Sparrow in winter

A new translation of Beowulf
by
June 2021, no. 432
Buy this book

Beowulf: A new translation by Maria Dahvana Headley

Scribe, $27.99 pb, 176 pp

Sparrow in winter

A new translation of Beowulf
by
June 2021, no. 432

Only one manuscript of Beowulf has survived. It was in Sir Robert Cotton’s library. Cotton had been a student of that careful genius William Camden, who, through a lifetime’s work, formulated a different view of history: not the record of victory but the recollection of lost worlds and times. He and his fellow Antiquarians searched out fragments and ruins: Roman urns in the fields, Saxon burials under St Paul’s, a giant’s thigh-bone under a London cellar. They collected ancient manuscripts.

From the age of eighteen, Cotton began to amass his library. When he heard that the astrologer and alchemist John Dee had buried a bundle of manuscripts in a field, Cotton ‘bought the field to digge after it’ (John Aubrey, Brief Lives). He found a copy of the Magna Carta in a tailor’s workshop. He bought the whole room in Fotheringay Castle where Mary Stuart was beheaded and had it rebuilt in his own house.

Lisa Gorton reviews 'Beowulf: A new translation' translated by Maria Dahvana Headley

Beowulf: A new translation

by Maria Dahvana Headley

Scribe, $27.99 pb, 176 pp

Buy this book

From the New Issue

You May Also Like

Leave a comment

If you are an ABR subscriber, you will need to sign in to post a comment.

If you have forgotten your sign in details, or if you receive an error message when trying to submit your comment, please email your comment (and the name of the article to which it relates) to ABR Comments. We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.

Please note that all comments must be approved by ABR and comply with our Terms & Conditions.