Hwæt! Tolkien’s Beowulf Coming in May

Tolkien’s 1926 translation of Beowulf will be published after a nearly 90-year wait! The book, which is being edited by Christopher Tolkien and published in May, will include transcripts of lectures that Tolkien gave on the poem, as well as The Sellic Spell, a previously unpublished story that retells The Saga of Hrolf Kraki.

Tolkien spent years studying Beowulf, calling it “laden with history, leading back into the dark heathen ages beyond the memory of song, but not beyond the reach of imagination… the whole thing is somber, tragic, sinister, curiously real.”

Will Tolkien’s Beowulf supplant Seamus Heaney’s? Will his translation and lectures offer insights into his creation of Smaug? How will he tackle the opening salutation, “Hwæt,” which has been translated in so many different ways? We can’t wait to find out!

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