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Heroism and Warfare

Texts for discussion:

-- The Battle of Maldon
-- Ælfric's Qui sunt oratores, laboratores, bellatores in W. W. Skeat (ed.) Ælfric's Lives of Saints, vol. 2, (London: EETS) pp. 120-125.
-- The Letter of Alexander to Aristotle in Andy Orchard, ed. Pride and Prodigies: Studies in the Monsters of the Beowulf-manuscript (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2003).
-- Rosemary Woolf. 'The ideal of men dying with their lord in the Germania and in The Battle of Maldon'. Anglo-Saxon England 5 (1975), pp 63-81.

Further Old English texts:

The Battle of Brunanburh
The Battle of Finnsburh

Secondary reading:

Chance, Jane. Woman as Hero in Old English literature. Syracuse, N.Y: Syracuse University Press, 1986.
Halsall, Guy. Violence and Society in the early Medieval West. Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 1998.
Härke, Heinrich. "'Warrior Graves'? The Background of the Anglo-Saxon Weapon Burial Rite." Past and Present 126 (1990): 22-43

Assignment Questions:

Using The Battle of Maldon alongside any other appropriate texts, write an essay on one of the following questions:

1. 'The loss of a partially imaginary heroic world is one of the most profound sources of anxiety about the past in Old English literature.' Discuss.
2. 'It would be rash to suppose that martial deeds are the sole measure of true worth in the world that Old English heroic poetry portrays' (R. D. FULK and CHRISTOPHER M. CAIN) .
3. 'The Battle of Maldon and The Passion of King Edmund have more in common than might initially appear to be the case.' What is gained and what lost from viewing these two works alongside each other?