Old English/Anglo-Saxon period of British Literature - 449-1066

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Content: 

  • strong belief in fate
  • juxtaposition of church and pagan worlds
  • admiration of heroic warriors who prevail in battle
  • express religious faith and give moral instruction through literature    

Style/Genres:

  • oral tradition of  literature
  • poetry dominant genre
  • unique verse form
    • caesura
    • alliteration
    • repetition
    • 4 beat rhythm

Effect:

  • Christianity helps literacy to spread
  • introduces Roman alphabet to Britain
  • oral tradition helps unite diverse peoples and their myths

Historical Context:

  • life centered around ancestral tribes or clans that ruled themselves
  • at first the people were warriors from invading outlying areas: Angles, Saxons, Jutes, and  Danes
  • later they were agricultural

Key Literature/Authors:


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