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Old English Literature with exercises


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Old English Literature with exercises

  1. 1. English Literature Chapter One: Old English Literature
  2. 2. English Literature and Language 600 AD-1100 Ad Old English 1100 AD-1500 AD Middle English 1500 AD-1950 Modern English
  3. 3. 600 -1100 A.D. Old English language is also known as Anglo-Saxon. The People: Anglo Saxons were Teutonic tribes that came to the Roman Province of Britannia from Germany and France which was later called England. With them came several closely related Germanic languages that would evolve into Old English. They loved war and fought fierce battles but enjoyed singing and merry-making.
  4. 4. Religion: The Anglo-Saxons worshipped pagan/heathen Gods like earth, heaven and powers of nature. The doings of these powers were made into mythical stories and when a great hero arose, his history also grew into a saga. This was the origin of the old stories.
  5. 5. Literature: Anglo Saxons were adventurous people and hence their war songs are about heathen gods and wars and nothing about Christianity e.g. : The Battle of Maldon, which tells us about the battle between the Danish Pirates and Earl of Maldon.
  6. 6. Anglo Saxon Poetry Characteristics and types: Types: Anglo Saxon poetry consisted of personal and Elegiac poems (sad poems written about death), war songs, riddles, and epic poems. Characteristics: These poems reflect their belief in the importance of war, bravery, courage, heroism, immortality, revenge and glorious death. The description of sad events or cruel situations are more common than happiness. They strongly believed that fate determines all.
  7. 7. Famous Lines: The following lines from The battle of Maldon tells us about Anglo Saxon beliefs: “The mind must be firmer, the heart must be braver, the courage must be greater, as our strength grows less. Here lies our lord, all cut to pieces, the good man on the ground. If anyone thinks now to turn away from this war-play, may he be unhappy ever after.”
  8. 8. What is an Elegy: Elegy is a poem written in response to the death of a person. The speaker expresses grief and sorrow, then praise and admiration of the dead, and finally consolation and solace. Example: W. H. Auden’s classic “In Memory of W. B. Yeats"
  9. 9. What is an Epic? An epic poem is very famous in old English literature. It is a long, serious, poem that tells a story about an important event like war, often about adventures of a brave man fighting an enemy in the battle field. Some of the most famous examples of epic poetry are the Ancient Greek Iliad and the Odyssey, Dante's Divine Comedy, John Milton's Paradise Lost.
  10. 10. What is a lyric? A lyric is a poem originally meant to be sung. It expresses a poet’s thoughts and feelings. Old English lyrics examples are Deor’s Complaint, The Wanderer and The wife’s complaint.
  11. 11. Linguistic Characteristics:  A very elevated linguistic style.  They used alliteration. An alliteration is two or more words beginning with the same sound. Example: "Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pickled Peppers".  They used rhyme. A rhyme is when two or more lines end with same sound. Example: My cat likes to chase a mouse, Especially one that’s in the house  They used metaphors to describe things.
  12. 12. Famous Works: 1. Beowulf: (Read Page 7-8)
  13. 13. The story of Beowulf: Why Beowulf is regarded as a hero? Anglo Saxons loved war and bravery. In the poem, Beowulf, a hero of the Geats in Scandinavia, comes to the aid of King Hroðgar, the king of the Danes, whose mead hall (in Heorot) has been under attack by a monster known as Grendel. After Beowulf kills him, Grendel's mother attacks the hall and is then also defeated. Victorious, Beowulf goes home to Geatland in Sweden and later becomes king of the Geats. After a period of fifty years, Beowulf defeats a dragon, but is fatally wounded in the battle. After his death, his attendants bury him in a tumulus, a burial mound, in Geatland. Therfore, he is regarded as hero.
  14. 14. 2. Genesis A and Genesis B (Page 10) Genesis B is concerned with the beginning of the world and the fall of the angels. It is a good piece of writing. The poet has enjoyed describing hell. Genesis A is dull and little more than old history taken from bible and put into poor old English verse.
  15. 15. 3. Cynewulf’s poems Cynewulf wrote four poems: Juliana, The fates of the Apostles, Christ and Elene. His poems are religious and probably written in the later eight century. A few lines from his poems predicted his death: “Now are my days in their appointed time gone away. My life-joys have disappeared, as water runs away.”
  16. 16. Who was Caedmon? Caedmon was a poor man who looked after animals at Whitby, a monastery founded in 657 by St. Hilda and was illiterate. One night an angel came in his dream and told him to sing praises of God. Caedmon refused, claiming that he could not sing. But the visitor would not go. He requested that Caedmon sing of the God’s creation. To Caedmon's surprise, he sang beautifully in praise of God. It was from this divine inspiration that Caedmon began to write religious poetry.
  17. 17. Who was King Alfred-the Great ? King Alfred was the king was King of Wessex from 871 to 899. Alfred was the first King of the West Saxons to style himself "King of the Anglo-Saxons". Alfred studied, and even translated from Latin into Old English, certain works that were regarded at the time as models of ideal Christian kingship and ‘most necessary for all men to know’. He improved education of his people and established first English public schools.
  18. 18. Old English Prose: Aelfric was a prose writer of Old English era. His works such as Homilies and Lives of Saints were religious. He translated Bible into old English. He uses alliteration to join sentences and his prose is he best n Old English.
  19. 19. Questions: 1. Two notable characteristics of Anglo- Saxon poetry are? A) Use of rhyme only B) Use of alliteration and rhymes C) Use of metaphor only D) Use of rhyme and music
  20. 20. 2. The Anglo Saxons believed in: A) A hero's death B) The fate that determines all C) Loyalty to one's lord D) the supreme god
  21. 21. 3. The first English "public schools" were founded by? A) Caedmon B) Beowulf C) Alfred the Great D) Aelfric
  22. 22. 4. The Anglo-Saxon period is generally considered to date from? A) 55 B.C. to 43 A.D. B) 1 A.D. to 449 A.D. C) 600 to 1100 D) 1066 to 178
  23. 23. 5. Who saw an angel in his dream? A) King Alfred B) Caedmon C) Aelfric D) Anglo Saxons
  24. 24. 6. Cynewulf did not write: 1. Juliana 2. Christ 3. Elene 4. Beowulf
  25. 25. 7.Which of the following is a lyric? 1. Lives of Saints 2. The Battle of Maldon 3. The Wife’s Complaint 4. The Apostles
  26. 26. 8. "Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pickled Peppers“ is an example of: 1. Rhyme 2. Alliteration 3. Metaphor 4. Prose
  27. 27. Short Answer Questions: 1. What is an elegy? Give examples. 2. Define a lyric? Give examples. 3. Explain what is an epic. Give examples. 4. What are the characteristics and types of Anglo Saxon poetry? 5. What were the beliefs of Anglo Saxons? 6. What are the linguistic characteristics of Old English poetry? 7. Who was King Alfred the great? 8. Why is Beowulf regarded as hero?