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The ultimate epic poem, detailing the exploits of Beowulf battling with a variety of Nordic monsters. It has everything: dragons, crazed monsters, kings, and copious amounts of mead. It is an epic poem defined, in that the hero travels great distances and fights against insurmountable odds to do battle against said monsters and dragons.

Long beloved by high school students for injecting a splash of gore into usually staid English classes, everyone should give this epic a read-through at least once in their life.

Published: Sheba Blake Publishing an imprint of Vearsa Limited on
ISBN: 9781312357327
List price: $1.99
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Good introduction. The text has a facing prose translation, which will be helpful for the way I'm planning to use it -- for practising my Anglo-Saxon translations.

Heaney's translation would still be my pick for casual reading, though.more
Read this in two different college classes, the first with a terrible professor and I hated it, the second time with a wonderful professor and I loved it! There is something to be said for teaching style.more
Read this in two different college classes, the first with a terrible professor and I hated it, the second time with a wonderful professor and I loved it! There is something to be said for teaching style.more
Another re-read prompted by the desert island books conversation. this is just fabulous. I know the original derives from a oral tradition, and I feel that this is designed to be read aloud, not to oneself. the meter is unlike the iambic rhythm we're so used to now, but the alliteration works and the lines sort of trip of the tongue. It's never a dull "te tum te tum te tum" thing - the words almost have a life of their own.
Add to that it's a swashbuckling story from the heroic to the unbearably sad and it just sweeps you away. Takes a bit of concentration, but that's no bad thing in a book.more
Another re-read prompted by the desert island books conversation. this is just fabulous. I know the original derives from a oral tradition, and I feel that this is designed to be read aloud, not to oneself. the meter is unlike the iambic rhythm we're so used to now, but the alliteration works and the lines sort of trip of the tongue. It's never a dull "te tum te tum te tum" thing - the words almost have a life of their own.
Add to that it's a swashbuckling story from the heroic to the unbearably sad and it just sweeps you away. Takes a bit of concentration, but that's no bad thing in a book.more
I read this the first time in college. Then, I enjoyed the incredible rush of the adventure. This time around reading it, I ignored the forest to focus on the trees; I inhaled the beautiful poetry of the language. A wonderful, timeless adventure.more
I read this the first time in college. Then, I enjoyed the incredible rush of the adventure. This time around reading it, I ignored the forest to focus on the trees; I inhaled the beautiful poetry of the language. A wonderful, timeless adventure.more
If you are like me, you haven't read Beowulf since high school and your memory of the story is probably pretty bad. I found reading this translation very enjoyable, and I loved having the "original" version printed opposite the translation (even though I couldn't read it).more
If you are like me, you haven't read Beowulf since high school and your memory of the story is probably pretty bad. I found reading this translation very enjoyable, and I loved having the "original" version printed opposite the translation (even though I couldn't read it).more
So, I found this version of Beowulf in the clearance bin of a used book store. I picked it up thinking this is a book I should read - and, it surpassed all expectation.I read the initial part of Beowulf in highschool - wear he fights Grendel and his mother. At the time, I wasn't interested. It was hard going, and it didn't really stick with me. But this new translation maintained the verse form while keeping mostly true to the original translation (this is my non-expert opinion. I don't read old English, so can't really say). It totally opened my eyes into the world of England in the year 1000 or so, with knights and armour, and chivalry and all that. Its fun, its exciting, and totally a different age and values than what I am used to.Highly recommended.more
So, I found this version of Beowulf in the clearance bin of a used book store. I picked it up thinking this is a book I should read - and, it surpassed all expectation.I read the initial part of Beowulf in highschool - wear he fights Grendel and his mother. At the time, I wasn't interested. It was hard going, and it didn't really stick with me. But this new translation maintained the verse form while keeping mostly true to the original translation (this is my non-expert opinion. I don't read old English, so can't really say). It totally opened my eyes into the world of England in the year 1000 or so, with knights and armour, and chivalry and all that. Its fun, its exciting, and totally a different age and values than what I am used to.Highly recommended.more
This translation (by Seamus Heaney) of Beowulf has a plain-spoken elegance. The layout - original Anglo-Saxon on the left page, Heaney translation on the right -- makes it possible to read the original poem aloud for its gorgeous alliteration and rolling rhythm. Still, the world of the poem is dismal. Life is hard; death is fated. Men kill one another, or monsters kill them. Everyone is so poor (by modern standards) that an individual shirt of ring-mail is a family heirloom, handed down for generations, or given by a king to a follower as a major mark of favor. In such a world, listening to good poetry might be one of the few lasting pleasures. The story of Beowulf is tedious; the poetry, transcendent.more
