Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Beowulf Primer

I love the story of Beowulf!  Did you know there is only one copy of it from ancient times? It is unknown when the Nowell Codex was written, but it is approximately 1,000 years old.  The tale itself was probably sung centuries before. 

I want to pass on my admiration for this, the earliest known poem in the English language, to my children. Therefore, we have many copies of Beowulf, so they can enjoy it no matter at what level they are reading.

Left to right, top to bottom:

I also own Beowulf: A Hero's Tale Retold by James Rumford, but I couldn't find it for the picture. It must be on one of the Lambies shelves. 

So, this is my Beowulf collection. Each is a favorite in it's own way.  Rumford's is rich in illustration and the story is simple enough for preschool and kindergarteners to follow along. Serrailier and Hosford's are the ones I read aloud to my elementary Lambies for school.  H. E. Marshall's is just perfect for older elementary students to read independently. Seamus Heaney's work is outstanding and is the one I recommend my jr. and high schoolers read.  I love that it has the Old English on the left side page and the excellent translation on the right.  The Penguin Classic I keep on the shelf for the map and reference pages rather than for the translation.    

As you can tell, this poem means a lot to us. I highly recommend everyone read it themselves and make sure their children are familiar with it, too.  

What's your favorite version of this masterwork? 

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