A brief history of “The Old English Period”

The Old English Period is well-known known as the ”Anglo-Saxon Period .” The duration of this era is (450-1066). This period started in the middle of the fifth century. According to Bede, (one of the greatest teachers and writers of the Early Middle Ages) The Anglo-Saxon Period began in 449 A.D when the Jutes, Angles, and Saxons came to England from Germany, defeated the English tribes, and started their ruling. Then in 1066, German Saxons were defeated at the hand of the Normans of France, and the Anglo-Saxon Period ended

Remarkable literary works of the age:

  • Beowulf, the earliest and the greatest epic in English literature
  • The Wanderer
  • The Seafarer
  • The Husband’s Message
  • and The Wife’s Lament by Archibald Scott.
  • The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, the earliest prose of English literature.

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Main features of the era:

  • Most of the literary works are anonymous.
  • Paganism dominates the literary spirit of the time though.
  • Christianity is also traceable.
  • Strong belief in Fate is reflected.
  • Evil is symbolized by monsters.
  • Absent of Romantic love.
  • Respectful attitude to women.
  • Sea adventures, savagery, and heroic activities are respected.
  • Metaphors were more used in literature but similes were used less.
  • Alliteration, the repetition of the same sound (literary device derived from Latin, meaning “letters of the alphabet) is used as the chief ornamental device, and all alliterative syllables are stressed.
  • Kennings which means compound words are widely used in literature instead of single words.
  • Mismatch of syllables in the verse line.
  • The end rhyme is ignored.

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The important facts of this period are: 

  • The pagan tribes began Christianization in England.
  • In the 7th century, Christian authorities established monasteries, and writing literature started there.
  • Alfred the Great reigned (871 to 901) over England. He encouraged education and supervised the compilation of The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.

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Mottaleb Hossain
Mottaleb Hossain

This is Motaleb Hossain, working on studying, a researcher on English literature and Theology.

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