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Beowulf (poem)

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Revision as of 21:47, 10 September 2010

Beowulf is an important Anglo-Saxon epic.

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of the poem, moving the focus from its historical to its literary significance.[1] Tolkien also left two substantial unpublished manuscripts concerning Beowulf.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 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]

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.[5]

See also


  1. Heaney, Seamus (2000). Beowulf, "Introduction". New York: W.W. Norton. pp. ix–xxx.
  2. Michael Drout. Beowulf and the Critics.
  3. Beowulf: Translations by J. R. R. Tolkien. Updated 2003-01-05. Retrieved 2010-08-14.
  4. Michael Drout. Wormtalk and Slugspeak: Beowulf Basics. Updated 2007-10-10. Retrieved 2010-08-13.
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 25, (dated February 1938).

External Links