The maritime imagination and the paradoxical mind in Old English poetry

Antonina Harbus*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The specifically maritime imagination of Anglo-Saxon poets resolves the potentially incongruous metaphorical models of the mind in this culture as both an enclosure and a wandering entity. The dual containing and travelling aspects of the ship provide a suitable model for the embodied yet metaphysical mind, and act in conjunction with the widespread metaphor of life as a sea voyage to produce a coherent means of imagining how the mind operates in relation to the body. The Wanderer and The Seafarer illustrate how acutely this conventionalized way of representing physical and mental experience relies on the sea voyage as both the setting for and metaphorical representation of a human consciousness that is both enclosed in the body and also able to transcend the physical.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-42
Number of pages22
JournalAnglo-Saxon England
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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