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Beowulf (c. 700-1000 A.D.)

Related: epic poetry - British literature

The concept of a "national epic," an extensively mythologized legendary work of poetry of defining importance to a certain nation, is another product of Romantic nationalism. The "discovery" of Beowulf in a single manuscript, first transcribed in 1818, came under the impetus of Romantic nationalism, after the manuscript had lain as an ignored curiosity in scholars' collections for two centuries. Beowulf was felt to provide the English people with their missing "national epic", just when the need for it was first being felt. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romantic_nationalism [Apr 2006]


Beowulf is a traditional heroic epic poem in Old English alliterative verse. At 3182 lines, it is far more substantial than any similar work in the language, representing about 10% of the extant corpus of Anglo-Saxon verse. The poem is untitled in the manuscript, but has been known as Beowulf since the early 19th century. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beowulf [Nov 2004]

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