The Beowulf Manuscript

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

Download PDF Add to Bookshelf Report an Error


The Beowulf Manuscript (London, British Library, Cotton Vitellius A.xv, folios 94–209), also known as the Nowell Codex, is one of the four surviving Anglo-Saxon manuscripts which contain significant amounts of Old English poetry. The other three manuscripts are the Vercelli Book, the Exeter Book, and the Junius Manuscript, all three of which have their own articles in this encyclopedia.

As well as the only surviving copy of Beowulf, the Nowell Codex contains four other works, all of which are in Old English: the Life of St Christopher, the Wonders of the East, the Letter of Alexander to Aristotle, and Judith. The first three texts are all in prose and are all translations into Old English of texts in Latin. The first of these, the Life of St Christopher, is very incomplete, with perhaps

2360 words

Citation: Stokes, Peter Anthony. "The Beowulf Manuscript". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 25 November 2008 [, accessed 25 July 2024.]

5552 The Beowulf Manuscript 2 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

Save this article

If you need to create a new bookshelf to save this article in, please make sure that you are logged in, then go to your 'Account' here

Leave Feedback

The Literary Encyclopedia is a living community of scholars. We welcome comments which will help us improve.