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Introduction to beowulf


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Introduction to Beowulf and epic literature

Introduction to Beowulf and epic literature

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  • 1. Introduction to Beowulf British Literature Ms. Koroknay
  • 2. Why study Beowulf ?
    • It is considered the oldest piece of literature in the English language
    • Involves common/universal themes we still see in literature today
    • Example of epic poetry
    • Written in Old English (basis for the English we speak today)
  • 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. Anglo-Saxon Society
    • • Warrior-based society, led by strong warrior chief
    • • “ Warfare was the order of the day” (between
    • clans, tribes, and outside invaders)
    • • Anglo-Saxon life was dominated by the need to
    • protect the clan and home from enemies.
    • • Fame and success were achieved through loyalty
    • to a leader, and success was measured by gifts
    • received from leaders.
  • 5. What we don’t know…
    • 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.
    • Exactly when it was written
    • How much is based on truth (historical fact)
  • 6. What we do know
    • Written in Old English (basis for the English we speak today)
    • Some characters actually existed
    • Written down sometime during 11 th Century (1000s)
    • Probably first created during 8 th century- Composed between 700-750, but depicts earlier time period…early 6th century.
  • 7. How Beowulf was shared
    • A scop is a storyteller
    • • They memorized poems and stories and recited them in front of audiences.
    • • The poems and stories changed as they were passed from generation to generation
    • • The epic of Beowulf was finally written down in the eleventh century.
    • • Beowulf came from earlier folktales describing monsters and dragons and brave warriors that were loyal to their heroic chiefs.
  • 8. A little background…
    • Beowulf is a Geat – a country that is now southern Sweden.
    • • The beginning of the story takes place in Denmark in the kingdom of Hrothgar.
    • • Grendel is a monster that has been terrorizing the Danish people (Hrothgar’s people).
    • • Beowulf comes to kill Grendel to help Hrothgar (because backin the day Hrothgard helped Beowulf’s father, Edgetho)
  • 9. Map of Europe today
  • 10. Beowulf ’s Europe
  • 11. Old English vs Modern English
    • Old English
    • "... alegdon tha tomiddes maerne theoden
    • laeleth hiofende hlaford leofne
    • ongunnon tha on beorge bael-fyra maest
    • wigend weccan wudu-rec astah
    • sweart ofer swiothole swogende leg
    • wope bewunden"
    • Modern English translation
    • 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"
  • 12. Works Consulted
    • Language of Literature Gr 11