Characteristics of Anglo-Saxon Poetry

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Last updated: November 27, 2019

Oral
not written down until hundreds of years later

Repetition/ appositive style
repeats names and events to aide in memorization

Stock Scenes
Common scenes repeating over and over to aide in memorization

Foreshadowing
clues to future happenings

Flashbacks
reverting to past events

Epithets
alternative names for a person

Alliteration
words starting with the same letter or sound

Kennings
hyphenated Germanic compound words/ whales-road, life-house

Litotes
ironic understatements/he cared not for battle

Caesura
a natural pause or break in the middle of a line of poetry

Mix of Christian and Pagan Elements
finally written down by Christian monks who added many Christian elements, but the originators of the poems were pagans so there are many pagan (pre-Christian elements).

Metonomy
A concept that stands for the thing/ the giver of rings=

Synecdoche
A part of something represents the whole thing/ I’m going to count heads

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