Volume 18, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1566-5852
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9854
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This paper argues for a reconsideration of the pragmatics of , specifically in relation to speech in what is known as the “Unferð Episode”, and more generally in terms of the poem’s placement in the ethnopragmatic history of English. Previous critics have almost unanimously read sarcasm into Beowulf’s treatment of the initially hostile Unferð (e.g., in his address to the latter as , ‘my friend’), and in turn historical pragmaticists have discussed the poem in relation to Germanic insult-boasts, or flyting. By discussing the relevant contextual and co-textual frames, I show that previous interpretations along these lines have failed to recognize the import of Beowulf’s courtly speech.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): Beowulf; Christianity; courtliness; sarcasm; Unferð
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