Beowulf teaching resources

I have waded through 45 pages of Google for “teaching Beowulf,” so that you don’t have to. Here’s the useful stuff:

Beowulf@Web English Teacher

Teaching Resources

English 505 Beowulf Blog, with short critical discussions

Beowulf on the Web, including Beowulf sites, aids for learning Old English, and general medieval links

Flytes of Fancy: Boasts and Boasters from Beowulf to Gangsta Rap, an essay

The Labyrinth: Resources for teaching medieval studies, a series of links maintained by Georgetown U

The Narrative Pulse of Beowulf, a book preview online. Lots of good stuff if you take the time to read it, but not on the top. Have to read it.

Editing Beowulf: What can the study of ballads tell us? an article from Oral Tradition.

Beowulf: a slideshow

View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: beowulf)

Medievalist blogs. This might be something I could use to have my students look for information. It would at least be an adventure.

The Electronic Revolution and the Teaching of Literature (2005) about teaching Beowulf and how that has changed with the internet. from the CEA Forum

EdSITEment: The Beauty of Anglo-Saxon Poetry, with lots of links and some ideas.

Beowulf Resources, “along with Anglo-Saxon, Old English, Germanic, Indo-European, & Mythological/Epic resources.” This list of resources has a short note about what it is and includes readings, lectures, etc.

There is also my own Useful Old English links.

Teaching Beowulf in the college classroom.

Least Tern offers some good teacher resources for Beowulf.

Jaws – Screen the old movie and, as you do, think about the epic hero, the side kick, the monster, the quest, the battle, the gore, the weapons, the questions of good and evil and faith and courage and might. By including some careful movie cuts in with your classroom readings of Beowulf, you will grab your students and liven up the class. Suggestions:

  • Jaws appears – the sound is enough – show this and then read the 1st appearance of Grendel
  • The captain appears at the town meeting – contrast this with Beowulf’s appearance at the great hall – talk about the posturing and the individual vs. the group
  • The captain dies – show this and then read Beowulf’s end (a good compare/contract exercise)

I have been wanting to bring in more modern comparisons for the works I am doing in Brit Lit 1. This would be a good way.

Beowulf multimodal presentation

I want to do a presentation on Beowulf, perhaps flashing pictures while we read? I don’t know. But I want to do one. So I began collecting Beowulf sites with pictures. And then, of course, I found other cool Beowulf sites.

This is not pretty at all. But there are some great pictures and sites listed here.

the fight with Grendel’s mother

drawing of Beowulf that on first glance looks like a photo

Death of Beowulf

A series of photos from a movie from Iceland called Beowulf and Grendel.

Beowulf with a short beard

An anime type Beowulf, but he looks way too young to me.

A lime green rendition of Grendel and Beowulf

A better series of photos from the same movie.

A line drawing of the beach scene when Beowulf arrives.

Line drawing of Beowulf and Grendel by Claraval, the Tolkien artist

from Corona-Online

Grendel in Heorot, with legos

Heorot with legos, after Grendel

Beowulf art from Beowulf in Cyberspace. This is an entire set, organized by sections of the work.

Here is one example:

Beowulf answering Unferth

with bodies

4 very different Beowulf pics

Beowulf and dragon

Much better Beowulf and dragon

Beowulf and Grendel, where Grendel has a necklace of skulls (The early goth?)

Beowulf presents himself to Hrothgar, a drawing made for an English class. (I’m glad I didn’t have to draw anything for English class. I might not have made it to grad school.)

Dragon burning Beowulf’s shield.

A frontspiece

Beowulf fights the dragon, Wiglaf included

Beowulf pictures which are development designs, so a whole series. Click on them and they get rather big.

Beowulf geography

Beowulf family trees

the Death of Beowulf

Whole site with pics:
Beowulf: The Monsters and the Hero

Other, not just images:
A Pace course on Beowulf to Lear: Text, Image, and Hypertext. But I went to the Music Files for “Dream of the Rood” and got a blank page. Oh my gosh, though, the Student Works INT had some good stuff. This is some great stuff… It was a sophomore course in Computer Science and English. Basically a class on how to make websites and an Early British lit course. That would be fun to teach. Wonder if I could interest the departments in doing that?

