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Epic poetry

an introduction to epic poetry and Beowulf
by

Jackie Johnson

on 28 September 2012

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Transcript of Epic poetry

because some poems are legendary epic poetry http://www.wwnorton.com/college/english/nael/noa/audio.htm open to page 3 in
your Beowulf books no rhyme scheme
uses alliteration
caesura (pause) in each line
4 principal beats per line
symbolism in seasons
kennings
metaphor
hyphenated (usually)
e.g., whale-path=?
Anglo-Saxon Poetry long story told as poem (fictional)
rooted in oral tradition
cyclical pattern of events
episodes
high style
the most epic story A pause, metrical or rhetorical, occurring somewhere in a line of poetry. The pause may or may not be typographically indicated (usually with a comma). An example from George Herbert's "Redemption":

At length I heard a ragged noise and mirth
Of theeves and murderers: there I him espied,
Who straight, Your suit is granted, said, and died. Caesura High style is characterized by fancy, old-fashioned or specialized vocabulary, high-flying phrases and grand-sounding sentences. An example might be the King James Bible, e.g. “And the LORD called unto Moses, and spake unto him out of the tabernacle of the congregation, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, If any man of you bring an offering unto the LORD, ye shall bring your offering of the cattle, even of the herd, and of the flock.” (Leviticus 1: 1-2)

high style 1. Departure: the hero leaves the familiar world
behind
2. Initiation: the hero learns to navigate the
unfamiliar world of adventure
3. Return: the hero returns to the familiar world the epic journey
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