The Battle of Maldon: Together with the Homecoming of Beorhtnoth (Hardback)
  • The Battle of Maldon: Together with the Homecoming of Beorhtnoth (Hardback)
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The Battle of Maldon: Together with the Homecoming of Beorhtnoth (Hardback)

(author), (editor)
£20.00
Hardback 208 Pages
Published: 30/03/2023
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Waterstones Says

Comprising Tolkien's translation of the tenth-century epic poem The Battle of Maldon alongside the original verse-dialogue The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth that it inspired, this immersive volume is testament to the breathtaking world-building skills of the author of The Lord of the Rings.

First ever standalone edition of one of J.R.R. Tolkien's most important poetic dramas, that explores timely themes such as the nature of heroism and chivalry during war, and which features unpublished and never-before-seen texts and drafts.

In 991 AD, vikings attacked an Anglo-Saxon defence-force led by their duke, Beorhtnoth, resulting in brutal fighting along the banks of the river Blackwater, near Maldon in Essex. The attack is widely considered one of the defining conflicts of tenth-century England, due to it being immortalised in the poem, The Battle of Maldon.

Written shortly after the battle, the poem now survives only as a 325-line fragment, but its value to today is incalculable, not just as an heroic tale but in vividly expressing the lost language of our ancestors and celebrating ideals of loyalty and friendship.

J.R.R. Tolkien considered The Battle of Maldon 'the last surviving fragment of ancient English heroic minstrelsy'. It would inspire him to compose, during the 1930s, his own dramatic verse-dialogue, The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth Beorhthelm's Son, which imagines the aftermath of the great battle when two of Beorhtnoth's retainers come to retrieve their duke's body.

Leading Tolkien scholar, Peter Grybauskas, presents for the very first time J.R.R. Tolkien's own prose translation of The Battle of Maldon together with the definitive treatment of The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth and its accompanying essays; also included and never before published is Tolkien's bravura lecture, 'The Tradition of Versification in Old English', a wide-ranging essay on the nature of poetic tradition. Illuminated with insightful notes and commentary, he has produced a definitive critical edition of these works, and argues compellingly that, Beowulf excepted, The Battle of Maldon may well have been 'the Old English poem that most influenced Tolkien's fiction', most dramatically within the pages of The Lord of the Rings.

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
ISBN: 9780008465827
Number of pages: 208
Weight: 380 g
Dimensions: 228 x 149 x 30 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

‘If you were to choose only one [book] to gain some insight into the prolific smorgasbord of his multifaceted writing, this is peak Tolkien’ Wall Street Journal ‘Offers valuable insight into Tolkien’s creative process and enriching our understanding of his scholarly contributions’ Amon Hen, Bulletin of the Tolkien Society ‘Tolkien was a storyteller of genius’ Literary Review

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