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Pre-Cnut Praise-Poetry in Viking Age England

Matthew Townend
The Review of English Studies
New Series, Vol. 51, No. 203 (Aug., 2000), pp. 349-370
Published by: Oxford University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/519297
Page Count: 22
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Pre-Cnut Praise-Poetry in Viking Age England
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Abstract

The poems in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle for the years 937, 942, 973, and 975 are here interpreted as examples of Old English praise-poetry, celebrating the deeds of the West Saxon kings, and it is suggested that this tenth-century development of the genre of praise-poetry in Anglo-Saxon England is likely to be due to the contemporary influence of Norse skaldic poetry. It is further argued that this sudden flourishing of praise-poetry represents a literary reflex of the Vikings' political destabilization of late Anglo-Saxon England, recreating to a significant degree the type of conditions which H. M. Chadwick famously characterized as those of a 'Heroic Age'.

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