W. B. Yeats
William Butler Yeats was an Irish poet and one of the foremost figures of 20th-century literature. A pillar of the Irish literary establishment, he helped to found the Abbey Theatre, in his years served as a Senator of the Irish Free State for two terms, he was a driving force behind the Irish Literary Revival along with Lady Gregory, Edward Martyn and others. Yeats was born in Sandymount and educated there and in London, he spent childhood holidays in County Sligo and studied poetry from an early age when he became fascinated by Irish legends and the occult. These topics feature in the first phase of his work, which lasted until the turn of the 20th century, his earliest volume of verse was published in 1889, its slow-paced and lyrical poems display debts to Edmund Spenser, Percy Bysshe Shelley, the poets of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. From 1900, his poetry grew more realistic, he renounced the transcendental beliefs of his youth, though he remained preoccupied with physical and spiritual masks, as well as with cyclical theories of life.
In 1923, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. William Butler Yeats was born at Sandymount in Ireland, his father, John Butler Yeats, was a descendant of Jervis Yeats, a Williamite soldier, linen merchant, well-known painter who died in 1712. Benjamin Yeats, Jervis's grandson and William's great-great-grandfather, had in 1773 married Mary Butler of a landed family in County Kildare. Following their marriage, they kept the name Butler. Mary was a descendant of the Butler of Ormond family from the Neigham Gowran branch. By his marriage, William's father John Yeats was studying law but abandoned his studies to study art at Heatherley School of Fine Art in London, his mother, Susan Mary Pollexfen, came from a wealthy merchant family in Sligo, who owned a milling and shipping business. Soon after William's birth the family relocated to the Pollexfen home at Merville, Sligo to stay with her extended family, the young poet came to think of the area as his childhood and spiritual home, its landscape became, over time and symbolically, his "country of the heart".
So did its location on the sea. The Butler Yeats family were artistic. Yeats was raised a member of the Protestant Ascendancy, at the time undergoing a crisis of identity. While his family was broadly supportive of the changes Ireland was experiencing, the nationalist revival of the late 19th century directly disadvantaged his heritage, informed his outlook for the remainder of his life. In 1997, his biographer R. F. Foster observed that Napoleon's dictum that to understand the man you have to know what was happening in the world when he was twenty "is manifestly true of W. B. Y." Yeats's childhood and young adulthood were shadowed by the power-shift away from the minority Protestant Ascendancy. The 1880s saw the rise of the home rule movement; these developments had a profound effect on his poetry, his subsequent explorations of Irish identity had a significant influence on the creation of his country's biography. In 1867, the family moved to England to aid John, to further his career as an artist.
At first the Yeats children were educated at home. Their mother entertained them with Irish folktales. John provided an erratic education in geography and chemistry, took William on natural history explorations of the nearby Slough countryside. On 26 January 1877, the young poet entered the Godolphin school, he did not distinguish himself academically, an early school report describes his performance as "only fair. Better in Latin than in any other subject. Poor in spelling". Though he had difficulty with mathematics and languages, he was fascinated by zoology. In 1879 the family moved to Bedford Park taking a two-year lease on 8 Woodstock Road. For financial reasons, the family returned to Dublin toward the end of 1880, living at first in the suburbs of Harold's Cross and Howth. In October 1881, Yeats resumed his education at Dublin's Erasmus Smith High School, his father's studio was nearby and William spent a great deal of time there, where he met many of the city's artists and writers. During this period he started writing poetry, and, in 1885, the Dublin University Review published Yeats's first poems, as well as an essay entitled "The Poetry of Sir Samuel Ferguson".