This translation (by Seamus Heaney) of Beowulf has a plain-spoken elegance. The layout - original Anglo-Saxon on the left page, Heaney translation on the right -- makes it possible to read the original poem aloud for its gorgeous alliteration and rolling rhythm. Still, the world of the poem is dismal. Life is hard; death is fated. Men kill one another, or monsters kill them. Everyone is so poor (by modern standards) that an individual shirt of ring-mail is a family heirloom, handed down for generations, or given by a king to a follower as a major mark of favor. In such a world, listening to good poetry might be one of the few lasting pleasures. The story of Beowulf is tedious; the poetry, transcendent.more
This was a surprisingly speedy, easy and enjoyable read--for which Heaney, the translator, deserves a lot of credit. Especially given this is a verse translation. I've found that I have preferred prose translations of Homer and Dante because those trying to be true to alliteration, meter and rhyme often feel forced, awkward and occlude the meaning. It probably helped that Heaney is a distinguished poet in his own right; his translation was fluid, with a rhythm and tone somewhere between Homer and Tolkien in feel. And the story is fun, a Pagan tale set mostly in Dark Ages Denmark with Christian interjections by the original poet who probably was a monk writing anywhere between the mid-seventh to the end of the tenth century. There are monsters, notably Grendel and a dragon with his horde. What's not to love?And a translation is needed. I read a bilingual edition, with the original Old English (Anglo-Saxon) and modern English translation side by side. Knowing Spanish I often can make out the gist of passages in Portuguese, Italian or even French. And though it's not easy, I can get Chaucer, in Middle English, even if I prefer a translation there too. I was surprised really at how indecipherable I found the Anglo-Saxon of Beowulf. All the more reason to appreciate Heaney's achievement.more
This was a surprisingly speedy, easy and enjoyable read--for which Heaney, the translator, deserves a lot of credit. Especially given this is a verse translation. I've found that I have preferred prose translations of Homer and Dante because those trying to be true to alliteration, meter and rhyme often feel forced, awkward and occlude the meaning. It probably helped that Heaney is a distinguished poet in his own right; his translation was fluid, with a rhythm and tone somewhere between Homer and Tolkien in feel. And the story is fun, a Pagan tale set mostly in Dark Ages Denmark with Christian interjections by the original poet who probably was a monk writing anywhere between the mid-seventh to the end of the tenth century. There are monsters, notably Grendel and a dragon with his horde. What's not to love?And a translation is needed. I read a bilingual edition, with the original Old English (Anglo-Saxon) and modern English translation side by side. Knowing Spanish I often can make out the gist of passages in Portuguese, Italian or even French. And though it's not easy, I can get Chaucer, in Middle English, even if I prefer a translation there too. I was surprised really at how indecipherable I found the Anglo-Saxon of Beowulf. All the more reason to appreciate Heaney's achievement.more
I was very surprised at the ease with which I read this great epic poem. I expected it to be very hard to get through and keep focused on, but it's actually a very straightforward story. Lots of action, and lots and lots of random little stories thrown in.This is the only version of Beowulf I've read, but from the snippets I've seen of other versions, this would probably be my favorite.more
I was very surprised at the ease with which I read this great epic poem. I expected it to be very hard to get through and keep focused on, but it's actually a very straightforward story. Lots of action, and lots and lots of random little stories thrown in.This is the only version of Beowulf I've read, but from the snippets I've seen of other versions, this would probably be my favorite.more
A beautiful poem. I have been meaning to read this for years- and thought it would require a deeper understanding of Old English to really capture the essence of the poem. If you are worried about this, I suggest reading Seamus Heaney's translation. He is such an amazing poet (my absolute favorite) and his knowledge of Old English means you get a meaningful translation which really allows you to just enjoy the story.more
A beautiful poem. I have been meaning to read this for years- and thought it would require a deeper understanding of Old English to really capture the essence of the poem. If you are worried about this, I suggest reading Seamus Heaney's translation. He is such an amazing poet (my absolute favorite) and his knowledge of Old English means you get a meaningful translation which really allows you to just enjoy the story.more
