424 July Reviews of Books Texte und Forschungen zur Englischen Kulturgeschichte. Festgabe fur Felix Liebermann zum 20. Juli 1921. (Halle : Niemeyer, 1921.) THE defect inherent in what we suppose, in the absence of an English equivalent, must continue to be called a Festschrift or, as here, a Festgabe, is want of unity of subject and treatment. The French face and accept this drawback when they describe such a collection as Melanges. The present volume is perhaps less open to criticism on this score than many of its predecessors. Its editors, it is true, stress the variety of its themes as a tribute to the many-sided influence of a life's work directed ' auf eine G-esamterfassung des englischen Kulturlebens '. Nothing less general than this would bring together on a thread of unity the first article and the last, a dissection of the Widsith poem and an estimate of the future organization of the British empire. But Dr. Felix Salomon's forecast of a ' union of British empires ' stands by itself. The other nine contribu- tions are all medieval in subject, and with the exception of*Dr. L. Morsbach's edition of three English deeds of the fifteenth century are mainly con- cerned with the Anglo-Saxon and Norman periods. Professor Brandl deals with the weird sisters of Macbeth, but it is to trace their gradual evolution from Wyrd, the Anglo-Saxon goddess of fate, under the distort- ing influence of the word wierd in the sense of ' reverse ', ' misfortune ', of the classical Parcae, and of scriptural witchcraft. Of the remaining articles one, a study of the development of the law as to accessories and accomplices in Anglo-Saxon times by Clemens Freiherr von Schwerin, is, as was fitting, devoted to that special field in which the great scholar honoured, to whom on behalf of his English admirers we offer belated congratulations on the attainment of his seventieth birthday, is the recognized master. The texts to which the title refers include, in addition to the deeds edited by Dr. Morsbach, a new edition of the Widsith by the veteran Eduard Sievers', and of the eleventh-century Calendar of Cotton MS. Vitellius E. xviii, by Dr. K. Wildhagen, and the first transcript in print of the Old English ritual for the visitation of the sick, unction, and burial in Laud MS. 482 and Corpus Christi Camb. MS. 422, by Dr. B. Fehr. Hampson's edition of the Vitellius Calendar is so defective that one more accurate was urgently needed, while the sufficient excuse for yet another edition of the Widsith is the remarkable rearrange- ment of the text, which Dr. Sievers bases on metrical grounds. That the poem is composite has long been recognized, but scholars have despaired of being able to separate the different elements. Here, however, we have five distinct ingredients, each with its own additions, neatly disentangled.
Page:English Historical Review Volume 37.djvu/432
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