Title: Beowulf

Author: John McNamara (Translator)

Genre: Poem

Publication Date: c. 725


Beowulf, regarded as the first great work of English literature, is an epic poem believed to have been written around 700 A.D. Though the identity of the poet remains unknown, there is consensus among scholars that it was written by a single poet. Written during the Anglo-Saxon era, Beowulf may easily have become a forgotten work. A fire in the 1700s almost destroyed the lone copy of the manuscript that had survived until then. Its survival did not ensure its popularity, and Beowulf received very little attention until an uptick in interest in Old English documents was observed in the 1900s. During this period, Beowulf was mainly seen as a historical document, not as a literary work. Beowulf became popular in the 1900s thanks to a paper J.R.R. Tolkien, an Oxford scholar and well-known fantasy writer, had written about the poem. The paper focused on Beowulf’s literary merits, thus enabling the poem to be seen as more than just a historical work.

Beowulf Biography

Beowulf Background

Beowulf Characters

Beowulf Summary and Analysis

Beowulf Themes

Beowulf Quotes

Beowulf Discussion Questions

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