Beowulf


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Beowulf

(bā`əwo͝olf), oldest English epic, probably composed in the early 8th cent. by an Anglian bard in the vicinity of Northumbria. It survives in only one manuscript, written c.A.D. 1000 by two scribes and preserved in the British Library in the collection of Sir Robert Cotton. The materials for the poem are derived mainly from Scandinavian history, folk tale, and mythology. Its narrative consists of two parts: The first relates Beowulf's successful fights with the water monster Grendel and with Grendel's mother; the second narrates the hero's victory in his old age over a dragon and his subsequent death and funeral at the end of a long life of honor. These events take place entirely in Denmark and Sweden. The poem contains a remarkable fusion of pagan and Christian elements and provides a vivid picture of old Germanic life. It is written in a strongly accentual, alliterative verse. There have been some 65 translations of the work into modern English; one of the most accomplished is by the Irish poet Seamus HeaneyHeaney, Seamus
(Seamus Justin Heaney) , 1939–2013, Irish poet, one of the finest contemporary English poets, b. Londonderry (now Derry), Northern Ireland, grad. Queen's Univ., Belfast (B.A., 1961).
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 (2000).

Bibliography

See The Beowulf Poet: A Collection of Critical Essays, ed. by D. K. Fry (1968); studies by K. Sisam (1965), J. C. Pope (rev. ed. 1966), E. B. Irving (1968), R. Girvan and R. Bruce-Mitford (1971), K. S. Kiernan (1981), W. F. Bolston (1982), and J. D. Ogilvy and D. C. Baker (1986).

Beowulf

 

a literary monument; an ancient Anglo-Saxon epic.

The first part of Beowulf tells how Beowulf, the champion of the king of the Geatas (a Scandinavian tribe in southern Sweden), freed Denmark from a monster. In the second part, Beowulf, who has ruled the Geatas for 50 years, kills a dragon threatening the country and then dies. The poem has been preserved in a single manuscript written in Old English at the beginning of the tenth century. Beowulf was based on a popular heroic legend from the sixth century. In the eighth and ninth centuries this legend was reworked by a scribe who introduced a Christian element into it.

REFERENCES

Istoriia angliiskoi literatury, vol. 1, fascicle 1. Moscow-Leningrad, 1943.
Chambers, R. W. Beowulf, 3rd ed. Cambridge, 1959.

Beowulf

singlehandedly fights firebreathing dragon. [Br. Lit.: Beowulf]
See: Bravery

Beowulf

Old English epic poem of sixth-century Denmark. [Br. Lit.: Beowulf]
See: Epic

Beowulf

saved Danes from monster Grendel. [Br. Lit.: Beowulf]
See: Heroism

Beowulf

Using several small computers to provide the computing power of one large computer. A Beowulf cluster uses several off-the-shelf PCs connected via Ethernet to solve problems that would normally be handled by a supercomputer. Designed for high speed rather than redundancy, the first Beowulf system was developed by a contractor to NASA in the mid-1990s.

Unix Based
Unix variants such as Linux and FreeBSD are typically used as the operating system in a Beowulf cluster, and parallel operation is provided by available software in the Unix community that manages message passing and memory. Access to a particular PC in a cluster is provided by Telnetting to the machine over the network, as most of the PCs in the cluster do not have display adapters.

In order to run effectively in a Beowulf cluster, applications must be able to split the data into parallel chunks that can be acted upon simultaneously. See Telnet, NOW project and Millennium project.
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Beowulf is an Old English epic poem consisting of 3182 alliterative long lines.