Seamus Heaney’s Beowulf is both modern and satisfying poetry, in a translation as if from another world. The poem has in Heaney’s words a ‘hand-built, rock sure feel’ and yet at the same time his lines are expansive with an elemental feeling emanating from within the verse. It’s what Heaney elsewhere calls ‘the ore of longing’. The world of Danish kings, gold hoards and minstrels keeps revealing regions remote from human influence, making exciting reading. It’s as though you almost had to conceive of two dimensions at once. And Heaney tends to set his words so starkly as to allow the direct opposing pull of those separate forces: "His warrior band did what he bade them when he laid down the law among the Danes: they shouldered him out to the sea’s flood, the chief they revered who had long ruled them." For Heaney the whole poem is bordered by yet related to the beyond, by which he means both the immanent and the imminent, ‘unknowable but certain’. He stresses that the queer sounds of Beowulf to modern ears is not merely the result of our distance in time from that epic world (the dragons, barrows, and boar-shapes flashing over golden cheek-guards). Rather the poem’s difference (perhaps shared with similar sagas) lies in its ‘mythic potency’: "Like Shield Sheafson… [the poem] arrives from somewhere beyond the known bourne of our experience, and having fulfilled its purpose (again like Shield) it passes once more into the beyond." Rereading the poem in this translation was a delight even though I would still recommend the fine translation by Burton Raffel that I read in the early nineties. I intend to return to this poem, but plan to seek out the new version by Neil Gaiman – that is sure to be yet a new way to experience this great medieval epic.more
Seamus Heaney’s Beowulf is both modern and satisfying poetry, in a translation as if from another world. The poem has in Heaney’s words a ‘hand-built, rock sure feel’ and yet at the same time his lines are expansive with an elemental feeling emanating from within the verse. It’s what Heaney elsewhere calls ‘the ore of longing’. The world of Danish kings, gold hoards and minstrels keeps revealing regions remote from human influence, making exciting reading. It’s as though you almost had to conceive of two dimensions at once. And Heaney tends to set his words so starkly as to allow the direct opposing pull of those separate forces: "His warrior band did what he bade them when he laid down the law among the Danes: they shouldered him out to the sea’s flood, the chief they revered who had long ruled them." For Heaney the whole poem is bordered by yet related to the beyond, by which he means both the immanent and the imminent, ‘unknowable but certain’. He stresses that the queer sounds of Beowulf to modern ears is not merely the result of our distance in time from that epic world (the dragons, barrows, and boar-shapes flashing over golden cheek-guards). Rather the poem’s difference (perhaps shared with similar sagas) lies in its ‘mythic potency’: "Like Shield Sheafson… [the poem] arrives from somewhere beyond the known bourne of our experience, and having fulfilled its purpose (again like Shield) it passes once more into the beyond." Rereading the poem in this translation was a delight even though I would still recommend the fine translation by Burton Raffel that I read in the early nineties. I intend to return to this poem, but plan to seek out the new version by Neil Gaiman – that is sure to be yet a new way to experience this great medieval epic.more
Most anybody who is even minimally versed in literature is familiar to some extent with the Beowulf poem. It is a great heroic epic, but it has very little flare, or fluff, or fanciful rhapsodizing. The qualities of the narrative clearly demonstrate that this poem rests in the tradition of great oral folklore. Being such it is very direct and at the same time engaging to the point of easy immersion on part of the reader. This is in no doubt helped by Heaney's modern translation of the text, which is very readable, but in no way does that seem to cheapen the work. This is a fine epic, Beowulf being a valiant stock example of the utmost testicular fortitude, and I wish I had read it in younger years.more
Most anybody who is even minimally versed in literature is familiar to some extent with the Beowulf poem. It is a great heroic epic, but it has very little flare, or fluff, or fanciful rhapsodizing. The qualities of the narrative clearly demonstrate that this poem rests in the tradition of great oral folklore. Being such it is very direct and at the same time engaging to the point of easy immersion on part of the reader. This is in no doubt helped by Heaney's modern translation of the text, which is very readable, but in no way does that seem to cheapen the work. This is a fine epic, Beowulf being a valiant stock example of the utmost testicular fortitude, and I wish I had read it in younger years.more
For those who have heard the names of Grendel and Beowulf and seen the epic alluded to in comic books, movies and Michael Crichton's Eaters of the Dead, this version of the tale should serve as a good introduction. The only other translation of Beowulf I'm familiar with is the Burton Raffel one which I've read three times and still prefer to Heaney's. However, not knowing Old English, I can't say which is more accurate. Raffel does try to preserve the structure of Anglo-Saxon alliterative verse while Heaney, as he notes in his introduction, never feels compelled to strictly follow that form though he does quite a bit. However, I suspect many readers may find that old verse form strange, awkward, and a bit offputting, and, for them, this version of the old epic is probably the best. I always found the last third of the epic the most moving and melancholy, and, there, Heaney's translation is as powerful as Raffel's.more
Read all 172 reviews

Reviews

Good introduction. The text has a facing prose translation, which will be helpful for the way I'm planning to use it -- for practising my Anglo-Saxon translations.