Between 1884 and 1886, William attended the Metropolitan School of Art—now the National College of Art and Design—in Thomas Street. In March 1888 the family moved to 3 Blenheim Road in Bedford Park; the rent on the house was £50 a year. He began writing his first works. Other pieces from this period include a draft of a play about a bishop, a monk, a woman accused of paganism by local shepherds, as well as love-poems and narrative lyrics on German knights; the early works were both conventional and, according to the critic Charles Johnston, "utterly unIrish", seeming to come out of a "vast murmurous gloom of dreams". Although Yeats's early works drew on Shelley, Edmund Spenser, on the diction and colouring of pre-Raphaelite verse, he soon tu
In prosody, alliterative verse is a form of verse that uses alliteration as the principal ornamental device to help indicate the underlying metrical structure, as opposed to other devices such as rhyme. The most studied traditions of alliterative verse are those found in the oldest literature of the Germanic languages, where scholars use the term'alliterative poetry' rather broadly to indicate a tradition which not only shares alliteration as its primary ornament but certain metrical characteristics; the Old English epic Beowulf, as well as most other Old English poetry, the Old High German Muspilli, the Old Saxon Heliand, the Old Norse Poetic Edda, many Middle English poems such as Piers Plowman, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the Alliterative Morte Arthur all use alliterative verse. Alliterative verse can be found in many other languages as well; the Finnish Kalevala and the Estonian Kalevipoeg both use alliterative forms derived from folk tradition. Traditional Turkic verse, for example that of the Uyghur, is alliterative.
The poetic forms found in the various Germanic languages are not identical, but there is sufficient similarity to make it clear that they are related traditions, stemming from a common Germanic source. Knowledge about that common tradition, however, is based entirely on inference from poetry. One statement we have about the nature of alliterative verse from a practicing alliterative poet is that of Snorri Sturluson in the Prose Edda, he describes metrical patterns and poetic devices used by skaldic poets around the year 1200. Snorri's description has served as the starting point for scholars to reconstruct alliterative meters beyond those of Old Norse. There have been many different metrical theories proposed, all of them attended with controversy. Looked at broadly, certain basic features are common from the earliest to the latest poetry. Alliterative verse has been found in some of the earliest monuments of Germanic literature; the Golden horns of Gallehus, discovered in Denmark and dating to the 4th century, bear this Runic inscription in Proto-Norse: x / x x x / x x / x / x x ek hlewagastiʀ holtijaʀ || horna tawidō This inscription contains four stressed syllables, the first three of which alliterate on <h> /x/ and the last of which does not alliterate the same pattern found in much verse.
All alliterative poetry was composed and transmitted orally, much went unrecorded. The degree to which writing may have altered this oral art form remains much in dispute. There is a broad consensus among scholars that the written verse retains many of the features of the spoken language; the core metrical features of traditional Germanic alliterative verse are as follows. Half-lines are known as'verses','hemistichs', or'distichs'; the rhythm of the b-verse is more regular than that of the a-verse, helping listeners to perceive where the end of the line falls. A heavy pause, or'cæsura', separates the verses; each verse has two stressed syllables, referred to as'lifts' or'beats'. The first lift in the a-verse alliterates with the first lift in the b-verse; the second lift in the b-verse does not alliterate with the first lifts. Some of these fundamental rules varied in certain traditions over time. Unlike in post-medieval English accentual verse, in which a syllable is either stressed or unstressed, Germanic poets were sensitive to degrees of stress.
These can be thought of at three levels: most stressed: root syllables of nouns, participles, infinitives less stressed: root syllables most finite verbs and adverbs less stressed: most pronouns, weakly stressed adverbs, conjunctions, parts of the verb to be, word-endingsIf a half-line contains one or more stress-words, their root syllables will be the lifts. If it contains no stress-words, the root syllables of any particles will be the lift. A proclitic can be the lift, either because there are no more stressed syllables or because it is given extra stress for some particular reason. If a lift was occupied by word with a short root vowel followed by only one consonant followed by an unstressed vowel these two syllables were in most circumstances counted as only one syllable; this is called resolution. The patterns of unstressed syllables vary in the alliterative traditions of different Germanic languages; the rules for these patterns remain imperfectly understood and subject to debate. Alliteration fits with the prosodic patterns of early Germanic languages.
