Beowulf and some vocabulary

I have begun reading Beowulf, a Verse Translation, translated by Seamus Heaney. So far, I have read the preface, and I'm halfway through the translator's introduction. Following is some vocabulary that I have come across thus far:

rapier(n)-a long narrow, pointed, two-edged sword. Example: For a long time, therefore, the little word was--to borrow a simile from Joyce--like a rapier point of consciousness pricking me with an awareness of language-loss and cultural dispossession, and tempting me into binary thinking about language.

vex(v.t.)-1, make angry or displeased. 2, annoy, worry, harass. Example: I tended to conceive of English and Irish as adversarial tongues, as either/or conditions rather than both/and, and this was an attitude that for a long time hampered the development of a more confident and creative way of dealing with the whole vexed question--the question, that is, of the relationship between nationality, language, history, and literary tradition in Ireland.

philology(n)-1, the study of literature and of disciplines relevant to literature or to language as used in literature. 2, a: historical and comparative linguistics, b: the study of human speech especially as the vehicle of literature and as a field of study that sheds light on cultural history. Example: See example after 'prelapsarian' below.

-ur(prefix)-1, original, primitive. 2, original version of. 3, prototypical. Example: See example after 'prelapsarian' below.

cleft(n)-a crack, crevice, or split. Example: See example after 'prelapsarian' below.

prelapsarian(adj)-characteristic of or belonging to the time or state before the fall of mankind. Example: In my mind the stream was suddenly turned into a kind of linguistic river of rivers issuing from a pristine Celto-British Land of Cockaigne, a riverrun of Finnegans Wakespeak pouring out of the cleft rock of some prepolitical, prelapsarian, ur-philological Big Rock Candy Mountain.

antithesis(n)-1, a: the rhetorical contrast of ideas by means of parallel arrangements of words, clauses or sentences (as in "action, not words", or as in "the promised freedom, but provided slavery). Opposition, contrast (e.g. the antithesis of prose and verse). b: the second of two opposing constituents of an antithesis. The direct opposite. 2, the second stage of a dialectic process. Example: The Irish/English duality, the Celtic/Saxon antithesis were momentarily collapsed and in the resulting etymological eddy a glean of recognition flashed through the synapses and I glimpsed an elsewhere of potential that seemed at the same time to be a somewhere being remembered.


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