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The Battle of Maldon: Together with The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth presents J.R.R. Tolkien's translation of "The Battle of Maldon", with Tolkien's poem "The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth Beorhthelm's Son", released in early 2023. It is edited and features commentary by scholar Peter Grybauskas.


"The Battle of Maldon" is a 10th century Old English poem concerning a battle in which Vikings prevailed in a raid against Anglo-Saxons, near modern-day Maldon, England. In the 1930s, it was found that the Bodleian Library possessed an original text of the poem.[1]


A special deluxe edition, released May 2023

"The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth" is a story by Tolkien set following the Battle of Maldon, concerning Byrhtnoth, an Anglo-Saxon slain in it. The poem has previously been published in The Tolkien Reader anthology (1966), in its own booklet (1991), and Tolkien's Tree and Leaf collection (1975; 2001).

Following the translation and poem, Grybauskas writes concerning the history of Old English versification.

"J.R.R. Tolkien considered The Battle of Maldon 'the last surviving fragment of ancient English heroic minstrelsy'. It would inspire him to compose, during the 1930s, his own dramatic verse-dialogue, The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth Beorhthelm's Son, which imagines the aftermath of the great battle when two of Beorhtnoth’s retainers come to retrieve their duke’s body. Leading Tolkien scholar, Peter Grybauskas, presents for the very first time J.R.R. Tolkien's own prose translation of The Battle of Maldon together with the definitive treatment of The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth and its accompanying essays; also included and never before published is Tolkien's bravura lecture, 'The Tradition of Versification in Old English', a wide-ranging essay on the nature of poetic tradition. Illuminated with insightful notes and commentary, he has produced a definitive critical edition of these works, and argues compellingly that, Beowulf excepted, The Battle of Maldon may well have been 'the Old English poem that most influenced Tolkien's fiction', most dramatically within the pages of The Lord of the Rings."
The publisher

External links[]

Medieval poetry and translations by J.R.R. Tolkien