This timely introduction to Old English literature focuses on the production and reception of Old English texts, and on their relation to Anglo--Saxon history and culture. * Introduces Old English texts and considers their relation to Anglo--Saxon culture. * Responds to renewed emphasis on historical and cultural contexts in the field of medieval studies. * Treats virtually the entire range of textual types preserved in Old English. * Considers the production, reception and uses of Old English texts. * Integrates the Anglo--Latin backgrounds crucial to understanding Old English literature. * Offers very extensive bibliographical guidance. * Demonstrates that Anglo--Saxon studies is uniquely placed to contribute to current literary debates.