JRR Tolkien’s translation of Beowulf to be published after 88 years


(From The Independent) JRR Tolkien’s translation of Beowulf, the epic that helped inspire The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, is to be published for the first time almost 90 years after completion.

Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary will be published in May with the “distinctive” 1926 translation alongside a commentary taken from his lecture notes made throughout the 1930s.

The new book, to be published in the UK by HarperCollins, has been edited by the author’s son Christopher Tolkien, who said the attention to detail in the lectures gives rise to “a sense of immediacy and clarity of his vision”.

“It’s 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 cost of Denmark.”

Beowulf, written in the 11th century, is the longest epic poem in Old English, with the one surviving manuscript held in the British Library. It has inspired countless translations, including a notable take in 1999 by Irish poet Seamus Heaney.

This marks the first new work by JRR Tolkien published since The Fall of Arthur, an unfinished poem about the legend of King Arthur, published last year.

(read the full story)



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