CYNEWULF (KYNEWULF, CYNWULF): Besides Caedmon the only Anglo-Saxon poet whose name is known. He flourished in the second half of the eighth century and.was probably a Mercian (cf. Anglia, xvii., pp. 106 sqq., Halls, 1894). His knowledge of Latin indicates that he may have studied in a monastery school, but of his life nothing is known except what he tells himself in his poem Elene (v. 1236 sqq.). He long roamed about as wandering minstrel and took part in battles and voyages over the sea. Then, when he was well along in years, something changed his life, he renounced the world, and in the quiet of a monastery or hermitage he produced four poems, entitled Fata apostolorum, Crist, Juliana, and Elene, into which he interwove his name in runic letters, thus attesting his authorship. They are all religious narratives, based on legend with the exception of the Crist, which is in three parts, treating of the three-fold coming of Christ (birth; resurrection and period on earth to the ascension; the last judgment). Traces of the veneration of saints and of Mary appear. Cynewulf's art is predominantly subjective, his poetry is often lyrical, sometimes dramatic, but never epic. His lively descriptions of battles and voyages remind of his early life, and he is fond of alliteration and rime. Many other poems have been attributed to Cynewulf, of which a Death of Guthlac has the best claim to genuineness. A collection of ninety-six Riddles belongs to his time, but there is no evidence that all or any of them are his.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: The text of Cynewulf's poems is in C. W. M. Grein'e Bibliothek der angelsddsiachen Poesie, ed. R. Walker, 3 vole., Cassel and Leipsio, 1883-98. The Crist, ed. with transl. I. Gollanes, London, 1892; also ed. A. 8. Cook, tranel. by C. H. Whitman, Boston, 1900. The Elene, ed. C. W. Kent with notes and glossary, Boston, 1889; Eng. tranel. by R. F. Weymouth, Boston, 1888, J. M. Garnett, Boston, 1889, Jane Menzies, Edinburgh, 1895 (a metrical transl.), and J. H. Holt, New York, 1904, Yale Studies in English, no. xxi. Consult: C. ten Brink, Qesehichte der enplischen Litteratur, i. 64-6b, Berlin, 1877, Eng. tranel., pp. 186-189, New York, 1883; R. Walker, Gruudriaa our Geschichte der angeledchsiachea Litteratur, pp. 147-217, Leipsic, 1885; H. Morley, English Writers, ii. 192-248, London, 1888; G. Herzfeld, Die Rlltwl des Exeterbuehee and ihr Verfaftser, Berlin, 1890; M. Trautmann, %ynewuif, der Bischof and Dirhtar. Bonn. 1898.
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