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Syd Allan's Beowulf site - listed first because it is HUGE - start here - there is even a Word Search - the Authors section contains transcribed sections from many texts and audio recordings of the same text in the original.
Beowulf bibliography 1979-1994, from University of Connecticut
Beowulf: A Student's Bibliography - from Georgetown
- Beowulf Links to resources, some in need of updating
Beowulf Resources - from Georgetown
Legends: Beowulf - not a university site, but the creation of lovers of legend
A bibliography of Viking reenactment sources
Print: Bloom's Reviews - comprehensive research & study guides - Beowulf, edited and with an introduction by Harold Bloom. 1999, Chelsea House. (available from Amazon.com)
Available Texts - not a complete list by any means. Many other texts exist and can be purchased through Amazon.com. See also the E-texts links and Syd Allan's exhaustive listing.
Alexander, Michael. Beowulf. 1973, Penguin. (available from Amazon.com) - very good notes and index of proper names - verse. Available on tape.
Alexander, Michael. Beowulf. Audiotape. Read by David Rintoul. Penguin Audiobooks (available from Amazon.com).
Beowulf (selections). Read in Old English by J.B.Bessinger, Jr. Audiotape. 1962, Caedmon Audio. (available from Amazon.com) - also contains Caedmon's Hymn, The Dream of the Road, The Wanderer, The Battle of Brunan Burg, and A Wife's Lament.
- reads Beowulf (unabridged). Read by Treavor Eaton. 1997, Audio CD (available from Amazon.com).
Breeden, Dr. David. Adventures of Beowulf - a prose adaptation - online resource.
Child, Clarence Griffin, Beowulf and the Finnish Fragment. 1932, Houghton Mifflin (Riverside Literature Series) - prose
Gordon, Robert Kay, translator. Beowulf. 1992, Dover Thrift Edition (available from Amazon.com) - no notes - prose.
- Heaney, Seamus. Beowulf - a New Verse Translation. 2000, Farrar Straus & Giroux (available from Amazon.com) - read a passage online
Hieatt, Constance, translator. Beowulf and Other Old English Poems. 1982, Bantam (available from Amazon.com) - prose - the introduction by A. Kent Hieatt is worthwhile.
Lehmann, Ruth P.M., translator. Beowulf, an Imitative Translation. 1988, University of Texas Press (available from Amazon.com) - good introductory material, few notes, glossary of proper names - verse.
- Nye, Robert. Beowulf: A New Telling. Bantam-Doubleday-Dell (Random House), New York, 1968. ISBN: 0-440-90560-5 - (available from Amazon.com)
Raffel, Burton, translator and editor. Beowulf. 1999, Signet Classic (available from Amazon.com) - wonderful notes - this a reprint of the Mentor paperback of 1963 - verse.
Rebsamen, Frederick, translator. Beowulf. 1991, HarperCollins Icon Editions (available from Amazon.com) - verse - this is my favorite of all - includes notes and a good introductory essay.
Serraillier, Ian. Beowulf, the Warrior. illustrated by Severin. 1994, Bethlehem Books (available from Amazon.com) - this a translation for Middle School students - it is very good, the illustrations are wonderful, but it has few notes and omits most of the Prologue - verse.
Lesson Plans - See also the links to various activities provided in Student Resources on this site.
Lecture notes to "Beowulf vs. the Dragon", including vocabulary and links to an essay on "Feuds in Beowulf."
- Beowulf at The Web English Teacher - links to various lessons and resources, including a Mock Trial and a rap music performance
- The Beauty of Anglo-Saxon Poetry - a lesson to guide students in how to read the text - from EDSITEment
- Beowulf - 6 lessons using technology, by Kaley Guiley
- Beowulf - a 1-page illustrated summary by an honors HS student - good to show as a 1st lesson
Teaching Old English - follow the link to Teaching Resources on the Anglo-Saxon Culture page.
- Claymation Beowulf - a technology execise using the Robert Nye translation
- HeySmarty's Beowulf Portal - includes lessons, summaries, and other (untested) resources
- From Calhoun HS in Georgia, a Beowulf Resources page
- The Beowulf - Star Wars Connection - NCTE resource for teachers (see also the essay on this below)
- From the British Museum, a lesson using the Beowulf text to study the Roots of words - I found this resource at this Berkeley resource
Least Tern Lessons:
- Planning the Play - a Web-Quest for grade 6 - uses the resources on this web site to plan or organize a play based upon the epic
- What is Meant by Epic and Epic Hero? (Word .doc or the .pdf format) - This one-page outline of the characteristics of a epic and an epic hero can be the source of a compare/contrast lesson. Some examples:
- Examine a novel read previously - Is it an epic? Is the hero an epic hero? This would be a good Inspiration or table exercise.
- View a 30 minute TV episode of Buffy or other action-adventure show (which could be a cartoon). Look at it as an epical episode and compare it, and its hero, to the outline.
- Have the students, in groups, act out scenes from a story or biography that is epical in nature. Use the concepts of hyperbole and "larger and life" to bring humor to the reenactments. This would connect nicely to a history lesson.
- Have the students write creatively about an unlikely epic hero - a butterfly, a minnow, a flea.
- Discuss in class "real-life heroes" (athletes, politicians, doctors, parents) and epical qualities they may exhibit. Draw a connection between "real-life" and mythic or legendary. Let students predict the legends that may grow around their current heroes.
