Critical approaches to alliterative poetry can and do include all the approaches imposed on literature in general. But to these must be added approaches particular to the fact that we confront a body of literature defined by a distinctive, some would say peculiar, metrical form. Alliterative poetry has been accorded a separate status precisely because it is alliterative, flourished in a relatively short time-frame, and is associated with a geographic region. For most of this century, the Alliterative Revival has reigned as an historical fact — a nationalistic metrical response, fostered by the North West Midlands baronial families, to the increasing power of the Court in the East Midlands and the pernicious influence of foreign, mainly French fashions, particularly poetic. In the last fifteen years, and at a galloping pace in the last ten, we have seen one of the massive certainties of literary history first quietly mined by the late Elizabeth Salter, and then besieged, assaulted, and overrun by an increasing band of scholarly invaders numbering among them Norman Blake, Derek Pearsall, T. Turville-Petre, and David Lawton. The Theory of the Alliterative Revival, once a Castle of Truth, now lies in ruins, picked over by its destroyers for useful material with which to build a new Tower on a Tofte. While the orthodox view of the alliterative revival has been disestablished, and no single creed has yet emerged as an authoritative substitute, there is currently underway a major re-assessment of alliterative poetry, which has both been caused by and also generated a substantial increase in scholarly knowledge of the field. The questions that have been posed and continue to be explored are mainly of the following kind: Was there a revival or simply a continuation? How and where was this revival/continuation generated and located? Should we distinguish sub-groups of alliterative poetry according to metrical variants? How do we scan alliterative verse? What are the origins of or influences on the metres and rhythms of the great alliterative works of the late fourteenth century?