A Summary and Analysis of ‘The Dream of the Rood’

In this week’s Dispatches from The Secret Library, Dr Oliver Tearle analyses a minor classic of Anglo-Saxon poetry

‘The Dream of the Rood’ is one of the gems of Anglo-Saxon poetry. ‘Rood’ is an Old English word for ‘Cross’, and poem tells of a pious man’s encounter with a talking crucifix, which is a novel idea for a poem, to say the least. ‘The Dream of the Rood’ is thus the first great Christian dream-vision poem in English literature, a precursor to the fourteenth-century Pearl and Langland’s Piers Plowman among many other later works.

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