Richard North
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On the misuse of Beowulf in Andreas
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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.

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Preserving and reinventing traditions of learning in the Middle Ages


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