The votes are in, my friends! Our Thingmen over on Twitter have decided which work of medieval literature will kickstart the revival of The Fjorn’s Hall Podcast: Beowulf.
Indeed, it has been decided that I will take on one of the most discussed works of medieval literature right off the bat.
Prepare for (some) disappointment.
I just won’t be able to cover everyone’s expectations, especially since it’ll be (more or less) a casual discussion lacking the mounds upon mounds of scholarship surrounding this work. I will, of course, insert my own academic experiences and background into our discussion, but I don’t want anyone to be expecting these forthcoming episodes to sound like a thoroughly researched, comprehensive lecture on Beowulf. Not only am I more of a Norse specialist to begin with, but I don’t have the time to drown in the depths of research given my other ambitions, projects, and responsibilities. We will, however, likely cover a few important works of scholarship along the way (or after our coverage), such as Tolkien’s “The Monsters and the Critics.”
Nevertheless, we’re going to do this, so here’s the plan:
I’m going to be reading the second edition of R.M. Liuzza‘s translation of Beowulf. I encourage everyone to read along with me, so if you’d like to get a copy of this edition for yourself, here’s a link (affiliated). You can also find it here, if you’d rather shop on Amazon (unaffiliated).
For the first episode, I’ll be covering the Introduction (pages 11 through 44). Why? Because most people don’t actually read it. I also think it’s important to know where these texts come from (i.e. their historical context), even if we are just reading them for fun. Knowing that context not only helps us understand what this work of literature might be about, but can also teach us a great deal about the society that produced it (and the issues that they were discussing through storytelling). You might be surprised at how much is still relevant to society, and human experience more broadly, today.
But that’s all I’ve got to say about Beowulf and our podcast coverage for the time being. If you’d like to stay updated about when I’m recording, when you might see the first episode, or any potential changes to this plan, simply follow the Hall on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or Tumblr.