"Beowulf" as Original Audiences Would Have Experienced It


(Video Link)


Most of us experience the medieval epic poem "Beowulf" primarily in written form. But it was originally intended as an auditory experience, declaimed by skilled performers who transported their listeners into a world of heroes and monsters. Benjamin Bagby has made a career of presenting "Beowulf" in this manner, following the medieval traditions, while using a reproduction of an Anglo-Saxon harp. Here's a clip of him performing the opening lines to the poem.

Bagby's Website -via American Digest

Previously: Beowulf Socks Are Written in Anglo-Saxon

Newest 5
Newest 5 Comments

Professor Stanley Lombardo from the University of Kansas does similar readings from the Iliad, Odyssey, and Aenead. Often, he will begin the stories in Latin or Greek, then after a page or two, he will start over in English. I have had the privilege of hearing him do these readings, and it is incredible how the languages flow together.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
I would have soft-peddled the initial delivery and scaled it up to thunder by "That was a good king!". But, hey, what do I know about public speaking?

Despite my quibbles, great work.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Absolutely gave me chills. I'm an amateur philologist myself, and hearing beautiful languages like Old English spoken well is a rare treat. Thanks so much for this!
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Commenting is closed.





Email This Post to a Friend
""Beowulf" as Original Audiences Would Have Experienced It"

Separate multiple emails with a comma. Limit 5.

 

Success! Your email has been sent!

close window