Author/Translator: unknown/J.R.R. Tolkien
Written: between 8th-11th centuries
Challenge: Literary Movement 2015 Medieval
This book is gorgeous; though I may be partial because most of my books are gravely used, and this copy of Beowulf was brand new. I have always appreciated the story of Beowulf, possibly because of its romantic medieval roots about valiant knights defeating wicked foes, which is why I choose it for my Lit Movement Medieval period. My kids and I have read numerous versions together, including Ian Serrailer's translation, which is also great; but how exciting to read a translation by Tolkien! I knew I had to get it, and I am so glad I did.
This version is in a poetic-prose translation, which means (I had to look it up) it maintains its poetic quality; but it is not in verse, which means it would have had rhyme and rhythm. I was incorrect by suggesting in a comment that it was in verse. Nonetheless, it flows so smoothly and beautifully, and Tolkien's interpretation is vibrant and alive. If books have a physical dimension, this is 3D. Does that make sense? I wonder if this particular book could be used as a study of Beowulf in classrooms. It seems extremely comprehensive.
If you are truly adventurous, you may like to read the Old English text of Sellic Spell. I was not that adventurous.
And finally, toward the very end of the book are two poems titled, "The Lay of Beowulf," which Tolkien sang to his son, Christopher, who is the reason this translation is available to us today. It must have been fun to have Tolkien as a father.