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Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Toronto, 2008
This study examines proverbial statements in Old English literature through the lens of Edmund Husserl s phenomenological method. Chapter one addresses the distinction between "proverbs" and "proverbial statements," such as maxims and gnomes (the latter more common in Old English). Studies to date have either neglected the function of proverbial statements as an integral feature of Old English literature or have failed to address the unique character of such statements as discrete, sententious utterances. Chapter two presents Husserlian phenomenology as a means of addressing how the distinct form of gnomic statements and maxims immediately presents itself to the reader within the context of Old English literature. Particular attention is given to Roman Ingarden and Wolfgang Iser's application of Husserlian phenomenology to literary criticism. Chapters three, four, and five offer specific case-studies in which a phenomenological methodology is applied to three key forms of Old English proverbial content: maxims embedded in narrative poetry, the catalogued statements of gnomic verse, and prose proverb collections.