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Transcript of Beowulf
Ancient to Modern
Where did all languages originate?
Why do we have multiple languages?
How does language transform over time?
Hero of imposing stature
Actions and deeds that are heroic and take courage
6 Characteristics of an Epic
: 8th-10th centuries
: Assigned by modern editors not original author
: Old English
: trained singers who composed heroic poems for the entertainment of kings and warriors at celebrations in
The Scops were the historians spreading the fame of their kings and warriors to the following generations
: Anglo-Saxons became literate after conversion to Christianity in 597 AD
Location: British Museum
Recorded by hand: 2 Christian Monks
Date: 1000 AD
Background on Poem
One of the earliest European epics physically written down
of epic: Long and formal narrative poem written in an elevated style that recounts the adventures of a hero of almost mythic proportions who often embodies the traits of a nation or people
Read pgs. ix-xii of Introduction
Fill out Beowulf Introduction Handout (located in GC)
Lecture Notes (GC)
Old English to Modern English
Old English- Combination of German and Dutch
Norman Conquest of 1066
French-speaking ruling class
New forms of government and culture
Great Vowel Shift
"change of the articulation of vowels with respect to the position of the tongue and the lips" (Norton).
in Old English
Prologue: Lines 1-3
Small Group Activity
Listen to Old English
Follow link in Lecture Notes
Find paragraph # that matches group #
Figure out pronunciation as a group
- Told from memory and passed on from person to person and generation to generation
- Art that is made by and for ordinary people and is part of their everyday lives. Vernacular Art uses simple, everyday language, even when it's an extraordinary story
"Literature is the handmaiden of history."
Primary Literary Devices
Rhetoric- Art of persuasion through language
Formal Boasting- Ritualized, formal brag about ancestry, heroic qualities, past accomplishments, current intentions and promised future success
Litotes- Negative Term to make a positive statement
Flyting- The highly competitive, ritualized exchange of insults in verse
Purposes: Entertainment, Demonstration of Superiority