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The Wanderer

The Wanderer


by Anonymous

The Wanderer Analysis

Symbolism, Imagery, Wordplay

Welcome to the land of symbols, imagery, and wordplay. Before you travel any further, please know that there may be some thorny academic terminology ahead. Never fear, Shmoop is here. Check out our...

Form and Meter

Red Alert! This analysis refers to the poem in its original language. Translations may or may not preserve the following features.OK, hold on tight, because we're about to get technical. Unlike...


The speakers in "The Wanderer" are like those nesting Russian dolls, where each larger one opens to reveal that it contains another, sometimes identical, doll inside. The first speaker starts out b...


Just close your eyes, and imagine yourself by the sea. OK, now imagine that it's stormy and cold. Icy rain pelts down, drenching you to the bone. The only thing you see are crashing waves, and sea-...

Sound Check

With 3-4 alliterations per line in the original Old English, "The Wanderer" sounds a lot like a tongue-twister. Now imagine saying that tongue-twister on a roller coaster, and you've got a pretty g...

What's Up With the Title?

The poem we know as "The Wanderer" actually doesn't have a title as it appears in the manuscript; it's just separated from the poem before it by a larger first letter to mark its first word. Anglo-...

Calling Card

Anglo-Saxon poetry employs a poetic device called a "kenning," a compound noun that's used in place of a simpler, one-word noun. A kenning is often a metaphorical or symbolic expression. The most f...


How tough is "The Wanderer"? Well, that kind of depends on whether you want to read it in Old English or modern English. If you want to read it in Old English, it's definitely a 10. If you don't al...


J.R.R. Tolkien (who, by the way, was an Anglo-Saxonist) adapted the "Where are they?" section in lines 93-97 of "The Wanderer" as the song Aragorn sings about Rohan in The Two Towers.

Steaminess Rating

There's no sex in "The Wanderer." Period. End of story. In fact, the almost total lack of steaminess in any Anglo-Saxon poetry is pretty typical of the genre as a whole.

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