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Of unknown authorship, Beowulf is an Old English epic poem which incites contentious debate and has been endlessly interpreted over the centuries. This Reader's Guide provides a much-needed overview of the large body of Beowulf criticism, moving from 18th century reactions to 21st century responses. Jodi-Ann George: - Charts the changes in critical trends and theoretical approaches applied to the poem. - Includes discussion of J. R. R. Tolkein's pioneering 1936 lecture on Beowulf , and Seamus Heaney's recent translation. - Analyses Beowulf in popular culture, addressing the poem's life in film versions, graphic novels, music and comics. Clear and engaging, this is an indispensable introductory guide to a widely-studied and enigmatic work which continues to fascinate readers everywhere.