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“A Fine Old Tale of Adventure”: Beowulf told to the children of the english race, 1898–1908

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journal contribution
posted on 11.03.2016 by Lise Jaillant
When publishers started marketing the tale of Beowulf to a large audience of children (and adults) in the 1880s, they capitalized on the aura of the Middle Ages by selling editions with golden titles, decorated initials and reproductions of medieval drawings. The medievalizing aspect of these children’s books offered a suitable format for a tale presented as the founding text in English literature. This article argues that the heroic and nationalistic ideology of these early versions is anchored in their material aspect. The analysis of three juvenile adaptations first published between 1898 and 1908 – A. J. Church’s Heroes of Chivalry and Romance, Thomas Cartwright’s Brave Beowulf, and H. E. Marshall’s Stories of Beowulf Told to the Children – shows that their ‘bibliographic code’ was closely intertwined with archaic translations inspired by nineteenth-century Anglo-Saxon scholarship.

History

School

  • The Arts, English and Drama

Department

  • English and Drama

Published in

Children's Literature Association Quarterly

Volume

38

Issue

4

Pages

399 - 419

Citation

JAILLANT, L., 2013. “A Fine Old Tale of Adventure”: Beowulf told to the children of the english race, 1898–1908. Children's Literature Association Quarterly, 38(4), pp. 399-419.

Publisher

© 2013 Children’s Literature Association.

Version

VoR (Version of Record)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Publication date

2013

Notes

This article first appeared in Children’s Literature Association Quarterly, 38(4),2013, pages 399-419. The definitive version is available here: http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/chq.2013.0055

eISSN

1553-1201

Language

en

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