David Kaufmann reviews Caroline Bergvall’s Drift – Asymptote

Drift’s particular heft derives from its investment in Anglo-Saxon. Unlike Chaucer’s language, which, as I suggested earlier, was shaped by the Norman winners, Anglo-Saxon is the lost (or suppressed) dialect of the losers. Now, one should not get too melodramatic about this. English is still a Germanic, not a Romance, language. Even so, to go back to “The Seafarer” is to return the language to its German roots, to seek its origins across the North Sea and not across the English Channel. What is more, to ground our origins in “The Seafarer” (and not in Beowulf, say, or “The Dream of the Rood”) is to read into Anglo-Saxon an existential pathos of suffering, errancy, and loss.

Source: David Kaufmann reviews Caroline Bergvall’s Drift – Asymptote

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