- Comparing Texts - very short quotations from 6 different texts have been selected. They cover 4 specific moments in the novel: the beginning, Grendel's appearance, Beowulf's battle with Grendel's Mother, and the death of Beowulf. These are to be compared to the Serraillier text. A worksheet document (.htm) is also available.
- What to do with Fun Stuff - ideas for using these off-beat Beowulf resources in a Middle School classroom:
- After reading the text, have students, in groups, spend a class period (30-40 minutes) at one of the 3 plot-oriented fun sites (The Illustrated Beowulf, Star Wars Beowulf, The Adventures of Wishbone: Be a Wolf!). Using the Compare-A-Beowulf table or similar document, ask for a "serious" review of the site's dramatization. This is a useful activity if you are planning to stage or photo-document the play in your classroom.
- Grendel's Cave is a terrific lunch time or after school activity. Be watchful, however, of who else is playing and of how the students sign on. This is a MOO or MUD - imaginary world game.
- Have students read the Maurice Sagoff's version of Beowulf, then ask them to write a Shrinklit for a novel or story read in class this year.
- Adventures of Beowulf is an excellent site for plot review. It can be used before, during or after reading any version of the epic.
- Comic books both reduce and expand epic hyperbolically. If you are able to obtain any of the limited Beowulf comic books, share them with the class! Many of the DC and Marvel superheroes can be viewed as Epic Heroes as well. Students can and should be encouraged to write a "comic strip" of 4-8 panels about a specific plot event. Teachers who complete this exercise can have the strips posted on the Internet by contacting Elizabeth Sky-McIlvain.
- Performance - The Serraillier edition of Beowulf lends itself to performance with a chorus. If this is to be done:
- Masks will need to be made for each of the 3 chorus groups: Beowulf's warriors, Hrothgrar's people (men and women), the monsters in the Fire Dragon's lake.
- Lines for the Chorus parts can be gathered from the text itself. Repetition of lines and epithets will help the class to understand the oral tradition.
- A drama instructor can help the student to move. If this not available, have chorus groups move to a rhythm dictated by the language of the text, a drum, and/or a noise they themselves generate after understanding their roles.
- Music might be provided by drums and lyres
- Jaws - Screen the old movie and, as you do, think about the epic hero, the side kick, the monster, the quest, the battle, the gore, the weapons, the questions of good and evil and faith and courage and might. By including some careful movie cuts in with your classroom readings of Beowulf, you will grab your students and liven up the class. Suggestions:
- Jaws appears - the sound is enough - show this and then read the 1st appearance of Grendel
- The captain appears at the town meeting - contrast this with Beowulf's appearance at the great hall - talk about the posturing and the individual vs. the group
- The captain dies - show this and then read Beowulf's end (a good compare/contract exercise)
Reading Questions - Questions are all for the Serraillier text. These are more than questions. They will, if answered in depth, result in the writing of an original, short, hero tale. In a laptop classroom, this document would be added to nightly or during class time. It could also be a hand written journal. The plot and other short questions can be either written for HW or discussed in class. The questions also contain, in bold, literary vocabulary that might be introduced in class.
Grendel ~ Grendel's Mother ~ Fire Dragon
Essays Available Online
Essays are available for free at All Free Essays - you should check these out before making an essay assignment
- You should also know about Essays on Beowulf - these are for sale
- ClassicNotes online: Beowulf - summaries and chapter summaries
Jokinen, Annina. Heroes of the Middle Ages. Essay putting Beowulf in the context of the literature of the time and later.
Oates, Joyce Carol. "Relections on the Grotesque" - places Grendel in the context of other literary monsters
- Beowulf and Star Wars
Other Resources - also check Fun Stuff on the Student Resources page and the other links provided.
Beowulf: Dragon Slayer. No.3, Sept.1975 - DC Comics - I have been unable to obtain others in this short series, or even to learn its history. Any knowledge is welcome. In this comic, Beowulf, Unferth and a woman warrior named Nan-Zee battle Man-Apes and the Serpent of Satan in order to obtain from the serpent's blood the strength to battle Grendel.
Child, Clarence Griffin, translator. Beowulf and the Finnish Fragment. 1932, Houghton Mifflin, Riverside Literature Series #159 - prose translation with interesting Introductory Sketch - comes up in online auctions.
Crichton, Michael. The 13th Warrior (originally published as Eaters of the Dead). 1976, Ballentine. - fictional chronicle of the meeting of Arab explorer Ibn Fadlan with "Buliwyf" and the hero's battles with monsters. Also a September, 1999, movie (R for language and carnage).
Gardner, John. Grendel. The story of Beowulf, as told by the monster. In many courses this is read along with the epic in translation
Riggs, Strafford. The Story of Beowulf; retold from the ancient epic. Decorated by Henry A. Pitz. 1933, Appleton-Century. This is out of print. If you can find it to show students, it is worth the effort, if only for the wonderful woodcut illustrations. The prose itself is a very good "read aloud" and interesting in terms of the slant put on the story in 1933.
- Rings, Kings & Things (DVD). starring the Standard Deviants. Cerebellum Corporation, 2000 (available from Amazon.com) - although focused primarily on The Lord of the Rings, this DVD contains a sound, simple introduction to The Hero - The Epic Hero segments (accessible from the main menu) focuses upon Beowulf.
Sutcliff, Rosemary. Beowulf. 1984, Peter Smith (available from Amazon.com) - in novel form, for middle school - the Beowulf story is "told" by an Anglo-Saxon storyteller to a group of children.
Elizabeth Sky-McIlvain 2/19/04