The text of this edition of Beowulf is based on the highly regarded Donaldson prose translation of the Anglo-Saxon epic poem. Accurate and literally faithful, the Donaldson translation conveys the full meaning and spirit of the original. “Backgrounds and Contexts” provides readers with the historical, linguistic, and literary settings of Beowulf, including Robert C. Hughes on the origins of the Old English language, E. Talbot Donaldson’s presentation of the major features of Old English poetry, new material on Beowulf’s tribes and genealogies, three maps, and a facsimile illustration of the manuscript. “Criticism” collects seven new and wide-ranging interpretations of Beowulf by Fred C. Robinson, Roberta Frank, John D. Niles, Michael Lapidge, Joyce Hill, Helen Bennett, and Nicholas Howe. A Glossary of Proper Names and a Selected Bibliography are included.