slaughter dew worm dance

Report
Anglo-Saxon Literature:
An Introduction
Literature
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Characteristics
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Few “pieces” of literature; however, it covers a
larger period of time than any other literary period
Originated to celebrate heroism
Oral literature (due to widespread illiteracy);
therefore, it has to be told from person to person
Doesn’t rhyme, but has a strong rhythm suitable for
chanting.
Recited by the scops/bards (wandering poets) who
sang of gods and heroes
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Status of scops was equal to that of warriors because they
preserved fame
Literature
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Content
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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
Communal hall represents shelter and
entertainment
Full of battles; boastings, pride in glory and bloodthirstiness
Measures time by nights, moons and winters
Spiritedness is achieved by respect for bravery and
loyalty
Common Themes of Poetry
Terror of northern winters
 Awareness of transitory nature of life
 References to fear of the sea because of
its immensity, cruelty and mystery
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Literary Devices: Alliteration
Repetition of initial consonant sound
 Used to bind the two halves of a line
 One or more accented syllable in the first
half of a line is always alliterated with one
or more accented syllable in the second
half.
 Gives poetry a chant-like effect
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Ex) “tears torn out of Grendel’s taut throat”
Literary Devices: Homily
Literally "sermon", or any serious talk,
speech, or lecture providing moral or
spiritual advice.
 A passage in a work that gives stern
solemn advice on how to live and is mostly
concerned with morals and conduct.
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Literary Devices: Caesura
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“Every nice ear, must, I believe, have
observed that in any smooth English
verse of ten syllables, there is naturally a
pause either at the fourth, fifth, or sixth
syllable.” – Alexander Pope
Literary Devices: Caesura
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A natural pause or break dividing a FOOT
between two words, usually near the
middle of a line with two major stressed
syllables in each part
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A FOOT is a unit of rhythm in verse
Found in typical Anglo-Saxon verse
 Literally: “a cutting”
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Old English, cennan – to declare
 Old Norse, kenna – to know or name
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Literary Devices: Caesura
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Examples
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A prince of Geats had killed Grendel
Literary Devices: Caesura
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How do I identify the stressed vs. the
unstressed syllables?
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stress/accent – a greater amount of force
(breath or emphasis) given to one syllable in
speaking than is given to another.
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Slightly louder, higher in pitch, or longer in
duration than other syllables
Which syllable is stressed?
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Eagle
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Open
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Cigar
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Precise
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Mystique
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Statue
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Impact
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Until
Words typically without a stress
A
 An
 The
 At
 By
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For
 From
 Of
 To
 With
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Identify the Stressed Syllables
By John Donne
Batter my heart, three-personed God, for You
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise and stand, o’erthrow me, and bend
You force to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
Identify the Caesura
By William Blake
And priests in black gowns were walking their rounds
And binding with briars my joys and desires.
Literary Devices: Appositive
An appositive is a noun or pronoun —
often with modifiers — set beside
another noun or pronoun to explain or
identify it.
 An appositive phrase usually follows the
word it explains or identifies, but it may
also precede it.
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Literary Devices: Epithet
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A word which makes the reader see the object described in a clearer
or sharper light. It is both exact and imaginative.
A word of phrase preceding or following a name which serves to
describe the character.
A short, poetic nickname--often in the form of an adjective or
adjectival phrase--attached to the normal name.
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The Homeric epithet in classical literature often includes compounds of two words
such as, "fleet-footed Achilles," "Cow-eyed Hera," "Grey-eyed Athena," or "the
wine-dark sea." In other cases, it appears as a phrase, such as "Odysseus the
man-of-many-wiles.”
The historical epithet is a descriptive phrase attached to a ruler's name. For
instance, King Alfred the Great, Duke Lorenzo the Magnificent, Robert the Devil,
Richard the Lionheart, and so on.
The generally descriptive epithet would appear in Old Norse and Germanic
cultures to help distinguish individuals, thus giving us (in Njal's Saga) colorful
names such as Hallbjorn Half-Troll, Ulf the Squinter, Hjorleif the Womanizer, and
Ketil Flat-Nose.
Literary Devices: Kenning
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Kenning
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A figurative, metaphorical expression/phrase or
compound word that takes the place of a common
noun
A long-winded, forceful metaphor made up of
strung-together adjectives and nouns that stand for
a thing without naming it (often using alliteration)
Vivid and picturesque
Connects words to complex concepts and rich
emotion
Examples . . .
Whale-road
sea
Candle of the sky
sun
More Examples of Kennings
twilight-spoiler
dragon
battle-sweat
blood
slaughter-dew
blood
brow-stars
eyes
ring-giver
prince
light of battle
sword
Viking’s moon
sun-table
shield
sky
Examples of Kennings from Beowulf
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Ship:
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Queen
the bent-necked
 The peace-bringer
wood
among nations
 the ringed prow
 Sword
 the foamy-necked
 leavings of the file
 the sea-wood
 Battle
 the sea-farer
 storm of swords
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Dragon
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twilight spoiler
A look at complex kennings
Construct complicated
kenning strings by means
of consecutive
substitution.
 For example,
slaughter dew worm dance =
battle
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Slaughter dew worm dance
blood
worm dance
sword
dance
battle
Compound Kennings
=
ship
horse of the sea
=
sea
whale-road
then a ship became a “horse of the whale-road”
=
Try this Complex Kenning
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Using the following 3
kennings, create a complex
kenning meaning “warrior” by
using consecutive substitution
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“provider to ravens” is a
warrior
“swans of blood” are ravens
“mead of battle" is blood
Did you get it?
provider to the swans of the mead of battle
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“provider to ravens” is a warrior
“swans of blood” are ravens
“mead of battle" is blood
provider to RAVENS
swans of BLOOD
mead of battle =
provider to the swans of the mead of battle
is a WARRIOR
Modern Kennings
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bone-house
fire-water
information super-highway
gasoline gulper
darkness destroyer
sleep stopper
word-eater
sun smudge
spinning water-spitter

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