Books by J.R.R.Tolkien - Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics
Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics can be called
the most important article on Beowulf of the 20th century. Incredible
as it may now seem, prior to Tolkien, Beowulf had been seen primarily
as a curious linguistic-literary artifact, useful as a source of
information about the early Germanic past (customs, language, laws,
Tolkien was the first critic to draw attention to the poem as a poem
and to point out that the central literary structure of the tale revolves
around the hero's battles with them monsters, which previous critics had
dismissed as mere fabulous emendations to a tale whose primary value was
Originally published by Oxford University Press in 1937 (2nd ed. 1958,
3rd ed. 1969) and by Folcort Press in 1969, Norwood Editions in 1975,
R.West in 1977 and Arden Library in 1978.
The essay is included in a lot of books, f.e. in The
Monsters and the Critics and Other Essays.