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Anglo Saxon Literature (449—1066). II. Anglo Saxon Literature. Introduction to British Literature 1. What literature is 2. Early Literature and the Epic. --characteristics of the epic. 3. The Personality of England. a. Timeline of British Literature and Thought

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ii anglo saxon literature
II. Anglo Saxon Literature
  • Introduction to British Literature

1. What literature is

2. Early Literature and the Epic

--characteristics of the epic

3 the personality of england
3. The Personality of England

a. Timeline of British Literature and Thought

449 1066 1492 1660 1790 1830 1914 1945

l____l_____l_____l___l___l___l___l___

Anglo- Medieval Rennais. Reason Rom. Victor. Mod. Anxiety

Saxon

b britain s island personality
b. Britain’s Island Personality
  • Strongly independent
  • Individual freedom—

Anglo-Saxon heritage

worth of the individual)

  • Strongly traditional – _____ system (medieval)

mistrust of the _________ class

______ family into the 21st century

i anglo saxon literature 449 1066
I. Anglo Saxon Literature (449—1066)
  • Introduction—Historical and Philosophical Background

1. Germanic invasions (Britons [Celts] conquered by Romans—Romans leave—Germanic barbarians invade

a. Angles

b. Saxons

c. Jutes

anglo saxon literature
Anglo Saxon Literature
  • Primitive Heroic Ideal

a. Ideal of Kingly

behavior

b. The Warrior ideals

c. Goal—win enduring

fame

a intro to anglo saxon literature
A. Intro to Anglo Saxon Literature
  • Christianity and Written Culture Arrive

a. 597—Augustine (no, not that one) arrives in England and brings writing and a new morality

--earlier Celts and Romans had been Christians

  • The Venerable Bede
  • Alfred, King of the West Saxons (871—899)
a intro to anglo saxon literature1
A. Intro to Anglo Saxon Literature
  • Old English Poetry

a. written literature in England begins in 7th century

b. Before that—the scop

a intro to anglo saxon literature2
A. Intro to Anglo Saxon Literature

c. Mead, mead halls, and mead hall lifestyle

a intro to anglo saxon literature3
A. Intro to Anglo Saxon Literature

d. The Spirit of Old English Poetry

1. dark world; little _________; warrior life

2. style (no “romantic” poetry)

3. but—OE poetry had

--extraordinary___________

--ironic __________________

--subtle and intense depiction of the nature

or reality—no sentimentality—wyrd (____)

a intro to anglo saxon literature4
A. Intro to Anglo Saxon Literature
  • Types of Anglo Saxon Literature

a. heroic epic—long narrative whose main character is THE EPIC HERO

--great bravery

--super human ability

--generosity

a intro to anglo saxon literature5
A. Intro to Anglo Saxon Literature

b. Elegiac lyrics—express thoughts and

_________________

c. Riddles—guessing games

--shows Anglo Saxon love of

a intro to anglo saxon literature6
A. Intro to Anglo Saxon Literature
  • Style of Literature—A--S Literary Techniques

alliteration

kenning

caesura

rhythm

b beowulf
B. Beowulf
  • Introduction

a. Great epic poem of the Anglo Saxon age

b. English writing about their Germanic forebears

c. originally oral (scops) but written down later (early 700s) by a Christian (the “Beowulf poet”)

b beowulf introduction
B. Beowulf (introduction)
  • Beowulf is a profound mixture of two sets of values

1. Anglo Saxon _________

Ideal

2. Christian _______ and God

2 meanings in beowulf
2. Meanings in Beowulf
  • Surface level

b. Not just about feuds but about a deeper

sense of evil—what does Beowulf say about evil?

--the symbolism of the monster

2 meanings in beowulf con t
2. Meanings in Beowulf (con’t.)

C. What does Beowulf say about the Heroic Ideal?

--bravery is the instrument by which the hero realizes himself

--Hrothgar compared to Beowulf—shows what?

--Beowulf meets his doom but not before he shows his ______________

2 meanings in beowulf1
2. Meanings in Beowulf
  • Philosophical level

--what does Beowulf say about:

fate (wyrd)?

--sense of doom

knowledge of death

bravery and courage

2 meanings in beowulf2
2. Meanings in Beowulf
  • Psychological / archetypal level

1. The hero’s journey (the monomyth)

2. What does Beowulf say about being human?

setting and characters
Setting and Characters
  • Herot—
  • Hrothgar—
  • Beowulf—
  • Grendel
3 setting and characters
3. Setting and Characters
  • Grendel’s mother—
  • Swamp--
  • Dragon—
  • Wiglaf--
4 symbolism in beowulf
4. Symbolism in Beowulf
  • Psychological

(swamp, Grendel, mother,

dragon)

  • Social

(Hrothgar, Beowulf,

Herot)

  • Universal (G., G.’s mother,

the dragon, the treasure,

the tower

5 conclusion
5. Conclusion

The Anglo Saxon people, like all people, were much like us, dealing with—

--a dangerous and seemingly uncaring world

--what being human means

--what living with bravery and honor means

--battling the monsters that endanger us

They were our grand—parents who lived in difficult times with pride and courage.

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