, Volume 92, Issue 1, pp 127–139

The interpretation of The Seafarer—a re-examination of the pilgrimage theory


DOI: 10.1007/s11061-007-9043-2

Cite this article as:
Sobecki, S.I. Neophilologus (2008) 92: 127. doi:10.1007/s11061-007-9043-2


For quite some time now, the Old English poem The Seafarer has been interpreted as an account of an early Insular sea pilgrimage, a peregrinatio pro amore Dei. This reading, I argue, rides roughshot over a number of difficulties, including that of the poem’s apparent internal division. A re-examination of this theory shows that such a reading of the The Seafarer also runs counter to pilgrimage patterns identifiable at the time. As an alternative interpretation of the first part of the poem, I propose the possibility that the narrator may have been a fisherman.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.McGill University Department of EnglishWest MontréalCanada