A Translation and Commentary, together with Sellic Spell
by J.R.R. Tolkien
edited by Christopher Tolkien
This (for some) long awaited translation in prose of Beowulf is followed by a large selection of commentaries by the author, as given during his lectures.
Sellic Spell, a version of the story of Beowulf imagined by J.R.R. Tolkien and accessible to readers of any age, is in his own words, « to a limited extent an attempt to reconstruct the Anglo-Saxon tale that lies behind the folk-tale element in Beowulf ». Also written by the author, the Old English text of this tale is included, and the book concludes with two versions of The Lay of Beowulf, a rendering of the story in the form of a ballad to be sung.
This book is not an 'edition' of Beowulf; still less does it offer a critical analysis of his views. It is intended rather as a memorial of J.R.R. Tolkien's distinctive scholarship, exemplified in his own until now unpublished words.
On this page therefore, we have selected some further unpublished words by the author on the subject of translation in general, its uses and misuses; as well as the only explanatory note on the composition of Sellic Spell, both of which we believe will be of interest to fan and scholar alike (the two not being mutually exclusive!).
The menu links above will lead you to our articles on each of these three most recent published editions of J.R.R. Tolkien's "mediaeval" poetical works: Beowulf, The Fall of Arthur, and The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún, as well as our Contact page.
This other page provides some further information on what you may expect when the main website goes online, later in the year.
We hope you will find these commentaries of interest, and that they may add to the enjoyment of the published works. Many thanks for your interest, and the encouragement that you provide !