Mini-Syllabus: Introduction to Beowulf and Anglo-Saxon

For today’s Feature Friday, how about rediscovery of a lost world? Michelle Joelle, student, writer, and blogger, has been posting a “Mini-Syllabus” every now and then. I enjoy each one. Here is one to learn Anglo-Saxon–the Old English language that we find in Beowulf. It is very connected to Old Icelandic and Old Norwegian and the rest of the Norse mythologies and hero tales. It is something I would like to learn, so I’m folding down this page for the future!

Stories & Soliloquies


Although I am still working my way through my last syllabus, I’m excited that my book club is reading Beowulf this fall. I’ve decided to make the most of this chance to talk about Beowulf with a wonderful group of intelligent readers by setting myself a larger project. I’d love to get a better sense of the language and the context from which Beowulf, and though I won’t get to this project for some time, I couldn’t resist sharing it here.

First, there is the story itself.

1. Beowulf: A New Verse Translation (Bilingual Edition), by Seamus Heaney.

Heaney’s translation is widely considered the best, most exciting new translation, and as such is a great starting point. I also love any translation with the original text on the left-hand side.

2. Beowulf, a Translation and Commentary, by J. R. R. Tolkien

Of course, with Tolkien’s new translation out…

View original post 506 more words

About Brenton Dickieson

“A Pilgrim in Narnia” is a blog project in reading and talking about the work of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the worlds they touched. As a "Faith, Fantasy, and Fiction" blog, we cover topics like children’s literature, apologetics and philosophy, myths and mythology, fantasy, theology, cultural critique, art and writing. This blog includes my thoughts as I read through Lewis and Tolkien and reflect on my own life and culture. In this sense, I am a Pilgrim in Narnia--or Middle Earth, or Fairyland. I am often peeking inside of wardrobes, looking for magic bricks in urban alleys, or rooting through yard sale boxes for old rings. If something here captures your imagination, leave a comment, “like” a post, share with your friends, or sign up to receive Narnian Pilgrim posts in your email box. Brenton Dickieson is a father, husband, friend, university lecturer, and freelance writer from Prince Edward Island, Canada. You can follow him on Twitter, @BrentonDana.
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13 Responses to Mini-Syllabus: Introduction to Beowulf and Anglo-Saxon

  1. robstroud says:

    I love me my Beowulf. Enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Arantza Rementeria says:

    ¿Posible lectura? ¿Qué te parece?


    > El 2 oct 2015, a las 19:11, A Pilgrim in Narnia escribió: > > >


  3. L.A. Smith says:

    Awesome, thanks for sharing! I love listening to people speak Saxon….it’s so familiar and so strange, all at once.


    • Yeah, it is kind of neat. At Mythcon they chanted the first 50 lines of Beowulf–memorized! I feel like I almost have the words… but then I don’t.
      I am reading aloud to my son Simon Armitage’s translation of the Middle English Morte Darthur. On the left page is the old version, on the right the alliterative translation. We are getting good at reading the old version. Clever idea.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. L.A. Smith says:

    Old Saxon, I mean. In other words, Old English….well, I’m sure you get my drift…

    Liked by 1 person

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