Beowulf is a major epic of Anglo-Saxon literature, probably composed between the first half of the seventh century and the end of the first millennium. The poem was inspired by the oral tradition Anglo-Saxon and Germanic transcribed a verse epic, recounting the exploits of Beowulf hero who gave his name to the poem, on which are grafted chrétiens additions. The manuscript Document History The poem has survived thanks to the single copy of a copy of the tenth century: his oldest identified owner Lawrence Nowell, a scholar of the sixteenth century [ref. necessary]. The manuscript then appears in the seventeenth century in the catalog of the possessions of Sir Robert Bruce Cotton; unfortunately, the copy is irreparably damaged during the fire of his library in 1731. The Icelandic researcher Grímur Jónsson Thorkelin performs the first transcription of the manuscript in 1786 and published in 1815 as part of a research supported by the Danish government. Since then, the manuscript still suffered some damage, so it's transcription Thorkelin which usually forms the basis for philologists. The reliability of this transcript has been questioned, especially by Chauncey Brewster Tinker in its edition bringing together the different translations of the nineteenth century researchers (The Translations of Beowulf). The manuscript is known as the "Beowulf manuscript" or "Nowell Codex" or "British Library MS Cotton Vitellius" since it is now at the British Library in London.