The Singer Resumes the Tale

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5. The Formula in Anglo-Saxon Poetry*

In this chapter I explore the degree to which oral traditional style informs, that is to say, manifests itself in, Beowulf and other Anglo-Saxon poetry. The adaptation to Anglo-Saxon poetics of Milman Parry’s definition of the formula and the formulaic system, as well as the concept of the “theme” (the latter treated in Chapter 6) have received considerable attention. Much has been written on the formula in Old English, and there have been excellent summaries. One thinks especially of Ann Chalmers Watts’s The Lyre and the Harp. [1] We come back to Larry Benson’s assertion that written Old English is as formulaic as what might well be oral traditional poetic texts. [2] He was criticizing my application, in The Singer of Tales , of Parry’s view of the formula to Beowulf . John D. Niles in a 1981 article and in his 1983 book Beowulf has responded both to Watts and to Benson. He comments on Watts’s work as follows:

Niles carefully restricts himself to Beowulf rather than considering all the poetry in the Anglo-Saxon Poetic Records (ASPR).He criticized certain of Benson’s conclusions as follows:

My reply to Benson’s article was “The Formulaic Structure of Introductions to Direct Discourse in Beowulf and Elene,” [
6] in which I was able to show that the formulas used in introductions to speech are handled by the Beowulf poet in a way different from that of any other Anglo-Saxon poet whose works we have. The maþelode ‘(he) spoke’ formula systems belong to Beowulf par excellence; in fact “they are used twenty-six times in Beowulf compared with nine in Elene and four in Genesi s—twice as many in Beowulf as in the other two combined.” [7] But that is not all, as I pointed out:

I do not wish to detract from Fry’s important contributions in this field; for they moved the study of Anglo-Saxon formulas forward on their own path, and they also broadened and deepened our sense of the intricacy of structure characteristic of oral traditional narrative style. I find it necessary, however, to comment on several aspects of his definitions of formula and system vis-à-vis Parry’s.

“Regular use,” however, is important in the definition of the formula, be it in Old English or in any other tradition, no matter how one chooses to word it. If one wishes to interpret Fry’s definition of a system as implying “regular use,” and as including, under “semantic,” the concept of “essential idea,” then his definition may not be so radical as it may seem but may be the same thing in disguise, except for the restricting of Parry’s “metrical conditions” to a half-line in the case of Old English. Be that as it may, Fry’s discussion of his definition in his 1967 article admirably analyzes what I have later termed the “weaving style,” namely, the intricate pattern of interrelationships of formulas and of formulaic expressions which is typical of oral traditional style.

Three, in limiting the formula to a half-line in the case of Anglo-Saxon poetry, Fry has, I believe, been too conservative. Recent work seems to indicate that we should extend the boundaries of the formula because, like everyone else, the singers do not think, or compose, in terms of half-lines. They think in whole lines or, even better, in terms of clauses, or perhaps of whole sentences, which may well be of greater length than a whole line, to say nothing of a half-line. In other words, they do not compose in terms of subjects or of verbs but of subjects-plus-verbs, that is, in terms of larger syntactic and semantic units. If we leave untouched Fry’s restriction on length for the Old English formula, we will have to invent another simple term for the longer units.

Fry thus states that the method of composition is the same whether it be done orally or in writing. There is merit in that suggestion, I believe, but only for the earliest period of written Old English poetry, the first stage of transition, as it were, or the last of oral traditional poetry, depending on the direction of one’s approach. It should be our task to determine how the oral formulaic style changes in time as the method of composition changes; for change it must, and does, through the increased influence of reading and writing and, more particularly, through the eventual imitation of new poetic models, for example, Latin poetry. Those changes in style are visible and measurable.

