About the author: Dr. Moisl received an M. Phil in Medieval Studies at the National University of Ireland, specializing in Old Irish, and a D. Phil at Oxford University. In 1980 Dr. Moisl was appointed to a lectureship in the Department of English Language at Newcastle University, UK, where he developed an interest in theoretical and computational linguistics. In 1987 he completed an M.Sc in Computer Science, and his research has since then focussed on natural language processing with artificial neural networks. He has, however, retained his interest in Medieval Studies, and this book is the outcome.1999 0-7734-8151-6
This book develops an hypothesis about the interaction of lordship and tradition - and about how such tradition was generated and propagated - among the peoples of barbarian Europe. It shows how orally transmitted tribal and dynastic historical tradition was crucial to the legitimization of political authority. It contributes to literary historical scholarship by showing how pre-Christian oral tradition was politically significant to early medieval aristocracies, thereby elucidating the social context in which texts like Beowulf originated and within which they must be interpreted. This first large-scale study of the subject draws on an extensive range of evidence relating to a variety of early Germanic and Celtic peoples.