Beowulf: an Anglo-Saxon Epic Poem

Beowulf: an Anglo-Saxon Epic Poem

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Beowulf in Old English literally "bee wolf" i.e. "bee hunter", a kenning for "bear") is the conventional title of an Old English heroic epic poem consisting of 3182 alliterative long lines, set in Scandinavia, commonly cited as one of the most important works of Anglo-Saxon literature.

It survives in a single manuscript known as the Nowell Codex. Its composition by

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Overview

Beowulf in Old English literally "bee wolf" i.e. "bee hunter", a kenning for "bear") is the conventional title of an Old English heroic epic poem consisting of 3182 alliterative long lines, set in Scandinavia, commonly cited as one of the most important works of Anglo-Saxon literature.

It survives in a single manuscript known as the Nowell Codex. Its composition by an anonymous Anglo-Saxon poet is dated between the 8th and the early 11th century. In 1731, the manuscript was badly damaged by a fire that swept through the building which housed a collection of medieval manuscripts that had been assembled by Sir Robert Bruce Cotton. It fell into obscurity for many decades, and its existence did not become widely known again until it was printed in 1815 in an edition prepared by the Icelandic scholar Grímur Jónsson Thorkelin.

In the poem, Beowulf, a hero of the Geats, battles three antagonists: Grendel, who has been attacking the resident warriors of the mead hall of Hroðgar (the king of the Danes), Grendel's mother, and an unnamed dragon. After the first two victories, Beowulf goes home to Geatland in Sweden and becomes king of the Geats. The last fight takes place fifty years later. In this final battle, Beowulf is fatally wounded. After his death, his servants bury him in a tumulus in Geatland.

The events described in the poem take place in the late 5th century, after the Anglo-Saxons had begun migration and settlement in England, and before the beginning of the 7th century, a time when the Saxons were either newly arrived or in close contact with their fellow Germanic kinsmen in Scandinavia and Northern Germany. The poem could have been transmitted in England by people of Geatish origins. It has been suggested that Beowulf was first composed in the 7th century at Rendlesham in East Anglia, as Sutton Hoo also shows close connections with Scandinavia, and also that the East Anglian royal dynasty, the Wuffings, were descendants of the Geatish Wulfings. Others have associated this poem with the court of King Alfred, or with the court of King Canute.

The poem deals with legends, i.e., it was composed for entertainment and does not separate between fictional elements and real historic events, such as the raid by King Hygelac into Frisia, ca. 516. Scholars generally agree that many of the personalities of Beowulf also appear in Scandinavian sources (specific works designated in the following section). This does not only concern people (e.g., Healfdene, Hroðgar, Halga, Hroðulf, Eadgils and Ohthere), but also clans (e.g., Scyldings, Scylfings and Wulfings) and some of the events (e.g., the Battle on the Ice of Lake Vänern). As far as Sweden is concerned, the dating of the events in the poem has been confirmed by archaeological excavations of the barrows indicated by Snorri Sturluson and by Swedish tradition as the graves of Ohthere (dated to c. 530) and his son Eadgils (dated to c. 575) in Uppland, Sweden.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781461177999
Publisher:
CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date:
05/12/2011
Pages:
152
Product dimensions:
8.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.33(d)

