Author: unknown, Kevin Crossley-Holland, Bruce Mitchell, Virgil Burnett
Publisher: The Folio Society, 1973
Condition: Cloth-bound. Excellent condition. With 8 green and white illustrations.
The most famous and beautiful of all surviving Old English poems tells of the heroic deeds of Beowulf, a warrior and leader of the Geats, who travels to the land of the Danes to fight the monster Grendel and his lake-dwelling mother. After these epic encounters, he returns to his own land where he eventually becomes king and rules wisely. Yet fate is inescapable, and Beowulf must battle a third foe – the dragon.
Composed at some point between the mid-7th and late-10th centuries AD, Beowulf drew on an oral tradition that had been in existence for centuries, one with close connections to the Icelandic sagas. This was a warrior culture in which kings rewarded courage and loyalty with gifts of gold, where blood feuds were common, and the threat of invasion or raids was never far away – indeed many of the characters in Beowulf correspond to historical Scandinavian kings. Yet the world the poet evoked was already in the past; Christianity was changing both culture and literature. What we have is thus unique: a mingling of the pagan past and the Christian present.
About the Translator:
Kevin John William Crossley-Holland (born 7 February 1941) is an English translator, children’s author and poet. His best known work may now be the Arthur trilogy, published around age sixty (2000–2003), for which he won the Guardian Prize and other recognition.
Crossley-Holland and his 1985 novella Storm won the annual Carnegie Medal from the Library Association, recognising the year’s outstanding children’s book by a British subject. For the 70th anniversary of the Medal in 2007 it was named one of the top ten winning works, selected by a panel to compose the ballot for a public election of the all-time favourite.
His writing career began when he began working as a poetry, fiction and children’s book editor for Macmillan Publishers. He later become editorial director at Victor Gollancz, Ltd.. He is known for poetry, novels, story collections, and translations, including three editions of the Anglo-Saxon classic Beowulf (1968, 1973, 1999). Some of his books, including the Arthur trilogy, reinterpret medieval legends. He also writes definitive collections of Norse myths (The Penguin Book of Norse Myths) and British and Irish folk tales (The Magic Lands: Folk Tales of Britain and Ireland). Bracelet of Bones, the first of his Viking sagas, was published in 2011, as was The Mountains of Norfolk: New and Selected Poems. He has edited and translated the riddles included in the Anglo-Saxon Exeter Book.