The reception history of Beowulf


cultural influence
reception history
transmission history

How to Cite

Bjork, R. E. (2020). The reception history of Beowulf. SELIM. Journal of the Spanish Society for Medieval English Language and Literature., 25(1), 1-19.


This paper traces both the scholarly and popular reception of the Old English epic Beowulf from the publication of the first edition of the poem in 1815 to the most recent English novel based on it from 2019. Once the work was first made available to the scholarly community, numerous editions in various languages began to appear, the most recent being in English from 2008; once editions were published, Old English scholars around the world could translate the text into their native languages beginning with Danish in 1820. Translations, in their turn, made the poem available to a general audience, which responded to the poem through an array of media: music, art, poetry, prose fiction, plays, film, television, video games, comic books, and graphic novels. The enduring, widespread appeal of the poem remains great and universal.


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