Flyting (81 words)

Literary/ Cultural Context Note

  • Editors
  • The Literary Encyclopedia. Volume : WORLD HISTORY AND IDEAS: A CROSS-CULTURAL VOLUME.


A popular pastime in which two people try to outdo each other in the richness of their rhetorical scorn. Often seen in disputes between vehicle drivers, in public houses and in families, it provides one of the bases for satire because the participants bind their hostility to the production of elaborate language, rather than to physical action. The dispute between Beowulf and Unferth in “Beowulf” is an example of a a flyting, as is, in more elaborate guise, Pope's “The Dunciad”.

Editors. "Flyting". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 01 November 2001
[, accessed 20 October 2016.]