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 Definition An Old English epic poem. [d] [e]
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 Workgroup category Literature [Editors asked to check categories]
 Talk Archive none  English language variant British English

unknown author

Do they have a suggestion as to who wrote it? Do they have any supporting evidence? How do they substantiate their claims? --Robert W King 19:27, 12 January 2008 (CST)

No, nobody knows anything about the origin of Beowulf. It is and always has been a complete mystery. The problem is that the poem deals quite clearly with events in what is now Denmark, a nation that in Anglo-Saxon Britain could hardly have been viewed with much love, or so many philologists and historians believe. Yet some name references seem to link the poem to a royal family in East Anglia. The overlay of Christian elements on an essentially pagan story is also controversial. Many philologists believe it was conceived from scratch as a Christian poem, merely incorporating traditional, pagan plot themes. The manuscript it survives in dates to ca. AD 1000, but how much older the poem is is completely unknown (50 years? 100 years? 200 years? 300 years?). Michel van der Hoek 12:34, 3 June 2008 (CDT)

Earlier epics

If Beowulf was written sometime between the 8th and 11th centuries AD, it is nowhere near the earliest epic literature-- we have all of Gilgamesh, all of Homer, all of the post-Homeric epic, Virgil, Lucan... (Although we-- by which I mean Citizendium-- do not have articles on all of this literature, and could use help writing about it) In the grand scheme of epic literature, Beowulf is not a particularly early example, and I have changed the text of the article to reflect that.

A more minor point is that the 2007 film was not animated (I think that suggests animation of the conventional sort) but made using perfomance capture of real actors and then the rest of the film was generated by computer around them. One can argue the point, but I think it's imprecise to call this technical means "animation." Thanks, Brian P. Long 08:11, 29 April 2008 (CDT)

Number of versions

"Over one million versions are in print today and have been translated from Old English to modern languages."

One million versions? Where does this come from? One million scholarly articles, perhaps.-Derek Hodges 17:09, 3 June 2008 (CDT)
Incidentally, Index Translationum at the UNESCO website gives 73 records Index Translationum. UNESCO. Retrieved on 2008-06-03.-Derek Hodges 17:19, 3 June 2008 (CDT)
I think it means one million copies and made the change.Richard Jensen 19:16, 3 June 2008 (CDT)


In expanding the article I have made some deletions, in particular the reference to the poem being about Beowulf tracking down and killing Grendel. This was misleading: (a) there is much more than that; (b) once Beowulf was in Heorot, he did not have to find Grendel, Grendel came to the hall. --Martin Wyatt 22:05, 15 March 2013 (UTC)