Category: Language & Literature / Literature History
Publication date: 19991000
Prizes: Whitbread Book of the Year,1999,W
Whitbread Book of the Year Award Poetry Category,1999,W
Beowulf is the longest and finest literary work to have come down to us from Anglo-Saxon times, and one of the world's greatest epic poems. Set in the half-legendary, half historical Scandinavian past, it tells the story of the hero Beowulf, who comes to the aid of the Danish king Hrothgar by killing first the terrifying, demonic monster Grendel, and then Grendel's infuriated and vengeful mother. A lifetime later, Beowulf's own kingdom, Geatland, is threatened by a fiery dragon; Beowulf heroically takes on this challenge, but himself dies killing the dragon. The poem celebrates the virtues of the heroic life, but Hrothgar and Beowulf are beacons of wisdom and courage in a dark world of feuds, violence and uncertainty, and Beowulf's selfless heroism is set against a background of ruthless power struggles, fratricide and tyranny. This acclaimed translation is complemented by a critical introduction and substantial editorial apparatus. 'The poem has at last found its translator ...supremely well done' Charles Causley.
What the papers say:
"Mitchell and Robinson's Beowulf: An Edition has all of the features one hopes to find in a classroom edition: glossary, notes, copious but clear explanatory material. But it is more than an edition. It is a distillation of decades of affectionate attention to the poem by two of the top scholars in the field. From the smallest of details like punctuation to the broadest interpretations, Mitchell and Robinson display an abiding respect and admiration for the magnificent artistry of Beowulf." Daniel Donoghue, Harvard University "This is an admirable introduction to the poem." Forum for Modern Language Studies "[...] we should rejoice in what Mitchell and Robinson have provided: a new student's edition of a masterpiece of Old English poetry that has made Beowulf much more accessible to a whole new generation of students." Journal of English and Germanic Philology
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