Riedinger’s idea of content is explained simply by observing the situations in which a formula such as nihtlangne fyrst ‘the space of a whole night’ is used. It occurs five times in four different poems: once each in Beowulf, Exodus, and Elene, and twice in Andreas. In all five cases it “signifies a terrifying period of time prior to a battle.” To substantiate this statement she notes that “Unferth dares Beowulf to wait that long near Grendel (Bwf 528a)”; “the terrified Israelites … wait nihtlangne fyrst for battle with the Egyptians (Exo 208b)”; “the fearful Constantine and his Romans … do the same before battle with the Goths and Huns (Ele 67b)”; the angels who transported Andreas to the land of Mermedonians leave him asleep “nihtlangne fyrst outside the gates of his enemies (And 834b)”; and he waits in prison that period of time before being returned for torture. [21] “In each instance,” she says, “the context reveals ominous connotations not explicitly suggested by the formula.” To her, this formula always carries with it such “ominous connotations.” Such formulas “may be said to signify themes rather than to express them, because they are dependent for their full meaning upon a context external to the semantics of the formulas themselves; that is, the words themselves do not mean ‘impending disaster,’ yet this is their invariable context.” [22] I agree with her that, if this is true, such a meaning would be traditional, because it is shared by more than one poet. I would add that it is likely that considerable time would be required for such a meaning to become traditional. It follows, then, that traditional “thematic formulas” must be of some age. I suggest that they, like the basic formulaic style itself, {124|125} must also have originated in the period when the poetry was oral rather than written.

We find the formula in Guthlac B in the description of the night when the saint is dying:

                                     Þa se æþela glæm
setlgong sohte. ǁ swearc norðrodor
won under wolcnum, ǁ woruld miste oferteah
þystrum biþeahte, ǁ þrong niht ofer tiht
londes frætwa. ǁ Ða cwom leohta mæst,
halig of heofonum ǁ hædre scinan,
beorhte ofer burgsalu. ǁ Bad se þe sceolde
eadig on elne ǁ endedogor,
awrecen wælstrælum.

Glc I278b-86a

Then the glorious radiance reached its setting; the northern sky dimmed, dark beneath the clouds, covered the world with mist, wrapped it in darkness; night rushed across the expanse of the land’s adornments. Then, holy from the heavens, {125|126} the greatest of lights came shining clearly, bright above the city’s dwellings. He who had to do so awaited his last day, blessed with courage, pierced by death’s arrows.

Riedinger continues: “The next ten verses describe the miraculous light that illuminates the darkness and include the phrase scadu sweþredon shadows disappeared‘” (300).

The example from Beowulf occurs when Hrothgar, aware that Grendel will visit Heorot, departs from the hall to go to bed:

                                     oþþæt semninga
sunu Healfdenes ǁ secean wolde
æfenræste; ǁ wiste þæm ahlæcan
to þaem heahsele ǁ hilde geþinged,
siđđan hie sunnan leoht ǁ geseon ne meahton,
oþðe nipende ǁ niht ofer ealle,
scaduhelma gesceapu ǁ scriðan cwoman,
wan under wolcnum.

Bwf 644b-51a

… until presently the son of Healfdene wished to seek his evening rest. He knew the battle planned by the terrible one for that high-hall after they could not see the sun’s light and night, obscuring all, the shapes of covering shadows, came gliding, dark beneath the clouds.

Neither the word sleep nor the word death is used specifically in the Beowulf passage; sleep, at least, is implied in œfenrœste ‘evening rest’. Moreover, a little later in the poem, when Grendel approaches Heorot, the poet uses some of the words belonging to the thematic cluster:

                                     Com on wanre niht
scriðan sceadugenga. ǁ Sceotend swæfon

Bwf 702b-3

In the dark night the walker-in-shadows came gliding. The warriors slept

Twelve lines later, a variant of wan under wolcnum is found with the shining brightness of gold, a “light” not noted by Reidinger, but which I deem may be pertinent to the theme in this part of Beowulf:

Wod under wolcnum ǁ to þæs þe he winreced, {126|127}
goldsele gumena, ǁ gearwost wisse,
fættum fahne.

Bwf 714-16a

He strode beneath the clouds, until he might most clearly perceive the gold-hall of men, the wine-hall shining with gold plate.

I see no reason why Riedinger should feel that wod under wolcnum is “non-traditional,” purely on the grounds that it is not found again in the corpus. I prefer to view it simply as a formulaic expression, possibly a formula, that is an apt variant of wan under wolcnum.

Finally, wan under wolcnum is found in Andreas in the same context where we previously noted the thematic formula nihtlangne fyrst, namely, after the angels have carried Andreas miraculously during a sleep to Mermedonia and left him still asleep for the remainder of the night outside the walls of the city where his enemies dwell. Here is the passage, including the coming of dawn:

Leton þone halgan ǁ be herestræte
swefan on sybbe ǁ under swegles hleo,
bliðne bidan ǁ burhwealle neh,
his niðhetum, ǁ nihtlangne fyrst,
oðþæt dryhten forlet ǁ dægcandelle
scire scinan. ǁ Sceadu sweðerodon,
wonn under wolcnum.

