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The Grounds of English Literature$
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Christopher Cannon

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199230396

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199230396.001.0001

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The Loss of Literature: 1066

The Loss of Literature: 1066

(p.17) 1 The Loss of Literature: 1066
The Grounds of English Literature

Christopher Cannon

Oxford University Press

This chapter describes ‘the events of 1066’ and the consequences of that cataclysm to literature. The first section provides a description of the histories pertaining to ‘1066’ and suggests that the ideas generated by retrospection sometimes substitutes themselves for the ideas actually embedded in the relics. The second section evaluates the effects substitution can have on the meaning carried in ‘The First Worcester Fragment’, a nearly-destroyed written form which pays no attention to ‘1066’ and its consequences. The last section examines how the process which removes the meanings of the ‘Fragment’ are manifested in the way early Middle English literary objects have been encountered and the way English literature is defined.

Keywords:   1066, English literature, Worcester Fragment, substitution, retrospection

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