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Beowulf: Kennings

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Nick Foxx

on 26 September 2013

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Transcript of Beowulf: Kennings

What is a Kenning?
A conventional poetic phrase used for
or in addition to the usual name of a person or thing,
especially in Icelandic and Anglo-Saxon verse.
Kennings & Beowulf
Made up approximately one third of the original Beowulf
Kennings start gradual.
Increase with depth of story. (becoming more descriptive)
Four-beat alliterative lines (rhythmic flow) which allow the use of a variety of kennings.
Used to keep the beat and for understanding.
Beowulf meets all "Characteristics of an Epic/Epic Hero"
Kennings are used:
especially in Anglo-Saxon writings
for poetic rhythm
strengthen reader's understanding
Works Cited
"Beowulf." Beowulf. British Library, 2012. Web. 15 Sept. 2013. <http://www.bl.uk/learning/langlit/changlang/writtenword/beowulfhome/beowulf.html>.
"Kennings and Other Elements." Kennings in Beowulf. Csis Pace Edu., Oct. 1998. Web. 15 Sept. 2013. <http://csis.pace.edu/grendel/projf981d/terms.html>.
Beowulf: An Epic Poem/Hero?

Long Narrative Poem
Representation of Ideals and Values
Timeless Values & Universal Themes
Verbally Delivered (not written down)
Historical Facts (entertain & educate)
Repetition of Words (kennings)
Vast Setting (more than one nation)
Plot Involves Supernatural Beings or Events
Characteristics of an Epic Poem
Characteristics of an Epic Hero
Noble Birth and/or High Position
Larger-Than-Life Figure
Embodies Ideals of Nation or Race
Difficult Journeys
Superhuman Courage & Great Strength
Determines Fate of Nation or group of people
Adds depth and emphasis to important
situations and/or characters.

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