Beowulf – Second Edition
  • Publication Date: October 25, 2012
  • ISBN: 9781554810642 / 1554810647
  • 232 pages; 5½" x 8½"

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Beowulf – Second Edition

  • Publication Date: October 25, 2012
  • ISBN: 9781554810642 / 1554810647
  • 232 pages; 5½" x 8½"

The Broadview British Bookshelf: A Digital Library. Get this edition and 330+ others for $45

R.M. Liuzza’s translation of Beowulf, first published by Broadview in 1999, has been widely praised for its accuracy and beauty. The translation is accompanied in this edition by genealogical charts, historical summaries, and a glossary of proper names. Historical appendices include related legends, stories, and religious writings from both Christian and Anglo-Saxon traditions. These texts help readers to see Beowulf as an exploration of the politics of kingship and the psychology of heroism, and as an early English meditation on the bridges and chasms between the pagan past and the Christian present.

Appendices also include a generous sample of other modern translations of Beowulf, shedding light on the process of translating the poem. This new edition features an updated introduction and an expanded section of material on Christianity and paganism.


“This Beowulf translation is a masterful synthesis of history, poetry, and narrative. Liuzza’s deep knowledge of the Anglo-Saxon period, combined with an ear keenly attuned to the cadences of Old English poetry, renders the volume an invaluable resource for medievalists everywhere. This is a brilliant, exemplary edition and a must-have for any serious student of the poem. Liuzza has set the standard for many years to come.” — Stacy S. Klein, Rutgers University

“The translation I use … is R.M. Liuzza’s. Liuzza’s choices are moderate, combining easy readability with a good level of literal translation. … His diction is plain, not fancy, but it seeks to alliterate where possible … Liuzza’s appendices include many of the texts often discussed in conjunction with Beowulf, which makes the edition indispensable to the amateur scholar.” — Ruth A. Johnston, A Companion to Beowulf

Praise for the first edition:

“This close and readable translation, put together by a scholar who knows so much about the poem and its craft, remakes the old tale in a new register. From the prickly dignity of overdressed spearbearers to the sad songs of beefy breakers-of-rings in their cups, there is much here to surprise and delight.” — Roberta Frank, University of Toronto

“Liuzza takes account of recent scholarly research and provides a commentary, a collection of supporting texts, and an excellent introduction to this ‘Christian poet’s bittersweet elegy for the doomed heroic life.’ His account of the peculiarities of Old English poetic style is particularly helpful.” — Frank Kermode, The New York Review of Books

“Liuzza’s volume is a resource pack for studying Beowulf and its translations. He includes specimens of other translations down the generations as well as invaluable supplementary material, the whole informed by scholarship of the highest quality and laid out attractively. The translation is fluent and unshowy. … Understandably, it (and its supplementary material) is popular with students and instructors, and it is likely to remain so in the years ahead.” — Hugh Magennis, Professor of Old English Literature and Director of Medieval Studies, Queens University Belfast, in Translating Beowulf: Modern Versions in English Verse


  • Beowulf between Myth and History
  • Beowulf between Song and Text
  • Beowulf between Court and Cloister
  • Beowulf between Old and Modern English

A Note on the Text


Glossary of Proper Names
The Geatish-Swedish Wars

Appendix A: Characters Mentioned in Beowulf

  1. From Gregory of Tours, History of the Franks
  2. From the Liber Monstrorum
  3. From Alcuin, Letter to “Speratus” (797)
  4. West-Saxon Royal Genealogies
    1. From Asser, Life of King Alfred (893)
    2. From Æthelweard, Chronicle
  5. “The Fight at Finnsburh”
  6. Widsith

Appendix B: Analogues to the Themes and Events in

  1. From Grettissaga (c. 1300)
    1. The Fight in the Hall
    2. The Fight at the Falls
  2. From Saxo Grammaticus, Gesta Danorum
  3. From Snorri Sturluson, Heimskringla (c. 1223-35), Ynglinga
  4. From The Life of Saint Gildas
  5. From Blickling Homily

Appendix C: Christians and Pagans

  1. Gregory the Great, Letter to Abbot Mellitus
  2. From Bede the Venerable, Ecclesiastical History of the English People
  3. From St Boniface, Letters
    1. Letter 46 (c. 738)
    2. Letter 73 (c. 746)
  4. Wulfstan, On False Gods
  5. Laws against Paganism
    1. From Wulfstan, Canons of Edgar no. 16
    2. From the Laws of Cnut, 1-5

Appendix D: Contexts for Reading Beowulf

  1. Wulfstan, Sermo Lupi ad Anglos (1014)
  2. Ælfric, Life of St Edmund (c. 995)
  3. Vainglory (before c. 975)

Appendix E: Translations of Beowulf

  1. Sharon Turner, The History of the Manners, Landed Property, Government, Laws, Poetry, Literature, Religion and Language of the Anglo-Saxons (1805)
  2. John Josias Conybeare, Illustrations of Anglo-Saxon Poetry (1826)
  3. J.M. Kemble, A Translation of the Anglo-Saxon Poem of Beowulf (1835)
  4. From Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “Anglo-Saxon Literature,” North American Review (1838)
  5. A. Diedrich Wackerbarth, Beowulf: An Epic Poem Translated from the Anglo-Saxon into English Verse (1849)
  6. John Earle, The Deeds of Beowulf (1892)
  7. William Morris and A.J. Wyatt, The Tale of Beowulf Sometime King of the Folk of the Weder Geats (1895)
  8. Francis B. Gummere, The Oldest English Epic (1909)
  9. William Ellery Leonard, Beowulf (1923)
  10. R.K. Gordon, The Song of Beowulf (1923)
  11. Charles W. Kennedy, Beowulf (1940)
  12. Edwin Morgan, Beowulf (1952)
  13. Burton Raffel, Beowulf (1963)
  14. E. Talbot Donaldson, Beowulf (1966)
  15. Kevin Crossley-Holland, Beowulf (1968)
  16. Michael Alexander, Beowulf (1973)
  17. Howell D. Chickering, Jr., Beowulf (1977)
  18. S.A.J. Bradley, Anglo-Saxon Poetry (1982)
  19. Stanley B. Greenfield, A Readable Beowulf (1982)
  20. Ruth P.M. Lehmann, Beowulf (1988)
  21. Marc Hudson, Beowulf (1990)
  22. Frederick Rebsamen, Beowulf (1991)
  23. R.M. Liuzza, Beowulf (1999)
  24. Seamus Heaney, Beowulf (2000)

Works Cited and Recommended Reading

R.M. Liuzza is Professor of English at the University of Toronto.

For a sample from R. M. Liuzza’s translation of Beowulf, click here. (Opens as a PDF.)