And 831-37a

They let the holy one sleep in peace by the army road under the protection of the sky happily to await near the city wall of his enemies, for the space of a night, until the Lord allowed the day-candle to shine brightly; the shadows disappeared, dark beneath the clouds.

Riedinger interprets this passage according to the other contexts in which nihtlangne fyrst, on the one hand, and wan under wolcnum on the other, appear in the corpus. I am sorry to say that I do not entirely agree with her, tempting as it may be to see these thematic formulas casting an ominous gloom on this passage. There just are not enough cases in Anglo-Saxon poetry to prove that the context is always ominous. She has, indeed, indicated that it is not. She has demonstrated, however, that a cluster of formulas joins these four or five scenes in these poems, and she has noted that in all but one of them, the context is gloomy and ominous. That is interesting and valuable. When she stretches the evidence to create an absolute, she does disservice to her cause. One must be careful about such generalizations; for the body of extant Anglo-Saxon material is limited and varied in genre. {127|128}

The movement to expand the idea of the formula is not actually new. Parry’s systems of formulas, as he elaborated them for the Homeric poems in 1928, could be thought of as expansions of the formula. The “formulaic expressions” that I discussed in general and described in detail for both South Slavic and Old English in The Singer of Tales, being based on the idea of Parry’s “systems” of formulas, could also be considered expansions of the concept of the formula. [24] It is true, however, that we distinguished the formula from both the system, a group of formulas sharing a syntactic pattern and at least one word, and also from the formulaic expression, which might be thought of as a member of a system, or a partial repetition, a phrase sharing at least one word with the other phrases. It is also true that we considered the formula itself to be a verbatim repetition. In a seminar on medieval epic and romance that I used to offer regularly in the Department of Comparative Literature at Harvard, we accepted as formulas repetitions in which two words were metathesized, and we also counted as formulas phrases in which the elements of formula were declined or conjugated, taking into account necessary adjustments in metrical conditions. Riedinger calls such cases, I think often correctly, the “same formula.” For example, she considers hwœr ic under swegle (Wids 101a), “where beneath the heavens I,” and nœnigne ic under swegle (Bwf 1197a), “Of none I beneath the heavens” to be the same formula, although I would prefer to think of them as aspects of the same formula. [25] The poet of Andreas uses ofer cold wœter, ond on cald wœter, and on cald wœter, and I find no difficulty in calling all three expressions the same formula, although when Riedinger adds ofer cald cleofu, “across the fateful cliffs” (And 310a), I prefer to note that the phrase is a member of a system with ofer cald as its stable core and wœter and cleofu as the variables, before agreeing to call them the same formula. I hesitate, because these distinctions in “fine-tuning” may turn out under certain circumstances to be useful, and one is running the danger of calling everything a formula indiscriminately or on purely subjective or intuitive grounds.

Benson did not try to redefine the formula but accepted Parry’s definition for application in Old English. Before Riedinger, the greatest modification of the definition of the formula had come from Fry. It seems that all scholars who have concerned themselves with the subject have thought of Parry’s definition as not applicable to Old English, although it was applicable to Ancient Greek and South Slavic. I believe that it is time to point out that Parry’s definition is not specific to either Greek or South Slavic. Consider each phrase in the definition: “A group of words” is appropriate to any language that uses words, and certainly Old English does. “Regularly used” is certainly general enough—it implies that the group of words is generally used in the practice of the singers in any given tradition; it does not say it must be used such-and-such a number of times. “To express a given essential idea” is also not language specific—the essential idea does not have to be Greek, or Slavic; as long as the Anglo-Saxons expressed ideas they were not excluded.

