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Lecture 4

ENG 1122 Lecture 4.docx

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University of Ottawa
David Carlson

ENG 1122 Lecture 4 Organization Repetition & Variation Digression Hrothgar’s Sermon The Transition in the Middle of the Poem The amount of old English poetry that survives is limited - What does survive doesn’t match up very well with later literature. Genres that don’t survive much, not the same literary development/genre - Make it difficult to place the poetry in a generic content - There is nothing like Beowulf in Old English corpus The question of what Beowulf is, is difficult - Think of it as an old English Epic - Epic: Deeds of a Famous Hero  Deeds are nation-Building Beowulf - Does not take place in England - He isn’t famous - He is only mentioned in this poem - Is a criticism of Heroism - The epic is a celebration of some things heroes do o Is not like any other fundamental epic - The cost of whose heroic deeds is always emphasized in such a way that Beowulf becomes criticism of heroism Scyld------- Hrothgar Human life according to the Anglo-Saxons is like the life od a sparrow - Symbolizes the after life - **Bede - Out of the darkness, briefly into the light, and then back into the darkness - The darkness always comes back Digression - Always repeat and reflect on the chief story or elements - These digressions are never digressions - They are proving some kind of comment/perspective as the story progresses on Beowulf - Kills Grendel - They have a party/ victory celebrations - Put the hall back together o Pass out presents, give Beowulf weapons, gold/treasures, beer (celebratory things), war horses, banners o Give him weapons because the fighting is not over: he will need these o The darkness always comes back o He killed one monster, but there are likely more Line 836 - On the way back from looking for Grendel’s body, Hrothgar’s men tells a pair of stories about Sigemund - Sigemun
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