Nbb an128 K1 History of English Literature dp

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Heroic poetry: this has the closest connection with the Germanic origin of the invaders. Subject matter is drawn from earlier times, often from the common stock of Germanic heroes. The Germanic heroic society shows resemblances to the Hellenic world of Homer – nations are seen as groups of people related by kinship, the tribe is ruled by a chieftain called king, the king leads his men in battle, rewarding them afterwards, in return the retainers fight for him to the death, if the lord is slain, avenging him or dying in the attempt; blood vengeance, everlasting shame for those neglecting it. This society was already distant from Christian Anglo-Saxon England and difficult to reconcile with Christianity. Nevertheless, Christian poets were fascinated with their pagan ancestors → accommodation – preserving aspects not opposing the Christian ideal, omitting conflicting elements, inserting Christian items. The most important poem: Beowulf (a/the Germanic epic).

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