JRR Tolkien’s Translation of Beowulf to be Published


Almost 90 years after JRR Tolkien translated the epic poem Beowulf, it will now be published. Released on May 22 by HarperCollins, Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary will be edited by Tolkien’s son Christopher Tolkien. 

The book is planned to have the poem’s translation “as well as the lectures Tolkien gave on Beowulf in the 1930s and Tolkien’s short story “Sellic Spell,” which was Tolkien’s attempt to recreate a lost folk tale behind the Old Norse Saga of King Hrolf kraki.” [io9]

Tolkien’s view of Beowulf was distinct from that of his fellow literary scholars; while most of Tolkien’s contemporaries looked to the poem for anthropological and historical information, Tolkien focused on Beowulf‘s more fantastical elements. He preferred to analyze Beowulf as a work of art rather than a mere historical artifact.

The poem is said to have been a major influence on Tolkien when creating The Hobbit, which may make sense considering his focus on the “fantastical elements.”

* Source: io9

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