Date of Thesis



This project offers a critical reading of several elegiac poems found in The Exeter Book, one of the few extant volumes of Anglo-Saxon vernacular verse. Utilizing an ecocritical approach, this paper brings to the forefront the landscape and natural elements of the poetry in an effort to understand the role of environment in Anglo-Saxon elegiac literature. Written in the late tenth century, the elegies found in The Exeter Book provide insight into vernacular poetry as it is shaped during the historical moment of the creation of England out of Wessex, a kingdom conceived through common language and religion. A revival of monastic life led to an increased interest in Augustinian thought, the transience of earthly life, and the importance of study in the life of a monk, all influential elements in the development of Anglo-Saxon elegy as it exists in The Exeter Book. This project explores the role of nature as an isolating force underscoring the transience of life in these elegiac poems of The Exeter Book.


ecocriticism, medieval, Anglo-Saxon, elegies, elegy, exeter book

Access Type

Honors Thesis (Bucknell Access Only)

Degree Type

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Alfred K. Siewers