A comparative study of the verse rhetoric of Layamon's Brut and Beowulf
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This thesis compares Layamon's Brut with Beowulf to examine poetic inheritance and style. Previous studies emphasizing similarities of language and meter, without definite tests of verse rhetoric, may lead to the false assumption that because Layamon's method is not French, it is fundamentally that of Anglo-Saxon poetry. Some detailed research into definite poetic devices may throw light on the question of Layamon's actual inheritance from the earlier poetry, and thereby contribute toward an answer to the vexing question whether, or in what degree, Anglo-Saxon poetic method survived into the Middle English period. For the purposes of this study the author has grouped together certain poetic devices which may be termed minor, carrying on the investigation by comparison with the Old English epic, Beowulf. The amount of text used in the present treatment comprises the whole of Beowulf, (Holder's Edition), and approximately the same number of lines from Layamon, - in all 6300 half lines chosen from different parts of the Brut, as follows: 1-2101, 19852-21952, 30141-32241.