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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

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

Richard North

Manchester University Press

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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