Beowulf was most likely written in Britain-by whom, we don't know-in around the eighth century. (That is Tolkien's date. Some scholars put it later.) The plot is simple and exalted. Beowulf is a prince of the Geats, a tribe living in what is now southern Sweden. He is peerlessly noble, brave, and strong. Each of his hands has a grip equal to that of thirty men. He is alone in the world; he was an orphan, and he never acquires a wife or children. Partly for that reason-because he has no one to behave toward in an intimate way-he has no real psychology. This unself-consciousness gives that world a sparkling vividness.
King Beowulf stands as the epic hero who faces the monsters in defense of his people. This poem is written with arcane language that reminds us of Tolkien's works.