At Last: Tolkien’s “Beowulf” To Be Published

Hwæt! Almost 90 years after JRR Tolkien (pictured) translated the 11th-century poem “Beowulf,” “The Lord of the Rings” author’s version of the epic story is to be published for the first time in an edition which his son Christopher Tolkien says sees his father “enter[ing] into the imagined past” of the heroes. Telling of how the Geatish prince Beowulf comes to the aid of Danish king Hroðgar, slaying the monster Grendel and his mother before – spoiler alert – being mortally wounded by a dragon years later, Beowulf is is the longest epic poem in Old English, and is dated to the early 11th century. It survives in a single manuscript, housed at the British Library, and has inspired countless retellings.

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