This edition of "Beowulf" is based on the E. Talbot 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, Donaldson's presentation of the major features of Old English poetry, new material on "Beowulf's" tribes and genealogies, three maps and a facsimile to illustrate the manuscript. "Criticism" collects seven new and wide ranging interpretations of "Beowulf" by Fred Lapidge, Joyce Hill, Helen Bennett and Nicholas Howe. A glossary of proper names and a slected bibliography are also included.