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Beowulf a New Verse Translation Bilingual Edition Paperback – Mar 6 2001
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[Heaney] has made a masterpiece out of a masterpiece. — Andrew Motion (The Financial Times)
Accomplishes what before now had seemed impossible: a faithful rendering that is simultaneously an original and gripping poem in its own right. — New York Times Book Review
How did he do it? How did Seamus Heaney fashion verses, singularly handsome verses that not only capture the somber grandeur and mythic vigor of the Anglo-Saxon original, but also reflect the rhythm and timbre of the English we speak today.... This newborn translation makes accessible to everyone the first supremely great poem to be written in the English language. — Colin Campbell (Christian Science Monitor)
Mr. Heaney's translation beats with a recurring pulse, from homely and concrete to elevated and back again. The great battle scenes are rendered with a power and a grisly horror both increased and made oddly transparent by a freshness and innocence of diction.... In sustaining contrast is the lyricism, quiet yet immediate, of the small passages. — Richard Eder (New York Times)
As vivid as a tabloid headline and as visceral as a nightmare. Heaney's own poetic vernacular... is the perfect match for the ?Beowulf? poet's Anglo-Saxon. Heaney uses this idiom not to modernize the epic but to showcase it's surprisingly contemporary feel.... As retooled by Heaney ?Beowulf??should easily be good for another millennium. — Malcolm Jones (Newsweek)
Magnificent, breathtaking.... Heaney has created something imperishable and great that is stainless—stainless, because its force as poetry makes it untouchable by the claw of literalism: it lives singly, as an English language poem. — James Wood (The Guardian)
Excellent . . . has the virtue of being both dignified and sophisticated, making previous versions look slightly flowery and antique by comparison. His intelligence, fine ear and obvious love of the poem bring ?Beowulf?alive as melancholy masterpiece, a complex Christian-pagan lament about duty, loss and transience. . . . Heaney has done it (and us) a great service. — Claire Harman (Evening Standard)
About the Author
Seamus Heaney (1939—2013) was an Irish poet, playwright, translator, lecturer and recipient of the 1995 Nobel Prize in Literature. Born at Mossbawn farmhouse between Castledawson and Toomebridge, County Derry, he resided in Dublin until his death.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
It is the words he chose to use and method of applying them that makes this translation palatable to the average reader. It may also be this translation that may grate on some people. This is like comparing the King James Version of the Bible to the Good News Bible. (However he is not transliterating or paraphrasing) The main idea is that this would be the translation if you were to verbalize the saga.
This is not just an early poem; it is an epic. The basic story was also used as a basis of many movies. We have people helping others in what appears to be a no win situation.
There are 200 plus pages with the original text on the left page. The text is numbers to correspond with numbers on the translated right page. On the far right is a synopsis of what you are reading. This synopsis helps keep you from wandering from the text to speculate on what is really being said. It does not hurt to listen to this book but the written word is crucial towards finding the origins of names and the way words are used.
At the end of the book is a diagram of the family trees and this helps visualize how the different clans are related. There is also a large print version so you do have to get out your magnifying glass.Read more ›
Heaney is able to make us aware of the fickle nature of life using the stories of the rise and fall of even great, mythical warriors. He evokes wonder and pity for the same character by judicious use of imagery that will stay with you long after you have put down the book.
Heaney's reading voice is frankly not very impressive, and coupled with the translation, made for a disappointing experience.
Audio CDs, such as this, are generally listened to in the automobile. If, like me, you have an older CD player in the car (or if you happen to switch cars, like my children do in their commute to and from school), you have no easy way to get back to where the story stopped if your drive is shorter than the CD.
The formatting decisions serve to make this CD nearly worthless--even though I have a forty-minute drive.
It seems like an appropriate title for Seamus Heaney, whose translation of the Anglo-Saxon poem "Beowulf" has become a modern classic in its own right. His elegant use of language helps smooth out many of the translation bumps, without losing the distinctive, almost singsong rhythm of the original poem -- and the original Old English text allows you to compare and contrast.
A creature named Grendel is attacking the beautiful mead-hall of Heorot, sneaking in at night to carry off and/or kill innocent people. King Hrothgar is powerless to stop the monster. But then Beowulf, an already-legendary hero from Geatland, arrives at Heorot specifically to kill Grendel -- and using only his superhuman strength, he is able to arm-wrestle Grendel to death.
But that isn't the end of his troubles. Grendel's equally grotesque mother is enraged by her child's death, and attacks Heorot to lure Beowulf out. This time, he'll be fighting on HER turf, and the legendary hero might not survive. And as the years go by, he's faced with a terrible new enemy, one that threatens his homeland and everyone in it...
"Beowulf" is revered as one of the oldest works of Anglo-Saxon literature, and it deserves the reverance. But the poem is a lot more than just an old story -- it's a gripping adventure story, and it's also a glimpse of a culture that was pretty much stamped out with the Norman invasion. It's a culture of boasting, blood, honor, friendship and "ring-giving," where ancient pagan cultures are enmeshed in new Christian beliefs.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
The paperback version has the Anglo-Saxon and modern versions on facing pages. The reader can easily read a specific line in either language. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Amazon Customer
I first encountered Beowulf at the University of Guelph, under the inspired teaching of the late, great Professor Alexander H. Brodie. Read morePublished on Jan. 18 2013 by Argyll Sock
Most of the reviews for this particular book recommended it very highly, so I ordered it partly for that reason and also because as a dual language edition, I thought I could pick... Read morePublished on March 30 2009 by Calder Falk
A classic tale of good versus evil, a hero versus a villain. Seamus Heaney uses poetic, flowing words to illustrate the majesty, intensity and power of Beowulf, the Geats and the... Read morePublished on June 4 2007 by Andrew K
Actually Grendel did not say that. However this translation is something that you can sink your teeth in. There is a substantial introduction. At first you think it is too long. Read morePublished on June 29 2006 by Bernie
Seamus Heaney's Beowulf is the best translation of a classic work into a modern language that I have seen in years, it may yet be my personal favorite translation of all time (best... Read morePublished on May 25 2004 by Ryan Davis
Unfortunately many people read ethnic junk instead of reading the true classics in literature,i.e., Sidney, Chaucer and this work in particular. Read morePublished on April 26 2004 by B. Viberg
I read the text of Beowulf in this edition before reading the introduction. I had never read Beowulf before and I wanted to come to it fresh. Read morePublished on April 3 2004 by JR Pinto
The latest translation of the classic Anglo-Saxon epic. Venture back to a time when a mans honor and abilty to live by a warriors code was more important than any temporary... Read morePublished on Feb. 15 2004 by Cwn_Annwn