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Anglo-Saxon literature


									        Years: 449-1066

Anglo-Saxon literature
Styles and Genres

 These works include genres
 such as epic poetry, sermons,
 Bible translations, legal
 works, chronicles, riddles,
 and others.
 1. The Oral tradition

was very strong in
early British
culture and most
literary works
were written to be
performed by a
minstrel who
played the harp.
2. Anglo-Saxon
• Heroic poems
• The most
  famous is
  Beowulf - an
  Old English
  heroic epic
  poem of

a hero of the Geats, battles three
antagonists: Grendel, who is
attacking the Danish mead hall
called Heorot and its inhabitants; Grendel's
mother; and, later in life after returning to
Geatland (modern southern Sweden) and
becoming a king, an unnamed dragon. He is
mortally wounded in the final battle, and after
his death he is buried in a barrow in Geatland
by his retainers.
 The first
page of the
Grendel´s mother
Beowulf wants to kill Grendel´s
   mother (a water witch)
      Get ready………..

You will read and listen to an
     extract of Beowulf
• LO, praise of the prowess of     •   To him an heir was afterward
  people-kings                         born,
  of spear-armed Danes, in             a son in his halls, whom heaven
  days long sped,                      sent
                                       to favor the folk, feeling their
  we have heard, and what              woe
  honor the athelings won!             that erst they had lacked an
  Oft Scyld the Scefing from           earl for leader
  squadroned foes,                     so long a while; the Lord
  from many a tribe, the mead-         endowed him,
  bench tore,                          the Wielder of Wonder, with
  awing the earls. Since erst          world’s renown.
  he lay                               Famed was this Beowulf: far
  friendless, a foundling, fate        flew the boast of him,
                                       son of Scyld, in the Scandian
  repaid him:                          lands.
  for he waxed under welkin, in        So becomes it a youth to quit
  wealth he throve,                    him well
  till before him the folk, both       with his father’s friends, by fee
  far and near,                        and gift,
  who house by the whale-path,         that to aid him, aged, in after
  heard his mandate,                   days,
  gave him gifts: a good king          come warriors willing, should war
  he!                                  draw nigh,
                                       liegemen loyal: by lauded deeds
                                       shall an earl have honor in every
      Cædmon's Hymn

• is from the 7th century and is one of
  the oldest surviving written texts in
• a poem praising God as the creator of
  heaven and earth.
• only a single nine line poem remains
The earliest surviving copy of
      Cædmon's Hymn
       Poetic Figures

• Anglosaxon verse wasn´t rhymed
• poetic figures commonly found in Old
  English poetry are the kennings
• Sun= candle of heaven
• sea = the swan's road
• darkness= helmet of the night
     3. Anglosaxon prose

Most remembered
is Venerable Bede
and his work: The
History of the
English People
This presentation was created
   by Mgr. Jana Kubičinová

    To be continued…

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