The Wanderer and mental wounds: Post-traumatic stress disorder in early English culture

— Chad White, Department of History, University of Louisville

Paper given 7 July 2021 at IMC 2021 paper session № 1302

In the Old English elegy, The Wanderer, the protagonist roams a storm-battered seashore, alone and bereft of his liege lord, warband, and male companionship. From the descriptions of harsh weather to the conclusion the character explores Anglo-Saxon idealized masculinity, lordship in Early English Society, and experiences survivor’s guilt after a battle. I argue that The Wanderer is an account of the psychological trauma experienced by the subject of the poem akin to what modern soldiers experience today branded as post-traumatic stress disorder. I posit that this poem could have been used as a counseling tool or an allegorical tale to help men in a society at near-constant warfare in the Viking Age.

Authoritative information may be found here.

permalink 🔗︁
source URL 🌐Institute for Medieval Studies - Faculty of Arts - University of Leeds
date recorded 📅2021-07-23
scribe 🖋worblehat