Synopses & Reviews
stands at the head of English literature; a poem of historical interest and epic scope. Although the first manuscript of Beowulf
dates from around the year 1000 CE, it is thought that the poem existed in its present form from the year 850. Beowulf's adventures themselves stand in front of the wide historical canvas of 5th and 6th century Scandinavia. Against this heroic background of feuding and feasting, Beowulf first kills the monster Grendel and her mother, and later defends his people against a dragon in a battle that leaves them both mortally wounded.
Beowulf is the earliest extant poem in a modern European language. It was composed in England four centuries before the Norman Conquest. But no one knows exactly when it was composed, or by whom, or why. As a social document this great epic reflects a feudal, newly Christian world of heroes and monsters, blood and victory and death.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -218).