Alliteration involves matching the left edges of stressed syllables. Early Germanic languages share a left-prominent prosodic pattern. In other words, stress falls on the root syllable of a word, the initial syllable; this means that the first sound of a word was salient to listeners. Traditional Germanic verse had two particular rules about alliteration: All vowels alliterate with each other; the consonant clusters st-, sp- and sc- are treated as separate sounds. The precise r
A palindrome is a word, phrase, or other sequence of characters which reads the same backward as forward, such as madam or racecar or the number 10801. Sentence-length palindromes may be written when allowances are made for adjustments to capital letters and word dividers, such as "A man, a plan, a canal, Panama!", "Was it a car or a cat I saw?" or "No'x' in Nixon". Composing literature in palindromes is an example of constrained writing; the word "palindrome" was coined by the English playwright Ben Jonson in the 17th century from the Greek roots palin and dromos. Palindromes date back at least to 79 AD, as a palindrome was found as a graffito at Herculaneum, a city buried by ash in that year; this palindrome, called the Sator Square, consists of a sentence written in Latin: "Sator Arepo Tenet Opera Rotas". It is remarkable for the fact that the first letters of each word form the first word, the second letters form the second word, so forth. Hence, it can be arranged into a word square that reads in four different ways: horizontally or vertically from either top left to bottom right or bottom right to top left.
As such, they can be referred to as palindromatic. A palindrome with the same square property is the Hebrew palindrome, "We explained the glutton, in the honey was burned and incinerated", credited to Abraham ibn Ezra in 1924, referring to the halachic question as to whether a fly landing in honey makes the honey treif; the palindromic Latin riddle "In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni" describes the behavior of moths. It is that this palindrome is from medieval rather than ancient times; the second word, borrowed from Greek, should properly be spelled gyrum. Byzantine Greeks inscribed the palindrome, "Wash sins, not only face" ΝΙΨΟΝ ΑΝΟΜΗΜΑΤΑ ΜΗ ΜΟΝΑΝ ΟΨΙΝ, on baptismal fonts; this practice was continued in many English churches. Examples include the font at St. Mary's Church and the font in the basilica of St. Sophia, the font of St. Stephen d'Egres, Paris; some well-known English palindromes are, "Able was I ere I saw Elba", "A man, a plan, a canal – Panama", "Madam, I'm Adam" and "Never odd or even".
English palindromes of notable length include mathematician Peter Hilton's "Doc, note: I dissent. A fast never prevents a fatness. I diet on cod" and Scottish poet Alastair Reid's "T. Eliot, top bard, notes putrid tang emanating, is sad; the most familiar palindromes in English are character-unit palindromes. The characters read the same backward as forward; some examples of palindromic words are redivider, civic, level, kayak, racecar, redder and refer. There are word-unit palindromes in which the unit of reversal is the word. Word-unit palindromes were made popular in the recreational linguistics community by J. A. Lindon in the 1960s. Occasional examples in English were created in the 19th century. Several in French and Latin date to the Middle Ages. There are line-unit palindromes. Palindromes consist of a sentence or phrase, e.g. "Mr. Owl ate my metal worm", "Was it a car or a cat I saw?", "Murder for a jar of red rum" or "Go hang a salami, I'm a lasagna hog". Punctuation and spaces are ignored.
Some, such as "Rats live on no evil star", "Live on time, emit no evil", "Step on no pets", include the spaces. Semordnilap is a name coined for words; the word was coined by Martin Gardner in his notes to C. C. Bombaugh's book Oddities and Curiosities of Words and Literature in 1961. An example of this is the word stressed, desserts spelled backward; some semordnilaps are deliberate. An example in electronics is the mho, a unit of electrical conductance, ohm spelled backwards, the unit of electrical resistance and the reciprocal of conductance; the daraf, a unit of elastance, is farad spelled backwards, the unit of capacitance and the reciprocal of elastance. In fiction, many characters have names deliberately made to be semordnilaps of other names or words, the most used of, Alucard. Semordnilaps are known as emordnilaps, word reversals, reversible anagrams, heteropalindromes, semi-palindromes, half-palindromes, mynoretehs, volvograms, or anadromes, they have sometimes been called antigrams, though this term refers to anagrams which have opposite meanings.
