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Book Details

  • Paperback
  • Bookstore's Wholesale Price: $15.00
  • November 1998
  • ISBN: 978-0-393-97406-5
  • 224 pages
  • Territory Rights: Worldwide


A Prose Translation

Norton Critical Editions

Second Edition


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E. Talbot Donaldson (Translator, Indiana University), Nicholas Howe (Editor, Ohio State University)


The text of this edition of Beowulf is based on the highly regarded Donaldson prose translation of the Anglo-Saxon epic poem.

Accurate and literally faithful, the Donaldson translation conveys the full meaning and spirit of the original.

"Backgrounds and Contexts" provides readers with the historical, linguistic, and literary settings of Beowulf, including Robert C. Hughes on the origins of the Old English language, E. Talbot Donaldson’s presentation of the major features of Old English poetry, new material on Beowulf’s tribes and genealogies, three maps, and a facsimile illustration of the manuscript.

"Criticism" collects seven new and wide-ranging interpretations of Beowulf by Fred C. Robinson, Roberta Frank, John D. Niles, Michael Lapidge, Joyce Hill, Helen Bennett, and Nicholas Howe.

A Glossary of Proper Names and a Selected Bibliography are included.


    The Translation - E. Talbot Donaldson


    The Text of Beowulf

    Backgrounds and Context

    1. The Beowulf Manuscript
    2. Tribes and Genealogies
    3. MAP: The Geography of Beowulf
    4. Robert C. Hughes - The Origins of Old English to 800 AD
    5. MAP: The Continental Homelands of the Germanic Invaders
    6. MAP: The English Kingdoms at the Beginning of the Seventh Century AD
    7. E. Talbot Donaldson - [Old English Prosody and Cedmon’s Hymn]


    1. Fred C. Robinson - Appositive Style and the Theme of Beowulf
    2. Roberta Frank - The Beowulf Poet’s Sense of History
    3. John D. Niles - Reconceiving Beowulf: Poetry as Social Praxis
    4. Michael Lapidge - Beowulf and the Psychology of Terror
    5. Joyce Hill - “Êt Wes Geomuru Ides!” A Female Sterotype Examined
    6. Helen Bennett - The Female Mourner at Beowulf‘s Funeral: Filling in the Blanks/ Hearing the Spaces
    7. Nicholas Howe - The Uses of Uncertainty: On the Dating of Beowulf

    Glossary of Proper Names

    Selected Bibliography