owing to this, scholars have to meet the expensive costs of going to British libraries to do research on Anglo-Saxon manuscripts. Grants and fellowships are of course at hand for them, but there is usually tiresome, time-consuming paperwork to do before they leave. Also, if a scholar receives funding, he or she normally has to wait a year or more after the trip has taken place to receive reimbursement from Spanish institutions. Furthermore, there is only a bonus to promote scholarly production and it only applies to tenured professors. The procedure for awarding this bonus is controversial—publications are evaluated by a board that may have nothing to do with the research field of the applicants. According to this system, each scholar's production is evaluated in six-year periods (sexenios). If one gets a negative evaluation, which unfortunately occurs quite frequently, the scholar has to endure the loss of the bonus, plus a three-year penalty period during which he or she cannot submit any production to be evaluated.

It should be evident from our review that Spanish Anglo-Saxonists have written a significant number of books, articles and papers of remarkably high quality. This must be due in part to the energetic role of the Spanish Society for the Study of Medieval English Language and Literature. SELIM, founded in 1987, is a very active society with 135 members in 2006. The Society holds an annual conference and publishes a yearly periodical, and is responsible for a majority of Spanish-authored publications on Anglo-Saxon themes. In her report María José Mora regretted that the absence of academic filters on the proceedings of SELIM conferences and the journal might have compromised the standards of some of the materials published there. In the last few years, however, efforts have been made to ensure the quality of Selim through a serious system of peer review; contributions to Selim are now read and cited internationally. Scholars from other parts of the world have been attracted by Selim and very often participate in conferences and publish in the journal. All this suggests that the isolation of Spanish scholars from our international colleagues may be disappearing. Moreover, a handful of young researchers partly trained in American and British universities have started to contribute to international conferences and to publish in periodicals with world-wide distribution, so that the voice of Spanish Anglo-Saxonists is being heard abroad.

When Bravo and Mora published their review in 1995, we were involved in a general reform of our degrees. Ten years later, another reform is impending. Although the possibility of a convergence with the other Modern Languages has been discarded—a situation that would have meant a return to the 1950s-1970s, much favoured by professors of French and other Romance languages—there are still the risks that any reform implies for the philological disciplines, which, not only cannot compete with more fashionable ones, but also require from students some of the rigors that are often deflated in modern times. The reform will entail a shortening of degrees from five to four or three years; in the subsequent reduction of courses Old English may suffer. We can only hope that the philological stance that has characterized Spanish curricula during the last fifty years remains and that the educational authorities maintain History of the English Language and Medieval English Literature as core subjects in the syllabuses, so that our efforts to claim a space in the international scholarly world will be reflected in the national curriulum.



[1] The financial contribution of Fundación Séneca, Comunidad Autónoma de la Región de Murcia, has facilitated research leading to this publication and it is hereby acknowledged (project 02957/PHCS/05).

[2] See Monterrey (2003b) for a comprehensive account of the reasons for the general lack of interest of the Spanish authorities in promoting the study of foreign languages at university level during the period 1900-1950. In addition to the strong sense of nationalistic self-sufficiency developed by Franco's dictatorship in the years immediately following the Civil War, the author emphasizes the effects of the disastrous war with the USA in 1898 and the loss of the last Spanish colonies on the intellectual elites in the first decades of the last century. One exception to this anti-foreign climate, according to Monterrey (2003a: 71-72), was the attempt by the republican government in 1931 to establish a university degree in Modern Philology; unfortunately the outbreak of the Civil War in 1936 frustrated the project. As regards research, an influential predecessor was Salvador de Madariaga (1886-1978), a Spanish intellectual who spent part of his lifetime in Britain, both as a diplomat and as an Oxford don; Madariaga wrote Shelley and Calderón (1920) where parallels were established between key texts from the history of English and Spanish literature, one of them involving Beowulf and the Spanish epic El Cid (Monterrey 2003b: 84-85). To the best of our knowledge, Madariaga's is the first indirect contribution to research on OE literature by a Spanish scholar, followed by the Argentinian Jorge Luis Borges's Antiguas literaturas germánicas (1951; see also 1978), and the Chilean Orestes Vera Pérez's well-known translation of Beowulf into Spanish (1962), with a preface by Emilio Lorenzo, first chair of English and Germanic philology in Spain.

[3] We would like to gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Inmaculada Arboleda and Isabel López-Ortiz, students of OE from Murcia, who gleaned all the relevant information from the score of webpages currently run by Spanish universities. We also wish to thank María José Mora for her comments on early drafts of this report. It goes without saying that only the authors are responsible for any inaccuracy or mistake.

[4] Scholars from Salamanca have also published grammars and introductory textbooks on other early Germanic languages, like Manual de lengua gótica by Ana Agud Aparicio and María Pilar Fernández Álvarez (1988) and the latter's Antiguo Islandés: Historia y Lengua (1999), with introductory sections on proto-Germanic and Old Icelandic literature by Julia Fernández Cuesta and María José Mora respectively. Even though the other early Germanic languages are not part of this review, members from some English departments have also developed an interest in them, namely Luisa García, from Seville, whose recent Germanische Kausativbildung (2005) may also be useful to some Anglo-Saxonists.

[5] Thus, for example, obligatory courses like "Introducción a los estudios literarios ingleses 101" in Seville (4.5 credits, first year) or "Literatura inglesa (hasta el siglo XIX)" in Murcia (9 credits, 2nd year) both include Anglo-Saxon texts. Similarly, most university curricula supply courses on English history either in the first or second half of the degree. These courses, which are named differently in each university, also allow students to read some excerpts from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Bede's Ecclesiastical History and other OE texts. That is the case of "Historia Medieval y Moderna de Gran Bretaña," a core course of León University taught in the fourth year (6 credits) or "Cultura y civilización de Gran Bretaña" in Oviedo University (second year, 8 credits).

[6] For instance, Madrid Complutense offers "Textos fundamentales de la poesía inglesa medieval y renacentista" (6 credits), a survey of texts from the Anglo-Saxon period to the sixteenth century. Similarly, Valladolid offers "Literatura inglesa I" (6 credits), a first-year course which studies the literature of the medieval period up to the fifteenth century. In some cases, period courses of this kind exclude OE literature from the syllabus and start with ME texts.

[7] Earlier reviews on the state of the art in OE and Medieval English studies in Spain have been published by Galván (1987, 1991), Bravo García (1991), Bravo, Galván & González (1994) and Bravo García & Mora (1995).

[8] A project on preverbation in the early Germanic languages, somehow connected to de la Cruz's research, was launched at Salamanca in the 1990s; for details of the project see Montes & Férnández (1994).

[9] See also Vázquez González (2006) for an application of corpus linguistics to the retrieval of OE formulaic language.

[10] Full updated accounts of recent PhD dissertations on medieval English language and literature have been published in the journal Selim, volumes 11 (2001-2002) and 12 (2003-2004).

[11] See also Gómez Calderón (1999) for a review of Anglo-Saxonism in the 19th century and Galván (1992) for the presence of Anglo-Saxon in contemporary literature.

[12] Bravo also provided a verse translation of selected passages from Beowulf in his Literatura anglosajona y antología bilingüe del antiguo inglés (1982).

[13] For a comprehensive analysis of the translations of Lerate, Bravo, Campos, and other Spanish authors, see María José Gómez Calderón's "Beowulf in Spanish" (forthcoming).



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