Alliteration and Kennings Poetic Devices Anglo-Saxon Poetry And the Geats Lord and leader, angry, lowered His sword and roared out a battle cry, A call so loud and clear that it reached through The hoary rock, hung in the dragons Ear. The beast rose, angry, Knowing a man had comeand then nothing But war could have followed. Its breath came first, A steaming cloud pouring from the stone,
Then the earth itself shook. Beowulf Swung his shield into place, held it In front of him, facing the entrance. The dragon Coiled and uncoiled, its heart urging it Into battle. from Beowulf, translated by Burton Raffel From Beowulf, translated by Burton Raffel. Copyright 1963 and renewed 1991 by Burton Raffel. Reproduced by permission of Russell & Volkening, Inc. hoary: ancient.
Two Poetic Devices The following poetic devices are essential features of Anglo-Saxon poetry: alliteration 2003-2004 clipart.com kennings What Is Alliteration? Alliteration is the repetition of consonant sounds in words that are close to one another. Alliteration may occur
at the beginnings of words, as in bright blue or kind comment within words, as in jacket pocket Alliterative Anglo-Saxons Instead of rhymes, Anglo-Saxon oral poets used alliteration along with carefully placed pauses to add music and rhythm to their poems. Lines of Anglo-Saxon verse often are divided into two halves separated by a rhythmic pause, or caesura. Some lines have three alliterative wordstwo words in the first half before the caesura and one word in the second half.
Other lines have only two alliterative wordsone in each half. What Is a Kenning? A kenning is a metaphorical phrase or compound word used to name a person, place, thing, or event indirectly. Kennings such as whale-road and battle-dew fill Anglo-Saxon poetry. Combining existing words from the relatively small Anglo-Saxon vocabulary helped poets to create alliteration. Kennings were memorable, ready-made phrases that bards could reuse and pass on to others.
Kennings Then and Now Anglo-Saxon Kennings Modern-Day Kennings mead-hall gas guzzler ring-giver queen bee
heavens high arch headhunter shapes of darkness king of the hill shepherd of evil snake in the grass
The Use of Alliteration and Kennings Anglo-Saxon literature was part of an oral tradition. Poems, songs, and stories were passed from one generation to another orally. Anglo-Saxon poets and storytellers used alliteration and kennings because these devices aided memory created sound effects pleased the audience What Have You Learned? Identify each of the following lines as a use of alliteration or kenning.
1. That DJ is king of the airwaves. Kenning 2. The large sign loomed above the lonely highway. Alliteration 3. All of the washing machines were taken, so we had to wait. Alliteration
4. My brother calls his 78 sedan a land yacht. Kenning The End
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