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Archive for the ‘Beowulf’ Category

Might we have had a Rosemary Sutcliff-reading England football captain?

Sol Campbell, in the media today for his autobiography-claim that he might have been England football captain for ten years if he were white, ten years ago recommended Rosemary Sutcliff’s Beowulf.

He and other stars of the English Premier League promoted a reading list for children, to try to harness the  power of football to encourage families to enjoy reading. The Premier League Reading Stars (PLRS) scheme focused on people who had shown little or no interest in reading but who did have a passion for football. Each of the 20 Premier League soccer teams in England nominated a ‘Reading Champion’ to recommended his favourite book, and each Club adopted one or more public libraries who then hosted a reading club based on the book choices of all 20 Premiership Reading Champions.

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Covers of Rosemary Sutcliff’s retelling of Beowulf via Bing

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Rosemary Sutcliff‘s re-telling of Beowulf is praised at Suz’s Place, an online supplier of used and secondhand books. ‘She’ wrote that her  softcover volume was published by Penguin Books in 1961. “It has a little rubbing on all corners and edges but is looking incredibly good for it’s age. I wish I looked this good.”

Lionhearted Beowulf, the hero who had the strength of thirty men in his arms, sailed away over the whale road in his war-boat, his fast floater, to rid the Danes of their deadly scourge, the prowling monster who struck terror into the bravest warriors of Denmark as they waited night after night in King Hrothgar’s court.  Great glory came to Beowulf before he died, the renown from his three great battles, with Grendel and his fearful mother, and with the dragon who guarded the brilliant treasure-hoard hidden away in the earth.

Rosemary Sutcliff’s retelling of the Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf grasps the splendour and mystery of the original poem.  It is a story to feed the imagination powerfully, and fill the mind with a trembling awe.

Source: Dragon Slayer: Story of Beowulf – Rosemary Sutcliff

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Blogger Zornhau reads children’s writer and historical novelist Rosemary Sutcliff’s classic retelling of Beowulf to his son Kurtzhau.

The two of us together live through the dragon fight, the flight of Beowulf’s thanes, all except Wiglaf who tips the balance in his lord’s favor. Now Beowulf lies dying, poisoned by dragon venom.

Kurtzhau and I both hold each other, sharing a blast of emotions from our ancestors’ cold Dark Ages.

Abruptly, Kurtzhau slips off the bed and rummages with his plastic figures.

“Oh well,” I think. “He’s done pretty well for a—”

He bounces back to join me and thrusts a Playmobil barbarian at me. “This guy can be Wiglaf from now on. Now read the end!”

Afterwards, he’s outraged that the story is so short, and we talk about how lucky we are to have the story at all, and about bards and praise singers, and the irony that the two episodes of Beowulf’s life to come down to us are the ones that emphatically did not happen.

“What happened to Wiglaf?”

I shrug. “Was there a theory he lead a Germanic tribe to Britain? Sorry – I can’t remember and we’ve no Internet access here. But if there were any poems about him, they’re lost.”

Kurtzhau considers. “Somebody ought to write a sequel.

Source: Zornhau’s blog

More about Beowulf on this site

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Rosemary Sutcliff’s children’s book re-telling of the saga of Beowulf enthused and inspired children in this Caribbean school , on the other side of the Atlantic (from me!) – wonderful work. And then again last year – here. (When I first posted this, I placed  the islands in the Pacific – ap0logies to everyone).

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In 2004, international footballer Sol Campbell recommends children’s book author Rosemary Sutcliff’s retelling of the story of Beowulf. He and other stars of the English Premier League promoted a reading list for children, to try to harness the  power of football to encourage families to enjoy reading. (more…)

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Only Beowulf, foremost among warriors has the courage and strength to fight Grendel the man-wolf. Beowulf feels obliged  to help the Danish king Hroðgar, who himself helped Beowulf’s father pay weregild. He has a series of terrifying quests against Grendel and Grendel’s mother, the hideous sea-hag;  and with the help of Wiglaf fights to the death with the monstrous fire-drake (dragon).

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