The reception history of Beowulf

Robert E. Bjork

Abstract


This paper traces both the scholarly and popular reception of the Old English epic Beowulf from the publication of the first edition of the poem in 1815 to the most recent English novel based on it from 2019. Once the work was first made available to the scholarly community, numerous editions in various languages began to appear, the most recent being in English from 2008; once editions were published, Old English scholars around the world could translate the text into their native languages beginning with Danish in 1820. Translations, in their turn, made the poem available to a general audience, which responded to the poem through an array of media: music, art, poetry, prose fiction, plays, film, television, video games, comic books, and graphic novels. The enduring, widespread appeal of the poem remains great and universal.

Keywords


adaptation; Beowulf; cultural influence; reception history; transmission history

Full Text:

PDF

References


Anonymous 1897: Fonden ad usus publicos, Vol. 1. Copenhagen, C. A. Reitzel.

Baatz, C. 2014: Beowulf in Deutschland Zur literarischen und wissenschaftlichen Rezeption altenglischer Literatur in Deutschland am Beispiel des Beowulf. (Dissertation.) University of Tübingen.

Bagby, B. 2005: Beowulf, the Edda and the Performance of Medieval Epic: Notes from the Workshop of a Reconstructed ‘Singer of Tales’. In E. B. Vitz, N. Freeman Regaldo & M. Lawrence eds. Performing Medieval Narrative. Cambridge, D. S. Brewer: 181–192.

Beach, B. C. 1954: Beowulf: A Symphonic Sketch for Band by Bruce C. Beach. New York, Remick Music Corporation.

Bjork, R. E. 1996: Grímur Jónnson Thorkelin’s Preface to the First Edition of Beowulf, 1815. Scandinavian Studies 68: 291–320.

Bjork, R. E. 1997: Nineteenth-Century Scandinavia and the Birth of Anglo-Saxon Studies. In A. J. Frantzen & J. D. Niles eds. Anglo-Saxonism and the Construction of Social Identity. Gainesville, University Press of Florida: 111–132.

Blackistone, B. 1977: Beowabbit. Takoma Park, MD, n.p.

Byers, B. 2018: Beowulf: A Folk Metal Opera. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOBhapR3yJs. [Accessed 10 June 2019]

Chance, J. 1980: The Structural Unity in Beowulf: The Problem of Grendel’s Mother. Texas Studies in Literature and Language 22: 287–303.

Chiarella, T. 2004: A Fling with Carmen Electra. Esquire 142.6: 116–117. Clark, D. & N. Perkins eds. 2010: Anglo-Saxon Culture and the Modern Imagination. Cambridge, Boydell & Brewer.

Clarke, C. A. M. 2010: Re-placing Masculinity: The DC Comics Beowulf Series and its Context. In D. Clark & N. Perkins eds. Anglo-Saxon Culture and the Modern Imagination. Cambridge, Boydell & Brewer: 165–182.

Craton, J. 2005–2011: Beowulf: The Orchestral Suite. http://www.craton.net/music /beowulf/. [Accessed 12 June 2019]

Crépin, A. 1983: La Consience de soi héroique: L’example de Beowulf. R. Ellrodt, ed. Genèse de la conscience moderne: Études sur le développement de la conscience de soi dans les littératures du monde occidental. Publications de la Sorbonne (Série Littérature 14 Paris), Presses Universitaires de France: 51–60.

Crépin, A. 1991: Beowulf: édition diplomatique et texte critique, traduction française, commentaire et vocabulaire (Göppinger Arbeiten zur Germanistik 329). 2 vols. Göppingen, Kümmerle.

Duncan, E. 1994: Was Grendel a Bigfoot? McNeese Review: 91–99.

Fajardo-Acosta, F. 1989: The Condemnation of Heroism in the Tragedy of Beowulf: A Study in the Characterization of the Epic (Studies in Epic and Romance Literature 2). Lewiston (NY), Edwin W. Mellen Press.

Echard, S. 2010: Boom: Seeing Beowulf in Pictures and Print. In D. Clark & N. Perkins eds. Anglo-Saxon Culture and the Modern Imagination. Cambridge, Boydell & Brewer: 129–146.

Frantzen, A. J. 2010: Window in the Wall: Looking for Grand Opera in John Gardner’s Grendel. In D. Clark & N. Perkins eds. Anglo-Saxon Culture and the Modern Imagination. Cambridge, Boydell & Brewer: 147–164.

Fulk, R. D. ed. and trans. 2010. The Beowulf Manuscript (Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library 3). Cambridge (MA), Harvard University Press.

Fulk, R. D., R. E. Bjork & J. D. Niles eds. 2008. Klaeber’s Beowulf and the Fight at Finnsburg. 4th ed. Toronto, University of Toronto Press.

George, J.-A. 2010: Beowulf: A Reader’s Guide to Essential Criticism. New York, PalgraveMacMillan.

Goldenthal, E. 2006: Grendel: Transcendence of the Great Big Bad. Los Angeles, n.p.

Gräslund, B. 2018: Beowulfkvädet. Den nordiska bakgrunden. Uppsala, Kungl. Gustav Adolfs Akademien.

Greenfield, S. B. & F. C. Robinson 1980: A Bibliography on Publications on Old English Literature to the End of 1972. Toronto, University of Toronto Press.

Hanson, H. 1925: Symphony No. 2, “The Lament for Beowulf”, Opus 25. Boston, Victor Masterworks recording VM 889.

Hanson, H. 1963: Lament for Beowulf. In R. S. Hines ed. The Composer’s Point of View: Essays on Twentieth-Century Choral Music. Norman, University of Oklahoma Press.

