Frederick Klaeber's Beowulf has long been the standard edition for study by students and advanced scholars alike. Its wide-ranging coverage of scholarship, its comprehensive philological aids, and its exceptionally thorough notes and glossary have ensured its continued use in spite of the fact that the book has remained largely unaltered since 1936. The fourth edition has been prepared with the aim of updating the scholarship while preserving the aspects of Klaeber's work that have made it useful to students of literature, linguists, historians, folklorists, manuscript specialists, archaeologists, and theorists of culture.
A revised Introduction and Commentary incorporates the vast store of scholarship on Beowulf that has appeared since 1950. It brings readers up to date on areas of scholarship that have been controversial since the last edition, including the construction of the unique manuscript and views on the poem's date and unity of composition. The lightly revised text incorporates the best textual criticism of the intervening years, and the expanded Commentary furnishes detailed bibliographic guidance to discussion of textual cruces, as well as to modern and contemporary critical concerns. Aids to pronunciation have been added to the text, and advances in the study of the poem's language are addressed throughout. Readers will find that the book remains recognizably Klaeber's work, but with altered and added features designed to render it as useful today as it has ever been.