A Critical Companion to Beowulf

A Critical Companion to Beowulf

Andy Orchard





A complete guide to the text and context of the most famous Old English poem. "A generous, energetic, engaging work". JOSEPHINE BLOOMFIELD, OHIO UNIVERSITY.
Beowulf is the best known and most closely studied literary work surviving from Anglo-Saxon England, and the modern reader is faced with a bewildering number and variety of interpretations about such basic matters as the date, provenance, and significance of the poem. A Critical Companion to Beowulf addresses these and other issues, reviewing and synthesising previous scholarship, as well as offering fresh perspectives. After an initial introduction to the poem, attention is focused on such matters as the manuscript context and approaches to dating the poem, before a lengthy discussion of the particular style, diction, and structure of this most idiosyncratic of Old English texts. The background to the poem is considered not simply with respect to historical and legendary material, but also in the context of myth and fable. The specific roles of selected individual characters, both major and minor, are assessed, and in a chapter on the degree of piety and Latin-derived erudition implied by the text consideration is given to the original intended audience and perceived purpose of the poem. A final chapter describes the range of critical approaches which have been applied to the poem in the past, and points towards directions for future study.

ANDY ORCHARD is Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon, University of Oxford.


6 black and white, 3 line illustrations
416 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Hardback, 9780859917667, November 2001
Paperback, 9781843840299, February 2005
Library eBook
BISAC LIT004130, LIT011000
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This long-awaited book helps the reader to gain a clear grasp of the state of Beowulf scholarship. The breadth of learning and insight...will make this book an indispensable tool for beginner and advanced scholar alike. MEDIUM AEVUM

It is hard to imagine a more thorough introduction. A generous, energetic, engaging work. The book will be important to Beowulf study for years to come. THE MEDIEVAL REVIEW

Earns a place among the indispensable works ofBeowulf scholarship. Sensibly organised, elegantly written, and thoroughly referenced, it is both learned and accessible, inviting for students...but insightful enough to engage experienced readers.... Any reader of Beowulf will find much pleasure in this book, and it is a worthy companion indeed.MODERN LANGUAGE REVIEW

Clearly the product of deep and thoughtful scholarship, it applies its critical approach with confidence and flair. This authoritative book is full of ideas and insights. ENGLISH STUDIES

Could have been twice as long without losing its interest. It outlines, usually in terms that will be accessible to students, a wide range of critical issues. (...) A landmark study.and likely to be the reference one turns to for succinct and intelligent treatment of many issues in the poem. TOEBI NEWSLETTER