Introduction to beowulf


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Introduction to Beowulf and epic literature

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Introduction to beowulf

  1. 1. Introduction to Beowulf British Literature Ms. Koroknay
  2. 2. Why study Beowulf ? <ul><li>It is considered the oldest piece of literature in the English language </li></ul><ul><li>Involves common/universal themes we still see in literature today </li></ul><ul><li>Example of epic poetry </li></ul><ul><li>Written in Old English (basis for the English we speak today) </li></ul>
  3. 3. 300s B.C. Celts in Britain 55 B.C–A.D.409 Roman Occupation A.D. 449 Anglo-Saxon Invasion A.D.878 King Alfred against Danes A.D. 1066 Norman Invasion A.D. 400–699 Spread of Christianity Beowulf probably first created during 8th century- between 700-750, but depicts earlier time period early 6th century
  4. 4. Anglo-Saxon Society <ul><li>• Warrior-based society, led by strong warrior chief </li></ul><ul><li>• “ Warfare was the order of the day” (between </li></ul><ul><li>clans, tribes, and outside invaders) </li></ul><ul><li>• Anglo-Saxon life was dominated by the need to </li></ul><ul><li>protect the clan and home from enemies. </li></ul><ul><li>• Fame and success were achieved through loyalty </li></ul><ul><li>to a leader, and success was measured by gifts </li></ul><ul><li>received from leaders. </li></ul>
  5. 5. What we don’t know… <ul><li>Who wrote Beowulf- Poet unknown…scholars think it was originally told by someone of pagan religion but recorded by a monk due to Christian elements present in the story. </li></ul><ul><li>Exactly when it was written </li></ul><ul><li>How much is based on truth (historical fact) </li></ul>
  6. 6. What we do know <ul><li>Written in Old English (basis for the English we speak today) </li></ul><ul><li>Some characters actually existed </li></ul><ul><li>Written down sometime during 11 th Century (1000s) </li></ul><ul><li>Probably first created during 8 th century- Composed between 700-750, but depicts earlier time period…early 6th century. </li></ul>
  7. 7. How Beowulf was shared <ul><li>A scop is a storyteller </li></ul><ul><li>• They memorized poems and stories and recited them in front of audiences. </li></ul><ul><li>• The poems and stories changed as they were passed from generation to generation </li></ul><ul><li>• The epic of Beowulf was finally written down in the eleventh century. </li></ul><ul><li>• Beowulf came from earlier folktales describing monsters and dragons and brave warriors that were loyal to their heroic chiefs. </li></ul>
  8. 8. A little background… <ul><li>Beowulf is a Geat – a country that is now southern Sweden. </li></ul><ul><li>• The beginning of the story takes place in Denmark in the kingdom of Hrothgar. </li></ul><ul><li>• Grendel is a monster that has been terrorizing the Danish people (Hrothgar’s people). </li></ul><ul><li>• Beowulf comes to kill Grendel to help Hrothgar (because backin the day Hrothgard helped Beowulf’s father, Edgetho) </li></ul>
  9. 9. Map of Europe today
  10. 10. Beowulf ’s Europe
  11. 11. Old English vs Modern English <ul><li>Old English </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;... alegdon tha tomiddes maerne theoden </li></ul><ul><li>laeleth hiofende hlaford leofne </li></ul><ul><li>ongunnon tha on beorge bael-fyra maest </li></ul><ul><li>wigend weccan wudu-rec astah </li></ul><ul><li>sweart ofer swiothole swogende leg </li></ul><ul><li>wope bewunden&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>Modern English translation </li></ul><ul><li>The sorrowing soldiers then laid the glorious prince, their dear lord, in the middle. Then on the hill the war-men began to light the greatest of funeral fires. The wood-smoke rose black above the flames, the noisy fire, mixed with sorrowful cries&quot; </li></ul>
  12. 12. Works Consulted <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Language of Literature Gr 11 </li></ul>