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Anglo-Saxon Poetry

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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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