Following on from staffer Kili’s post, here’s the official word from UK publisher Harper Collins on the upcoming release of Tolkien’s translation of Beowulf. The Harper Collins article contains comment from Tolkien’s son, Christopher, on how he has gathered, along side his father’s translation of the Old English poem, text from lectures given at Oxford by J R R Tolkien. These show his fascination for Beowulf, Grendel and, in particular, the lure and power of treasure – which of course we see reflected in The Hobbit, in Thorin’s struggles against, as Richard Armitage has called it, ‘gold lust’.
This new publication will also contain Sellic Spell, ‘a story written by Tolkien suggesting what might have been the form and style of an Old English folk-tale of Beowulf, in which there was no association with the “historical legends” of the Northern kingdoms.’ This further insight into Tolkien’s desire to create English native myth, unadulterated by Norse or Germanic legends, is an exciting prospect. Fans of Tolkien, of Anglo-Saxon, and of legendary battles, will be able to get their hands on this edition of Beowulf from 22nd May.