Beowulf: An Online
The purpose of this exercise is
to explore the difference between an unedited medieval text
and an edited, modern version of that text. For this class exercise,
we will be examining the first nineteen lines of Beowulf.
We will procede by following
these steps, below:
First, we will look at a modern
English translation of Beowulf.
Here, we will discuss the imperfect process of translation and
I will argue that no two translations are ever the same.
Then we will look at a digitalized image of the first page of
Beowulf in the original
manuscript. Here, we
will discuss the difference in manuscript layout, lettering,
and punctuation. We will try to transcribe (copy what we see
on the page in a more readable manner) a couple of lines.
If you have trouble reading the burnt and faded original manuscript,
you can check our work against a transliteration
done by the late Dr. Zupitza.
When you have finished this assignment, if there is still time
remaining, you might want to wander around the web and check
out these two external websites as a supplement to your work:
Beowulf Project: A website devoted to Kevin Kiernan's
scholarly project to create a hypertext version of Beowulf.
English Dictionary: The
mother of all dictionaries, this enormous and erudite
was begun in the nineteenth century as a stupendous philological
project. The editors wanted to create the most comprehensive
dictionary of English ever, based upon historical principles
that traced each word's usage over the course of
If you want to trace a modern word back to its Anglo-Saxon
roots, this is the place to go. NOTE:
Students can only access the Oxford English
Dictionary from an on-campus
computer at a campus with an up-to-date subscription
to it. Currently, Carson-Newman College does not have a subscription.
Trying to log onto this site from off-campus will not work
paid subscription to the OED independent of the university.