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A New Verse Translation
(Book - 2000 )
Average Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Item Details

A brilliant and faithful rendering of the Anglo-Saxon epic from the Nobel laureate. Composed toward the end of the first millennium of our era, Beowulf is the elegiac narrative of the adventures of Beowulf, a Scandinavian hero who saves the Danes from the seemingly invincible monster Grendel and, later, from Grendel's mother. He then returns to his own country and dies in old age in a vivid fight against a dragon. The poem is about encountering the monstrous, defeating it, and then having to live on in the exhausted aftermath. In the contours of this story, at once remote and uncannily familiar at the end of the twentieth century, Seamus Heaney finds a resonance that summons power to the poetry from deep beneath its surface. Drawn to what he has called the "four-squareness of the utterance" in Beowulf and its immense emotional credibility, Heaney gives these epic qualities new and convincing reality for the contemporary reader.
Title: Beowulf
a new verse translation
Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2000.
Edition: 1st bilingual ed.
Characteristics: xxx, 213 p. :,geneal. tables ;,24 cm.
Additional Contributors: Heaney, Seamus - 1939-2013
ISBN: 0374111197
Branch Call Number: 829.3 BEO
Statement of Responsibility: Seamus Heaney
Other Language: Text Old English with English translations on facing pages.
Subject Headings: Dragons Poetry. Monsters Poetry. Epic poetry, English (Old) Heroes Scandinavia Poetry. Beowulf.
Topical Term: Dragons
Epic poetry, English (Old)
LCCN: 99023209
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This masterful translation revitalizes the classic tale of Anglo-Saxon culture and will leave you wondering why you once dreaded getting assigned to read it.

Like the first time I read Beowulf, I was taken into a completely different time and place and would step out again, each time I put the book down, onto a newly viewed natural world, alive and thriving. Whether the demons and monsters presented in Beowulf are psychological imaginations or real, I'll never know, but it is always fantastic to understand how a culture defines its people by heroic acts of character necessary to extinguish evil. The language used created a childlike fear in me only overcome by the awesome poetry, both haunting and brutish, that carried each scene throughout. A perfect read for all stretches of the imagination... where the storytelling is a work of art.

Jun 25, 2013
  • StarGladiator rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Regarding references to Anglo-Saxon culture, it is good to remember that Beowulf was a Dane, and the name Beowulf in Old Dansk translates to "small bear" - - and the Beowulf tale is not that far removed from the recounting of the Arab scholar/traveller's tale, retold by Michael Crichton (the best of Crichton's books, in my opinion) in "The 13th Warrior," and relates to an old Viking historical tale or story.

Jun 25, 2013
  • beth2013 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Beowulf is such a primitive story in a way that contrasts our age of literary sophistication and Seamus Heaney brings this simplicity to life in an epic way. This is great storytelling at its best. We all know the story, and have heard it a thousand times, but when it's told like this it's easy to remember why stories of heroism and triumph over evil haven't gone out of style. Its narrative's simplicity and Heaney's gripping voice make it a very quick and satisfying read.

Jun 08, 2013
  • squinton rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

This is definitely my favourite of all the old epics I've read, including the Odyssey and the Aeneid. Great story and fantastic translation!

Heaney's translation is simply wonderful! And of course, the tale itself is, too.

Jun 23, 2012
  • TomLibrarian rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

The oldest and arguably the greatest English epic, Beowulf stands at the dawn of the British literary tradition at a crucial historical threshold, straddling both the pagan world of the Germanic Anglo-Saxons and the Christian world of medieval Europe. The poem focuses on the exploits of the warrior Beowulf, who embodies all the positive traits of Anglo-Saxon culture: courage, steadfastness, loyalty, and a stoic acceptance of one's own death. Beowulf also presents to us three very problematic monsters: Grendel, who both hates and longs for the society of humans; Grendel's fearsome Mother, whose desire for vengeance throws light upon some of the weaknesses of Anglo-Saxon culture; and the ominous dragon, whose inhuman lust for gold mirrors a very human desire for treasure and honor.

Dec 24, 2010
  • vanillasandwich rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

okay, but kind of fantastical and not realistic. the translation is awesome, though.

Sep 10, 2009
  • sit_walk rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Rating Beowulf seems a little silly, but this is a really great translation by a master of language.


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Version pocillo (pocillo) Last updated 2014/08/26 17:01