The Battle of Maldon: together with The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth

From Tolkien Gateway
The Battle of Maldon:
together with The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth
The Battle of Maldon together with the Homecoming of Beorhtnoth.jpg
AuthorJ.R.R. Tolkien
EditorPeter Grybauskas
PublisherHarperCollins
Released30 March, 2023
FormatHardcover; deluxe edition
Pages208
ISBN0008465827
Preceded byThe Fall of Númenor (2022)

The Battle of Maldon: together with The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth is a book of writings by J.R.R. Tolkien, edited by Peter Grybauskas. It was published on 30 March 2023 first in UK, then on 6 June in US.

The book presents for the first time Tolkien's own prose translation of "The Battle of Maldon", a 10-century Old English poem about a real world battle, together with the poem The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth, an imaginary sequel to the Battle. Also included is a previously unpublished lecture "The Tradition of Versification in Old English", which deals with the nature of poetic tradition.

It includes a colour frontispiece reproducing a page from Tolkien’s original manuscript of The Homecoming. The deluxe edition also comes with a CD of J.R.R. Tolkien reading The Homecoming with his son Christopher. The recording was previously distributed on classic cassettes in 1992, which is now rare, but has been remastered on CD.

Contents[edit | edit source]

  • Foreword
  • Acknowledgement
  • Introduction
  • Part One: The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth Beorhthelm's Son
    • (I) Beorhtnoth's Death
    • (II) The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth Beorhthelm's Son
    • (III) Ofermod
    • Notes
  • Part Two: The Battle of Maldon
    • Introductory Note
    • The Battle of Maldon, translated by J.R.R. Tolkien
    • Notes
  • Part Three: The Tradition of Versification in Old English
  • Appendices
    • I 'Old English Prosody'
    • II 'The Tradition of Versification in Old English' [continued]
    • III Alliteration on 'g' in The Battle of Maldon
    • IV An Early Homecoming in Rhyme
    • V Noteworthy Developments in the Drafts of The Homecoming
    • VI Proofing the Pudding: The Homecoming in Dialogue with the Legendarium

From the publisher[edit | edit source]

First ever standalone edition of one of J.R.R. Tolkien's most important poetic dramas, that explores timely themes such as the nature of heroism and chivalry during war, and which features unpublished and never-before-seen texts and drafts.

In 991 AD, vikings attacked an Anglo-Saxon defence-force led by their duke, Beorhtnoth, resulting in brutal fighting along the banks of the river Blackwater, near Maldon in Essex. The attack is widely considered one of the defining conflicts of tenth-century England, due to it being immortalised in the poem, The Battle of Maldon.
Written shortly after the battle, the poem now survives only as a 325-line fragment, but its value to today is incalculable, not just as an heroic tale but in vividly expressing the lost language of our ancestors and celebrating ideals of loyalty and friendship.
J.R.R. Tolkien considered The Battle of Maldon 'the last surviving fragment of ancient English heroic minstrelsy'. It would inspire him to compose, during the 1930s, his own dramatic verse-dialogue, The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth Beorhthelm's Son, which imagines the aftermath of the great battle when two of Beorhtnoth’s retainers come to retrieve their duke’s body.

Leading Tolkien scholar, Peter Grybauskas, presents for the very first time J.R.R. Tolkien's own prose translation of The Battle of Maldon together with the definitive treatment of The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth and its accompanying essays; also included and never before published is Tolkien's bravura lecture, 'The Tradition of Versification in Old English', a wide-ranging essay on the nature of poetic tradition. Illuminated with insightful notes and commentary, he has produced a definitive critical edition of these works, and argues compellingly that, Beowulf excepted, The Battle of Maldon may well have been 'the Old English poem that most influenced Tolkien's fiction', most dramatically within the pages of The Lord of the Rings.

Publication history and gallery[edit | edit source]

2023 hardcover  
2023 hardcover deluxe with CD  

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.