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Anglo-Saxon Literary Terms

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Anglo-Saxon Literary Terms
Epic
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A long narrative poem
On a serious subject
Written in a grand or elevated style
Centered on a larger-than-life hero
Epic Conventions
• A concern with the fate of a nation or people
• A correspondingly large scale, often ranging around
the world
• The intervention of supernatural figures
• Extended similes, generally called epic similes:
A simile is an explicit comparison of two things,
usually with the word "as" or "like."
• Long catalogues, whether of ships, characters, or
places
• Extensive battle scenes;
• Begins “in medias res”
Caesura
• a pause somewhere in the middle of a
verse. Some lines have strong (easily
recognizable) caesurae, which usually
coincide with punctuation in the line, while
others have weak ones.
Kenning
• a compound poetic phrase substituted
for the usual name of a person or thing.
For example the sea in Old English
could be called seġl-rād 'sail-road',
swan-rād 'swan-road'. In line 10 of the
epic Beowulf the sea is called the
hronrāde or 'whale-road'
Epic Boast- Flyting
• A proclamation of things a character
has done or will do in the epic
Archetype
• The word archetype is commonly used
to describe an original pattern or model
from which all other things of the same
kind are made.
Comitatus
• The word archetype is commonly used
to describe an original pattern or model
from which all other things of the same
kind are made.
Oral Tradition
• A process by which songs, ballads,
folklore, and other material are
transmitted by word of mouth. The
tradition of oral transmission predates
the written record systems of literate
society.
Fate
• The word archetype is commonly used
to describe an original pattern or model
from which all other things of the same
kind are made.
Thane
• The word archetype is commonly used
to describe an original pattern or model
from which all other things of the same
kind are made.
Mead
• A fermented beverage made of water
and honey, malt, and yeast
Pagan
• Paganism is a catch-all term which has
come to bundle together (by extension
from its original classical meaning of a
non-Christian religion) a very broad set
of not necessarily compatible religious
beliefs and practices that are usually,
but not necessarily, characterized by
polytheism
Alliteration
• Alliteration occurs when the initial
sounds of a word, beginning either with
a consonant or a vowel, are repeated in
close succession.
The function of alliteration, like rhyme,
might be to accentuate the beauty of
language in a given context, or to unite
words or concepts through a kind of
repetition.
Epithet
• A word or phrase, often but not always
disparaging or abusive, that expresses a
character trait of someone or something.
Motif
• A theme, character type, image,
metaphor, or other verbal element that
recurs throughout a single work of
literature or occurs in a number of
different works over a period of time.
Scop
An Anglo-Saxon poet The scop fulfilled many roles in
an Anglo Saxon tribe. Among those functions were:
• court singer
• tribal historian
• genealogist
• teacher
• composer
• critic
• warrior
• traveler and reporter
Auteur
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