Throughout the centuries of its existence, Anglo-Saxon society was highly, if not widely, literate: it was a society the functioning of which depended very largely on the written word. All the essays in this volume throw light on the literacy of Anglo-Saxon England, from the writs which were used as the instruments of government from the eleventh century onwards, to the normative texts which regulated the lives of Benedictine monks and nuns, to the runes stamped on an Anglo-Saxon coin, to the pseudorunes which deliver the coded message of a man to his lover in a well-known Old English poem, to the mysterious writing on an amulet which was apparently worn by a religious for a personal protection from the devil. The usual comprehensive bibliography of the previous year's publications in all branches of Anglo-Saxon studies rounds off the book.
List of illustrations; 1. On argumentation in Old English philology, with particular reference to the editing and dating of Beowulf R. D. Fulk; 2. Knowledge of the writings of John Cassian in early Anglo-Saxon England Stephen Lake; 3. The earliest manuscript of Bede's metrical Vita S. Cudbercti Helmut Gneuss and Michael Lapidge; 4. Beowulf and some fictions of the Geatish succession Frederick M. Biggs; 5. An Anglo-Saxon runic coin and its adventures in Sweden Margaret Clunies Ross; 6. The sources of the Old English Martyrology Christine Rauer; 7. Cambridge, Corpus Christi College 57: a witness to the early stages of the Benedictine reform in England? Mechthild Gretsch; 8. The Old English Benedictine Rule: Writing for women and men Rohini Jayatilaka; 9. The trick of the runes in The Husband's Message John D. Niles; 10. A late Saxon inscribed pendant from Norfolk Elisabeth Okasha and Susan Youngs; 11. Illustrations of damnation in late Anglo-Saxon manuscripts Sarah Semple; 12. The use of writs in the eleventh century Richard Sharpe; 13. Addenda and corrigenda to the Handlist of Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts Helmut Gneuss; 14. Bibliography for 2002 Debby Banham, Carole P. Biggam, Mark Blackburn, Carole Hough, Simon Keynes, Paul G. Remley and Rebecca Rushforth.