This book discusses the attitudes towards Anglo-Saxons expressed by English poets, playwrights and velists from the thirteenth century to the present day. The essays are arranged chrologically, tracing literary responses to the Anglo-Saxons in the medieval period, the Renaissance, and also the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In earlier centuries the Ango-Saxons were often idealized representatives of happier times. Later, they became the epitome of a 'British' race, while an individual Anglo-Saxon, King Alfred, was inflated into a national hero. A final essay suggests the disappearance of any clear sense of the cultural roots of the English in the twentieth century. The contributors, who are specialists in their respective fields from Britain and the United States, draw on works that have frequently been igred or overlooked. They address topical issues such as nationalism, cultural identity, myth, gender and contextualisation.