Date of Award
James M. Kee
My goal in this thesis is to show the difference of interpretation between a reading of the Old English poem Beowulf as the work of an oral performer and a reading of it as the work of a literate author. Given the premises set down by intensive study of oral composition of poetry, and given all the literate arguments for interpreting the poem, I would like to show that Beowulf can still be read as an oral poem, and that such a reading may result in an understanding of the poem that is at least as good, if not more satisfying than, readings of the poem assuming a thoroughly literate author. I hope to show a real difference between reading this poem as a literary work, as most readers have done unquestioningly, and reading it as an oral work, as only a few readers persist in doing recently.
Nevins, Mark David, "Beowulf for Modern Man: Orality and Literacy and the Anglo-Saxon Heroic Poem" (1986). Fenwick Scholar Program. 22.