Old English Heroic Poetry

(2108 words)
  • Susanne Kries

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

Charlemagne’s biographer Einhard tells us in his Vita Karoli that the king ordered a compilation of Frankish heroic poetry before he died. That the heroic world was equally important to Anglo-Saxon England is demonstrated by Old English poetry and other works of art, such as the famous eighth-century whalebone box known as Franks Casket.

The term “heroic poetry” is attributed to narrative poetic texts of different ancient, medieval and modern cultures, which celebrate the valorous deeds, brave fights or physical tests of exceptional figures both legendary and historic. The ultimate goal of the poems’ heroic protagonists is to achieve lifelong glory and a commensurate place in legend or history.

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Kries, Susanne. "Old English Heroic Poetry". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 30 April 2003
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=1272, accessed 07 July 2015.]

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