The Beowulf poet for Paper 7

opening folio of Beowulf from the electronic Beowulf

A reading list
(an edited version of the English Faculty reading list.)

link to English Faculty full list here


Beowulf and the Fight at Finnsburg, edited by F. Klaeber, (3rd edition, Boston, 1950)

Beowulf: A Student Edition, edited by George Jack, (Oxford, 1994). This edition (which includes the text of The Fight at Finnsburh) has a running glossary alongside the text, and is fully annotated, making it much easier for those with a rudimentary knowledge of Old English to read the poem in the original. The bibliography is extremely useful.

Beowulf: an edition, edited by B.Mitchell and F.C.Robinson (Oxford 1998)

An accessible facsimile of the original manuscript, with a facing transcription is Beowulf, edited by Norman Davis (The Early English Text Society, London, 1966) (but see below under Websites)


**R. Liuzza, Beowulf, Ontario: Broadview Press, 1999.
S. Heaney, Beowulf, London: Faber, 1998.



R.E Bjork and J.D Niles, (eds.) A Beowulf Handbook (Exeter, 1996) - a collection of short essays surveying the history of various aspects of Beowulf scholarship (metre, history, gender roles, sources and so on) followed by chronological bibliographies. This is a very valuable tool for further reading on the poem.
Other useful bibliographical aids are:
S.B. Greenfield and F.C.Robinson, A Bibliography of of Publications on Old English Literature to the End of 1972 (Toronto, 1980), R.J.Hasenfratz, Beowulf Scholarship: An Annotated Bibliography 1979-1990 (New York, 1993), and the annual bibliographies published in the journal Anglo-Saxon England.

link to Hasenfratz Beowulf Bibliography 1979-94


Studies of Beowulf

Peter Baker (ed.), Beowulf: Basic readings (New York and London, 1995)
Adrian Bonjour, The Digressions in Beowulf (Oxford, 1950)
A.G.Brodeur, The Art of Beowulf (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1959)
R.W. Chambers, Beowulf, An Introduction to the Study of the Poem, 3rd edition with a supplement by C.L.Wrenn, (Cambridge 1959)
Colin Chase, (ed.) The Dating of Beowulf (Toronto, 1981)
Helen Damico, Beowulf's Wealhtheow and the Valkyrie Tradition (Madison, 1984) (to be taken with big pinch of salt)
David Dumville, 'Beowulf Come Lately: Some Notes on the Palaeography of the Nowell Codex' in Archiv 225 (1988), 49-63
R.D.Fulk, (ed.) Interpretations of Beowulf (Bloomington and Indianapolis, 1991)
*Malcolm Godden and Michael Lapidge,(eds.) The Cambridge Companion to Old English Literature (Cambridge, 1991), which includes an essay on Beowulf by F.C.Robinson.
John M.Hill, The Cultural World of Beowulf (Toronto, 1995) (take Norse stuff with big pinch of salt)
E.B. Irving: Rereading Beowulf (1989)
Kevin Kiernan, Beowulf and the Beowulf Manuscript (UTP, 1996 (rev. ed.)
Michael Lapidge, '"Beowulf", Aldhelm, the "Liber Monstrorum" and Wessex', in Studi Medievali 23 (1982), 151-92.
and now
M. Lapidge, 'The archetype of Beowulf' ASE 29 2001, 5-41
K. O'Brien O'Keefe, ed.: Reading Old English Texts (Cambridge, 1997)
Ruth Melinkoff, 'Cain's Monstrous Progeny in Beowulf', part I in Anglo-Saxon England 8 (1979), 143-62; part II in Anglo-Saxon England 9 (1981), 183-97
L.E.Nicholson, (ed.), An Anthology of Beowulf Criticism (Notre Dame 1963, repr. 1976) includes many important articles on the poem, notably J.R.R.Tolkien's 'The Monsters and the Critics', first published in Proceedings of the British Academy XXII (1936), and perhaps the single most celebrated piece of literary criticism of the poem.
J.D.Niles, Beowulf: The Poem and its Tradition (Cambridge, Mass., 1983)
Andy Orchard, Pride and Prodigies: Studies in the Monsters of the Beowulf-manuscript (Cambridge,1995)
F.C.Robinson, Beowulf and the Appositive Style (Knoxville, 1985)
F.C.Robinson, The Tomb of Beowulf (Oxford, 1993)
E.G.Stanley, In the Foreground: Beowulf (Cambridge, 1994)
Kenneth Sisam, The Structure of Beowulf (Oxford, 1965)
Patrick Wormald, 'Bede, "Beowulf" and the Conversion of the Anglo-Saxon Aristocracy', in Bede and Anglo-Saxon England, ed. R.T.Farrell, 32-95 (Oxford, 1978)

Background Reading

R.L.S. Bruce-Mitford, The Sutton Hoo Ship Burial: A Handbook. (London, 1968, 3rd edn. 1979) - an account of archaeological finds which have seemed to many to illuminate the material world of Beowulf
James Campbell, The Anglo-Saxons (Oxford, 1982) - a scholarly illustrated history
C. M. Bowra, Heroic Poetry (London 1952)
W.P.Ker, Epic and Romance (London 1908)

Beowulf in the context of oral epic poetry.

A.B. Lord, The Singer of Tales (Harvard 1964)
J.M. Foley, Immanent Art: From Structure to Meaning in Traditional Oral Epic (Bloomington 1991)

Related Texts and Analogues

G.N.Garmonsway, and J.Simpson, Beowulf and its Analogues (London 1968) - an invaluable collection of translations of many texts related to Beowulf
D. Calder, R. Bjork et al. Sources and Analogues of Old English Poetry, vols. 1 and 2, (1976).
plus material in Liuzza.
Bede, The Ecclesiastical History of the English People, trans. Bertram Colgrave, ed. Judith McClure nd Roger Collins (Oxford, 1994)

Boethius, The Consolation of Philosophy, trans. V.E.Watts (Harmondsworth, 1969)
Gregory of Tours, History of the Franks, trans. Lewis Thorpe (Harmondsworth, 1974)
The Saga ofGrettir,Hrafnkel's saga in Sagas of the Icelanders  Penguin, 2000.
The Poetic Edda, edited and translated by Ursula Dronke, (2 vols, Oxford 1969, 1997; two further vols still to come)
The Poetic Edda, trans. Carolyne Larrington (Oxford, 1996) - with Snorri's Edda (below), the basic source for Old Norse mythology
Saxo Grammaticus, History of the Danes, the first nine books, trans. Peter Fisher and edited Hilda Ellis Davidson (Woodbridge, 1979)
Snorri Sturluson's Edda, trans. Anthony Faulkes (London, 1987)
Tacitus, The Agricola and the Germania, trans. H. Mattingly, rev. S.A. Handford (Harmondsworth, 1970)
The saga of the Volsungs, trans. Jesse Byock (Enfield, 1993)
The saga of Hrolf Kraki, trans. Jesse Byock (Harmondsworth, 1998)


A complete digital facsimile of the Beowulf manuscript is an electronic publication from the Britsh Library.

The University of Georgetown's Labyrinth-Old English Library contains a selection of Old English texts online, including a scholarly edition of Beowulf; and the complete corpus of Old English as well as editions of Beowulf are available online from The Oxford Text Archive.

The University of Georgetown Old English Pages Cathy Ball's OE compendium) are rightly described online as "an encyclopaedic compendium of resources for the study of Old English and Anglo-Saxon England."

The Electronic Beowulf
Beowulf sound files
Beowulf teaching resources

for a specialist Beowulf and Germanic background reading list, follow link here:
Beowulf and Germanic background