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Access options available:. Leonard Neidorf Cambridge: D. Brewer pp. When was the epic Old English poem, Beowulforiginally composed? As Allen J. While most scholars agree that the Beowulf manuscript, Cotton Vitellius A XVis a product of the late tenth- or early eleventh-century, the antiquity of the poem itself remains a matter of heated debate.


Search for more articles by this author. The dating of Beowulf has long been one of the most important and controversial issues in Anglo-Saxon studies.

Neidorf lucidly explains the ificance of scholarship generated in this framework, notably that of Cronan, Wormald, Fulk, and Lapidge, which uniformly concludes that Beowulf is a relatively early composition. The collection begins with an article by R. Fulk, who provides an insightful overview of the linguistic evidence relevant to the dating of Beowulf.

By reaffirming the main theses offered in his much acclaimed A History of Old English MeterFulk explains this complex body of evidence and demonstrates that the many archaisms observed in Beowulf demand a date of composition close to Hartman shows, in essence, that no archaizing late poets were able to do what the Beowulf poet did.

Thomas Bredehoft tracks the distribution of stylistic innovations in the corpus of Old English poetry, noting that every poem composed in the tenth century exhibits at least one of these innovations, whereas Beowulf is entirely devoid of them.

The essays by Fulk, Neidorf, Shippey, Hartman, and Bredehoft align to offer a powerful battery of solid philological evidence for the early composition of Beowulf. The next two essays by Dennis Cronan and Frederick M. Michael D. Some scholars might want unencumbered interpretive freedom, but, as Drout wisely warns, philological restraint is necessary to prevent scientific stasis and to promote instead the healthy regeneration of academic views and the advancement of our knowledge of Beowulf. Joseph Harris and Thomas D. Hill both provide fine essays that relate Beowulf to aspects of early Anglo-Saxon culture and offer illuminating theological and institutional contexts.

Rafael J. The first-rate essays in this volume will steer the course of Beowulf scholarship in many productive directions, supplying the field with a secure foundation for future literary-historical research. Fulk, Robert E. Bjork, and John D. Niles, eds.

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The Dating of Beowulf.