How to effectively present an epic poem from the Anglo-Saxon period in 7 literary elements

  • Title
  • Genre
  • Structure and plot
  • Settings
  • Characters
  • Narrative techniques
  • Themes

LnT suggests

LnT A guide to the epic poem: The Epic Poem

LnT A video about the epic poem as a genre: "Learn exactly how to recognize an epic poem"

LnT A guide to Anglo-Saxon literature: Anglo-Saxon literature 

LnT reading  

1.  "Grendel" by John Gardner:

  • Author: John Gardner
  • Title: Grendel
  • Publication Year: 1971
  • Summary: A retelling of the "Beowulf" epic from the perspective of the monster Grendel. It delves into Grendel's existential struggles and interactions with human society, exploring themes of isolation, the meaning of life, and the ambiguity of good and evil.

    2. "The Mere Wife" by Maria Dahvana Headley:

  • Author: Maria Dahvana Headley
  • Title: The Mere Wife
  • Publication Year: 2018
  • Summary: A modern retelling of the "Beowulf" epic, set in contemporary America. It reimagines the story from multiple perspectives, including Grendel's mother and a veteran named Will. The novel explores themes of class, race, and motherhood.


  1. Niles, John D. "Beowulf: The Poem and Its Tradition" (1983)

    • Author: John D. Niles
    • Title: Beowulf: The Poem and Its Tradition
    • Publication Year: 1983
    • Summary: This book explores the epic poem "Beowulf" and its historical and literary context, shedding light on its tradition and significance in English literature.
  2. Fisher, Matthew A. "Working at the Crossroads: Tolkien, St Augustine, and the Beowulf-Poet"

    • Author: Matthew A. Fisher
    • Title: Working at the Crossroads: Tolkien, St Augustine, and the Beowulf-Poet
    • Source: 'The Lord of the Rings' 1954-2004, Hammond and Scull, ed., pages 217-230
    • Summary: Fisher's essay discusses the connections between J.R.R. Tolkien's works, the writings of St. Augustine, and the poet of "Beowulf." It explores the intersection of these influences.
  3. Bjork, Robert E., and John D. Niles, ed. "A 'Beowulf' Handbook" (1997)

    • Editors: Robert E. Bjork and John D. Niles
    • Title: A 'Beowulf' Handbook
    • Publication Year: 1997
    • Summary: This handbook, edited by Bjork and Niles, provides comprehensive insights into the world of "Beowulf," offering critical analysis, historical context, and various perspectives on the epic poem.
  4. Shippey, T. A. "Beowulf: The Critical Heritage" (1998)

    • Author: T. A. Shippey
    • Title: Beowulf: The Critical Heritage
    • Publication Year: 1998
    • Summary: Shippey's work explores the critical reception of "Beowulf" over time, highlighting how the poem has been interpreted and analyzed by various scholars and critics.
  5. Jack, George. "Beowulf" (2013)

    • Author: George Jack
    • Title: Beowulf
    • Publication Year: 2013