"Beowulf is to English what the Odyssey is to Greek literature. Beowulf is also the oldest example of vernacular literature of any substance in the whole of Western Europe. Since its rediscovery and the appearance of the first printed editions in the middle of the last century, this moving and dramatic epic has attracted considerable scholarly attention, and Dr Swanton is able to draw on this wealth of scholarship to present a considered and balanced introduction to the poem. Explanatory notes, drawing on archaeological sources, expand the poet's more esoteric allusions and offer background information on contemporary manners and customs. A prose translation faces the text, which should be invaluable to both students and the general reader."
Note: We recommend this particular translation which is considered the best.