International journal

Speech Genres

ISSN 2311-0759 (Online)
ISSN 2311-0740 (Print)

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Palashevskaya I. V., Gogenko V. V. Values of power in Anglo-Saxon heroic epos of the early Middle Ages. Speech Genres, 2023, vol. 18, iss. 3 (39), pp. 267-274. DOI: 10.18500/2311-0740-2023-18-3-39-267-274, EDN: EJTXTR

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Values of power in Anglo-Saxon heroic epos of the early Middle Ages

Palashevskaya Irina Vladimirovna, Volgograd State University
Gogenko Victoria Vladimirovna, Southern Federal University

The concern of this study is to explore the values of power that form its images in Anglo-Saxon epic culture of the early Middle Ages. The research is based on the epic poem “Beowulf” and applies cultural approach to linguistic study of social phenomena. Considering the stylistic features of the epic genre as a form of world codification, categorization and ideological influence in “the age of prowess and predatory life” (Thorstein Veblen), the authors emphasize the role of alliteration rhythmic patterns of the spoken verse, “words-pictures” (kennings and compounds), sound symbolism in verbal culture of fostering a the martial spirit of warriors in the culture of public praise, encouragement ferocity and enthusiasm for war. Values of power, viewed as collective conceptions of what is good and desirable, shape patterns of behaviour and virtues demonstrations prevalent among people of a superior status. Such patterns in the form of expectations motivate the characters of the poem to perform the actions assigned to them by their social standing. Studying these virtues is an efficient way to capture and characterize society of the early Middle Ages, since they had a direct impact on how that society functioned. To gain entrance to the superior status, the main character had to be gifted with assumed traits. Thus, the key theme of the poem is how he fights his way up to the top of the honourable superior class. The authors analyse the language means of cultural values introduction, including words, denoting the proper qualities and actions, small stories and evaluative utterances of aphoristic nature, falling into different types (statements, open appeals, comparative and superlative constructions, positive and negative imperatives).

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