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: David Clark
Publisher: Cambridge Scholars Publishing
Release Date: 2019-11-29
This collection explores Beowulf’s extensive impact on contemporary culture across a wide range of forms. The last 15 years have seen an intensification of scholarly interest in medievalism and reimaginings of the Middle Ages. However, in spite of the growing prominence of medievalism both in academic discourse and popular culture—and in spite of the position Beowulf itself holds in both areas—no study such as this has yet been undertaken. Beowulf in Contemporary Culture therefore makes a significant contribution both to early medieval studies and to our understanding of Beowulf’s continuing cultural impact. It should inspire further research into this topic and medievalist responses to other aspects of early medieval culture. Topics covered here range from film and television to video games, graphic novels, children’s literature, translations, and versions, along with original responses published here for the first time. The collection not only provides an overview of the positions Beowulf holds in the contemporary imagination, but also demonstrates the range of avenues yet to be explored, or even fully acknowledged, in the study of medievalism.
Author: Eileen A. Joy
Release Date: 2006
This work includes twenty-four essays including a preface, introduction, afterword, and sections containing seminal methodological pieces by such giants as Edward Said and Michel Foucault, as well as contemporary applications to Beowulf and other Old English and Germanic texts focusing on historicism, psychoanalysis, gender, textuality, and post-colonialism.
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.