JRR Tolkien translation of Beowulf to be published after 90-year wait

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

Almost 90 years after he translated the 11th-century poem, JRR Tolkien’s version of Beowulf will see print:

The book, edited by Christopher Tolkien, will also include the series of lectures Tolkien gave at Oxford about the poem in the 1930s, as well as the author’s “marvellous tale”, Sellic Spell.

It seems odd that it took so long.


  1. Gwern says:

    I get the impression Christopher Tolkien is a bit of a control freak (e.g. see his disowning of someone over endorsing the fantastic Jackson movies). Maybe it’s just taken him this long to get to the Beowulf translation.

  2. Marc Pisco says:

    Maybe it’s not all that good. Not everybody hits a home run every time at bat.

  3. Steve Johnson says:


    The Jackson movies were far from fantastic and if Christopher disowned someone for praising them I take that as a good sign.

  4. Bruce says:

    Tolkien wrote a lot of good stuff; I don’t think we’re down to his laundry list yet. But I liked The Hobbit better than anything since. Tightly written, focused, his love for the Brandywine illustrators everywhere. Every time I open my parents browning 1950s paperback it’s 1979 again, and I’m 14, and Jimmy Carter’s judge hasn’t broken Bell Labs yet, there’s a computer revolution ahead, the Space Shuttle might still pan out, and here’s a blast from the past of a West that still has a great future ahead. The elves work, the dwarves are great, Smaug is wise and tough and not unkillable, Bilbo is young and full of plump pep, heck, even the goblins are hard smart rogues.

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