The Verse of Heroes

Jayne Carroll

in The Oxford Handbook of Medieval Literature in English

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9780199229123
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

 The Verse of Heroes

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  • Literary Studies (Early and Medieval)


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This article examines heroic poetry in medieval England, focusing on Widsith, Deor, Waldere, The Finnsburh Fragment, and Beowulf. It explains that these poems take as their subject figures, historical or imagined, from the time of the Germanic migrations or heroic age: that period from the fourth to sixth centuries characterized by the movement of various peoples into areas which were previously under Roman control. It describes how these poems depicted heroic-age figures and events and shows how poets from different times and places, working within different literary traditions, make significantly different choices in presenting the same basic material.

Keywords: heroic poetry; medieval England; Widsith; Deor; Waldere; The Finnsburh Fragment; Beowulf; heroic age; literary traditions; Germanic migrations

Article.  12357 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (Early and Medieval)

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