, Volume 92, Issue 1, pp 127–139 | Cite as

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

  • Sebastian I. SobeckiEmail author


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.


Ninth Century English Reader Shell Midden Liberation Theology English Poetry 
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© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.McGill University Department of EnglishWest MontréalCanada

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