“The Wife`s Lament” - Class with Ms. Krumholz

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“The Wife’s Lament”
Unit 1 – The Anglo Saxon
Period
About the Author
This poem is also known as “The
Wife’s Complaint.” It is one of two
surviving English poems believed to
have been composed by women.
 Unfortunately, nothing is known about
these first great women poets, not
even their names.

About the Selection

This lyrical poem expresses the grief
over the loss of the speaker’s family,
of her homeland, and of her husband
and friend.
 The
early Anglo-Saxons lived in
small, closely knit groups, the
members of which were generally
related by blood.
 Life was harsh, and someone who
was cut off from the group or
made an outcast would have
difficulty surviving on their own.
Lots of work

Therefore, most of the Old English
poems that have come down to us
celebrate the ties to the family, king,
and the tribe. Many deal with the
consequences of being cut off.

It is safe to say that after courage
in warfare and the fickleness of fate,
exile is the most common theme in
Old English literature.
The Outcast
Lyric
A
short, highly musical
poem that tells the
emotions of the speaker.
Elegy
A
kind of lyric that
expresses grief over the
loss of something.
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