The oldest long poem in Old English, written about AD 1,000, Beowulf tells the story of a great warrior of southern Scandinavia, in both youth and maturity. The monster Grendel terrorizes the Scyldings of Hrothgar's Danish Kingdom until Beowulf defeats him. As a result, he has to face her enraged mother. Beowulf dies after a battle against a fierce dragon.
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"Common to every experience of
Beowulf is the sense that its poetry reaches, somehow like lightning, to the core of what we understand about ourselves stripped to basics, even amid the twentieth-century world of central heating and computers." (
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