unigo_skin
© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
 

Analysis

Kennings

Symbol Analysis

Anglo-Saxon poetry uses 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 famous example in Anglo-Saxon poetry is "whale-road," used in line 10 of Beowulf to refer to the ocean. Kennings sometimes get lost in translation, but the version of "The Wanderer" we're using maintains many of them. One of them is "earth-stepper" (line 6) in place of "wanderer" or "traveler." Another, more obviously metaphorical kenning is "wealth-chamber," used to refer to the mind or heart in line 14. Can you spot other kennings in the poem? (Hint: In modern English translations, they usually have a hyphen.)

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
back to top