The Anglo-Saxon Period in English Literature

Anglo Saxon Period in English Literature (450–1066)

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Old English (Anglo Saxon Period): 450–1066

Anglo-Saxon Period in English Literature is very important to read. Every year some questions comes from this topic, Anglo-Saxon Period at BCS, Banks or other bd govt Jobs.

Summery of The Anglo Saxon Period

→ The Anglo Saxon Period is called The Old English Period.
→ The Saxons were a Germanic tribe
→ English is a West Germanic Language.
→ Literature was oral in this period

→ In the 5th century the Jute, Angles and Saxons came to England from Germany and defeated the English tribes. From that time began the Anglo-Saxon era.
→ The first epic of this period is ‘Beowulf’ (poem)
→ Venerable Bade’ was the 1st historian in English literature
→ Venerable Bade was the ‘Father of English learning’.
→ King Alfred the great is sometimes regarded as ‘The founder of English prose’.

→ Alfred the Great was a pioneer in education and literature from 871 to 901 and was instrumental in preserving the Anglo Saxon Chronicle.


Some writers and their works in The Anglo Saxon Period

Caedmon and Cynewulf are two poets of the Anglo Saxon era.
→ Anglo Saxon poetry was influenced by Christianity.
→ Anglo Saxon people were mainly warriors, hunters and travelers.
Beowulf was one of the first long poems in English. It was written anonymously.
→ Beowulf consists of 3200 lines of two parts in the style of an epic.
→ In Beowulf The first part deals with hero’s fight with Grendel and the second part deals with hero’s fight with Dragon.
→ Beowulf is called The Earliest Epic in England.
→ Beowulf was written around 650. (The first and most successful epic in Bengali literature is Michael Madhusudan’s ‘Meghnad Badh-181’).
→ Beowulf is a Herioc Epic. There were 3162 lines. The protagonist of the epic is named Beowulf.
Other Poems in this era: The Wanderer, The Seafarer, The Husband’s Message, The Wife’s Lament, Traveler



Caedmon, Poet of The Anglo Saxon Period

Caedmon, Poet of The Anglo Saxon Period

→ Caedmon is a seventh-century poet.
→ Cadman was born in 638 and died in 635.
→ Cadman was a shepherd and lived in a place called Whitby.
→ Cadman did not even know how to read and write.
→ Cadman was called Earliest Poet / first known poet in English Literature.
→ Cadman is also called the Father of English Sacred Song.
→ Cadman wrote in the Anglo-Saxon language.
→ Cadman is called Milton of the Anglo Saxon era.

→ Cadman’s poems are Hymn of Caedmon and Paraphrase.
→ The most famous of Cadman’s books is Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum.
→ Cadman’s also wrote- i. Genesis, ii. Exodus, iii. Judith.



Cynewulf (770-840):
→ Juliana is one of his famous poems.
→ He is considered ‘the Author of Christ’.
→ His notable literary works: i. Christ ii. Juliana iii. Elene iv. The Fates of the Apostles. (The destiny of the disciples of Jesus Christ).

Prose or History-based Writing:
→ Prose or history-based works of this period can be said to be quite rich
→ Notable prose writers: Adam Bede, Alfric, Wulfstan, and King Alfred, The Great.

Adam Bede/ Saint Venerable Bede (673-735):

Saint Venerable Bede- Anglo Saxon period

Saint Venerable Bede- Anglo Saxon period

Another Name: Saint Bede, The Venerable Bede, and Bede the Venerable
→ He is called “The Father of English Learning” and

→ he is also known as “First historian in English Language.”

→ He has written ‘The Ecclesiastical History of the English’ 

→ He received the title “Doctor of the Church”.



→ Alfric introduced new genres in prose. He wrote Catholic Homilies.


Wulfstan At the beginning of the eleventh century he was the Arch-Bishop of York. In the church he gave many sermons or sermons. These are excellent specimens of English prose of the time.

King Alfred the Great (849-899):

Alfred the Great - Great Prose writer at The Anglo Saxon Period

Alfred the Great – Great Prose writer at The Anglo Saxon Period

→ King Alfred, The Great was a great prose-writer.
→ He reigned over England from 871 to 901.
→ He rearranged education and supervised the compilation of The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. This book by Emperor Alfred is the first in history and also the first in prose.
→ He authored another book, The Consolation of Philosophy.
→ He was sometimes regarded as the “Founder of English Prose”.
→ He was the king of Wassex.


*** Most of the part of this topic collected from here

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Ages of English Literature – Quiz-1

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