In 2017, a six-year-old Canadian named Levi Budd called this a levidrome, which garnered support into making it a word from celebrities William Shatner and Patricia Arquette As of October 2018, none of these terms have been accepted as official entries in the Oxford English Dictionary. Some names are palindromes, such as the given names Hannah, Anna, Bob and Otto, or the surnames Harrah, Renner and Nenonen. Lon Nol was Prime Minister of Cambodia. Nisio Isin is a Japanese novelist and manga writer, whose pseudonym is a pal
In rhetoric, chiasmus or, less chiasm is a "reversal of grammatical structures in successive phrases or clauses – but no repetition of words". Chiasmus should not be confused with a subtype of this scheme, which involves a reversal of grammatical structures in successive phrases or clauses, but unlike chiasmus, presents a repetition of words in an A-B-B-A configuration. Chiasmus balances words or phrases with similar, though not identical, meanings: But O, what damned minutes tells he o'er Who dotes, yet doubts. —Shakespeare, Othello 3.3 "Dotes" and "strongly loves" share the same meaning and bracket "doubts" and "suspects". Additional examples of chiasmus: By day the frolic, the dance by night. — Samuel Johnson, "The Vanity of Human Wishes" Despised, if ugly. — Mary Leapor, "Essay on Woman" For comparison, the following is considered antimetabole, in which the reversal in structure involves the same words: Pleasure's a sin, sometimes sin's a pleasure. — Lord Byron, in "Don Juan", Here is the structure of antimetabole presented in table form: Fair is foul, foul is fair — Shakespeare, Macbeth 1.
Both chiasmus and antimetabole can be used to reinforce antithesis. In chiasmus, the clauses display inverted parallelism. Chiasmus was popular in the literature of the ancient world, including Hebrew and Latin, where it was used to articulate the balance of order within the text. For example, many long and complex chiasmi have been found in Shakespeare and the Greek and Hebrew texts of the Bible, it is found throughout the Book of Mormon and the Quran. Chiasmus can be used in the structure of entire passages to parallel ideas; this process, termed "conceptual chiasmus", uses a criss-crossing rhetorical structure to cause an overlapping of "intellectual space". Conceptual chiasmus utilizes specific linguistic choices metaphors, to create a connection between two differing disciplines. By employing a chiastic structure to a single presented concept, rhetors encourage one area of thought to consider an opposing area's perspective. Chiasmus derives its effectiveness from its symmetrical structure.
The structural symmetry of the chiasmus imposes the impression upon the reader or listener that the entire argument has been accounted for. In other words, chiasmus creates only two sides of an argument or idea for the listener to consider, leads the listener to favor one side of the argument. In former President John F. Kennedy's famous quote, "ask not what your country can do for you; the statement proposes that the latter statement is more favorable. Thus, chiasmus gains its rhetorical efficacy through symmetrical structure causing the belief that all tenets of an argument have been evaluated; the Wilhelmus, the national anthem of the Netherlands, has a structure composed around a thematic chiasmus: the 15 stanzas of the text are symmetrical, in that verses one and 15 resemble one another in meaning, as do verses two and 14, three and 13, etc. until they converge in the eighth verse, the heart of the song. Written in the 16th century, the Wilhelmus originated in the nation's struggle to achieve independence.
It tells of the Father of the Nation William of Orange, stadholder in the Netherlands under the king of Spain. In the first person, as if quoting himself, William speaks to the Dutch people and tells about both the outer conflict – the Dutch Revolt – as well as his own, inner struggle: on one hand, he tries to be faithful to the king of Spain, on the other hand he is above all faithful to his conscience: to serve God and the Dutch people; this is made apparent in the central 8th stanza: "Oh David, thou soughtest shelter from King Saul's tyranny. So I fled this welter". Here the comparison is made between the biblical David and William of Orange as merciful and just leaders who both serve under tyrannic kings; as the merciful David defeats the unjust Saul and is rewarded by God with the kingdom of Israel, so too, with the help of God, will William be rewarded a kingdom. Baldrick, Chris. 2008. Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms. Oxford University Press. New York. ISBN 978-0-19-920827-2 Corbett, Edward P. J. and Connors, Robert J. 1999.
