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Beowulf Paperback – Feb 11 1977

4.9 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Paperback, Feb 11 1977
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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor (Feb. 11 1977)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385062133
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385062138
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 2.7 x 20.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 422 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #729,908 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“It is everywhere vigorous. . . . Chickering enjoys the poem immensely, and this attractive attitude shines everywhere. . . . This book is valuable for its extended literary appreciations and its facing text.” –Library Journal

“A fine book. . . . The essays on poetics, social history, and structure and the notes to specific passages survey the important scholarship.” –Choice

From the Publisher

This presentation of the translation and the Old English Text on facing pages allows the reader to approach the first major poem in English literature in a fresh and exciting new way. Includes a Guide to Reading Aloud, Introduction, Commentary and notes for translation from the original.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If Tolkien's analysis opened readers' eyes to "Beowulf" as a poem worth reading, and if Seamus Heaney's Beowulf a New Verse Translation resuscitated it for the 21st Century, then Professor Howell D. Chickering, Jr.'s version lets it walk tall, on its own two feet, with the aid of his elegant, faithful rendering. He also gives readers a chance to not only see the millennium-old Old English text, naked and beautiful, but to take it for a spin with some helpful guides.

As a British national epic, the advertising blurb for "Beowulf" could read something like this: "From the culture (and era) that brought you the English language, the Sutton Hoo burial ship and the setting for Bernard Cornwell's The Last Kingdom series comes... a poem about a mythical Scandinavian hero." Basically, "Beowulf" is a darned old (over 1,000 years) Anglo-Saxon poem set down on sheepskin vellum in England ca. 750-1035 A.D. (accounts differ on the dating), likely by monks in a monastery recording an even older oral poem while interweaving it with Christian elements. Aside from being the English language's oldest surviving poem, the story -- broadly, about the legendary exploits of a glory-seeking Geatish monster fighter who becomes king and dies fighting a dragon -- provides the touchstone for everything from
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Format: Paperback
This is a great edition of a great cultural treasure. It not only provides the original language text and a very solid modern English translation, it has a huge number of helps that enable the modern reader and student to delve deeply into the text. These helps allow those of us with no real knowledge of Old English to gain some appreciation of how our language has transformed over the centuries.
Professor Chickering provides a wonderful guide to reading the Old English version out loud, which is a lot of fun to try. He also provides important context giving background of the poetic structures from the old times and what we benefit from noticing as we read this exciting tale.
He also provides background material on the manuscript and what we know about the origins and culture that gave rise to Beowulf. There is also a wonderful commentary on many key concepts in the story that enrich the reading of the story.
There is also a bibliography for further reading and a listing of glosses on selected passages.
Yes, the Seamus Heaney translation is beautiful and readable, but this one is much more useful for the student who wants to dig more deeply into the story and how it fits into our cultural heritage.
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By A Customer on Oct. 23 2001
Format: Paperback
This is a very good book for those interested in Beowulf. In fact, it's as close to my idea of an "ideal" version that I can find.
There are several different sections in this book, besides the text of the poem itself. There are technicial discussions on the poetry itself, and a guide to pronounciation. At the rear of the book are discussions of the historical context of the poem, both internal to the poem and external in the world. A lengthy commentary of the poem follows, then a bibliography, and finally a line-by-line glossary of some of the major sections of the poem.
The part that caught my eye was the "dual langauge" edition. The main text consists of the Anglo-Saxon version on the left-handed pages, and a modern English translation on the right-handed pages. The author states that alliteration in the translation was not a concern, and sometimes the translation does not follow the original word-for-word. Within each numbered five-line block, the translation does follow the original, so it's not too hard to follow both the original and the translation.
As a final comment, Caedmon Audio produces an audio edition read by Bessinger, and I find this is to be an excellent compliment to the book.
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Format: Paperback
Professor Howell D. Chickering, Jr., of Amherst College has provided the indispensable edition of "Beowulf" for readers who, like this reviewer, know no Old English. While the extensive supporting material included in the book should be of significant value to those who wish to deepen their understanding of the structure and historical background of the original, the best thing here is the translation itself: clear, direct, and often eloquent. Chickering's modern version has a gnarled, vivid quality that one must assume reflects cardinal virtues of the original. My advice to anyone unfamiliar with this masterpiece would be: click now to buy this book. When you receive it, turn directly to p. 49 and dive into the poem itself. Beginning with the fast-moving first lines ("Listen! We have heard of the glory of the Spear-Danes / in the old days, the kings of tribes-- / how noble princes showed great courage!"), you will be drawn into a world incomparably remote from our own and yet as compelling as any contemporary work of fiction, poetry, or film. And speaking of film, if you have ever wondered what the inspiration was for every shadowy, lurking science-fiction monster you've been scared by at the movies (from "Forbidden Planet" to "Aliens"), read this book and know the answer. Professor Chickering has brought Grendel to life with a vengeance. A priceless gift to lovers of great tales everywhere!
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