Hasentratz, R. J. 1993: Beowulf Scholarship: An Annotated Bibliography, 1979–1990. New York, Garland Publishing, Inc.

Hasty Pudding Theatricals 1970: The Boy who Cried Beowulf. Cambridge (MA), n.p.

Jones, C. 2010: From Heorot to Hollywood: Beowulf in its Third Millenium. In D. Clark & N. Perkins eds. Anglo-Saxon Culture and the Modern Imagination. Cambridge, Boydell & Brewer: 13–30.

Kemble, J. M. 1833: The Anglo-Saxon Poems of Beowulf, the Travellers Song, and the Battle of Finnes-burh. London, W. Pickering.

Kiernan, K. 2019: Electronic Beowulf 4.1. http://ebeowulf.uky.edu. [Accessed 1 June 2019]

Killilea, A. E. 2015–2016. Smash the matriarchy: Fear of feminine power structures in Beowulf adaptations. SELIM 21: 57–80.

Lash, H. 2016: Beowulf. https://www.guerillaopera.org/beowulf. [Accessed 10 June 2019]

Leo, H. 1839: Bëówulf, dasz älteste deutsche, in angelsächsischer Mundart erhaltene, Heldengedicht. Halle, E. Anton.

Magennis, H. 2011: Translating Beowulf: Modern Versions in English Verse. Cambridge, D. S. Brewer.

McGuinne, J. S. trans. 2019: Beowulf – Dïhte staalehke alma. Umeå, Gïelem nastedh.

Mitchell, S. trans. 2017: Beowulf. New Haven, Yale University Press.

Mooney, T. J. 1980: Is Bigfoot the Star of Beowulf? Fate 33.1: 72.

Morris, W. & A. J. Wyatt trans. 1895: The Tale of Beowulf. Hammersmith, Kelmscott Press.

Old English Newsletter Bibliography Database (OEN) 2019: http://www.oenewsletter.org/OENDB/advanced.php. [Accessed 1 June 2019]

Osborn, M. 1997: Translations, Versions, Illustrations. In R. E. Bjork & J. D. Niles eds. A Beowulf Handbook. Lincoln, University of Nebraska Press: 341–372.

Osborn, M. 2006: Bruder’s Beowulf. Ein heldisches Spiel. Geardagum 26: 5–52.

Overton, G. H. 1953: ‘Beowulf’ Can Be Fun: An Account of an Unorthodox Approach. The English Journal 42: 392–393.

Peña Gil, P. 2011: The Witch, the Ogress, and the Temptress: Defining Grendel’s Mother in Beowulf and Film Adaptations. SELIM 18: 49–75.

Pickering, K. & K. Cole 1986: Beowulf: A Rock Musical. London & Schulenburg (Texas), I. E. Clark.

Pickett, L. & L. Turner 2005: Beowulf: The Rock Opera. https://www.broadwayworld. com/article/BEOWULF-The-Rock-Opera-at-Irish-Repertory-Theatre-October7-November-27-20050906. [Accessed 10 June 2019]

Sagoff, M. 1980: Shrinklits: Seventy of the World’s Towering Classics Cut Down to Size. New York, Workman Pub.

Sauer, H. 2011: 205 Years of Beowulf Translations and Adaptations (1805–2010): A Bibliography. Trier, Wissenschaflicher Verlag.

Shippey, T. A. & A. Haarder eds. 1998: Beowulf: The Critical Heritage. London & New York, Routledge.

Short, D. 1980: Beowulf Scholarship: An Annotated Bibliography. New York, Garland Publishing, Inc.

Sørensen, S. 2007: Beowulf. Part 1: Grendel. Los Angeles, Bee Guy Records.

Tegethoff, W. 1971: Der altangelsächsische Beowulf: Ein Werk Adalberts von Bremen. Osnabrück, Im Eigenverlag des Verfassers.

Thorkelin, G. J. ed. and trans. 1815: De Danorum rebus gestis seculi III & IV (Poëma Danicum dialect Anglo-Saxonica). Copenhagen, Typis T. E. Rangel.

Torregossa, M. A. 2018: Beowulf in the Comics: An Initial Bibliographic Guide 2.0. http://www.academia.edu/Documents/in/Beowulf?page=3. [Accessed 15 July 2019]

Turner, S. 1803: A Vindication of the Genuineness of the Ancient British Poems of Aneurin, Taliesin, Llywarch Hen, and Merdhin, with Specimens of the Poems. London, E. Williams.

Turner, S. 1805: The History of the Manners, Landed Property, Government, Laws, Poetry, Literature, and Language of the Anglo-Saxons. Vol. 4. London, Longman.

Viñao, E. 2019: Beowulf: Scyld’s Burial for SATB and Percussion Quartert. http://www.tloneditions.com/Ezequiel_Vinao_Beowulf_Scylds_Burial.html. [Accessed 3 June 2019]

Walls, M. 1998: Animated Epics: Beowulf. https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x6djd2r. [Accessed 19 June 2019]

Wanley, H. 1705: Librorum Veterum Septentrionalium, qui in Angliae Bibliothecis extant, nec non multorum Veterum Codicum Septentrionalium alibi extantium Catalogus Historico-Criticus, cum totius Thesauri Linguarum Septentrionalium sex Indicibus. Reprinted 1970. Hildesheim & New York, Georg Olms.

Wylie, B. J. & V. Davies 1974/1983: Beowulf: A Musical Epic. Toronto, Leap Frog Records.

Wylie, B. J. & V. Davies 1974/1983. Libretto for Beowulf: A Musical Epic. Toronto, Leap Frog Records.




DOI: https://doi.org/10.17811/selim.25.2020.1-19

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.