In 1926 J.R.R. Tolkien completed his translation of Beowulf, read it to a few friends, made one or two corrections, became happy with it, and then never saw the need to publish it! Now finally the Tolkien Estate has signed a deal to publish this translation which is to be edited by his youngest son Christopher Tolkien, who has said this about the book…
‘From his creative attention to detail in these lectures there arises a sense of the immediacy and clarity of his vision. It is as if he entered into the imagined past: standing beside Beowulf and his men shaking out their mail-shirts as they beached their ship on the coast of Denmark, listening to the rising anger of Beowulf at the taunting of Unferth, or looking up in amazement at Grendel’s terrible hand set under the roof of Heorot.’
Beowulf was translated by the late Seamus Heaney back in 1999 for which he won the Whitbread Book of the Year Award. Beowulf is one of the oldest surviving pieces of Old English literature and concerns Beowulf who comes to the aid of the King of the Danes against the monster Grendel (and his mother).
This is the first book by J.R.R. Tolkien since the internationally bestselling The Fall of Arthur. Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary will be published by HarperCollins on 22nd May 2014 and in the United States by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.