Related Links in the GSR:
Related Links in the Library:
Beowulf is one of the first literary masterpieces of the English language.
Written in Old English in the eleventh century, its linguistic characteristics
are still quite close to other Germanic tongues. The story itself is thought
to have been originally composed sometime between 700 and 750. Although certain
places and events are indeed historical, the main character of the story, Beowulf,
is thought to be a fictional, archetypal hero. In meter, style, and theme, the
basic structure of the poem is essentially of the Teutonic heroic tradition.
It recounts the life of Prince Beowulf of the Scandinavian Geats, who fights
various monsters, the first in the service of King Hrothgar. Hrothgar's beautiful
mead hall is beset every evening by a horrible "troll-like" creature,
Grendel, who kills all in his path. No one has been able to prevail against
him until Beowulf arrives and rips the creature's arm off, mortally wounding
him. He then must face the monster's mother, who meets a like fate.