Style and Statement. Oxford University Press. New York, Oxford. ISBN 0-19-511543-0 Forsyth, Mark. 2014. The Elements of Eloquence. Berkley Publishing Group/Penguin Publishing. New York. ISBN 978-0-425-27618-1 Lund, Nils Wilhelm. Chiasmus in the New Testament, a study in formgeschichte. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. OCLC 2516087. McCoy, Brad. "Chiasmus: An Important Structural Device Commonly Found in Biblical Literature". CTS Journal. Albuquerque, New Mexico: Chafer Theological Seminary. 9: 18–34. Parry, Donald W.. Poetic Parallelisms in the Book of Mormon. Provo, Utah: Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship. ISBN 978-0-934893-36-7. Smyth, Herbert Weir. A Greek Grammar for Colleges. New York: American Book Company. P. 677. OCLC 402001. Welch, John W.. "Criteria for Identifying and Evaluating the Presence of Chiasmus". Journal of Book of Mormon Studies. Brigham Young University. 4. Welch, John W.. Chiasmus in antiquity: structures, exegesis. Provo, Utah: Research Press. ISBN 0934893330. OCLC 40126818.
Chiasmus, Rhetorical Figures, by Gideon O. Burton, at humani
"The Raven" is a narrative poem by American writer Edgar Allan Poe. First published in January 1845, the poem is noted for its musicality, stylized language, supernatural atmosphere, it tells of a talking raven's mysterious visit to a distraught lover, tracing the man's slow fall into madness. The lover identified as being a student, is lamenting the loss of his love, Lenore. Sitting on a bust of Pallas, the raven seems to further distress the protagonist with its constant repetition of the word "Nevermore"; the poem makes use of folk, mythological and classical references. Poe claimed to have written the poem logically and methodically, intending to create a poem that would appeal to both critical and popular tastes, as he explained in his 1846 follow-up essay, "The Philosophy of Composition"; the poem was inspired in part by a talking raven in the novel Barnaby Rudge: A Tale of the Riots of'Eighty by Charles Dickens. Poe borrows the complex rhythm and meter of Elizabeth Barrett's poem "Lady Geraldine's Courtship", makes use of internal rhyme as well as alliteration throughout.
"The Raven" was first attributed to Poe in print in the New York Evening Mirror on January 29, 1845. Its publication made Poe popular in his lifetime, although it did not bring him much financial success; the poem was soon reprinted and illustrated. Critical opinion is divided as to the poem's literary status, but it remains one of the most famous poems written. "The Raven" follows an unnamed narrator on a dreary night in December who sits reading "forgotten lore" by a dying fire as a way to forget the death of his beloved Lenore. A "tapping at chamber door" reveals nothing, but excites his soul to "burning"; the tapping is repeated louder, he realizes it is coming from his window. When he goes to investigate, a raven flutters into his chamber. Paying no attention to the man, the raven perches on a bust of Pallas above the door. Amused by the raven's comically serious disposition, the man asks; the raven's only answer is "Nevermore". The narrator is surprised that the raven can talk; the narrator remarks to himself that his "friend" the raven will soon fly out of his life, just as "other friends have flown before" along with his previous hopes.
