Beowulf and the Critics

From Tolkien Gateway
The name Beowulf refers to more than one character, item or concept. For a list of other meanings, see Beowulf (disambiguation).
Beowulf and the Critics
Beowulf and the Critics 2002.gif
EditorMichael D.C. Drout
PublisherACMRS Press (Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies)
Released2002
FormatHardcover
Pages488
ISBN0866982906
SeriesMedieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, vol. 248

Beowulf and the Critics is a scholarly book first published in 2002, edited by professor Michael D.C. Drout. It is the winner of the 2003 Mythopoeic Scholarship Award in Inklings Studies.

The book publishes J.R.R. Tolkien's full manuscript drafts of his lecture series on Beowulf, a much longer work of which Tolkien's 1936 lecture "Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics" was a redaction. The main texts, existing in two versions (A and B), are presented in full, followed by the editor's extensive explanatory notes, and textual notes that record all editorial changes in the original manuscripts with remarkable detail.

A second edition was published in 2011 with revisions throughout the book. New additions include an identification of the critics referenced by Tolkien in his "Babel of Voices" passage, a tabular illustration of the evolution of the lecture, and a preparatory note to Text B found by Christopher Tolkien.

Contents[edit | edit source]

  • Acknowledgments
  • Preface to the Second Edition
  • Preface
  • Description of the Manuscript
  • Introduction: Seeds, Soil, and Northern Sky
  • "The Babel of Voices" and the Structural Evolution of "Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics"
  • 'Beowulf' & The Critics (A)
  • 'Beowulf' & The Critics (B)
  • Explanatory Notes
  • Textual Notes
  • Appendix
  • Works Cited
  • Index

From the publisher[edit | edit source]

J. R. R. Tolkien's "Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics" is the single most influential essay ever written about the great Anglo-Saxon poem. That lecture was a redaction of a much longer and more substantial work, Beowulf and the Critics, which Tolkien wrote in the 1930s and probably delivered as a series of Oxford lectures.

This critical edition of Beowulf and the Critics presents both unpublished drafts of Tolkien's lecture ("A" and "B"), each substantially different from each other and from the published essay, in addition to detailed textual and explanatory notes, a description of the manuscript, and an introduction that explains the significance of Tolkien's Beowulf scholarship in literary history.

Winner of the Mythopoeic Scholarship Award for Inklings Studies in 2003, Beowulf and the Critics has been completely revised and expanded for this 2011 edition, which includes a transcript of a previously unknown short note preparatory to Beowulf and the Critics found by Christopher Tolkien, a discussion of the rhetorical structure and evolution of the book and the lecture, and an identification of all the critics referenced by Tolkien in the famous "Babel of Voices" passage.

Beowulf and the Critics will interest students and lovers of Tolkien and scholars of Anglo-Saxon. This edition enables a reader to trace the evolution of an immensely influential critical argument giving us a glimpse of Tolkien's mind at work in his role as Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford.

Publication history and gallery[edit | edit source]

2002 first edition  
2011 second edition  

See also[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]


A J.R.R. Tolkien book guide
Books by or mainly by Tolkien
Of Arda Authored by
J.R.R. Tolkien
The Hobbit · The Lord of the Rings
(i.The Fellowship of the Ring · ii.The Two Towers · iii.The Return of the King) ·
The Road Goes Ever On · Bilbo's Last Song
Edited by Christopher Tolkien The Silmarillion · Unfinished Tales · The History of Middle-earth series
(i.The Book of Lost Tales: Part One · ii.The Book of Lost Tales: Part Two · iii.The Lays of Beleriand · iv.The Shaping of Middle-earth · v.The Lost Road and Other Writings · vi.The Return of the Shadow · vii.The Treason of Isengard · viii.The War of the Ring · ix.Sauron Defeated · x.Morgoth's Ring · xi.The War of the Jewels · xii.The Peoples of Middle-earth · Index) ·
The Children of Húrin · Beren and Lúthien · The Fall of Gondolin
Edited by others The Annotated Hobbit · The History of The Hobbit · The Nature of Middle-earth · The Fall of Númenor
Not of Arda Short stories
and poems
Leaf by Niggle · Farmer Giles of Ham · Smith of Wootton Major · The Adventures of Tom Bombadil ·
Letters from Father Christmas · Mr. Bliss · Roverandom ·
Tree and Leaf (compilation) · Tales from the Perilous Realm (compilation)
Fictional works The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún · The Fall of Arthur · The Story of Kullervo · The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun
Translations and academic works Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl, and Sir Orfeo · Finn and Hengest ·
The Monsters and the Critics, and Other Essays · Beowulf and the Critics · Tolkien On Fairy-stories ·
Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary · A Secret Vice · The Battle of Maldon
Less known academic works A Middle English Vocabulary · Sir Gawain and the Green Knight · Ancrene Wisse · The Old English Exodus
Letters The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien
Books by other authors
Biographies J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography · The Inklings · Tolkien and the Great War
Reference works The Complete Guide to Middle-earth · The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide
Scholarly studies The Road to Middle-earth · The Keys of Middle-earth · The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion ·
The Ring of Words · A Companion to J.R.R. Tolkien · Tolkien's Lost Chaucer · Tolkien's Library
Scholarly journals Tolkien Studies · (The Chronology)
Other works by Tolkien
Linguistic journals Vinyar Tengwar various issues · Parma Eldalamberon issue 11-22
Collections of artwork
and manuscripts
Pictures by J.R.R. Tolkien · J.R.R. Tolkien: Life and Legend · J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator ·
The Art of The Hobbit · The Art of The Lord of the Rings · Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth ·
Tolkien: Treasures · J.R.R. Tolkien: The Art of the Manuscript
This list is only a selection of works, for a fuller bibliography of Tolkien see here or here. See also a timeline.