The dialogues of Solomon and Saturn, found in MSS Corpus Christi College Cambridge 422 and 41, are some of the most complex Old English texts to survive.
The first two dialogues, in verse and prose, present the pagan god Saturn in human form interrogating King Solomon about the mysterious powers of the Pater Noster, while in a second poem the two discuss in enigmatic terms a range of topics, from the power of books to the limits of free will. This new edition - the first to appear for some 150 years - presents a parallel text and translation, accompanied by notes and commentary.
The volume also includes a full introduction, examining the evidence pointing to the influence of Irish continental learning on the dialogues' style and content; arguing that the circle which produced the dialogues was located at Glastonbury in the early tenth century, and included the young Dunstan, future archbishop of Canterbury; and locating the texts in the context of the learned riddling tradition, and philosophical debates current in the ninth and tenth centuries. Dr DANIEL ANLEZARK teaches in the Department of English at the University of Sydney.