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.
Be the first to review this title!
It's interesting reading it with Tolkien in mind... Worth a go, if you're a Tolkien fan. Heaney or Liuzza would probably serve you equally well in terms of a clear and fun translation. This edition includes a lot of extra stuff, which I didn't actually look at but which seems useful; the Norton Critical Edition of Heaney's translation has a similar amount of accompanying helpful material.
As for the poem itself -- well, I appreciate it a lot better now I've studied Anglo-Saxon and I know more about their history and culture. It's a lot more comprehensible with my undergraduate degree behind me. Tolkien's own essay on it, The Monsters and the Critics, is pretty illuminating too, especially when you think about seminal a piece of writing that was. I couldn't help but read it with Tolkien's voice in my ear, so to speak, particularly regarding the intentions of the writer re: Christianity/paganism. That man was pretty devastatingly smart.
I do find it a fun read, now I can relax and stop worrying about whether I need to remember So-and-So's name. After Icelandic sagas, Beowulf is easy.more
This is a good, modern abridgement and as an introduction to the full poem is excellent. I saw a televised performance of the show a couple of years ago and it was very effective.
The text is illuminated with illustrations by Shelia Mackie, which enrich the text with depictions of Anglo-Saxon artefacts, animals and monsters.more
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