Heaney's translation would still be my pick for casual reading, though.more
Read this in two different college classes, the first with a terrible professor and I hated it, the second time with a wonderful professor and I loved it! There is something to be said for teaching style.more
Read this in two different college classes, the first with a terrible professor and I hated it, the second time with a wonderful professor and I loved it! There is something to be said for teaching style.more
Another re-read prompted by the desert island books conversation. this is just fabulous. I know the original derives from a oral tradition, and I feel that this is designed to be read aloud, not to oneself. the meter is unlike the iambic rhythm we're so used to now, but the alliteration works and the lines sort of trip of the tongue. It's never a dull "te tum te tum te tum" thing - the words almost have a life of their own.
Add to that it's a swashbuckling story from the heroic to the unbearably sad and it just sweeps you away. Takes a bit of concentration, but that's no bad thing in a book.more
Another re-read prompted by the desert island books conversation. this is just fabulous. I know the original derives from a oral tradition, and I feel that this is designed to be read aloud, not to oneself. the meter is unlike the iambic rhythm we're so used to now, but the alliteration works and the lines sort of trip of the tongue. It's never a dull "te tum te tum te tum" thing - the words almost have a life of their own.
Add to that it's a swashbuckling story from the heroic to the unbearably sad and it just sweeps you away. Takes a bit of concentration, but that's no bad thing in a book.more
I read this the first time in college. Then, I enjoyed the incredible rush of the adventure. This time around reading it, I ignored the forest to focus on the trees; I inhaled the beautiful poetry of the language. A wonderful, timeless adventure.more
I read this the first time in college. Then, I enjoyed the incredible rush of the adventure. This time around reading it, I ignored the forest to focus on the trees; I inhaled the beautiful poetry of the language. A wonderful, timeless adventure.more
If you are like me, you haven't read Beowulf since high school and your memory of the story is probably pretty bad. I found reading this translation very enjoyable, and I loved having the "original" version printed opposite the translation (even though I couldn't read it).more
If you are like me, you haven't read Beowulf since high school and your memory of the story is probably pretty bad. I found reading this translation very enjoyable, and I loved having the "original" version printed opposite the translation (even though I couldn't read it).more
So, I found this version of Beowulf in the clearance bin of a used book store. I picked it up thinking this is a book I should read - and, it surpassed all expectation.I read the initial part of Beowulf in highschool - wear he fights Grendel and his mother. At the time, I wasn't interested. It was hard going, and it didn't really stick with me. But this new translation maintained the verse form while keeping mostly true to the original translation (this is my non-expert opinion. I don't read old English, so can't really say). It totally opened my eyes into the world of England in the year 1000 or so, with knights and armour, and chivalry and all that. Its fun, its exciting, and totally a different age and values than what I am used to.Highly recommended.more
So, I found this version of Beowulf in the clearance bin of a used book store. I picked it up thinking this is a book I should read - and, it surpassed all expectation.I read the initial part of Beowulf in highschool - wear he fights Grendel and his mother. At the time, I wasn't interested. It was hard going, and it didn't really stick with me. But this new translation maintained the verse form while keeping mostly true to the original translation (this is my non-expert opinion. I don't read old English, so can't really say). It totally opened my eyes into the world of England in the year 1000 or so, with knights and armour, and chivalry and all that. Its fun, its exciting, and totally a different age and values than what I am used to.Highly recommended.more
This translation (by Seamus Heaney) of Beowulf has a plain-spoken elegance. The layout - original Anglo-Saxon on the left page, Heaney translation on the right -- makes it possible to read the original poem aloud for its gorgeous alliteration and rolling rhythm. Still, the world of the poem is dismal. Life is hard; death is fated. Men kill one another, or monsters kill them. Everyone is so poor (by modern standards) that an individual shirt of ring-mail is a family heirloom, handed down for generations, or given by a king to a follower as a major mark of favor. In such a world, listening to good poetry might be one of the few lasting pleasures. The story of Beowulf is tedious; the poetry, transcendent.more
