A History of English Literature PDF By Edward Albert

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A History of English Literature Book PDF Free Download

A History of English Literature Book PDF Free Download

History of English Literature

Little indeed is known of the origin of English Literature, though it is reasonable to assume that verse of an extemporary kind was composed long before.

The period of the earliest written records and that we can be certain that poetry made its appearance long before the first prose was written down.

It is important from the outset to remember that the extant remains of Old English Literature have come down to us (for the most part) in late copies.

Some of which were made three hundred years after the composition of the poems themselves. So far as poets are concerned, again little or nothing is known beyond the names of two of them.

But this has not prevented some scholars from writing their lives, from hints in the texts themselves, fortified by scanty contemporary references (in the case of Cædmon) but mainly from a mass of conjecture.

Most of which can not be described as intelligent, Indeed, the lengths to which critics will at times go is clearly indicated by the fact that.

One Old English poet has been provided with a wife on no valid evidence whatsoever. Notwithstanding the mists which shroud the beginnings.

And our lack of knowledge of the poets themselves Old English Literature has a richness that amazes the reader who overcomes the initial difficulty of the language.


The period is a long one, for it opens in the fifth century and does not conclude, as is often supposed, with the Norman Conquest in 1066, but rather continues in prose at least till c. 1150.

The events, however, must be dismissed briefly. The departure of the Romans in 410 left the British population open to the inroads of the invaders from the north.


Pagan Origins: Many of the poems of the period appear to have the features which are associated with the pagan past, in particular Widsith and Beowulf, though the Christian elements in the latter are no longer looked upon, as was the case among the earlier scholars, as ‘clumsy additions.

Anonymous Origins: Of all the Old English poets we have direct mention of only one Caedmon, though not one of the extant poems can definitely be ascribed to him. The name of another poet, Cyne Wulf, is known because of the fact that he signed his poems in runic letters at the end of four poems. Of the rest, we do not even know their names. Prose, as we have noticed, came later, and as it was used for practical purposes its authorship in many cases is established.

The Imitative Quality: Much of the prose and some of the poetry is translated or adapted from Latin, though the debt to

AuthorEdward Albert
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