It is “under given metrical conditions” that has caused the difficulty. For {129|130} some unknown reason it has been assumed that the phrase meant either dactylic hexameter or South Slavic decasyllabics. Inasmuch as Old English poetry is in meter, Old English scholars should be able to translate the phrase into the metrical system of Old English, even as Greek scholars translate that general, nonspecific metrical term into dactylic hexameters, or South Slavs into asymmetric decasyllabics. Russian scholars have found no problem in accommodating it to the tonic verse of the byliny, and Old French scholars have not found the assonance of the laisse difficult to include in the umbrella term of “metrical conditions.” In short, surely Old English poetry has “metrical conditions,” or Eduard Sievers, M. W. M. Pope, Robert Creed, and John Foley have lived in vain. I see no reason to change Parry’s definition for the formula. I have already treated Fry’s valiant attempts to define the Old English formula as the product of a system while limiting the formula to a half-line. Saying that a formula is the product of a system is not to define it but merely to say whence it came; and to limit it to a half-line is simply to read into Parry’s generic definition the specific “metrical conditions,” or part of them, that Fry sees as appropriate for Old English. Parry’s definition still stands for any poetry that uses words and has some form of “metrical conditions.” Each language area will set forth its own particular “metrical conditions,” but there is no need to change the definition.

Riedinger’s definition of a system is admittedly derived from Fry’s and runs as follows: “A system is a group of verses usually sharing the same meter and syntax in which one word, usually stressed, is constant and the other stressed word or words may be varied to suit the alliterative and/or narrative context” (305). In Anglo-Saxon terms, this definition of a system is not much different from Parry’s, or from mine, for that matter, and it is close to Fry’s. There is nothing remarkable in it. But from it she derives another grouping of formulas, which she calls a “set” and defines as follows:

A “set” may be defined as a group of verses usually sharing the same function and system in which one word, usually stressed, is constant, and at least one stressed word may be varied, usually synonymously, to suit the alliterative and/or narrative context. A system may contain several different sets, each of which is a different formula, but all the verses in a set constitute the same formula—whether or not they repeat one another verbatim. By making a distinction between verses that are members of the same system, but of different sets, one can identify word groups that are the equivalent of the “same formula,” even though they contain variables. (306)

This is all somewhat confusing and perhaps unduly complex, but it is to be noted that a formula and a set share the elements of function and system. A formula is a repeated general concept + system + function. In other words, both a formula and a set belong to a system; and both a formula and a set have a function. For a formula, we saw that Riedinger acknowledged two clear functions, one as a tag, the other as a thematic formula in context. But we learn later that other functions, of a less precise nature, are adduced. Function does not enter the definition of system, and it is in respect to function that set is of significance. It is the component of function of Riedinger’s groupings that saves her work from being just another reshuffling of terms for already familiar phenomena. The system and the set according to Riedinger will be clearer if we look at some of her examples.

The remaining fourteen members of the x hremig system fall into three sets. The first has only one verse, but it is used six times:

Set 1. blissum hremig ‘exulting in joys’ (And 1699a; Ele 1137a; ECL 64a; Glc 1106b; Phx 126b, 592b).

This verse, Riedinger tells us, “recurs in varying contexts and functions as a traditional expression of Christian happiness. The frequency of this verbatim repetition makes it an easily recognizable formula” (310). It is the function, nonthematic in this case, that makes this formula into a set. It is not clear to me that anything of moment is gained thereby.

The second set is the opposite of the first in respect to meaning. Its three members may be translated “clamorous with grief.”

Set 2. geohðum hremig (SB1 9b)
          gehþum hremig (SB2 9b)
          sorgum hremig (SFt 208b).

Riedinger comments that these formulas “function as a traditional expression of Christian lamentation for man’s sins” (310). The first two would be formulas according to both Fry and myself, and the third also according to Fry. I am perfectly willing to go along with this judgment, because all three are synonyms. It is worth pointing out that in spite of their having the same meaning, they do not violate the principle of thrift, because they have different alliteration.

The third and last set has five members, and there is somewhat greater variety in meaning:

Set 3. huðe hremig ‘exulting in his booty’ (Bwf 124a; Ele 149a)
          since hremig ‘exulting in his treasure’ (Bwf 1882a)
          frœtwum hremig ‘exulting in his treasures’ (Bwf 2054a)
          wiges hremige ‘exulting in battle’ (Brb 59b).

According to Riedinger, “Set 3 is a thematic formula whose function it is to signify the theme ‘the victor’s reward.’ It usually appears with formulas expressing the general concept ‘to seek home,’ so that the complete theme {132|133} may be identified as ‘the victor returns home with his reward'” (310). In the first case, Grendel returns to his lair with thirty men from Heorot; in the second, Constantine returns home from his victory over the Goths and Huns; and in the third, Beowulf returns home from Denmark with his rewards. Riedinger has to stretch a point for the inclusion of the last two examples, because their contexts, especially in the third Beowulf example, are not so clearly related to the first three as one might hope. I find no problem in considering the Brunanburh passage with its depiction of the English forces returning victorious, even though they are “exulting in battle” instead of “booty” or “treasure,” as belonging to the same theme as the first three. The fourth instance above occurs in one of the digressions in Beowulf and concerns the descendant of the victor exulting in the sword that had been previously won as booty. There is no returning home, except perhaps by implication, but the context is not so far removed from the sense of the other passages to quibble about its traditionality.

