"Alone in the front" : isolation and community in the hero's life in Beowulf.




Ziehe, Mary E.

Access rights

Worldwide access.
Access changed 5/21/14.

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



This project seeks to clarify the paradox suggested by 'ana on orde' (“alone in the front”) and to show how it plays out on both the narratorial and verbal levels of Beowulf. Ultimately, I suggest reading Beowulf using the two sides of this paradox (held in tension with each other) as an interpretive lens. My approach focuses on linguistic and literary analysis of the words 'ana' and 'ord.' I first provide background material on topics of Beowulf scholarship relating to my analysis. Then, I trace the uses of 'ana' and 'ord' in Beowulf’s “pre-battle speeches.” Third, I analyze their use throughout Beowulf. Finally, I look at how they and their cognates are used in the poetry of Old English, Old Saxon, and Old High German in order to see how the Beowulf poet uses the phrase ana on orde in comparison to other literature in his larger literary and cultural milieu.



Beowulf., Isolation., Community., Pre-battle speeches., Old English., Old Saxon., Word study., 'Ana.', 'Ord.', 'Alone in the front.', Old High German.