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Aspects of knowledgePreserving and reinventing traditions of learning in the Middle Ages$
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Marilina Cesario and Hugh Magennis

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780719097843

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719097843.001.0001

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Meet the pagans: on the misuse of Beowulf in Andreas

Meet the pagans: on the misuse of Beowulf in Andreas

Chapter:
(p.185) 8 Meet the pagans: on the misuse of Beowulf in Andreas
Source:
Aspects of knowledge
Author(s):

Richard North

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9780719097843.003.0009

Richard North’s chapter argues that the Old English verse saint’s life Andreas (on the apostle St Andrew) appropriates the secular epic poem Beowulf for mock-epic purposes, turning knowledge of Beowulf, a poem which by implication must have been famous in Anglo-Saxon England, to a new Christian purpose. Andreas is seen to offer through its mock-epic style a satirical commentary on the heathen nostalgia of Beowulf. In Andreas knowledge of secular literature and its version of the past is astutely re-appropriated for religious purposes, being absorbed into and transcended by a Christian celebration of the true heroism of the saint. This chapter adds a new dimension to the understanding of Anglo-Saxon literary history and the place of secular tradition within it.

Keywords:   Hagiography, Old English, Secular knowledge, Religious knowledge, Literature, Apostles, Appropriation, Tradition

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