Tolkien Gateway

Beowulf (poem)

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*''[[Finn and Hengest]]''
*''[[Finn and Hengest]]''
*''[[Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (poem)|Sir Gawain and the Green Knight]]''
*''[[Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (poem)|Sir Gawain and the Green Knight]]''
*''[[Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary]]''
==External Links==
==External Links==

Revision as of 18:21, 22 March 2014

First page of Beowulf

Beowulf is the conventional title of an Anglo-Saxon epic poem.


Tolkien and Beowulf

J.R.R. Tolkien was a prominent Beowulf scholar; his Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics was a turning point in the modern study of the poem, moving the focus from its historical to its literary significance.[1] Tolkien also left two substantial unpublished manuscripts concerning Beowulf. The first, a more substantial version of the previously mentioned critical essay, was edited by Michael D.C. Drout and published as Beowulf and the Critics.[2] The second is a partial poetic and full prose translation of the epic, including commentary.[3] The latter was a minor media sensation on its 'discovery' in 2003 and was also to be prepared for publication by Drout, but as of 2010 this was not forthcoming.[4] The unpublished manuscript is kept at the Bodleian Library in Oxford.[5]

An excerpt from Beowulf, rendered by Tolkien in Valmaric script, was published with commentary in Parma Eldalamberon 14.[6]

Influence on the legendarium

Tolkien looked highly upon Beowulf, and it both indirectly and directly influenced his own imaginative work. The episode in The Hobbit where Bilbo steals a cup from Smaug's horde, for example, is a conscious homage to a similar theft in Beowulf.[7]

See also

External Links


  1. Heaney, Seamus (2000). Beowulf, "Introduction". New York: W.W. Norton. pp. ix–xxx.
  2. Michael D.C. Drout, Beowulf and the Critics.
  3. Beowulf: Translations by J. R. R. Tolkien. Updated 2003-01-05. Retrieved 2010-08-14.
  4. Michael D.C. Drout, Wormtalk and Slugspeak: Beowulf Basics. Updated 2007-10-10. Retrieved 2010-08-13.
  5. Rhona Beare, "A Mythology for England", in The Silmarillion: Thirty Years On (ed. Allan Turner)
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Early Qenya and The Valmaric Script", in Parma Eldalamberon XIV (edited by Carl F. Hostetter, Christopher Gilson, Arden R. Smith, Patrick H. Wynne, and Bill Welden), pp. 90, 120, 122
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 25, (dated February 1938).