adapted from a design by George Bain based on the Book of Kells home Programme Bookings Shop The Wuffings .
Wuffing Education

Beowulf and the Dragon

Smaug (from a painting by John Howe)

with Dr Sam Newton

at Tranmer House, Sutton Hoo (map)
on 9th July 2005

We begin with a resumé of the story so far before examining how the first dragon of English literature is awakened by a burglary. Angered by the theft of a single gold cup, the dragon wreaks his vengeance on the neighbouring Geats, now ruled by old king Beowulf. The scene is thus set for Beowulf’s last battle. We shall consider the history of the dragon’s treasure and the elegy known as ‘The Lay of the Last Survivor’. We shall also elucidate the historic traditions of the wars with Swedes and Franks woven into the narrative which foreshadow further tragedy for Beowulf’s bereft people.

"A dragon is no idle fancy. Whatever may be his origins… the dragon in legend is a potent creation of men’s imagination, richer in significance than his barrow is in gold” (J.R.R.Tolkien).

Provisional Programme
  10.00 Coffee on arrival  
  10.15 The Awakening of the Dragon  
  11.15 Coffee  
  11.30 The Old King’s Last Battle  
  12.30 Lunch break  
  14:00 The Wars with the Swedes and Franks  
  15:00 Tea break  
  15:15 The Hero’s Last Rites  
  16:15 Close  

About Dr Sam Newton

Sam Newton was awarded his Ph.D in 1991 and his first book, The Origins of Beowulf and the pre-Viking Kingdom of East Anglia, was published in 1993. He is a Director of Wuffing Education as well as a media consultant in Early Medieval Studies and Time Team historian. His latest book, The Reckoning of King Rædwald, was published in 2003.

Some suggestions for further reading
(useful but not essential)

Alexander, M. (tr.), The Earliest English Poems (Penguin Classics 1966)
-------------------- (tr.), Beowulf (Penguin Classics 1973)
Bjork, R.E., & J.D.Niles (eds), A Beowulf Handbook (Nebraska University 1997, 1998)
Fulk, R. (ed.), Interpretations of Beowulf: A Critical Anthology (Indiana University 1991)
Garmonsway, G., & J.Simpson, Beowulf and Its Analogues (Dent 1968, 1980)
Heaney, S. (tr.), Beowulf (Faber & Faber 1999)
Mitchell, B., & F.Robinson, A Guide to Old English (Blackwell 1986)
Mitchell, B., & F.Robinson (eds), Beowulf (Blackwell 1998)
Orchard, A., Pride and Prodigies: Studies in the Monsters of the Beowulf Manuscript (Brewer 1995)
Orchard, A., A Critical Companion to Beowulf (Brewer 2003)
Newton, S., The Origins of Beowulf and the pre-Viking Kingdom of East Anglia (Brewer 1993, 1994)
Swanton, M. (ed. & tr.), Beowulf (Manchester 1978)


Please phone or email to check the availability of places and then send the application form and a cheque for £35, payable to Wuffing Education to:

Wuffing Education,
4 Hilly Fields,
Woodbridge, Suffolk IP12 4DX
(tel : 01394 386498)

Email cliff AT
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