Author: Jodi-Anne George
Publisher: Macmillan International Higher Education
Release Date: 2009-12-09
Genre: Literary Criticism
Of unknown authorship, Beowulf is an Old English epic poem which incites contentious debate and has been endlessly interpreted over the centuries. This Reader's Guide provides a much-needed overview of the large body of Beowulf criticism, moving from eighteenth-century reactions to twenty-first-century responses. Jodi-Ann George: • charts the changes in critical trends and theoretical approaches applied to the poem • includes discussion of J. R. R. Tolkein's pioneering 1936 lecture on Beowulf , and Seamus Heaney's recent translation • analyses Beowulf in popular culture, addressing the poem's life in film versions, graphic novels, music and comics. Clear and engaging, this is an indispensable introductory guide to a widely-studied and enigmatic work which continues to fascinate readers everywhere.
Author: Richard North
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Release Date: 2006
Genre: Literary Criticism
'The Origins of Beowulf' suggests that the Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf was composed in the winter of 826-7 as a requiem for King Beornwulf of Mercia on behalf of Wiglaf, the ealdorman who succeeded him. This study combines detective work with literary analysis to form a case that no future investigation will be able to ignore.
Author: Joe Allard
Release Date: 2014-04-23
Genre: Language Arts & Disciplines
Beowulf & Other Stories was first conceived in the belief that the study of Old English – and its close cousins, Old Icelandic and Anglo-Norman – can be a genuine delight, covering a period as replete with wonder, creativity and magic as any other in literature. Now in a fully revised second edition, the collection of essays written by leading academics in the field is set to build upon its established reputation as the standard introduction to the literatures of the time. Beowulf & Other Stories captures the fire and bloodlust of the great epic, Beowulf, and the sophistication and eroticism of the Exeter Riddles. Fresh interpretations give new life to the spiritual ecstasy of The Seafarer and to the imaginative dexterity of The Dream of the Rood, andprovide the student and general reader with all they might need to explore and enjoy this complex but rewarding field. The book sheds light, too, on the shadowy contexts of the period, with suggestive and highly readable essays on matters ranging from the dynamism of the Viking Age to Anglo-Saxon input into The Lord of the Rings, from the great religious prose works to the transition from Old to Middle English. It also branches out into related traditions, with expert introductions to the Icelandic Sagas, Viking Religion and Norse Mythology. Peter S. Baker provides an outstanding guide to taking your first steps in the Old English language, while David Crystal provides a crisp linguistic overview of the entire period. With a new chapter by Mike Bintley on Anglo-Saxon archaeology and a revised chapter by Stewart Brookes on the prose writers of the English Benedictine Reform, this updated second edition will be essential reading for students of the period.
Unique and beautiful, Beowulf brings to life a society of violence and honor, fierce warriors and bloody battles, deadly monsters and famous swords. Written by an unknown poet in about the eighth century, this masterpiece of Anglo-Saxton literature transforms legends, myth, history, and ancient songs into the richly colored tale of the hero Beowulf, the loathsome man-eater Grendel, his vengeful water-hag mother, and a treasure-hoarding dragon. The earliest surviving epic poem in any modern European language. Beowulf is a stirring portrait of a heroic world–somber, vast, and magnificent. From the Paperback edition.
Author: Raymond Wilson Chambers
Publisher: Library of Alexandria
Release Date: 2016-06-01
The unique MS of Beowulf may be, and if possible should be, seen by the student in the British Museum. It is a good specimen of the elegant script of Anglo-Saxon times: "a book got up with some care," as if intended for the library of a nobleman or of a monastery. Yet this MS is removed from the date when the poem was composed and from the events which it narrates (so far as these events are historic at all) by periods of time approximately equal to those which separate us from the time when Shakespeare's Henry V was written, and when the battle of Agincourt was fought. To try to penetrate the darkness of the five centuries which lie behind the extant MS by fitting together such fragments of illustrative information as can be obtained, and by using the imagination to bridge the gaps, has been the business of three generations of scholars distributed among the ten nations of Germanic speech. A whole library has been written around our poem, and the result is that this book cannot be as simple as either writer or reader might have wished. The story which the MS tells us may be summarized thus: Beowulf, a prince of the Geatas, voyages to Heorot, the hall of Hrothgar, king of the Danes; there he destroys a monster Grendel, who for twelve years has haunted the hall by night and slain all he found therein. When Grendel's mother in revenge makes an attack on the hall, Beowulf seeks her out and kills her also in her home beneath the waters. He then returns to his land with honour and is rewarded by his king Hygelac. Ultimately he himself becomes king of the Geatas, and fifty years later slays a dragon and is slain by it. The poem closes with an account of the funeral rites. Fantastic as these stories are, they are depicted against a background of what appears to be fact. Incidentally, and in a number of digressions, we receive much information about the Geatas, Swedes and Danes: all which information has an appearance of historic accuracy, and in some cases can be proved, from external evidence, to be historically accurate.
Why did the most read work in English literature go without cinematic adaptation for so long? And why did five major film treatments appear between 1999 and 2008? This book explores the growing number of films based on the Old English epic poem Beowulf, and furthers the ongoing consideration of filmic medievalism. Will the powerful influence of cinema affect the future reception of this great cultural, linguistic and inherently visual work? The films inevitably sway away from not only the story but also from the themes and concerns of the original to those more interesting to the filmmakers—or responsive to the zeitgeist. They measure the pulse of our inherited notions of heroism and teach us more about our own times than about the epic from which they derive.
Beowulf is the oldest and most complete epic poem in any non-Classical European language. Our only manuscript, written in Old English, dates from close to the year 1000. However, the poem remained effectively unknown even to scholars until the year 1815, when it was first published in Copenhagen. This impressive volume selects over one hundred works of critical commentary from the vast body of scholarship on Beowulf - including English translations from German, Danish, Latin and Spanish - from the poem's first mention in 1705 to the Anglophone scholarship of the early twentieth century. Tom Shippey provides both a contextual introduction and a guide to the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century scholarship which generated these Beowulf commentaries. The book is a vital document for the study of one of the major texts of 'the Northern renaissance', in which completely unknown poems and even languages were brought to the attention first of the learned world and then of popular culture. It also acts as a valuable guide to the development of nationalist and racist sentiment, beginning romantically and ending with World War and attempted genocide.
Readers of "Beowulf" have noted inconsistencies in Beowulf's depiction, as either heroic or reckless. "Heroic Identity in the World of Beowulf" resolves this tension by emphasizing Beowulf's identity as a foreign fighter seeking glory abroad. Such men resemble "wreccan," "exiles" compelled to leave their homelands due to excessive violence. Beowulf may be potentially arrogant, therefore, but he learns prudence. This native wisdom highlights a king's duty to his warband, in expectation of Beowulf's future rule. The dragon fight later raises the same question of incompatible identities, hero versus king. In frequent reference to Greek epic and Icelandic saga, this revisionist approach to "Beowulf" offers new interpretations of flyting rhetoric, the custom of "men dying with their lord," and the poem's digressions.