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1. An anonymous Old English epic poem believed to have been composed in the early eighth century, principally concerning the exploits of the warrior Beowulf and containing historical and legendary tales about the Geats, Danes, and other older Germanic peoples.
2. The legendary hero of this epic, who slays the monster Grendel and its mother, becomes king of the Geats, and dies fighting a dragon.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(Poetry) an anonymous Old English epic poem in alliterative verse, believed to have been composed in the 8th century ad
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˈbeɪ əˌwʊlf)

1. (italics) an English epic poem, probably written in the early 8th century A.D.
2. the hero of Beowulf.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Noun1.Beowulf - the legendary hero of an anonymous Old English epic poem composed in the early 8th centuryBeowulf - the legendary hero of an anonymous Old English epic poem composed in the early 8th century; he slays a monster and becomes king but dies fighting a dragon
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References in classic literature ?
Almost the oldest Anglo-Saxon book that we have is called Beowulf. Wise men tell us that, like the tales of Arthur, like the tales of Ossian, this book was not at first the work of one man, but that it has been gradually put together out of many minstrel songs.
But unlike these old tales, we do not find Beowulf told in different ways in different manuscripts.
As Beowulf is one of our great book treasures, you may like to hear something of its story.
Among those that were partly destroyed was Beowulf. But no one cared very much, for no one had read the book or knew anything about it.
Where Sir Robert found Beowulf, or what he thought about it, we shall never know.
And there a Danish gentleman who was looking for books about his own land found Beowulf, and made a copy of it.
When the Danish gentleman made his copy of Beowulf, he found the edges of the book so charred by fire that they broke away with the slightest touch.
So now, after all its adventures, having been found, we shall never know where, by a gentleman in the days of Queen Elizabeth, having lain on his bookshelves unknown and unread for a hundred years and more, having been nearly destroyed by fire, having been still further destroyed by neglect, Beowulf at last came to its own, and is now carefully treasured in a glass case in the British Museum, where any one who cared about it may go to look at it.
And besides this, some of the people mentioned in the poem are mentioned in history too, and it is thought that Beowulf, the hero himself, really lived.
If you find that the poets of the Anglo-Saxon 'Beowulf' have given a clear and interesting picture of the life of our barbarous ancestors of the sixth or seventh century A.
She was reading the "Prelude," partly because she always read the "Prelude" abroad, and partly because she was engaged in writing a short Primer of English Literature -- Beowulf
Synopsis: English professor and aspiring novelist Grace Warner spends her days teaching four sections of Beowulf for Cretins to bored and disinterested students at one of New England's "hidden ivy" colleges.