Riedinger closes her article with the following comment:

I believe that with further study my definition of a set, which is the same as my definition of a formula—the repetition of one general concept + one system + one function—can be further narrowed and refined; but the key to that greater precision lies in the study of traditional contexts, which allows us to discern what the Old English poets themselves seem to have regarded as formulas. (317)

The principle of contextual analysis is a very worthy one, it seems to me, and should be pursued, as Riedinger urges, with greater precision. There are, of course, pitfalls, of which she is thoroughly aware. We have a limited body of Anglo-Saxon poetry and it is varied in its genres. To jump to the conclusion that a formula used five times in four poems in a given context is used “invariably” in that type of context is assuming a great deal, even though the statement is literally true. Moreover, one has to strain unduly to interpret some contexts as being of the nature that one would like them to be for the theory to fit. Subjective judgment comes into play more than Riedinger admits, albeit she tries hard to be careful and honest. Nor is context the only element in her analyses and definitions which lies open to the charge of “subjective.” Her terms general concept and function are not models of precision; yet they are the cornerstones of her definitions of formula and set.

To turn now to another aspect of the formula, we note that the oral formulaic style is characterized by a high degree of “thriftiness,” that is to say, there is usually only one way of expressing an essential idea under any given metrical and—for Anglo-Saxon, or Germanic in general—alliterative conditions. {133|134}

Superficially it is true that rof oretta and rices hyrde have alliteration in r and each contains four syllables. But the distribution of long and short vowels and of stresses is different. Rof oretta has two long os, with stresses on both and a possible weaker stress on ett, whereas rices hyrde has a long i, which is stressed, and a short y, which is also stressed. Thus the two verses are not equivalent except in number of syllables and in alliteration. The differences in distribution of long vowels and of stresses is important and should not be ignored. Moreover, rof oretta is found in the b-verse, whereas rices hyrde is used twice in Beowulf, and only in the a-verse, and belongs in a larger system that includes folces hyrde—used four times in Beowulf in the a-verse (610, 1832, 1849, 2981), hordes hyrde—once in the a-verse (887), and others. Only once does the Beowulf poet use a member of this a-verse system in the b-verse; that is folces hyrde in line 2644. Oretta is used only twice in Beowulf, once in the a-verse (yrre oretta, line 1532) and rof oretta in line 2538, where it alliterates with ronde in the a-verse, Aras ða bi ronde ‘arose then by his shield’. To follow that a-verse with rices hyrde would break the poet’s usage of that essentially a-verse formula. One should also note that ronde and rof share more than an r; they also share the following o. The poet is thrifty here.

Once again the two phrases inhabit different verses, one the a, the other the b. Ylda waldend would have been impossible in the a-verse of line 108, and ece drihten, while just possible perhaps, would be really unhappy in the sea of ws, which start at line 1660 and roll on through line 1664. Actually, the Beowulf poet uses wuldres waldend three times in the a-verse (lines 17 [wealdend], 183, and 1752). Whallon has chosen too hastily. If anything, he has strongly confirmed the thriftiness of the Beowulf poet.

There are two instances, however, in which the poet uses an appositional clause in the b-verse referring to the verb rather than to Beowulf. The first is in the introduction to Beowulf’s final boast before fighting with the dragon (lines 2510-12):

Beowulf maþelode, ǁ beotwordum spræc
niehstan siðe: ǁ “Ic geneðde fela
guða on geogoðe; ǁ gyt ic wylle …”

Beowulf discoursed—spoke a last time with words of boasting:—”I ventured on many battles in my younger days; once more will I, …”

Here again is a classic example of unperiodic enjambment. Were we to stop at the end of line 2510, we might have thought that here was an instance in which the poet was not being thrifty. But in the b-verse he introduces an idea that continues into the a-verse of the following line. One simply cannot stop at the end of line 2510, because the significant and emotion-filled words, niehstan siðe ‘for the last time’ come in the following line. Besides, beotwordum spræc introduces a new idea, that of boasting, in the b-verse. The appositive is not a colorless repetition of the verb of speaking but a meaningful addition.

