English poetry

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The end of Roman rule in Britain enabled the Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain, which is often regarded as the origin of England and the English people Wikipedia. The Anglo-Saxons were of Germanic origin who established several kingdoms that became the primary powers in what is now England and parts of Southern Scotland. They introduced the Old English language which displaced the previous British language. The Anglo-Saxons warred with British states in Wales, Cornwall and the Brythonic speaking parts of northern England and southern Scotland. The Vikings and Norsemen raided England about AD, took control and introduced Norse language into large parts of what is now England. During this period, several rulers attempted to unite the various Anglo-Saxon kingdoms and this effort led to the emergence of the kingdom of England by the 10
th century. Meanwhile, of several poems dealing with English history and preserved in the
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, the most notable is The Battle of Brunanburb,” a panegyric on the occasion of King Athelstan‟s victory over a coalition of Norsemen and Scots in the year 937. The Battle of Maldon, is another heroic poetry dealing with English history. The poem describes the defeat of Aldorman
Byrhtnoth at the hands of Viking invaders in 991.
Anglo–Saxon poetry is categorized by the manuscripts in which it survives, rather than its date of composition. The most important manuscripts are the four great poetical codices of the late 10
th and early 11
th centuries known as the Caedmon manuscript, the Vercelli Book, the Exeter Book, and the Beowulf manuscript.
Beowulf is the only heroic epic to have survived in its entirely but fragments of others such as Waldere and the funnesburg Fragment are also available. Other genres include much religious verses, from devotional works to biblical paraphrase such as The Wanderer, The Seafairer” and The Ruin.

Anglo-Saxon depends on alterative verse for its structure. The poetry is formulaic, drawing on a common set of stock phrases and phrase patterns, applying standard epithets to various classes of characters, and depicting scenery with such recurring images as the eagle and wolf, which wait during battles to feast on carrion, and the ice and snow, which appear in the landscape to signal sorrow. Several wars took place which shaped the history and language of England. This unit is important for this course as it opens up various factors that led to the emergence of England and its poetry.

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