Beowulf Resources - 999inks
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Beowulf is one of the oldest and longest (3,182 lines) poems in the world. It’s an Old English epic poem that is often cited as one of the most important Anglo-Saxon literary works ever composed. Even now, centuries after it was first written down, people know the story of Beowulf.

In the story, a Norse man named Beowulf engages in three epic battles across his lifetime. The first is against Grendel, a monster who attacks villages and eats the villagers. Beowulf kills him by ripping off his arm. Grendel’s mother then tries to kill Beowulf in revenge and attacks his home, but when Grendel’s mother drags Beowulf into her home, he kills her. His final battle is with a dragon that morally wounds him later in life. The story is believed to have exemplified a perfect life for the Norse: Beowulf lived his life a warrior who never backed down from a fight, and in the end, he died in battle as all good Norsemen should wish for.

Beowulf has an extremely broad setting, as Beowulf does extensive traveling while on his epic quest. Most of the tale takes place in what is modern day Denmark and Sweden, which reinforces the belief that the story itself was written by an Anglo-Saxon author.

The author of Beowulf is unknown. All that is known is that it’s an Old English epic poem that was written somewhere between the 8th and early 11th centuries. Even the exact origin of the poem is a subject of speculation with some saying it came out of East Anglia, and some from the Scandinavian area. It has been translated and annotated countless times over the years so there are many versions that have an author’s name, just not the original author’s name.

The most famous written manuscript of Beowulf belonged to Laurence Nowell in the 16th century, which is why it’s known as the Nowell Codex. It was severely damaged in a fire and nobody knows who it belonged to before Nowell. Before then, the story was passed down orally, which is yet another reason why its exact author is unknown because there are just too many possible sources to be able to narrow it down. However, the earliest known manuscript of the poem is dated back to around 1000 A.D. It was originally believed to be transcribed by tow mysterious scribes with the first covering up to line 1938, and the second taking over the duty until the end. 


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