The second instance of an appositive to the verb maþelode in the a-verse is in lines 2724-25:

Beowulf maþelode ǁ (he ofer benne spræc,
wunde wælbleate; ǁ wisse he gearwe,

Beowulf discoursed: despite his hurt, his grievous deadly wound, he spoke,—he knew full well …

The unperiodic enjambment after line 2724 is followed by an appositive to its b-verse in the a-verse of 2725, which emphasizes the tragic poignancy of the situation. It is noticeable that when the poet leaves the pattern of Beowulf maþelode, / bearn Ecgþeowes, it is for significant emphasis. It is also worth noting that this gesture does not mean that the poet is departing from the traditional, because the departing itself is traditional.

We can conclude, therefore, that the Beowulf poet shows evidence of thriftiness and, in so doing, indicates an affiliation with the oral traditional style of Homer.


[ back ] * Portions of this chapter were presented at a lecture, “Recent Comparative Perspectives on Oral Traditional Poetry,” sponsored by the Center for the Study of Comparative Folklore and Mythology, the Folklore and Mythology Program, and the English Department, at the University of California at Los Angeles, February 20, 1986.

[ back ] 1. Watts, 1969; see Chapter 4 at n. 18.

[ back ] 2. Benson, 1966.

[ back ] 3. Niles, 1981, 410.

[ back ] 4. Ibid., 409.

[ back ] 5. Ibid., 410-11.

[ back ] 6. A. Lord, 1991, 147-69.

[ back ] 7. Beowulf contains 3,182 lines; Elene has 1,321; Genesis , 2,936. The total of Elene and Genesis is 4,257 lines.

[ back ] 8. A. Lord, 1991, 151-52, 161.

[ back ] 9. Ibid., 165.

[ back ] 10. Benson, 1966, 340-41.

[ back ] 11. Niles, 1983, 138.

[ back ] 12. Fry, 1967b, 1968c.

[ back ] 13. Fry, 1967b, 204.

[ back ] 14. Fry, 1981, 172-73.

[ back ] 15. Parry, 1971, 13.

[ back ] 16. For the conviction that an expression need not be used more than once by a singer for it to be considered a formula, see Bynum, 1987, 103-6.

[ back ] 17. Fry, 1981, 173.

[ back ] 18. Ibid.

[ back ] 19. Riedinger, 1985. An important article by Fry not mentioned in the preceding survey is Fry, 1968a. It stems from Benson, 1966, and continues the discussion of thrift in Beowulf as set forth in Whallon, 1961, 1965a, and 1965b.

[ back ] 20. Riedinger, 1985, 306 no. 30; Krishna, 1982: “A true formula therefore is not simply a repeated phrase but a phrase that fits into a system or set that exhibits extension and, most important, thrift” (77); Niles, 1983, characterizes a system as “a set of verses of a similar metrical type in which one main verbal element is constant” (126).

[ back ] 21. The abbreviations of Old English texts are those listed in Bessinger with Smith, 1978. See Riedinger, 1985, 294 no. 4. The Old English texts are from the ASPR, and the translations of the passages cited by Riedinger are hers, with slight modifications.

[ back ] 22. Riedinger, 1985, 297.

[ back ] 23. Ibid., 300.

[ back ] 24. See A. Lord, 1960, e.g., 37, 47-48, 297-301. For the importance of “sound-patterning” in the concept of the formula, see Creed, 1981, 19-20.

[ back ] 25. Riedinger, 1985, 303.

[ back ] 26. Ibid., 304.

[ back ] 27. Luethans, 1990.

[ back ] 28. Notopoulos, 1959; Hainsworth, 1968 and 1978; Hoekstra, 1964; Nagy, 1976 [and 1990a, 50-51]; Janko, 1982, II, 19-24, [and 1992; see index s.v. formulae].

[ back ] 29. Riedinger, 1985, 305.

[ back ] 30. Ibid., 310.

[ back ] 31. Whallon, 1961 and 1969.

[ back ] 32. The translations from Beowulf in this section are from Clark Hall, 1950.

[ back ] 33. For more on “Beowulf spoke,” see A. Lord, 1991, 147-69.