A Few More Words about Beowulf

  • Mark Bradshaw Busbee


In September of 1815, Grundtvig published his second article about Beowulf, “Nok et Par Ord om Bjovulfs Drape” [A Few More Words about the Heroic Poem of Beowulf] in Nyeste Skilderie af Kjøbenhavn [The Latest Scenes ofCopenhagen].i
The article was intended to end once and for all the literary feud that had developed between him, Grímur Jónson Thorkelin, who had published the first modern edition of Beowulf, and Peter Erasmus Müller, who had anonymouslyreviewed the edition.ii
The article is notable for two main reasons: first, it reveals Grundtvig far ahead of his contemporaries as a scholar of the poem and,second, it displays in full Grundtvig’s aggressive tone when in the heat of debate.



Works by Grundtvig

– (1815a), “Et Par Ord om det nys udkomne angelsaxiske Digt”, Nyeste Skilderie af Kjøbenhavn 60, cols 945-952; 63, cols 998-1002; 64, cols 1009-1015; 65,cols 1025-1030; 66, cols 1045-1047.

– (1815b), “Nok et Par Ord om Bjovulfs Drape”, Nyeste Skilderie af Kjøbenhavn 70, cols 1105-1109; 71, cols 1121-1125; 72, cols 1139-1144.

– (1924-1926), Breve fra og til N.F.S. Grundtvig, ed. Georg Christensen & Stener Grundtvig, volumes 1-2, Copenhagen, Gyldendalske Boghandel Nordisk Forlag.

Works by Other Authors

Anon (1815), “[Etatsraad Thorkelin seer gjerne. . .]”, Nyeste Skilderie af Kjøbenhavn 75, cols 1185-1186.

Bjork, Robert E. (1996), “Grímur Jónson Thorkelin’s Preface to the First Edition of Beowulf”, Scandinavian Studies 68, 291-320.

Bradley, S.A.J. (2000), “Det er hvad jeg kalder at oversætte Digte: Grundtvig as translator”, Grundtvig-Studier 2000, 36-59.

Busbee, Mark Bradshaw (trans) (2015), “A Few Words about the Recently Published Anglo-Saxon Poem, the First Edition of Beowulf”, Grundtvig-Studier 2015, 7-36.

Cooley, Franklin D. (1940), “Early Danish Criticism of Beowulf”, English Literary History 7.1, 45-67.

Davidson, Hilda Ellis, and Peter Fisher (1980), Saxo Grammaticus. The History of the Danes. Book I-IX, vol. II Commentary, Suffolk and New Jersey, D.S. Brewer & Rowman and Littlefield.

Fulk, R. D., Robert E. Bjork, and John D. Niles (eds.) (2008), Klaeber’s Beowulf and the Fight at Finnsburg, 4th ed. (1922), Toronto, Buffalo, and London, University of Toronto Press.

Haarder, Andreas (1988), “The Seven Beowulf Reviewers: Latest or Last Identifications”, English Studies 69, 289-92.

Hall, J.R. (1996), “The First Two Editions of Beowulf: Thorkelin’s (1815) and Kemble’s (1833)”, in The Editing of Old English: Papers from the 1990 Manchester Conference, edited by D.G. Scragg and Paul E. Szarmach, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 239-250.

Hickes, George, Humphrey Wanley and Andrew Fountaine (1703-05), Linguarum veterum septentrionalium thesaurus grammatico-criticus et archæologicus, Oxford, E Theatro Sheldoniano.

Liuzza, Roy (trans) (2013), Beowulf, 2nd edition, Toronto, Broadview.

[Müller, Peter Erasmus] (1815a), “[Anmeldelse af De Danorum Rebus Gestis]”, Dansk Litteratur-Tidende 26, 401-16; 27, 417-32; 28, 432-46; 29, 461-62.

Pontoppidan, Børge (1815), “Til Herr Etatsraad Thorkelin og hans Ordfører i Skilderiet No. 7 d.A.”, Nyeste Skilderie af Kjøbenhavn 85, cols 1345-1348.

Shippey, Thomas, and Andreas Haarder, (ed and trans) (1998), Beowulf: The CriticalHeritage, London and New York, Routledge.

Somner, William (1659), Dictionarium Saxonico-Latino-Anglicum,Oxford.

Stephanius, Stephanus Johannis (1645), Saxonis Grammatici Historiæ Danicæ Libri XVI, Soræ, Joachimi Moltkenii.

Thorkelin, Grimur Jonsson (1815a), De Danorum rebus gestis secul. III &IV: Poema Danicum dialect Anglosaxonica: ex Bibliotheca Cottoniana Musaei Britannici/ edidit versione lat. Et indicibus auxit Grim. Jonson Thorkelin, Copenhagen, Typis Th. E. Rangel.

– (1815b), “Svar til: ‘Et Par Ord om det nys udkomne angelsaxiske Digt’”, Nyeste Skilderie af Kjøbenhavn 67, cols 1057-61; 68, cols 1073-80.

Busbee, M. (2016). A Few More Words about Beowulf. Grundtvig-Studier, 67(1), 25-46. https://doi.org/10.7146/grs.v67i1.103051