As if answering, the raven responds again with "Nevermore". The narrator reasons that the bird learned the word "Nevermore" from some "unhappy master" and that it is the only word it knows. So, the narrator pulls his chair directly in front of the raven, determined to learn more about it, he thinks for a moment in silence, his mind wanders back to his lost Lenore. He thinks the air grows denser and feels the presence of angels, wonders if God is sending him a sign that he is to forget Lenore; the bird again replies in the negative. The narrator becomes angry, calling the raven a "thing of evil" and a "prophet", he asks the raven whether he will be reunited with Lenore in Heaven. When the raven responds with its typical "Nevermore", he is enraged, calling it a liar, commands the bird to return to the "Plutonian shore"—but it does not move. At the time of the poem's recitation by the narrator, the raven "still is sitting" on the bust of Pallas; the narrator's final admission is that his soul is trapped beneath the raven's shadow and shall be lifted "Nevermore".
Poe wrote the poem without intentional allegory or didacticism. The main theme of the poem is one of undying devotion; the narrator desire to remember. He seems to get some pleasure from focusing on loss; the narrator assumes that the word "Nevermore" is the raven's "only stock and store", yet, he continues to ask it questions, knowing what the answer will be. His questions are purposely self-deprecating and further incite his feelings of loss. Poe leaves it unclear if the raven knows what it is saying or if it intends to cause a reaction in the poem's narrator; the narrator begins as "weak and weary," becomes regretful and grief-stricken, before passing into a frenzy and madness. Christopher F. S. Maligec suggests the poem is a type of elegiac paraclausithyron, an ancient Greek and Roman poetic form consisting of the lament of an excluded, locked-out lover at the sealed door of his beloved. Poe says. Though this is not explicitly stated in the poem, it is mentioned in "The Philosophy of Composition".
It is suggested by the narrator reading books of "lore" as well as by the bust of Pallas Athena, Greek goddess of wisdom. He is reading in the late night hours from "many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore". Similar to the studies suggested in Poe's short story "Ligeia", this lore may be about the occult or black magic; this is emphasized in the author's choice to set the poem in December, a month, traditionally associated with the forces of darkness. The use of the raven—the "devil bird"—also suggests this; this devil image is emphasized by the narrator's belief that the raven is "from the Night's Plutonian shore", or a messenger from the afterlife, referring to Pluto, the Roman god of the underworld. A direct allusion to Satan appears: "Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore..." Poe chose a raven as the central symbol in the story because he wanted a "non-reasoning" creature capable of speech. He decided on a raven, which he considered "equally capable of speech" as a parrot, because it matched the intended tone of the poem.
Poe said the raven is meant to symbolize "Mournful and Never-ending Remembrance". He was a
Tulips and Chimneys
Tulips and Chimneys is the first collection of poetry by E. E. Cummings, published in 1923; this collection is the first dedicated to Cummings' poetry. Though most now know the title to be Tulips & Chimneys, Cummings's original title request was disregarded by the publisher Thomas Seltzer, who changed the ampersand to the word "and." The book would come to be published together with the collection "&", under Cummings's original title. Tulips and Chimneys features, among others, the poems "All in green went my love riding", "Thy fingers make early flowers of", "Buffalo Bill's", "Puella Mea"; the original manuscript contained 152 poems. 41 of the other poems appeared in XLI Poems, the balance were printed by the author in the named "&" in 1925
Æthelwulf, King of Wessex
Æthelwulf was King of Wessex from 839 to 858. In 825, his father, King Egbert, defeated King Beornwulf of Mercia, ending a long Mercian dominance over Anglo-Saxon England south of the Humber. Egbert sent Æthelwulf with an army to Kent, where he expelled the Mercian sub-king and was himself appointed sub-king. After 830, Egbert maintained good relations with Mercia, this was continued by Æthelwulf when he became king in 839, the first son to succeed his father as West Saxon king since 641; the Vikings were not a major threat to Wessex during Æthelwulf's reign. In 843, he was defeated in a battle against the Vikings at Carhampton in Somerset, but he achieved a major victory at the Battle of Aclea in 851. In 853 he joined a successful Mercian expedition to Wales to restore the traditional Mercian hegemony, in the same year his daughter Æthelswith married King Burgred of Mercia. In 855 Æthelwulf went on pilgrimage to Rome. In preparation he gave a "decimation". Æthelwulf spent a year in Rome, on his way back he married Judith, the daughter of the West Frankish King Charles the Bald.
