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Tolkien’s Beowulf published

Today, Tolkien’s translation of the Old English epic poem Beowulf is published. Written in 1926, the book includes J.R.R. Tolkien’s original poem ‘Sellic Spell’.

Special slipcased edition of Tolkien's Beowulf
Special slipcased edition of Tolkien’s Beowulf

The book, published by HarperCollins in the UK and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in the USA, posthumously edited by Tolkien’s son Christopher, has been published nearly 90 years after it was originally written. Tolkien, who was an expert in Old English, completed the translation of Beowulf in 1926 but it has never before been published. Tolkien’s essay “Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics”, first published in 1937, is widely recognised as an influential piece of Beowulf research which championed the poetic value of the story rather than treating Beowulf as simply an artefact for linguistic research.

The Tolkien Society will be celebrating the release of Beowulf at the Beowulf Release Party, due to be held at 4pm BST on Saturday 24th May. The party is free to attend and will be streamed live online with confirmed guests including Michael D. C. Drout, Anke Eißmann, Dimitra Fimi, Nelson Goering, Deborah Higgens, and Corey Olsen. The event will be streamed at and will also feature an exclusive clip of a lost Tolkien recording.

You can view an overall of some of the Beowulf reviews here.

For any interviews and media requests about the launch of Beowulf, please get in touch with our publicity officer.

About the Author: Shaun Gunner
Shaun is the Chair of The Tolkien Society. First elected in 2013, Shaun has overseen the Society's expansion from 600 to 3,500 members. Shaun regularly speaks about adaptations of Tolkien's works and the future of Tolkien scholarship whilst passionately believing the Society needs to reach out to new audiences. In his spare time he can be found playing video games and Lego, or on Twitter. He also chairs another charity, Mankind, and is a local councillor.