"Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics" was a lecture given by J. R. R. Tolkien on literary criticism on the Old English heroic epic poem Beowulf. It was first published as a paper in that year in the Proceedings of the British Academy, and has since been reprinted in many collections. BEOWULF: THE MONSTERS AND THE CRITICS BY J. R. R. TOLKIEN said even under these limitations that I shall confine myself mainly to the monsters—Grendel and Strong, but for other more authoritative critics, by the dust of the quarrying researchers. It may well. This book has the essay that is the reason why we still read Beowulf, namely, Beowulf: The Monsters and Critics. That Old English poem was largely ignored by anyone other than specialists in the language until Tolkien explained to the world the wonders to be found writeanessayforme.pws: On 25 November , Tolkien delivered “Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics” to the British Academy, and it was published the next year in the Academy's proceedings. The essay was a redaction of lectures that Tolkien wrote between and , “Beowulf and the Critics.”. The Monsters and the Critics and Other Essays, edited by Christopher Tolkien in , brings together seven of J.R.R. Tolkien’s most important scholarly articles or papers: Tolkien’s lecture strongly and sometimes ironically defends the poet’s decision and the poem itself.
Tolkien, Beowulf and the Critics. Previous critics disregarded the monsters, Grendel and his mother and the dragon, because they teach little about history, pagan Teutonic culture, or Nordic religion. But Tolkien taught that the monsters were integral to Beowulf; indeed, he argued, if you discard them and read the poem as a historical epic or tragedy, the remainder appears cheap and disorganized.
The Monsters and the Critics and Other Essays
Further, Tolkien taught that reading Beowulf as a literary work was immensely rewarding: The previous critics of Beowulf, Tolkien taught us, didn't treat the poem as a poem. Overall, Drout provides a rich context in which to read Tolkien's work. Drout fully describes Tolkien's manuscripts for the benefit of scholars who will not have direct access to the originals.
In "Description of the Manuscript," he tells how the manuscript came to the Bodleian Library and describes its present condition, organization, dating, and numbering. The manuscript is not written on acid-free paper and has already deteriorated significantly.
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It consists of folios written in Tolkien's hand in pen and pencil. Folios contain version A of the lectures.
Folios contain "assorted notes and jottings," not all decipherable but most incorporated into the text in some form. Folios contain version B of the lectures. The text is mainly written on one side of the page, except for brief notes that served Tolkien as reminders of ideas that he would work into the text.
The verso of folio 95 "is a page of paradigms and exercises in Gothic" xvi.
Drout shares an understanding of Tolkien's motivating devotion to his roots as an Englishman, pointing out that "an English racial identity is made through participation in two related traditions: Drout explains the common tie between the works of Tolkien the philologist and Tolkien the novelist; as both, Tolkien remains connected with a tradition, a history, and a culture tied to England, to his country.
Just as the Beowulf poet synthesized ancient material with Christian teaching, Tolkien forged "a synthetic mythical 'history' to explain certain perceived truths about the ancestry of his people" He sees the rock garden recalling the image of the Englishman as gardener and associated with the middle-class countryman like Tolkien himself. We can longer attend Tolkien's lectures and most of us cannot take the classes taught by Prof. Drout, but we should be grateful for this fine substitute.
The volume preserves the deteriorating manuscript for future study, which would take any lover of Beowulf to his or her histories, glossaries, grammars, and the works of other scholars, and, even more important and rewarding, back to the poem itself.