This translation (by Seamus Heaney) of Beowulf has a plain-spoken elegance. The layout - original Anglo-Saxon on the left page, Heaney translation on the right -- makes it possible to read the original poem aloud for its gorgeous alliteration and rolling rhythm. Still, the world of the poem is dismal. Life is hard; death is fated. Men kill one another, or monsters kill them. Everyone is so poor (by modern standards) that an individual shirt of ring-mail is a family heirloom, handed down for generations, or given by a king to a follower as a major mark of favor. In such a world, listening to good poetry might be one of the few lasting pleasures. The story of Beowulf is tedious; the poetry, transcendent.more
This was a surprisingly speedy, easy and enjoyable read--for which Heaney, the translator, deserves a lot of credit. Especially given this is a verse translation. I've found that I have preferred prose translations of Homer and Dante because those trying to be true to alliteration, meter and rhyme often feel forced, awkward and occlude the meaning. It probably helped that Heaney is a distinguished poet in his own right; his translation was fluid, with a rhythm and tone somewhere between Homer and Tolkien in feel. And the story is fun, a Pagan tale set mostly in Dark Ages Denmark with Christian interjections by the original poet who probably was a monk writing anywhere between the mid-seventh to the end of the tenth century. There are monsters, notably Grendel and a dragon with his horde. What's not to love?And a translation is needed. I read a bilingual edition, with the original Old English (Anglo-Saxon) and modern English translation side by side. Knowing Spanish I often can make out the gist of passages in Portuguese, Italian or even French. And though it's not easy, I can get Chaucer, in Middle English, even if I prefer a translation there too. I was surprised really at how indecipherable I found the Anglo-Saxon of Beowulf. All the more reason to appreciate Heaney's achievement.more
This was a surprisingly speedy, easy and enjoyable read--for which Heaney, the translator, deserves a lot of credit. Especially given this is a verse translation. I've found that I have preferred prose translations of Homer and Dante because those trying to be true to alliteration, meter and rhyme often feel forced, awkward and occlude the meaning. It probably helped that Heaney is a distinguished poet in his own right; his translation was fluid, with a rhythm and tone somewhere between Homer and Tolkien in feel. And the story is fun, a Pagan tale set mostly in Dark Ages Denmark with Christian interjections by the original poet who probably was a monk writing anywhere between the mid-seventh to the end of the tenth century. There are monsters, notably Grendel and a dragon with his horde. What's not to love?And a translation is needed. I read a bilingual edition, with the original Old English (Anglo-Saxon) and modern English translation side by side. Knowing Spanish I often can make out the gist of passages in Portuguese, Italian or even French. And though it's not easy, I can get Chaucer, in Middle English, even if I prefer a translation there too. I was surprised really at how indecipherable I found the Anglo-Saxon of Beowulf. All the more reason to appreciate Heaney's achievement.more
I was very surprised at the ease with which I read this great epic poem. I expected it to be very hard to get through and keep focused on, but it's actually a very straightforward story. Lots of action, and lots and lots of random little stories thrown in.This is the only version of Beowulf I've read, but from the snippets I've seen of other versions, this would probably be my favorite.more
I was very surprised at the ease with which I read this great epic poem. I expected it to be very hard to get through and keep focused on, but it's actually a very straightforward story. Lots of action, and lots and lots of random little stories thrown in.This is the only version of Beowulf I've read, but from the snippets I've seen of other versions, this would probably be my favorite.more
A beautiful poem. I have been meaning to read this for years- and thought it would require a deeper understanding of Old English to really capture the essence of the poem. If you are worried about this, I suggest reading Seamus Heaney's translation. He is such an amazing poet (my absolute favorite) and his knowledge of Old English means you get a meaningful translation which really allows you to just enjoy the story.more
A beautiful poem. I have been meaning to read this for years- and thought it would require a deeper understanding of Old English to really capture the essence of the poem. If you are worried about this, I suggest reading Seamus Heaney's translation. He is such an amazing poet (my absolute favorite) and his knowledge of Old English means you get a meaningful translation which really allows you to just enjoy the story.more
