Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Megan Hartman

Committee Members

Michelle Beissel Heath, Marguerite Tassi, Douglas Biggs


Anglo-Saxon society;Old English poet


More than one contemporary scholar has written about the “search” for the Anglo-Saxon oral poet. They consider historical texts and poetry and every other possible place where some record of who the Anglo-Saxon scop may have been might be found. Some claim to recognize the Old English poet by the end of their search while others declare the entire pursuit to be futile for lack of substantial evidence. This study is somewhat of a combination of the two. Each chapter does take part in the search for the Old English poet figure, but it is not for the sake of discovering any real person or group of people. There is an unfortunate dearth of poets in historical records and very little evidence that a scop or oral poet position even existed. Searching for such a figure would prove to be a frustrating task indeed. Instead, this study sets out to discover the mentality of the Anglo-Saxon people in regards to the poet as a societal figure. By examining how the poet is portrayed for the Anglo-Saxons, we may come to understand who the poet was to those people: a worldly traveler who told them stories, a wise teacher who remembered their history, a talented craftsman who shared their skills. Together, these roles make up who the poet was to the people around them. Admired and respected, poets were appreciated by those for whom poetry was an essential part of life.



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