Old English literature is the body of work composed in the English language by Anglo-Saxon people between the 7th and 11th centuries It includes all forms of literature, including religious and courtly writing, historical and scientific works. Of particular importance to Old English literature is the influence of Old English poetry, which provided the basis for much of the remaining work. Old English poetry is characterized by its use of alliteration, kennings and metaphors, as well as its focus on heroic deeds, war, and religion.
The following are five excellent essay topic ideas for a paper on Old English literature and poetry:
1. The Role of Alliteration and Kennings in Old English Poetry – Alliteration and kennings are integral elements in Old English poetry. This essay could explore how these poetic techniques were used to convey complex ideas, the effect they had on the listener or reader, and how they remain significant in literature today.
2. Exploring the Roles of Women in Old English Literature – This essay could focus on the roles of women during the Anglo-Saxon period, comparing and contrasting them to those of men and analyzing the various ways that women were represented in literature, including poetry.
3. Comparing and Contrasting Old English and Modern English Poetry – This essay could examine the similarities and differences between Old English poetry and its modern counterpart, taking a look at changes in language, structure, imagery, and themes.
4. Analyzing the Religious Influences on Old English Poetry – The strong influence of Christianity on Old English literature can be seen throughout its poetry. This essay could look at how religious topics and ideas were explored in Old English poetry and how they shaped the literature of the era.
5. Examing the Role of Heroic Deeds in Old English Poetry – Old English poetry often focused on the heroic deeds of warriors, kings, and other figures. An essay on this topic could explore how these deeds were depicted in literature and examine the importance of these acts in society.