Beowulf translations with over 100 selections of translations. Includes stuff on alliteration, a quicktime movie of reading in OE (though I can do that myself and with much more inflection and drama), and all kinds of interesting treats.

Beowulf in Cyberspace

An assignment on Beowulf, examining translations. This actually compares three different ones and talks about them. Then it gives a table of others and asks for students to identify the parallels. It’s very interesting. This is great. I am SO going to use this. Can I use it if it’s on the web?

Beowulf: Still a Hero an online presence for a teacher/class, is a whole set of annotated links, information, etc. My favorite section is at the bottom. “Graphic Novels.” There are three.

Beowulf vs Sir Gawain offers two images and an interesting characterization of the men, then asking which is the real hero. A definition/illustration paper in the making.

A good introduction/summary of research on the poem. It includes a pronunciation guide. Dang my prelim in Old English would have been a lot easier (or a lot harder) with the internet.

A much better reading, this one of Beowulf and Wiglaf fight the dragon.

A grad class syllabus on “Beowulf, Cultural Memory, and War”

Beowulf in Hypertext has some intro, history, stuff on the manuscript, author, and more than just Blackburn’s take on Christianity in the poem. (Though not a lot more.)

Gif of Beowulf, includes OE and modern E lines at the bottom that change and a live dragon that flies through the sky

Other things I learned

There is a graphic novel (originally a series of three) called Beowulf by Gareth Hinds. I loved the covers.

Beowulf is a game for xbox and a board game. But while the pics in “Google Images” looked amazing, I couldn’t find them when I clicked to the site. It might be worth purchasing just to get some good pics. I could probably find the game at Nan’s.

I got to page 44 of Google Images for Beowulf before I quit.

Problems with English Class: 3

Nothing should be read solely because of its importance in the development of literature or because the instructor was forced to read it. Joseph Andrews wasted my time; Beowulf wasted my parents’.

No one should ever have to do anything simply because another person was forced to do it.

Prelims in your doctoral program should test your work, not your sanity.

An interview as a computer programmer should show what you know or what you can learn, not what you and your interviewer didn’t know when yall were interviewed.

And no one, anywhere, should be forced to read something just because I was forced to read it.

I agree with that. But Beowulf? As a waste of time? No. That work is the earliest and best work in Old English literature. The kennings and alliteration, in a good translation, stop the breath. Or at least, they stop mine. Now it is true that I have a thing for alliteration. One of my friends was dumbfounded that my two year old knew the word and what it meant. But Beowulf should be a work remembered with fondness.

There is richness in the language and the metaphors. I have loved “word hoard” since I was a girl, probably because I am a word hoarder.

There are great fight scenes. The monster steals sleeping soldiers. The monster kills soldiers who are awake. The monster has a fight with a soldier who actually holds onto his arm and pulls the thing off. The monster runs through the meadow and the marsh to the lake dripping blood everywhere. (Was it green blood? Or yellow? Or red? Did it smell like metal? Or like sulphur?) And the hero nails the bad guy’s arm up. How cool is that?! (Okay, I don’t want a de-armed person running through my subdivision, but this was the old days.) And that’s just the first of three thrilling fight scenes.

There are some fancy parties. And if you read carefully you can see that women had more rights than in other times and less rights than in our times (at least in our country). The historical context is fascinating on this point.

There is friendship and betrayal, greed brings bad things, good is rewarded… Lots of great themes abound in that tale.

So, yes, I agree that no one should be forced to suffer simply because I had to suffer. (I’ll stand in the gap on suffering and not pass it on to the next generation.) But it may be that the professor LOVES that work and thinks it is one of the best ever written and wants to share it with their students.

That’s why I taught Beowulf in the three week minimester in May.