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The Tale of Beowulf Sometime King of the Folk of the Weder Geats   By: (1834-1896)

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In William Morris' novel, the tale of Beowulf springs to life with captivating detail and evocative prose. Set in the fantastical world of the Weder Geats, the story follows the journey of Beowulf, a brave warrior who becomes the king of his people.

Morris' vivid descriptions transport readers into a world of treacherous landscapes, powerful monsters, and epic battles. From the hauntingly beautiful mead-halls to the menacing depths of underwater lairs, every setting is meticulously crafted, urging the reader to immerse themselves fully in the story.

The character of Beowulf itself is a magnificent blend of strength, intelligence, and unwavering determination. He exudes a sense of honor and duty, as he fearlessly faces not only monstrous adversaries but also personal battles and political strife. His vulnerability and charisma make him a truly captivating protagonist, ensuring that readers remain invested in his journey from the first page until the last.

Morris also excels in weaving together various themes within the narrative. Loyalty, heroism, and the transient nature of power are explored intricately, creating a multi-layered story that challenges readers to reflect on the complexities of life. Additionally, Morris delves into the depths of human nature, acknowledging the flaws and vulnerabilities that exist even in the most valiant of heroes.

The language and style of the novel deserve special mention. Morris exhibits a mastery of Old English vernacular, effortlessly capturing the essence of the original epic poem. This authenticity adds depth and richness to the narrative, immersing the reader further into the ancient world of Beowulf.

While the novel The Tale of Beowulf Sometime King of the Folk of the Weder Geats may not be a groundbreaking reinterpretation of the classic tale, it is undeniably a compelling and aesthetically pleasing rendition. William Morris' attention to detail, vibrant world-building, and skillful character development create a work that will captivate both lovers of medieval literature and newcomers to the genre.

First Page:

Transcriber's note:

In the printed book, line numbering was determined by the physical length of a line. Sometimes the numbered line was one or even two lines above or below the nearest multiple of 10. Where a stanza ended on a multiple of 10, the first line of the following stanza was numbered instead. Line numbers have been regularized for this e text.

THE TALE OF BEOWULF Sometime King of the Folk of the Weder Geats

Translated by


Longmans, Green, and Co. 39 Paternoster Row, London New York and Bombay MCMIV

Bibliographical Note

First printed at the Kelmscott Press, January 1895 Ordinary Edition . . . . . . . . . . . August 1898 Reprinted . . . . . . . . . . . . . . August 1904


Hrothgar, king of the Danes, lives happily and peacefully, and bethinks him to build a glorious hall called Hart. But a little after, one Grendel, of the kindred of the evil wights that are come of Cain, hears the merry noise of Hart and cannot abide it; so he enters thereinto by night, and slays and carries off and devours thirty of Hrothgar's thanes. Thereby he makes Hart waste for twelve years, and the tidings of this mishap are borne wide about lands. Then comes to the helping of Hrothgar Beowulf, the son of Ecgtheow, a thane of King Hygelac of the Geats, with fourteen fellows... Continue reading book >>

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