Publication Date

2017

Document Type

Dissertation/Thesis

First Advisor

Deskis, Susan E.

Degree Name

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

Department

Department of English

LCSH

Literature, Medieval||Linguistics||British literature||Irish literature

Abstract

The Old English elegies include a group of poems found in the Exeter Book manuscript that have traditionally been treated as a single genre due to their general sense of lament -- The Wanderer, The Seafarer, The Riming Poem, Deor, Wulf and Eadwacer, The Wife's Lament, Resignation, Riddle 60, The Husband's Message, and The Ruin. In this study, I conduct a linguistic stylistic analysis of all ten poems using systemic functional linguistics (SFL) and a variety of computational and linguistic tools: Lexomics, Voyant, and Microsoft Excel. My results focus on three characteristics of the poetry: (1) the similarity of the linguistic style within the poems, measured by Lexomics; (2) an oscillation between first- and third-person clausal Themes, measured using SFL analysis; and (3) themes in the lexical categorization, measured through detailed lexical analysis. In the end, my methodology creates a new and more nuanced definition of the elegy: a relatively short reflective or dramatic poem, similar in style and content to other elegiac poems, that alternates between first- and third-person perspectives and includes (1) themes of exile; (2) imagery of water or the sea, the earth, and/or the weather; and (3) words expressing both joy and sorrow. Ultimately, I argue for a recategorization of only five poems as "Old English elegies": The Wanderer, The Seafarer, Wulf and Eadwacer, The Wife's Lament, and The Riming Poem..

Comments

Advisors: Susan E. Deskis.||Committee members: Nicole Clifton; Doris M. Macdonald.||Includes bibliographical references.||Includes illustrations.

Extent

xiii, 168 pages

Language

eng

Publisher

Northern Illinois University

Rights Statement

In Copyright

Rights Statement 2

NIU theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from Huskie Commons for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without the written permission of the authors.

Media Type

Text

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