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Beowulf is the conventional title of an Old English epic poem consisting of 3182 alliterative long lines set in Scandinavia the oldest surviving epic poem of Old English and thus commonly cited as one of the most important works of Anglo Saxon literature and also arguably the earliest vernacular English literature The full poem survives in the manuscript known as the Nowell Codex located in the British Library Written in England its composition by an anonymous Anglo Saxon poet is dated between the 8th and the early 11th century In 1731 the manuscript was badly damaged by a fire that swept through Ashburnham House in London that had a collection of medieval manuscripts assembled by Sir Robert Bruce Cotton The poem s existence for its first seven centuries or so made no impression on writers and scholars and besides a brief mention in a 1705 catalogue by Humfrey Wanley it was not studied until the end of the 18th century and not published in its entirety until Johan Blow funded the 1815 Latin translation prepared by the Icelandic Danish scholar Grmur Jnsson Thorkelin After a heated debate with Thorkelin Blow offered to support a new translation by N F S Grundtvig this time into Danish The result Bjovulfs Drape 1820 was the first modern language translation of Beowulf In the poem Beowulf a hero of the Geats in Scandinavia comes to the aid of Hrogar the king of the Danes whose mead hall in Heorot has been under attack by a monster known as Grendel After Beowulf slays him Grendel s mother attacks the hall and is then also defeated Victorious Beowulf goes home to Geatland in Sweden and later becomes king of the Geats After a period of fifty years has passed Beowulf defeats a dragon but is fatally wounded in the battle After his death his attendants bury him in a tumulus a burial mound in Geatland The events described in the poem take place in the late 5th century after the Angles and Saxons had begun their migration to England an
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John Lesslie Hall (March 2, 1856 – February 23, 1928), was an American literary scholar and poet known for his translation of Beowulf.
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