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Beowulf: An Updated Verse Translation Paperback – Oct 16 2007
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About the Author
Frederick Rebsamen was born and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas. He received his B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of Arkansas, and his Ph.D. from Columbia University. He lives in Tucson, Arizona.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Rebsamen states in his introduction and notes that he set out to produce a translation that would not only recreate the exciting story of the epic, but would give the reader a feel for the poetry and rhythm of the original. He has succeeded remarkably. Where most modern English editions of Beowulf are set in blank or free verse, Rebsamen follows the original four-stress pattern of Anglo-Saxon poetry and goes so far as to include the caesura or pause in the middle of each line. The language of the original also shows through very clearly. Beowulf includes scores of kennings, and Rebsamen translates many of them literally.
The translation is not without flaws, of course. Owing to the lilting, stop and start rhythms typical of Old English poetry and Rebsamen's faithful translation, the phrases sometimes seem to run over one another. The unique style also takes some time to get used to, but it's certainly worth it.
When read aloud, this translation mesmerizing. The language is beautiful and the rhythms haunting. There is a short but insightful introduction, a glossary of names at the back, genealogies, and recommendations for further reading and study of Anglo-Saxon language, Beowulf studies, and Anglo-Saxon history. I just love this period and its literature and Rebsamen has added to the pleasure.
(For another alliterative delight, check out, "The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun", by that famous Anglo-Saxonist and fantasy author, J.R.R. Tolkien)
A small warning: the image given for the book and the cover of the book I actually recieved were very different. I don't know if anyone else has experienced this. My copy was white with an image of a warrior from some Italian painting spread across the front and back of the cover. It still looked attractive and I did not mind, but I can see how some people would be bothered by this.
He uses Old English half lines and strings them together well with alliteration. Sounds great read aloud and is there any other way to read poetry? A must have for Beowulf fans.
I cannot judge the quality of the translation but this was a good read