What we loosely refer to as the “Beowulf Manuscript” is actually a collection of manuscripts bound together by Sir Robert Cotton and known as Cotton Vitellius A XV because of its location in his library. The British Library has published an excellent description of the Manuscript contents that should clear up some of the confusion caused by casual references to it.
The BL article, What’s in the Beowulf Manuscript, has images and links to the recently digitized version of Beowulf and other manuscripts in the codices included in Cotton Vitellius A XV. A quick look will straighten it all out in your mind and lead you to other interesting works. Kudos to the British Library for all their recent work on Beowulf, Judith, and other manuscripts!
Seamus Heaney’s popular and accessible translation of Beowulf was published years ago and was a best-seller. Now you can hear Heaney read his translation. He has a very pleasant, expressive voice that makes his translation come to life. Whether you count Beowulf among your favorites or are having a hard time getting into it, the readings will pull you in. They’re most excellent!
Here’s a link to the prologue and first chapter, which is one of seven videos available on YouTube:
This talk is a little over twelve minutes long and focuses on the transition from oral literature retold by the scops, tellers and shapers of tales, to the manuscript that remains. It’s informative and a treat to hear Prof. Leneghan recite Old English fluidly, as though he speaks it at the dinner table every day.
If you’re an instructor, the video and audio files are available via Creative Commons Attribution license. I didn’t post them here because I think you should go to the Great Writers Inspire site and explore the whole collection. It’s a rare opportunity to learn from the best.
Kennings are found in Old Norse and Old English poetry. The more you look at them, the more elusive their definition becomes. Kennings aren’t just simple metaphors for this and that. They add layers of meaning to words for things that are well-known to people sharing a way of life or culture.
This creative Beowulf (Claymation) video on YouTube will make you laugh. It’s an AP English project that deserves to be seen beyond the classroom. An FandSproduction, the author, director, producer, and writer is Kenny Tyner.
A legendary warrior from Geatland rises up to defeat a seemingly unbeatable adversary. This claymation version is based [...]
Harvard University officially inaugurated the Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library on March 3, 2011, with the Beowulf manuscript, a volume containing two manuscripts of secular Latin poetry, and St. Jerome’s Latin translation of the Pentateuch paired with the 17th century Douay-Reims translation.
The Medieval Library is meant to fill the gap between the Loeb Classical Library [...]
There’s a new section in the Beowulf-related page, Pre-Christian Epics of Northern Europe on Fiannaidheacht: The Fenian Cycle, which chronologically falls between the Ulster Cycle and the Historical Cycle of Irish Literature. While the Cattle Raid of Cooley from the Ulster Cycle is most similar to Beowulf, if you yearn for a little romance and [...]
In July 2009, an Englishman with a metal detector, named Terry Herbert, found the largest hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold ever discovered. Treasures of the Staffordshire Hoard are as important as those of the history-making 1939 Sutton Hoo burial mound excavations. A recent reassessment of the find, according to Stoke-on-Trent Musuems, has shown that it contains [...]
I found this great Celtic warrior outfit on Fotolia while looking at images of Celtic ruins. It’s very well constructed and would be perfect for skewering dragons, charging into battle and yelling “Gaaaahh!” Perhaps it will inspire you to new heights for October’s Halloween revelries and any future Celtic re-enactments you may attend.
Sir Robert Cotton (1571-1631), collected manuscripts and antiquities. His private library included the Lindisfarne Gospels, two copies of the Magna Carta, the Beowulf manuscript, and other treasures. Cotton and his former teacher, William Camden, founded the Society of Antiquaries around 1586. He was influential in the antiquarian movement of early Stuart England, which sought to [...]