Metaphors of authority in alfred's prefaces

Antonina Harbus*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


This paper explores King Alfred's use of metaphors of power and authority in his prefaces to texts translated from Latin into Old English. It argues that in his prefaces, Alfred constructs a role for himself as textual mediator for the audience of his vernacular translations, or adaptations, via his use of both conventional and novel metaphors. This paper examines the ways in which secular, textual authority is presented, sustained, and negotiated by Alfred through metaphoric language in these prefaces. In particular, it explores how claims to this type of authority rely on linguistic and interpretive prowess, the rhetorical power of the vernacular, or the thematization of language itself, and are expressed through the systematic figurative association of wisdom and physical strength, an idea still very familiar today.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)717-727
Number of pages11
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2007


  • Authority
  • King Alfred
  • Metaphor
  • Power
  • Prefaces

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