"The knew everything about Beowulf and Grendel, the ancient gods and the not-quite-so ancient heroes"


Beowulf first page
Public DomainBeowulf first page

Beowulf and Grendel are two of the main characters from the epic poem "Beowulf", which is famous for being the oldest surviving poem in the English language. It is, however, written in Old English, which is almost completely unintelligible to modern English speakers today! As an example, here's the beginning of the original text: 


Hwæt! We Gardena         in geardagum, 
þeodcyninga,         þrym gefrunon, 
hu ða æþelingas         ellen fremedon. 
Oft Scyld Scefing         sceaþena þreatum,
monegum mægþum,         meodosetla ofteah, 
egsode eorlas.
See? It's a totally different language! If you don't have the time or inclination to learn Old English, you might be better off reading Beowulf in translation.