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The Seafarer Historical Context

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Historical Context

Without the interest of Church leaders and the patronage of West Saxon kings, modern readers would have no Old English literature to speak of. While the so-called Anglo-Saxon period of English history extends from 449 to 1066—from the beginning of the conquest of Britain by the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes, through the invasions and partial conquest of northern England by the Danish-and Norse-speaking Vikings, and until the defeat of the last Saxon King, Harold, by William the Conqueror—the literary period of the Old English peoples really only began after the conversion of these tribes to Christianity. Previous to this event, the literature of the migrating bands had been entirely oral. It consisted of ancient verse forms employing repeated stress patterns and alliteration, and it celebrated heroic figures of even earlier periods. But none of this oral literature could have survived the further invasions and cultural changes that later...

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This section contains 986 words
(approx. 4 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our The Seafarer Study Guide
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The Seafarer from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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