Seamus Heaney’s Beowulf is both modern and satisfying poetry, in a translation as if from another world. The poem has in Heaney’s words a ‘hand-built, rock sure feel’ and yet at the same time his lines are expansive with an elemental feeling emanating from within the verse. It’s what Heaney elsewhere calls ‘the ore of longing’. The world of Danish kings, gold hoards and minstrels keeps revealing regions remote from human influence, making exciting reading. It’s as though you almost had to conceive of two dimensions at once. And Heaney tends to set his words so starkly as to allow the direct opposing pull of those separate forces: "His warrior band did what he bade them when he laid down the law among the Danes: they shouldered him out to the sea’s flood, the chief they revered who had long ruled them." For Heaney the whole poem is bordered by yet related to the beyond, by which he means both the immanent and the imminent, ‘unknowable but certain’. He stresses that the queer sounds of Beowulf to modern ears is not merely the result of our distance in time from that epic world (the dragons, barrows, and boar-shapes flashing over golden cheek-guards). Rather the poem’s difference (perhaps shared with similar sagas) lies in its ‘mythic potency’: "Like Shield Sheafson… [the poem] arrives from somewhere beyond the known bourne of our experience, and having fulfilled its purpose (again like Shield) it passes once more into the beyond." Rereading the poem in this translation was a delight even though I would still recommend the fine translation by Burton Raffel that I read in the early nineties. I intend to return to this poem, but plan to seek out the new version by Neil Gaiman – that is sure to be yet a new way to experience this great medieval epic.more
Seamus Heaney’s Beowulf is both modern and satisfying poetry, in a translation as if from another world. The poem has in Heaney’s words a ‘hand-built, rock sure feel’ and yet at the same time his lines are expansive with an elemental feeling emanating from within the verse. It’s what Heaney elsewhere calls ‘the ore of longing’. The world of Danish kings, gold hoards and minstrels keeps revealing regions remote from human influence, making exciting reading. It’s as though you almost had to conceive of two dimensions at once. And Heaney tends to set his words so starkly as to allow the direct opposing pull of those separate forces: "His warrior band did what he bade them when he laid down the law among the Danes: they shouldered him out to the sea’s flood, the chief they revered who had long ruled them." For Heaney the whole poem is bordered by yet related to the beyond, by which he means both the immanent and the imminent, ‘unknowable but certain’. He stresses that the queer sounds of Beowulf to modern ears is not merely the result of our distance in time from that epic world (the dragons, barrows, and boar-shapes flashing over golden cheek-guards). Rather the poem’s difference (perhaps shared with similar sagas) lies in its ‘mythic potency’: "Like Shield Sheafson… [the poem] arrives from somewhere beyond the known bourne of our experience, and having fulfilled its purpose (again like Shield) it passes once more into the beyond." Rereading the poem in this translation was a delight even though I would still recommend the fine translation by Burton Raffel that I read in the early nineties. I intend to return to this poem, but plan to seek out the new version by Neil Gaiman – that is sure to be yet a new way to experience this great medieval epic.more
Most anybody who is even minimally versed in literature is familiar to some extent with the Beowulf poem. It is a great heroic epic, but it has very little flare, or fluff, or fanciful rhapsodizing. The qualities of the narrative clearly demonstrate that this poem rests in the tradition of great oral folklore. Being such it is very direct and at the same time engaging to the point of easy immersion on part of the reader. This is in no doubt helped by Heaney's modern translation of the text, which is very readable, but in no way does that seem to cheapen the work. This is a fine epic, Beowulf being a valiant stock example of the utmost testicular fortitude, and I wish I had read it in younger years.more
Most anybody who is even minimally versed in literature is familiar to some extent with the Beowulf poem. It is a great heroic epic, but it has very little flare, or fluff, or fanciful rhapsodizing. The qualities of the narrative clearly demonstrate that this poem rests in the tradition of great oral folklore. Being such it is very direct and at the same time engaging to the point of easy immersion on part of the reader. This is in no doubt helped by Heaney's modern translation of the text, which is very readable, but in no way does that seem to cheapen the work. This is a fine epic, Beowulf being a valiant stock example of the utmost testicular fortitude, and I wish I had read it in younger years.more
For those who have heard the names of Grendel and Beowulf and seen the epic alluded to in comic books, movies and Michael Crichton's Eaters of the Dead, this version of the tale should serve as a good introduction. The only other translation of Beowulf I'm familiar with is the Burton Raffel one which I've read three times and still prefer to Heaney's. However, not knowing Old English, I can't say which is more accurate. Raffel does try to preserve the structure of Anglo-Saxon alliterative verse while Heaney, as he notes in his introduction, never feels compelled to strictly follow that form though he does quite a bit. However, I suspect many readers may find that old verse form strange, awkward, and a bit offputting, and, for them, this version of the old epic is probably the best. I always found the last third of the epic the most moving and melancholy, and, there, Heaney's translation is as powerful as Raffel's.more
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