Reading Beowulf Together

Reading the classics is something that most of us want to do, but few of us have the motivation to actually make it happen.  We make great starts, but life always seems to get in the way.

Reading the classics with other people provides the motivation and accountability a lot of us need to get started.  And discussing a classic with other readers always brings deeper insight and appreciation for the book.

So let’s read some of these great books together, starting with that great medieval classic, Beowulf.

Celtic Cross

Reading the Classics Together

Here’s my idea:  every week we’ll read a portion of Beowulf. Then on Wednesday check out my blog for a brief essay on the section we read.  We’ll discuss the reading, share insights, and ask questions in the comments section.  Pretty easy, right?

The edition of Beowulf that I’ll be using is the translation by the Irish, Nobel Prize-winning poet Seamus Heaney.  Of the six translations I’ve read, I think this one best conveys the epic fabric of the poem.  The readings and essays will be using the line numbers from this edition.

Here are the readings for the next four weeks.  Notice that the first reading is shorter to give you time to get a copy of the poem.

Beowulf Readings

  1. The Harrowing of Heorot (lines 1-490)
  2. The Fight with Grendel (lines 491-1231)
  3. Fighting Grendel’s Mother (lines 1232-2199)
  4. Fighting the Dragon (lines 2200-3182)

Grab a copy of Beowulf and get reading!  On Wednesday, check out my short essay on lines 1-490, then share your comments!