Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Beowulf and the Anglo-Saxons|
Miraculously preserved over the centuries, its artistic importance was unrecognized until an essay by J. R. R. Tolkien (The Lord of the Rings) revealed its unity and multi-dimensional structure. Beowulf is now regarded ... more »
Good background on Beowulf
M. Cureton | Woodstock, MD United States | 09/14/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a better than average educational video. It provides good background information on the culture of the Anglo- Saxons and the context of the Beowulf epic. Its best features are the recreations, the footage of the Sutton Hoo site and some of its treasures, and the actual recitation of some of the poem in the Old English ( very interesting to hear). The lecture that makes up the bulk of the narrative is of the type you might expect were you to attend a seminar at the Sutton Hoo site or some similar History for amateur enthusiast's event, but it is just enough material for a student starting to study this period or the poem. The only drawback is that the production company was obviously short on funds and towards the final third of the hour+ production, the visuals start to repeat- we see the same spinning helmet, the same burning lake, the same warriors tipping back the drinking horn once again-this is where my kids start laughing and go back to reading another book while I tell them to hang in there the material is worth it. But then, this isn't New Line Cinema, so you have to adjust your expectations. One especially good extra is the re-enactment segment. A representative of the society describes their efforts to rebuild a 10th C. Saxon Hall and this is very interesting and enough to tempt you to consider a trip across the pond to see it! All in all I would say this is worth your time- there isn't much out there on the subject and if nothing else will inspire the history/literature minded student to dig deeper!"
Bruce Rhodes | 08/09/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"DVD has some interesting information. It could serve as an introduction into the poem. It's not going to offer much new to anyone who's studied the poem or the history in much detail. I enjoyed watching it."
The Geat and the Beast
Gilbert Sarabia | 03/28/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I found this production to be poetic and educational. The opening which features the recitation in Wessex dialect is just one of the finest specimens of aural old english I've yet to hear. (But then, I don't hear that many." It's an excellant critical presentation of Beowulf and and equally excellant presentation of the Saxon culture, it's life and times.
I do take a little issue with the neglect of the influence of Roman cavalry armour on the Sutton Hoo helmet. But, this is nit-picky on my part. I would reccomend this for anyone teaching British literature, or world history, or just for your own edification...benefits will accrue! Add it to your curriculum today, integrate it into your lesson plans.
Enjoyable and informative.
JAG 2.0 | IN United States | 04/14/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The video begins and ends with a reading of passages from Beowulf in Old English. This is not only an appropriate way of introducing the subjects covered - the poem Beowulf and the culture of the Anglo-Saxons which produced it - but also gives the viewer a sense of how distant that world is from ours in time.
I felt this video did an excellent job of integrating the story of the poem Beowulf with the culture that produced it. The DVD covers the story of Beowulf, an idealized dark age warrior, who faces epic struggles during his life. Many of these struggles are possibly metaphorical representations of the subsuming of pagan religions by Christianity. Beowulf is very much an "ideal" warrior in his conduct, his sense of honor and loyalty. The video covers some of the technical aspects of the poetic style in which it was composed. Credit is given to JRR Tolkien for being able to see the sophistication of the poem itself and its structure.
The video does a good job of chronicling the history and culture of the Anglo-Saxons, a germanic people, showing accurate representations of dress, feasting, the social bonds which held their society together as well as life in their villages and mead halls. The reenactments were generally good and useful in showing aspects of the culture that tie in to the Beowulf story.
The video touches on places like Sutton Hoo and the West Stow archeological sites to give the viewer an idea of what life was like during that period. It was both useful and enjoyable to see archeological finds and the artifacts which can tell us a great deal about the people who lived and were buried in these places.
The video was well made. The reenactments were good, the experts interviewed were able to explain aspects of the poem and the culture of the Anglo-Saxons in terms the layman can grasp and the 3-D effects were limited but well done. If you are a JRR Tolkien fan, you will find many tie-ins between Beowulf and other nordic-germanic legends highlighted in this DVD.
I enjoyed this DVD and it is the best I have viewed in regards to the Anglo-Saxon people and other Germanic peoples of Europe. It is informative and enjoyable. I give this DVD 5 stars."