2006 Student Research Conference:
19th Annual Student Research Conference

Language & Literature

Readdressing the Question of Unferth
Jacqueline M. Tosspon
Dr. Christine Harker, Faculty Mentor

The Old English epic poem, "Beowulf," (a. 1000 A.D.) describes sixty years of the hero's life as he bests the bravest warriors, battles horrendous monsters, saves entire kingdoms, and then dies, a much-loved and respected king himself. However, "Beowulf" is as much about various families' aristocratic connections - both historic and legendary - as it is about the heroism. The fictive and titular hero appears alongside the historically-based King Hygelac - a fact which has fostered many attempts, over the years, to connect many of the details in the poem to a true history. This paper attempts the same but takes an uncharted route. Beginning with an allusive connection between Beowulf and his verbal antagonist, Unferth, this paper explores the possibilities of the hero's clan, the Waegmundings, having a real basis in an actual and documented past.

Keywords: Beowulf, Unferth, medieval genealogies, Waegmundings, Ecglaf, Ecgtheow

Topic(s):English

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 5-4
Location: VH 1320
Time: 9:00

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