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Beowulf A Translation and Commentary

ISBN-10: 0544442784
ISBN-13: 9780544442788
Edition: 2014
List price: $28.00 Buy it from $21.25
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Description: The translation of Beowulf by J.R.R. Tolkien was an early work, very distinctive in its mode, completed in 1926: he returned to it later to make hasty corrections, but seems never to have considered its publication. This edition is twofold, for  More...

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Book details

List price: $28.00
Copyright year: 2014
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company
Publication date: 5/22/2014
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 448
Size: 6.00" wide x 8.50" long x 1.50" tall
Weight: 1.496
Language: English

The translation of Beowulf by J.R.R. Tolkien was an early work, very distinctive in its mode, completed in 1926: he returned to it later to make hasty corrections, but seems never to have considered its publication. This edition is twofold, for there exists an illuminating commentary on the text of the poem by the translator himself, in the written form of a series of lectures given at Oxford in the 1930s; and from these lectures a substantial selection has been made, to form also a commentary on the translation in this book.From his creative attention to detail in these lectures there arises a sense of the immediacy and clarity of his vision. It is as if he entered into the imagined past: standing beside Beowulf and his men shaking out their mail-shirts as they beached their ship on the coast of Denmark, listening to the rising anger of Beowulf at the taunting of Unferth, or looking up in amazement at Grendel’s terrible hand set under the roof of Heorot.But the commentary in this book includes also much from those lectures in which, while always anchored in the text, he expressed his wider perceptions. He looks closely at the dragon that would slay Beowulf "snuffling in baffled rage and injured greed when he discovers the theft of the cup"; but he rebuts the notion that this is "a mere treasure story", "just another dragon tale". He turns to the lines that tell of the burying of the golden things long ago, and observes that it is "the feeling for the treasure itself, this sad history" that raises it to another level. "The whole thing is sombre, tragic, sinister, curiously real. The ‘treasure’ is not just some lucky wealth that will enable the finder to have a good time, or marry the princess. It is laden with history, leading back into the dark heathen ages beyond the memory of song, but not beyond the reach of imagination." Sellic spell, a "marvellous tale", is a story written by Tolkien suggesting what might have been the form and style of an Old English folk-tale of Beowulf, in which there was no association with the "historical legends" of the Northern kingdoms.

A writer of fantasies, Tolkien, a professor of language and literature at Oxford University, was always intrigued by early English and the imaginative use of language. In his greatest story, the trilogy The Lord of the Rings (1954--56), Tolkien invented a language with vocabulary, grammar, syntax, even poetry of its own. Though readers have created various possible allegorical interpretations, Tolkien has said: "It is not about anything but itself. (Certainly it has no allegorical intentions, general, particular or topical, moral, religious or political.)" In The Adventures of Tom Bombadil (1962), Tolkien tells the story of the "master of wood, water, and hill," a jolly teller of tales and singer of songs, one of the multitude of characters in his romance, saga, epic, or fairy tales about his country of the Hobbits. Tolkien was also a formidable medieval scholar, as evidenced by his work, Beowulf: The Monster and the Critics (1936) and his edition of Anciene Wisse: English Text of the Anciene Riwle. Among his works published posthumously, are The Legend of Sigurd and Gudr�n and The Fall of Arthur, which was edited by his son, Christopher. In 2013, his title, The Hobbit (Movie Tie-In) made The New York Times Best Seller List.

Christopher Reuel Tolkien was born on November 21, 1924 in Leeds, England. He is author J.R.R. Tolkien's youngest son and is known for having edited and published much of his father's work posthumously, including The Children of H�rin.

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