John D. Niles is the Frederic G. Cassidy Professor of Humanities, Emeritus, at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and Professor Emeritus of English at the University of California, Berkeley. A former President of the International Society of Anglo-Saxonists, he is the author or editor of a dozen books on Old English literature and related topics, including The Idea of Anglo-Saxon England 10661901: Remembering, Forgetting, Deciphering, and Renewing the Past (Wiley Blackwell, 2015) and Beowulf: The Poem and Its Tradition (1983).
A revised Introduction and Commentary incorporates the vast store of scholarship on Beowulf that has appeared since 1950. It brings readers up to date on areas of scholarship that have been controversial since the last edition, including the construction of the unique manuscript and views on the poem's date and unity of composition. The lightly revised text incorporates the best textual criticism of the intervening years, and the expanded Commentary furnishes detailed bibliographic guidance to discussion of textual cruces, as well as to modern and contemporary critical concerns. Aids to pronunciation have been added to the text, and advances in the study of the poem's language are addressed throughout. Readers will find that the book remains recognizably Klaeber's work, but with altered and added features designed to render it as useful today as it has ever been.