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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.
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. Set in the half-legendary, half historical Scandinavian past, it tells the story of the hero Beowulf, who comes to the aid of the Danish king Hrothgar by killing first the terrifying, demonic monster Grendel, and then Grendel's infuriated and vengeful mother. A lifetime later, Beowulf's own kingdom, Geatland, is threatened by a fiery dragon; Beowulf heroically takes on this challenge, but himself dies killing the dragon. The poem celebrates the virtues of the heroic life, but Hrothgar and Beowulf are beacons of wisdom and courage in a dark world of feuds, violence and uncertainty, and Beowulf's selfless heroism is set against a background of ruthless power struggles, fratricide and tyranny. This acclaimed translation is complemented by a critical introduction and substantial editorial apparatus. `The poem has at last found its translator . . .supremely well done' Charles Causley
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.
A seminal collection of studies on the date of Beowulf, now back in print, that overturned previous scholarship and raised much new information.
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.
The author of Heaven's Mirror and The Mars Mystery presents evidence that the legend of Beowulf originated in an ancient human sacrifice ritual that was suppressed in Britain and later found expression in this compelling tale. Original.
Overviews the background, plot, themes, and language of Beowulf and discusses the poem's afterlife in contemporary popular culture.