Beowulf is the oldest epic poem in the English language. It was written in Old English, the language of the Saxons. In the 19th century the poem began to be called by the name of its Scandinavian hero. Historical elements run through the poem, but both the hero and the story are fiction. The poem was composed between the 8th and the 11th centuries. The text exists in only one manuscript which dates from about the year 1000. The manuscript was burned in 1731. Kevin S. Kiernan, one of the world's foremost Beowulf scholars, has studied the manuscript. In this volume he presented his novel conclusions about the date of Beowulf. This volume will be a must read English history and literature. Handwriting style reveals that it was inscribed by two different people.
Beowulf was written in Old English, what is more different from Modern English. The next boxes contain the opening lines of the poem in the original version and a translation:
|Hwæt. We Gardena in gear-dagum, |What. We of the Spear-Danes in | | | old days | |þeodcyninga, þrym gefrunon. |of the people-kings, power heard. |
Before beginning to translate Beowulf, the translator must choose between a "heroic" or a modern style. "Heroic" means that the translation will use sentence structures and arhaic language. Modern translation style is very different: this type of translation uses contemporary language. Each style has its advantages and disadvantages. The use of modern language and sentence style makes the story easy to understand. An archaic style will more difficult to read.The first transcription of the poem was made by Icelandic scholar Grímur Jónsson Thorkelin in 1818. Two years...