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Age matters in old english literature

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Chapter Summary

Taking into account that Old English literature, the poetry in particular, has been considered to be ?the great collective medium through which the Anglo-Saxons conceived of their changing social world', this chapter explores how Old English literary texts represent the cultural qualities of and expectations about the different stages in the development of Anglo-Saxon males. By surveying the Old English literary corpus the author hopes to recapture some of the ways in which the Anglo-Saxons constructed and thought about the biological process of growing from boyhood to old age. In so doing the author approaches the literary sources not as a reflection of an historically accurate reality, but as an expression of the Anglo-Saxon social outlook on matters of age.

Keywords: Anglo-Saxon; old age; Old English literature



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