The Venerable Bede is a crucial figure for Anglo-Saxonists, arguably the most important, known character from the period. A scholar of international standing from an early period of the Anglo-Saxon church [c.672-732], he was the author not only of the well-known Ecclesiastical History of the English People, but also of scriptural commentaries, hagiographies, scientific works, admonitory letters, and poetry. This book provides an informative, comprehensive, and up-to-date guide to Bede and his writings, underlining in particular his importance in the development of European history and culture. It places Bede in his contemporary Northumbria and early Anglo-Saxon England, dedicates individual chapters to his works, and includes a chapter on Bede's legacy for subsequent history.
George Hardin Brown —
George Hardin Brown is Professor of English emeritus, Stanford University.
Brown, George Hardin. A companion to Bede. Boydell & Brewer, 2009. 167p bibl indexes afp; ISBN 9781843834762. Reviewed in 2010feb CHOICE.
Some 20 years after the appearance of his Bede, the Venerable (CH, Oct'87), Brown (emer., Stanford) has produced an excellent handbook that summarizes each of Bede's writings, puts it in the context of his output, and locates editions and translations. The author begins with a discussion of Bede's life and environment and concludes with a chapter on his posthumous influence. In between, he groups Bede's works by genre, for example, educational works and histories. Brown is perhaps strongest on Bede's poetry and biblical commentaries and on his later influence. Particularly worth noting is the superb job Brown does of guiding readers through the considerable scholarship published on Bede in the last two decades. Because Bede (673-735) is so important for early English history, because his learning covers so many areas (school texts, biblical commentaries, saints' lives, poetry, sermons, and history), and because so many of his works are now available in English translation, this book--which will soon be joined by Cambridge Companion to Bede, ed. by Scott DeGregorio (forthcoming, 2010)--will be important to all students and scholars.
Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty. -- L. S. Creider, New Mexico State University Library