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8/15/2018

The Anglo Saxon Period

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This age started in the 15th Century when the Jutes , Angles and Saxons came to England from Germany, defeated the English tribes and started their reign. It ended in 1066 with the Norman conquest.


The important facts which influenced the literature of this period are:

1. Christianization of the pagan tribes begin in England.
2. In the 17th century Christian authorities established monasteries where written literature begin. Whatever had existed as literature before that time was oral.
3. Alfred the Great who reigned over England from 871 to 901 encountered education and supervised the compilation of The Anglo Saxon Chronicle.


Major Literary Works of the Period: 

Beowulf, the earliest epic in English, was written in this period. The Wanderer , The Seafare’ The  Husband  Message and  The  Wife ‘s Lament are among the remarkable literary works of the age . The Anglo Saxon Chronicle written in this age is the earliest prose of English literature.


Main Literary Features of the Age: 

1. Most of the literary works are anonymous.
2. Paganism dominates the literary spirit of the time though Christianity is also traceable.
3. Strong belief in Fate is reflected.
4. Evil is symbolized by monsters.
5. Romantic love is absent.
6. Attitude to women is respectful.
7. Sea adventure, savagery and heroic activities are honored.
8. Use of more metaphors and less similes is the practice of the time.
9. Alliteration is used as the chief ornamental device and all alternative syllables are stressed.
10. Verse line do not have equal number of syllables. Syllables in one line vary from six to fourteen.
11. End rhyme is ignored.

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