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Beowulf is the longest and finest literary work to have come down to us from Anglo-Saxon times, and one of the world's greatest epic poems. This acclaimed translation is complemented by a critical introduction and substantial editorial apparatus.
Beowulf, a young warrior of the Geats, comes to the aid of Hrothgar, king of the Danes, in his time of need. He first fights the hellish Grendel, then struggles with Grendel's no less fearsome mother in her hall beneath the cold waters of the mere. More than fifty years later, he must face his final challenge in the shape of a huge dragon.
" 'Tis better to die than to live in shame." The oldest existing story written in Old English, "Beowulf" is the classic tale of courage and honor. In the Great Hall of Hrothgar, King of the Danes, the warrior Beowulf, son of a Swedish King, wages battle with the monster Grendel. The introduction contains a short history of the English language and a description of Anglo-Saxon culture.
Presents eleven critical essays that analyze the structure, myth, and history of the Old English epic poem depicting the heroic deeds of Beowulf, a member of a Germanic tribe who travels to Denmark to help defeat a monster named Grendel.
The author traces and evaluates the possible influences of Celtic tradition on the Anglo-Saxon epic poem Beowulf. He discusses theories of the origins of the poem, draws parallels between elements in Beowulf and in Celtic literary tradition, and suggests that the central plot of the poem, the conflict with Grendel and his mother, is "fundamentally indebted to Celtic folktale elements." The study is well documented and rich in references to Celtic literature, legend, and folklore.