- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1st edition (February 17, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0393320979
- ISBN-13: 978-0393320978
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.8 x 8.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 553 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,279 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Beowulf: A New Verse Translation (Bilingual Edition) 1st Edition
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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
“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
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I enjoyed the fantasy aspect of the poem the battles with Grendal, his mother and the dragon. It was certainly bloodthirsty, heroic and rousing. It's also very descriptive and I had no trouble imagining the heroic and hard fought battles. The triumph of good against evil.
What was most fascinating for me was the time aspect of the poem, still loved, read and studied, all of this time, passed down through the ages.
Undoubtedly, Heaney's translation is fairly easy to read. The pages are in old English and then Heaney's translation, facing one another. While this makes for an entertaining reading experience, I don't know how to read Old English and therefore this was lost to me.
In this book, Seamus Heaney manages to translate Beowulf accurately and carefully; the awkward language of many translations is not present here. Additionally, while not simplistic, Heaney's writing style is easily understandable. This book was truly a joy to read.
Also, what renders this book so interesting in my own mind is not only its age, but its continued appeal. Beowulf was penned anonymously some 1 000 years ago - give or take a few centuries. As a result, it was written in old English, the ancient great-great-great grandparent of our own jargon today. Nevertheless, the archtypical ideals remain the same: Beowful is fierce, and he battles a monster.
The heroics of the story, and the basic plot, remain unadultured even in our culture today. We still find ourselves drawn to heroics and the battle of good versus evil, this arguably the root of most stories. Beowulf just goes to show that a millenia later, we still are able to connect with the literary and sociological aspirations of our forefathers.