Presentation on theme: "Beowulf: The Beginnings of English Literature. Origins Unknown author; possibly one Christian author in Anglo- Saxon England Unknown date of composition."— Presentation transcript:
Beowulf: The Beginnings of English Literature
Origins Unknown author; possibly one Christian author in Anglo- Saxon England Unknown date of composition (roughly 8 th -11 th Century CE)
Literary Devices Allusion: Biblical, Germanic oral tradition, Norse myth and legend, historical Anglo- Saxon kings (eg. King Offa of Mercia) Alliteration (eg. Scyld’s strong son) Epic poetry: a long narrative poem written in elevated style which celebrates the deeds of a legendary hero or god. Kenning: two-word metaphorical name for something (eg. whale-road=sea) Scop: Anglo-Saxon composers and storytellers (like minstrels or bards)
Warrior Code Comitatus: Germanic code of loyalty Thane: warrior – swears loyalty to the king for whom they fought and whom they protected Kings: generous, protected thanes Reputation: thanes were expected to be loyal, brave, courageous; kings were expected to be generous and hospitable Wergild: “man-payment”; a fee paid to the family of a slain man to atone for his murder and to prevent the family from seeking revenge.
Geats and Danes Beowulf was a war leader of the Geats, a group of people in what is now southern Sweden Hrothgar was king of the Danes
Old English Beowulf was written in Old English, an early form of English Old English was spoken in the Middle Ages from about 6 th century to 11 th century CE In 1066, William the Conqueror successfully invaded England, bringing his Norman French language with him; the nobility began to speak French, and gradually Old English evolved into Middle English ( ): “Whan that Aprill, with his shoures soote/The droghte of March hath perced to the roote”shoures sootedroghte Modern English has been spoken since the Renaissance – Shakespeare is NOT Old English; he is Early Modern English
What do I need to know? As we read, make a list of characters and their traits: try two-column notes Make note of any literary devices used Note any words with which you are unfamiliar; if necessary, define them Think about how this epic is like The Odyssey or other epics you’ve read Think about other works of literature that relate to Beowulf