ANGLO-SAXON LITERATURE - BEOWULF.
It was made up of poems and it included all English works prior to the Norman Conquest (1066). Those poems can be divided into two groups: Pagan and Christian poetry. The pagan group contains Germanic sagas, tales, legends etc. The Christian group talked about the Bible, the lives of the Saints etc. The two groups coexisted until the Norman Conquest.Then, the Christian poetry went on, but the Pagan poetry finished. Anglo-Saxon pagan poetry was unwritten. It was divided into two groups: epic and lyric. The most important Pagan epic is Beowulf.
It's an old English poem of the 8th century. We don't know when it was composed or by whom. It's a Scandinavian saga. It was written by a scholar after an oral transmission. The poem has got two stories with the same hero, Beowulf, a young man who helps the king of the Danes against a monster, Grendel. In the first part Beowulf kills Grendel and in the second part he kills Grendel's mother too, but the hero dies. It is written in the dialect of Wessex. We can read it only if it's translated in Modern English. The Nature is an important part of the poem. It is the cold nature of the Scandinavian sagas (stormy oceans, forests, caves etc) I's a picture of the Germanic tribes. The social pattern is feudal. There is a lord at the top of the society and his men are warriors. The main value is loyalty. Mythical elements (such as monsters,dragons etc) are very important. Christian elements are also important: Beowulf can be identified with Christ.