Conclusion: Old English—A Shadow Poetry?
This chapter argues that through the work of Pound, Auden, Morgan, and Heaney—all of them major and influential poets—the influence of Old English has made itself felt more widely throughout 20th-century poetry, difficult as this impact is to quantify exactly. The poets under consideration are contrasted, perhaps surprisingly, with those 19th-century enthusiasts of Old English, who saw the ‘purity’ of Anglo-Saxon roots as a cure for supposed contemporary linguistic decadence. Finally, Allen Frantzen's idea of ‘the shadow’ is borrowed to argue that New Old English is distinct, yet inseparable from the English tradition which it both helps to define, and simultaneously challenges.
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