This general study of Early Anglo-Saxon writing and its background suggests why the motif of light and darkness is so prevalent in Old English (OE) poetry. A thorough survey of research in Germanic mythology and overviews of such fields as runology, place-name studies, and archeology precede a sweeping study of OE prose. After establishing the socio-cultural context (historical method), the occurrence of the motif in OE poetry is examined on an intrinsic basis. Recent research in Oral Formulaic Theory is discussed and a major revision suggested. The book closes with an analysis of OE poetry and new interpretation of some OE poems.