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Beowulf 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 394 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
For a book this small, it is thicker than a series. The story will captivate you from page one and hold your attention in gravely strong hands. I remember reading Beowulf as a child in school but could not remember it's allure and the reason for the epic effect when hearing the name 'Beowulf.' Now I remember. Unlike the movie (which was grade A mythology in my opinion) Beowulf the book portrays a character unlike any other that I've read about in any other epic novel. I was simply blown away. Read it if you dare.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was an amazing read. IT captivates you from the moment that you read the first page. You can relate to the characters, and the author does a great job describing the events in the book. You are able to place your self in the characters body and you can see what he/she is seeing through their eyes.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Beowulf, an Anglo-Saxon poem, its origin remaining undated (conjecture abounds as to the period in which it was written), is a supreme example of classic literature. Yes, the epic poem has dragons and demons and some other mythological creatures humans have devised over the centuries however, what astounding story comes without a brilliantly powerful antagonist (or, in Beowulf's case, arch-nemesis)? Footnotes add flavor to this delightful, classical, easy-read epic poem. For readers, English majors, and people seeking a literary thrill, this Anglo-Saxon classic stresses the importance of bravery a genuine understanding of life and death, and that each will visit every mortal being and, finally, the poetic splendor of honor by valor.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The story of Beowulf is spellbinding and the Barnes and Noble classics series is a wonderful series. However, if you want to really enjoy Beowulf you must read the translation by Seamus Heaney. It really is the ultimate translation!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The original Beowulf was written in Anglo-Saxon, probably around 600 AD. (So it's not really that ancient-- not compared to Rome or Egypt.) Burton Raffel has done an excellent job translating it. The lines are almost musical, and they flow well. The storyline too, is fascinating. It's about a time when warriors were heroes, and cowards and mere murderers were despised. Being a fair maiden, I have a partiality for heroes who slay monsters! All books have 'tastes,' and I think this one tastes good.
NickTP More than 1 year ago
I got this book before realizing that my 12th grade english class was going to read some of it (out of the literature book). I would have gotten it after knowing anyways because I hate reading stuff out of the literature book (they always simplify everything (such as telling you that Beowulf was written in 900 A.D.; when the actual exact time it was written is a mystery). This is a great book! The background information on characters or objects or places provided in the book are excellent and well-presented. The introduction gives information that will greatly help you to understand the book (characters, ideals, literally devices used, etc.) And, (to top it all off) the size of the book is very convinient to carry around on the go. Thank you, NickTP
AmordeDios More than 1 year ago
This book is a classic and heroic tale, a timeless piece for any book collection or personal library.
Guest More than 1 year ago
a very good book. i bought it cause a friend recommended it. i loved it, just dont go see the movie it is entirly diffrent from this.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A great classic! The tales of Beowulf's struggles make this book a quick read. I read the abridged version in my English class, and I immediately wanted to know the whole story. This edition was extremely helpful in explaining the difficult parts. It is easy to see why this was a favorite of Tolkien! If you are looking for a story filled with action and adventure, this a perfect choice.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This Beowulf is remarkable for its transparency: instead of an intrusive translator-persona competing with the original, McNamara's energies are entirely directed toward polish: finding the better word, the more harmonious cadence, the more evocative phrase. In so doing, he not only gives the reader a superior view of the letter and spirit of the original, but a superior feeling for Beowulf's poetic intangibles.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book, or poem, is indeed good. It has a complex hero who eventually becomes a king. But just as, if not more, memorable, are the monsters he faces. Grendel, his mother, and the dragon, are all captivating in their own right. One might consider them a metaphor for everyday 'demons'. It also has a religious subtext(as in God made and controls all things). Furthermore, it includes some 'stories-in-stories' so it doesn't just focus on fighting monsters. And yet...I couldn't help but feel sorry for the monsters just a little bit. You may feel differently.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A friend gave me this book to read, it is interesting. I recommend this book, goes well on a chilling night and warm fire.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Although the hero of this story, Beowulf also becomes the victim in a most peculiar way. Read and find out how.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Beowulf is an interesting character. His strength is comparable to that of Hercules. He is self righteous, believing that god itself has given him this power, and guides him upon what he should do with it. But the intentions of which he uses his gift are of a more greedy purpose. Not just to fulfill gods will. But to use his gift to create a name that would last through the sands of time, being remembered for as long as the earth may age. His accomplishments were great, and contained nobility when he dealt with any enemy. Going into a battle with an unfair advantage was unsuitable to Beowulf. His reason partly ego, partly noble, proving that the beast he had slain had been on their own terms. This great warrior purged lands of tainted creatures, created by mans evil, but knew not the limits of his age, or his responsibility to the Geats. This would lead to the downfall of him, and his people. He set off to fight a mighty dragon. Something like his battle with Grendels mother. Which he had barely survived in his youth. Refusal to heed the warnings of those close, allowing his ego to condemn him. But assistance from a loyal follower kept him from dying in vain. Nevertheless the draw between Beowulf and the dragon led to the condemnation of his people. Although his kingdom contained hardy warriors, and great riches. Without the leadership of Beowulf and the fear contained within his allies the Geats could not withstand the numbers which plagued them after his death. His people slaughtered, throne devoured, and allies turned. Not due to the greed of which the dragon held the treasure, not to save innocent lives of which the dragon had taken, or to secure a future for his people, but to keep the preservation of his name.
Anonymous 11 months ago
A dark shape, looking vaguely humanoid, slunk through the shadows.
Anonymous 11 months ago
She flew in shyly looking around. "Um, h-hello?" (Its meeeee)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Geez what are you two, bf/gf? Awh and it is valentines day! So sweet. Why dont you kiss already.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
K seeya tomorrow
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
They excitedly watch the countries.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
He strides in, smiling.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
*wanders in* <p> (IT'S BEEN FOREVER SINCE I RPED LAST! AND I AM TRYING TO RP WITH NEPETA-STYLE RPING NOW????)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Sacre bleu!!" He cried out, smacking her once more. "Evil child!!"
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"I guess I'd eat it... if that means I'll be with you more often," He catches his breath and blushes redder than one of Spain's tomatoes.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I be eroupe or west indies...