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Figurative Language in Cynewulf

Defining Aspects of a Poetic Style


Joseph Wine

This book attempts to define the development of a unique style in the Old English poetic corpus. The emergence of Latin as a language of instruction and as a literary model for practicing writers changed the poetic landscape in ways sometimes obvious but sometimes rather complex and subtle. Professor Wine shows in this book how, for Cynewulf at least, style was effected as an integration of Latin rhetoric with the native germanic poetic techniques. This poet provides an interesting exemplar for the ways in which the clashing of two cultures - one Latin and literate, the other germanic and oral - could create a new poetic.