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The sound of Anglo-Saxon

Posted on March 24, 2010

Old English may be extinct, but it lives on  virtually, thanks to Professor of English Michael Drout, who regularly records passages of classic (and just plain interesting) Anglo-Saxon literature for the audio pleasure of web mavens, iPhone fanatics and the like.

Anglo Saxon Aloud is the the place to find Professor Drout's recordings of everything from Beowulf to advice on charms to recover lost cattle. The web site, Ancient World in London, published by Heritage Key in collaboration with The Independent newspaper of London and the book publisher Thames and Hudson, are now featuring Professor Drout's recordings, which are available on the iTunes store as well.

The feature article about the poetry and prose readings opines that Professor Drout's recordings are the perfect answer to the eternal question "what music will we play in the office." It continues:

Thanks to Professor Drout's efforts to introduce the 'illiterate' to Old English, I've actually changed my opinion and am looking forward to the 'Old Norse' in Mel Gibson's movie, as I'm assuming  I'll be most likely to understand some of it without subtitles. Really, I got most of the 'lost cattle' one! Must be my Germanic (or Gaul, they're still debating that, as far as I know) inheritance.

There's just one Anglo-Saxon language question these sound files do not answer. How do I pronounce 'Run! The Vikings!' in Old English? I'm pretty sure this might come handy - some day.

The Anglo-Saxon Aloud web site is just one of Professor Drout's Internet outposts. Among other things, he also writes his own blog, Wormtalk and Slugspeak, about life in academia and on his scholarship; has created an online bibliography of scholarship about J.R.R. Tolkien in collaboration with his students at Wheaton; and King Alfred's Grammar Book, an online guide to Old English.

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