Sunday, February 24, 2019

Anglo Saxon Period in History of English Literature

The Anglo Saxons existing from the 5th to the 11th centuries from the end of Roman Britain until the Norman Conquest in 1066.

The Anglo-Saxons were the members of Germaniac groups who migrated to the southern half of the island of Great Britain from nearby northwestern Europe and their cultural descendants. Anglo-Saxon history thus begins during the period of Sub-Roman Britain following the end of Roman control, and traces the establishment of Anglo-Saxon kingdoms in the 5th and 6th centuries (conventionally identified as seven main kingdoms: Northumbria, Mercia, East Anglia, Essex, Kent, Sussex, and Wessex), their Christianisation during the 7th century, the threat of Viking invasions and Danish settlers, the gradual unification of England under Wessex hegemony during the 9th and 10th centuries, and ending with the Norman conquest of England by William the Conqueror in 1066.
Term Anglo Saxon
The term Anglo-Saxon is a relatively modern one. It refers to settlers from the German regions of Angeln and Saxony, who made their way over to Britain after the fall of the Roman Empire around AD 410.
History of the Anglo Saxons
The Roman armies withdrew from Britain early in the fifth century because they were needed back home to defend the crumbling centre of the Empire. Britain was considered a far-flung outpost of little value.
Ø The Jutes and the Frisians from Denmark were also settling in the British Isles, but the Anglo-Saxon settlers were effectively their own masters in a new land and they did little to keep the legacy of the Romans alive.
Ø They replaced the Roman stone buildings with their own wooden ones, and spoke their own language, which gave rise to the English spoken today.
Ø The Anglo-Saxons also brought their own religious beliefs, but the arrival of Saint Augustine in 597 converted most of the country to Christianity.
Ø The Anglo-Saxon period lasted for 600 years, from 410 to 1066, and in that time Britain's political landscape underwent many changes.
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Ø The early settlers kept to small tribal groups, forming kingdoms and sub-kingdoms. By the ninth century, the country was divided into four kingdoms - Northumbria, Mercia, East Anglia and Wessex. Wessex was the only one of these kingdoms to survive the Viking invasions. Eric Bloodaxe, the Viking ruler of York, was killed by the Wessex army in 954 and England was united under one king - Edred.
Ø Most of the information we have about the Anglo-Saxons comes from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, a year-by-year account of all the major events of the time. Among other things it describes the rise and fall of the bishops and kings and the important battles of the period. It begins with the story of Hengist and Horsa in AD 449.
Anglo-Saxon Rule came to an end in 1066, soon after the death of Edward the Confessor, who had no heir. He had supposedly willed the kingdom to William of Normandy, but also seemed to favour Harold Godwinson as his successor.
Harold was crowned king immediately after Edward died, but he failed in his attempt to defend his crown, when William and an invading army crossed the Channel from France to claim it for himself. Harold was defeated by the Normans at the Battle of Hastings in October 1066, and thus a new era was ushered in.

LITERATURE: Old English Period

 Anglo -Saxon Epic poem
The most important pagan Epic poem is the Beowulf the earliest, greatest Epic, or heroic poem in our literature. The poet writing this poem is anonymous, but most Scholars place him in the Anglian Kingdom
Beowulf is a Scandinavian Saga. It was written by a scholar after an oral transmission. the poem has got two stories with the same Hero Beowulf a young man who helps the king of the danes against a monster, grendel in the first part Beowulf kills Grendel's and kills Grendel's mother in  the second part. it was written in dialect of wessex.

Anglo Saxon Lyrical Poetry
The Anglo Saxon English poetry was unwritten .it consisted of songs and poems,mainly heroic in character ,which was handed over to one generation to another generation by the words of mouth.
WIDSITH  : The earliest of Anglo Saxon lyrical poem is WIDSITH ,was a poem of about 150 lines ,the author and date of its composition are unknown .The poem expresses the wondering life of the gleeman journey and experience in different places.The poem records the poet's own experience and emotions and to some extent it is a glorification of his own self.
Age of Chaucer
Deor's Lament : Deor's lament or complain of deor is more lyrical than widsith ,Deor's lament is about the complaint against his unjust dismissal from the favor of lord by a rival poet. This poem marks definite progresses of the lyrical approach of Anglo-Saxons poetry. The lyrical note is however, specially dominated in certain elegies of early days. These poems are all marked with the sense of melancholy.
Poems like The Ruin ,The seafarer ,The wanderer, The wife's complain ,The husband's message are specific instances in their respect ,all the mentioned poems contain lamentations for the loss of certain things. Poetic techniques ,graphic , imagery and harmonious melody are the important features of lyrical poetry.

Writers of Anglo Saxon Period
Bede : St. Bede the Venerable, Bede also spelled Baeda or Beda, (born 672/673, traditionally Monkton in Jarrow, Northumbria [England]—died May 25, 735, Jarrow; canonized 1899; feast day May 25), Anglo-Saxon theologian, historian, and chronologist. St. Bede is best known for his Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum (“Ecclesiastical History of the English People”), a source vital to the history of the conversion to Christianity of the Anglo-Saxon tribes.

Caedmon: Caedmon, (flourished 658–680), first Old English Christian poet, whose fragmentary hymn to the creation remains a symbol of the adaptation of the aristocratic-heroic Anglo-Saxon verse tradition to the expression of Christian themes. His story is known from Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English People, which tells how Caedmon, an illiterate herdsman, retired from company one night in shame because he could not comply with the demand made of each guest to sing.

Then in a dream a stranger appeared commanding him to sing of “the beginning of things,” and the herdsman found himself uttering “verses which he had never heard.” When Caedmon awoke he related his dream to the farm bailiff under whom he worked and was conducted by him to the monastery at Streaneshalch (now called Whitby). 
Cynewulf: Poems are the Christ, Juliana, The fates of the Apostles and elene.
Alfred (849 – 901): He was the translator of the period; he translated so many works

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