The Origins of Beowulf

The Origins of Beowulf

and the Pre-Viking Kingdom of East Anglia

Sam Newton

Paperback
$29.95
Hardback
$99.00

Currently out of stock

D.S.Brewer

Overview

Overview

`Cogent and fascinating attempt to place the composition of Beowulf in an 8th-century East Anglian context — an important book.' ANDY ORCHARD, SIAH NEWSLETTER
`A thoroughly plausible scenario for the poet's interest in affairs long ago and far away; for the poem's odd contradictory-but-connected relationship with later Scandinavian story its chilling air of utter contextual security in whatever was its own.' TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT TOM SHIPPEY

Where did Beowulf, unique and thrilling example of an Old English epic poem come from? In whose hall did the poem's maker first tell the tale? The poem exists now in just one manuscript, probably itself a copy, but a long and careful study of the literary and historical associations reveals striking details which lead Dr Newton to claim, as he pieces together the various clues, a specific origin for the poem.
The fortunes of threeearly 6th-century Northern dynasties feature prominently in Beowulf. Dr Newton suggests that references in the poem to the heroes whose names are listed in Anglo-Saxon royal genealogies indicate that such Northern dynastic concerns are most likely to have been fostered in the kingdom of East Anglia. He supports his thesis with evidence drawn from East Anglian archaeology, hagiography and folklore. His argument, detailed and passionate, offers the exciting possibility that he has discovered the lost origins of the poem in the pre-Viking kingdom of 8th-century East Anglia.

SAM NEWTON graduated with a first in English literature from the University of East Anglia, Norwich, where he was later awarded his Ph.D. for work on Beowulf. (East Anglia) Where did Beowulf, unique and thrilling example of an Old English epic poem, come from? Sam Newton - who lives within serious walking distance of Sutton Hoo considers the origins of Anglo-Saxon England's great epic poem to have been in East Anglia; he supports his thesis with and supports his thesis with evidence from East Anglian archaeology, hagiography and folklore, bringing life to a vanished age with his sympathetic interpretation of the few records that have survived.

Details

1 black and white, 13 line illustrations
192 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Hardback, 9780859913614, April 1993
Paperback, 9780859914727, December 1994
Library eBook
D.S.Brewer
BIC DSBB
BISAC LCO003000
Share on Facebook   Share on Twitter   Pin it   Share by Email

Reviews

Cogent and fascinating attempt to place the composition of Beowulf in an eighth-century East Anglian context, through a careful survey of an impressive array of supporting palaeographical, genealogical, archaeological, and literary-historical evidence... An important book, and deserves serious attention... Dr Newton has now shifted the burden of proof onto those who would detract from his thesis. In such a deeply-entrenched field as modern Beowulf-studies, this is of itself a considerable achievement. ANDREW ORCHARD, DEPT OF ANGLO-SAXON, UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGEA useful survey of work on the manuscript, language, metrics, archaeology (Especially East Anglian ship burials), and, in particular, the connections of Anglo-Saxon royal genealogies with named figures in the poem... an informed and well-balanced study of the state of the argument. EARLY MEDIEVAL EUROPEA thoroughly plausible scenario for the poet's interest in affairs long ago and far away. TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT (Tom Shippey)This up-to-date and shrewd book must be regarded as a major contribution in its field. ANTIQUARIES JOURNAL (Rupert Bruce-Mitford)