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Anglo-Saxon Poetry Anglo-Saxon Contributions By the 500’s, Angles, Saxons, and other Germanic people had mostly driven out the Britons. Expert seafarers Pagan beliefs Wyrd Grim, fatalistic Coming of Christianity Missionaries from Rome converted Britain to Christianity Even so, their belief system retained some pagan elements Power of fate vs. heaven Love of boasting vs. humility Anglo-Saxon literature History Religious writing Oral poetry (storytelling) by scops The Exeter Book Anthology of stories and poems from the Anglo-Saxon period (5th-11th centuries) Probably compiled by monks in 800’s Lyric poems Lyrics express the thoughts and feelings of a single speaker Anglo-Saxon lyrics written to be easy to memorize and recite Lyric devices Regular rhythm, usually 4 strong beats per line Caesuras (breaks in the middle of lines— why?) Kennings Assonance Alliteration Elegy The poems we’re reading are elegies Elegy= lyric poem mourning the loss of someone or something In these poems, the speaker has lost a home. Home “The Wanderer,” p. 23 If the wanderer’s life is typical of Anglo- Saxon times, what do we learn about that life? What proverbs or philosophies of life does the poet share? “The Wife’s Lament,” p. 27 What was life like for a wife left alone for long periods of time by a husband at sea?
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