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.
The classic tale of monster-hunting, dragon-fighting Beowulf, here in its original Old English
Beowulf is the greatest surviving work of literature in Old English, unparalleled in its epic grandeur and scope. It tells the story of the heroic Beowulf and of his battles, first with the monster Grendel, who has laid waste to the great hall of the Danish king Hrothgar, then with Grendel's avenging mother, and finally with a dragon that threatens to devastate his homeland. Through its blend of myth and history, Beowulf vividly evokes a twilight world in which men and supernatural forces live side by side, and celebrates the endurance of the human spirit in a transient world.
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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).