1887
Volume 70, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0108-8416
  • E-ISSN: 2212-9715
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Abstract

The <manweorcum> transmitted in line 811b of the Old English poem by Cynewulf has been generally regarded as representing an otherwise unattested adjective composite of ‘crime’ and ‘work’. Since is unparalleled and unexpected as a second element in an adjectival compound, an alternative explanation of the manuscript reading is proposed here, scribal alteration of an adjective otherwise attested only in the First Cleopatra Glossary, occurring there in the written form <manwræce>. While this adjective is listed under various headword forms in dictionaries, it is probably to be described as (Anglian ), having the same second element as another adjective in which Old English - has often been misunderstood, ‘impious’. The origin of - is a Germanic verbal adjective in ---- derived from the etymon of Old English ‘drive’; the original meaning of may thus have been ‘perpetrating crime’. <manwrecum>, corresponding to the Anglian form that Cynewulf would have used in 811b, would have been susceptible to alteration to <manweorcum> by a copyist unfamiliar with the word, as comparable instances of scribal transposition of elements suggest.

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2017-04-10
2019-10-23
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