Jared Lobdell takes the view that the realm of fantasy is the natural, if not inevitable direction fiction writing is headed. By Surveying and criticizing the authors that influenced J.R.R. Tolkien's great works and presenting contemporary authors like Stephen King, and Ursula Le Guin whose works have been impacted by Tolkien, Professor Lobdell identifies an interesting pattern in the evolution of fiction.
Dick Ringler's deceptively simple translation captures the rhythm, movement, and power of the original Old English poem while employing a fluid modern English style and a relatively spare vocabulary. His generous Introduction, a lively yet masterly guide to the work, along with his translations of three shorter Old English poems elucidate a major English text almost as well-known for its subtlety and intricacy as it is for its monsters and heroes.