By Kevin S. Kiernan
The tale of Beowulf and his hard-fought victory over the monster Grendel has captured the mind's eye of readers and listeners for a millennium. The heroic Anglo-Saxon tale survives to the area in a single eleventh-century manuscript that was once badly burned in 1731, and in eighteenth-century transcriptions of the manuscripts.
Kevin S. Kiernan, one of many world's preferable Beowulf students, has studied the manuscript broadly with the main updated tools, together with fiber-optic backlighting and laptop digitization. This quantity reprints Kiernan's previous research of the manuscript, within which he provided his novel conclusions in regards to the date of Beowulf. It additionally deals a brand new creation during which the writer describes the price of digital examine of Beowulf, and a brand new Appendix that lists all of the letters and elements of letters published through backlighting.
This very important quantity should be a must-read not just for the student of early English heritage and literature, yet for all those people who are attracted to sensible functions of the recent applied sciences.
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Extra info for Beowulf and the Beowulf Manuscript
As incredible as it may seem, there is considerable paleographical and codicological support for the view that the Beowulf MS actually preserves the last formative stages in the creation of the epic. Three lines of text thematically related to the new text on the palimpsest have been imperfectly, but deliberately, deleted on the next folio, verso. The erasing was never finished, though it seems likely that the vellum was being prepared for a new text, as well. Presumably, both folios are part of the same revision.
Their tacit justification for this decidedly unorthodox procedure is that the MS cannot possibly hold any relevant textual evidence that FSS would not show as well. For, however variegated and contentious Beowulf studies are in all other respects, there was until very recently complete unanimity in the view that Beowulfis an early Anglo-Saxon poem preserved in a late Anglo-Saxon MS. The chronological gulf between the poem and the MS is usually reckoned to be two to three centuries. Under these circumstances, we are lucky to have an extant MS at all, but still rather unlucky to have such a late one.
Three lines of text thematically related to the new text on the palimpsest have been imperfectly, but deliberately, deleted on the next folio, verso. The erasing was never finished, though it seems likely that the vellum was being prepared for a new text, as well. Presumably, both folios are part of the same revision. An analysis of the construction of the Beowulf MS provides a possible explanation for the purpose of this revision. The palimpsest begins a Beowulf and the Beowulf Manuscript Kevin S.