Beowulf: Translations by J. R. R. Tolkien
 This information is as of January 5, 2003 

J. R. R. Tolkien wrote a partial verse translation of Beowulf, and a complete prose translation. Michael Drout, an assistant professor of English at Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts, will edit Tolkien's translations, and hundreds of pages of his notes, into a 2-volume edition.

This is what Michael Drout has told me about the Tolkien translations:

I am currently in the process of editing Tolkien's unpublished translation of Beowulf. There is a partial verse translation (600) lines, and a complete prose translation. Despite what various reporters have been saying, I think it is highly doubtful that the translation will be ready for publication before 2004.

The current plan is to print the translations synoptically for the first 600 lines (verse on the left, prose on the right) and then continue with the prose translation to the end. Notes will be fairly limited in this volume, but I will point out Tolkien's solution of major cruces, etc.

There will then follow a companion volume to the translation that will be based on Tolkien's enormously detailed line-by-line commentaries. This will be a book that will probably appeal only to Beowulf scholars, since I intend to follow Tolkien's line by line approach to the poem, supplementing, where useful, with some of his other essays about Beowulf. I don't think this volume will be ready until 2005.

I will post the Tolkien translations of the 5 sections of Beowulf covered on this site as soon as Michael Drout is permitted to send them to me.

Michael Drout's email address is . His home page is at . His "Blog" page (which includes some of his comments on the publicity surrounding his editing of Tolkien's Beowulf translations) is at .

There is an article by Michael Drout, in which he discusses this topic, posted at .

Related Links (note that while many media outlets refer to this as a "discovery," Michael Drout does not use that word for it): --