Beowulf: A New Verse Translation

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Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Feb 15, 2000 - Poetry - 213 pages
8 Reviews

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.

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Review: Beowulf: A New Verse Translation

User Review  - Macha - Goodreads

Heaney; he's done a marvellous job on his own terms: creating a contemporary poem out of the ancient one while remaining as true as possible to the original. and i always love versions that place the ... Read full review

Review: Beowulf: A New Verse Translation

User Review  - Frankie Anon - Goodreads

As the oldest poem in English, and as a ripping good yarn, Beowulf has been translated dozens of times. My favorite by far is Seamus Heaney's translation. Although some literature snobs complain that ... Read full review

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About the author (2000)

Seamus Heaney (1939-2013) received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1995. His poems, plays, translations, and essays include Opened Ground, Electric Light, Beowulf, The Spirit Level, District and Circle, and Finders Keepers. Robert Lowell praised Heaney as the "most important Irish poet since Yeats.

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