Beowulf is not only the sole surviving Old English epic (pagan) poem, but also undoubtedly one of the most important works of (Old) English literature. We will not only discuss the overall structure, the manuscript, the language, the problem of the audience and the different scholarly interpretations, but also read and analyse key passages and trace the story’s influence on and adaptations in modern literature and culture in form of re-writings (e.g. John Gardner’s Grendel  and Maria D. Headley’s The Mere Wife (2018)] and movies (e.g. Zemeckis’ 2007 Beowulf).
Recommended text edition: Seamus Heaney (trans.). Beowulf. A New Verse Translation. Bilingual edition. London: faber and faber, 2007. This and other relevant books can be found at the ThULB. An electronic version of Heaney’s translation will be available on Moodle.