The departure of the hero in a ship: The intertextuality of Beowulf, Cynewulf and Andreas

How to Cite

Leneghan, F. (2019). The departure of the hero in a ship: The intertextuality of Beowulf, Cynewulf and Andreas. SELIM. Journal of the Spanish Society for Medieval English Language and Literature., 24(1), 105-132.


This article identifies a new Old English poetic motif, ‘The Departure of the Hero in a Ship’, and discusses the implications of its presence in Beowulf, the signed poems of Cynewulf and Andreas, a group of texts already linked by shared lexis, imagery and themes. It argues that the Beowulf-poet used this motif to frame his work, foregrounding the question of royal succession. Cynewulf and the Andreas-poet then adapted this Beowulfian motif in a knowing and allusive manner for a new purpose: to glorify the church and to condemn its enemies. Investigation of this motif provides further evidence for the intertextuality of these works.

Keywords: Old English poetry; Beowulf, Cynewulf; Andreas; Anglo-Saxon literature


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