Date of Award

4-27-2011

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English

First Advisor

Larissa Tracy, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Chene Heady, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Shawn Smith, Ph.D.

Abstract

In preserving The Wife 's Lament, Wulf and Eadwacer, and Beowulf's battle scene with Grendel's mother, Christian poets and scribes preserved much more than just the literature of Anglo-Saxon England. They recorded the feminine voice, a rare perspective emerging from a society founded principally on the fundamentals of warfare and male dominance. The women's songs stand as testaments to the strife and discord women suffered as a consequence of their husbands' participation in blood feud. Their stories are not merely recounted as third person narratives, as much of the other extant texts from the period are; in the elegies, these women are empowered, speaking up for themselves, voicing their anguish, anger, grief, and fear. They are an authority on the ramifications of feud and vengeance, not only for women, but for an entire culture as well.

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