Anonymous: Guthlac

(1107 words)
  • Hugh Magennis (Queen's University Belfast)

Guthlac A is one of two adjacent narrative poems in the Exeter Book about the Mercian hermit saint Guthlac (c. 674-714), whose Latin Life had been written in the first half of the eighth century by Felix of Crowland. In its present state the poem consists of 818 lines of Old English verse but there is a large gap in the text where at least one folio of the manuscript is missing. The Exeter Book was copied in the later tenth century but the poem itself is likely to be considerably older than this. It is metrically conservative and at one point the poet declares that the events it deals with took place within living memory. Guthlac A is very …

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Magennis, Hugh. "Guthlac". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 28 June 2006
[, accessed 27 September 2016.]