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March 28, 2016 | Author: | Posted in african-american studies, history

The answer to whether Beowulf is sophisticated or crude lies in establishing its historical origins . Therefore , it is important to examine the author , perhaps more so than the text . However , an examination of both reveals that author and text are anything but crude

Beowulf , the oldest surviving English epic , dates between the eighth and tenth centuries . Despite the 200-year span when the work could have been written , its subject matter relates to events that took place centuries before . In fact , the epic poem artistically captures the events of England ‘s Germanic origins [banner_entry_middle]

. According to Norton Anthology editors , the poet , not only documented some historical facts but also succeeded in reviving the heroic language style , and pagan world of ancient Germanic oral poetry , a world that was already remote to his contemporaries (Norton Anthology Vol .1 , 29 . The author , conjectured to be a Christian , manages to describe a pagan world , outside his everyday experience , through Christian allusions . Moreover , he does so by transcending language barriers . His text was composed in a dialect known as Marcia , while his references must have taken any number of while his references must have taken any number of lingual identities /backgrounds . In terms of its relative meaning Norton ‘s Anthology editors allege the text to be .a remarkable and difficult work even in its own day (Norton Anthology Vol . 1 , 29 , more so now given the limited information on Germanic oral epics

Secondly , as evidence of its sophistication , Beowulf is prolific with recognizable epic conventions , examples of Christian-pagan sympathy , and even creative linguistic ability . It is episodic and with only a brief history of the problems confronting the Danes , arguably begins in medias res . In fact , .the poem turns on Beowulf ‘s three great fights against preternatural evil , which inhabits human society (Norton Anthology Vol . I , 30 . The author successfully develops a larger than life enemy for his hero to confront . He arguably aligns the hero Beowulf with a larger trajectory of magnanimous Christians , among them , the first and most notable , Jesus Christ

Still , epic conventions aside , the author employs rather sophisticated writing techniques . There is evidence he was a wordsmith ‘ as the poem is prolific with .hapax legomena – that is , words recorded only once in a language (Norton Anthology Vol . I , 29 . This suggests the writer was comfortable enough with linguistics to invent words , which more aptly captured his literary intent . In addition to his linguistic abilities , there is evidence the author of Beowulf knew how to manipulate poetic conventions . For example , his poem uses conventions common to oral poetry , like chiastic cyanghanedd in line 154 of the poem nothing but war how he would never ‘ which creates the consonant repetition of n /w /w /n (Norton Anthology Vol . I , 35 . Another example of the same technique is alternative cyanghanedd where he creates consonant repetition with line 126 of the poem , then as dawn , brightened and the day broke ‘ d /b /d /b (Norton Anthology Vol . I , 35 . Clearly the author is… [banner_entry_footer]


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