The literary culture of early medieval England was thoroughly bilingual: prose and poetry were composed in Latin and Old English.2 Prose in Latin survives in greater quantity than prose in Old English while the numbers for poetry are more evenly split: 270 Anglo-Latin poems are extant compared to 244 Old English poems, by one reckoning.3 It is not enough, however, to note the coexistence of these two languages and their circulation (jointly or separately) in manuscript. Early English literary culture was not simply the “sum” of its Old English and Latin “parts” but was also rather more. Each language was involved with the other behind the scenes, as scholarship on pre-Conquest poetry has made especially clear. Many poets who composed verse in Old English would also have known Latin—the more prestigious, more institutional language.4 By the same token, Latin verse did not exist in a vacuum: certain...

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