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Summary of English Literature Before 1066

In: English and Literature

Submitted By brandon101
Words 1689
Pages 7
Northern Caribbean University
School of Religion and Theology

SUMMARY AND ELEMENTS OF
CHRISTIANITY AND PAGANISM
IN THE LITERATURE OF GREAT BRITAIN
BEFORE THE NORMAN CONQUEST

An Assignment Presented in
Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Course,
ENGL 245: Survey of English Lit. I

by
Lascelles James
October 2007 Even though archeology reveals a lot about the Neolithic and Iron-Age era in Britain, Literature tells more about the life and culture in the region, especially after the coming of Germanic Indo-Europeans from the continent in A.D 449, as reported in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. England, then a province of the Roman Empire, was named Britannia after its Celtic-speaking inhabitants, the Britons. The Britons were actually Romanized Celts. They left their greatest linguistic legacy in place names, such as Avon, Dover, Thames, and probably London. [1] The Anglo-Saxon invaders brought with them their own tradition of oral poetry, but there is no evidence of literacy before their conversion to Christianity. There is only circumstantial evidence of what the poetry must have been like. Aside from a few short inscriptions on small artifacts, the earliest records in the English language are in manuscripts produced at monasteries and other religious establishments, beginning in the seventh century. Literacy was mainly restricted to servants of the church, and the bulk of Old English literature is religious with Latin origins. As literate culture developed, ethnic Germanic heroic poetry continued to be performed orally in alliterative verse and was at times used to describe current events. The oral culture thus had tremendous bearing on the form and structure of the literature of the epoch. The Battle of Brunaburh, which celebrates an English victory over the Danes in traditional alliterative verse, is...

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