When Æthelwulf returned to England, Æthelbald refused to surrender the West Saxon throne, Æthelwulf agreed to divide the kingdom, taking the east and leaving the west in Æthelbald's hands. On Æthelwulf's death in 858 he left Wessex to Æthelbald and Kent to Æthelberht, but Æthelbald's death only two years led to the reunification of the kingdom. In the 20th century Æthelwulf's reputation among historians was poor: he was seen as excessively pious and impractical, his pilgrimage was viewed as a desertion of his duties. Historians in the 21st century see him differently, as a king who consolidated and extended the power of his dynasty, commanded respect on the continent, dealt more than most of his contemporaries with Viking attacks, he is regarded as one of the most successful West Saxon kings, who laid the foundations for the success of his son, Alfred the Great. At the beginning of the 9th century, England was completely under the control of the Anglo-Saxons, with Mercia and Wessex the most important southern kingdoms.
Mercia was dominant until the 820s, it exercised overlordship over East Anglia and Kent, but Wessex was able to maintain its independence from its more powerful neighbour. Offa, King of Mercia from 757 to 796, was the dominant figure of the second half of the 8th century. King Beorhtric of Wessex, married Offa's daughter in 789. Beorhtric and Offa drove Æthelwulf's father Egbert into exile, he spent several years at the court of Charlemagne in Francia. Egbert was the son of Ealhmund, King of Kent in 784. Following Offa's death, King Coenwulf of Mercia maintained Mercian dominance, but it is uncertain whether Beorhtric accepted political subordination, when he died in 802 Egbert became king with the support of Charlemagne. For two hundred years three kindreds had fought for the West Saxon throne, no son had followed his father as king. Egbert's best claim was that he was the great-great-grandson of Ingild, brother of King Ine, in 802 it would have seemed unlikely that he would establish a lasting dynasty.
Nothing is recorded of the first twenty years of Egbert's reign, apart from campaigns against the Cornish in the 810s. The historian Richard Abels argues that the silence of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle was intentional, concealing Egbert's purge of Beorhtric's magnates and suppression of rival royal lines. Relations between Mercian kings and their Kentish subjects were distant. Kentish ealdormen did not attend the court of King Coenwulf, who quarrelled with Archbishop Wulfred of Canterbury over the control of Kentish monasteries, his successors Ceolwulf I and Beornwulf restored relations with Archbishop Wulfred, Beornwulf appointed a sub-king of Kent, Baldred. England had suffered Viking raids in the late 8th century, but no attacks are recorded between 794 and 835, when the Isle of Sheppey in Kent was ravaged. In 836 Egbert was defeated by the Vikings at Carhampton in Somerset, but in 838 he was victorious over an alliance of Cornishmen and Vikings at the Battle of Hingston Down, reducing Cornwall to the status of a client kingdom.
Æthelwulf was the son of Egbert, King of Wessex from 802 to 839. His mother's name is unknown, he had no recorded siblings, he is known to have had two wives in succession, so far as is known, the senior of the two, was the mother of all his children. She was the daughter of Oslac, described by Asser, biographer of their son Alfred the Great, as "King Æthelwulf's famous butler", a man, descended from Jutes who had ruled the Isle of Wight. Æthelwulf had six known children. His eldest son, Æthelstan, was old enough to be appointed King of Kent in 839, so he must have been born by the early 820s, he died in the early 850s; the second son, Æthelbald, is first recorded as a charter witness in 841, if, like Alfred, he began to attest when he was around six, he would have been born around 835. Æthelwulf's third son, Æthelberht, was born around 839 and was king from 860 to 865. The only daughter, Æthelswith, married Burgred, King of Mercia, in 853; the other two sons were much younger: Æthelred was born around 848 and was king from 865 to 871, Alfred was born around 849 and was king from 871 to 899.
In 856 Æthelwulf married Judith, daughter of Charles the Bald, King of Wes