The Metrical Grammar of Beowulf

The Metrical Grammar of Beowulf

by Calvin B. Kendall
     
 

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This book argues that the formal art of the Old English epic Beowulf is shaped and determined by the poetic language that the poet inherited from the traditional, oral culture of Anglo-Saxon England. The patterns of meter and alliteration exhibited in the poem were not imposed by the poet on his language, but were part of the language that he spoke, the rules of

Overview

This book argues that the formal art of the Old English epic Beowulf is shaped and determined by the poetic language that the poet inherited from the traditional, oral culture of Anglo-Saxon England. The patterns of meter and alliteration exhibited in the poem were not imposed by the poet on his language, but were part of the language that he spoke, the rules of which constituted his metrical grammar. Professor Kendall investigates the constraints of syntax, meter and alliteration that govern the formal art of Beowulf. He shows how the half-lines of the poem, which are the basic units of composition, are marked by the metrical grammar for placement in the verse clause; he also establishes conditions for the presence or absence of alliteration, which enable him to say whether in any given instance the alliterative device is a mandatory function of the rules of the metrical grammar or an option exercised by the poet.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780521393256
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Publication date:
06/28/1991
Series:
Cambridge Studies in Anglo-Saxon England Series, #5
Pages:
318
Product dimensions:
5.98(w) x 8.98(h) x 0.87(d)

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