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A Glossary of "Old and Middle English Bird Names" concludes the book, presenting, in alphabetical order, a handlist of British bird names, their Middle and Old English spelling, etymology, medieval attestations, and the page number on which each appears in Warren's book.


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Warren's introduction acknowledges the allegorical and metaphorical roles that medieval birds are frequently given in poetry, and he recognizes the representationalist framework into which birds are positioned in these texts. However, Birds in Medieval English Poetry explains that even within the most traditional narratives, birds are physiologically, phonologically, and behaviorally in-between creatures.

Warren, Birds in Medieval English Poetry | The Medieval Review

Like, but unlike, human bodies, human speech acts, and human actions, birds show us how "natural and cultural histories overlap, reciprocate, and interweave" 5. Warren considers archaeological, onomastic, cultural, and linguistic evidence that reveals the depth and breadth of the attentiveness early medieval writers paid to the birds that lived near them.

These examples stress the sonic recognition of seabird calls, and Warren's initial discussion of the poem turns briefly to the importance of onomatopoeic names in Germanic languages, which include the huilpe and moew of the Seafarer , and to the sounds of these and other birds in the poem.

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By introducing the Seafarer with a robust account of early medieval ecological sensitivity to birds, Warren limits the reach of traditional interpretations of the Seafarer , which have cast this poem within the frameworks of Christian metaphor and allegory. While such ecological awareness emphasizes the materiality of birds, Warren explores how the poem's sensitivity towards living seabirds correlate with the mysterious anfloga , a bird-soul figure that takes to the heavenly skies as an "enigmatic Warren's first chapter illustrates the in-between nature of birds, which "co-exist" 44 between "factual and figurative birds," "remind[ing] us that a heaven-bound spiritual transformation begins with a necessary, physically experienced journey here on earth towards unknown horizons" Wonder is an important feature of the riddles, and Warren explains that puzzling out the name of a bird described in these poems is not merely a game of understanding avian taxonomy but also a pedagogic exercise.

Using Exeter Book Riddle 24 Jay as its primary example, Warren considers the ways in which its imitative voicing of multiple species, all staged by the human voice of the riddler, "establis[h] and dissolv[e] boundaries" Such an in-betweenness that questions the gamer's ability to name the identity of the bird in Riddle 24 points towards the pedagogical function of riddles as poems that draw upon Isidorian principles of etymology, which purports that words outline the substance of whatever "thing" they reference.

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Riddling, then, is an act of engaging the world via language, and Warren argues that birds, and especially the jay on account of its capacity for mimicry, pose challenges to human ability to know, name, and define the wonders of this animal class. From here, Warren turns to bird glosses, which show similar preoccupations with naming and describing a host of non-native species; and he then discusses the role that birds play in writing technologies, as illustrated by Exeter Book Riddle 51 Feather and Fingers.

That it is by means of a quill that speech is written down gives further dimension to the role that birds play in "misdirect[ed]," human attempts at knowing and naming, and Warren summarizes by explaining that in all of these examples of speech and writing, birds "inscrib[e] and eras[e] paths to knowledge both physically…and cognitively, because they partake in the wondrous renewal of all other subjects" Seller assumes all responsibility for this listing.

Item specifics Condition: Good: A book that has been read, but is in good condition. Minimal damage to the book cover eg.

If this is a hard cover, the dust jacket may be missing. Binding has minimal wear.


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  7. The majority of pages are undamaged with some creasing or tearing, and pencil underlining of text, but this is minimal. No highlighting of text, no writing in the margins, and no missing pages. See all condition definitions — opens in a new window or tab Read more about the condition.

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    A Hand List of British Birds

    Note that a sub-species can be considered rare even if the full species is not considered rare. With such sub-species, field or in the hand identification of a vagrant individual has to be considered possible with a high degree of confidence. In a few cases, the Committee considers and publishes indeterminate records of pairs or groups of rare species or subspecies, which are considered particularly difficult or impossible to separate under present knowledge, or where the identification criteria may not be always possible to see in the field see Appendix IV.

    Note that where identification criteria for subspecies are clearly established and which are usually possible to see in the field, then Indeterminate records will not be published and will be considered Not Proven. It includes those already published and those listed in Stoddart. Rare subspecies in Britain. British Birds BBRC Homepage.