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Beowulf by Beowulf Poet
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Beowulf

by Beowulf Poet

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
17,083230103 (3.83)1 / 732
  1. 183
    Grendel by John Gardner (lyzadanger, sweetandsyko, sturlington)
    lyzadanger: Stunning prose from the point of view of the monster.
  2. 140
    The Iliad by Homer (benmartin79)
  3. 132
    Sir Gawain and the Green Knight by Gawain Poet (OwenGriffiths, chrisharpe)
    OwenGriffiths: If you like Old/Middle English texts translated by great poets...
  4. 101
    The Nibelungenlied by Anonymous (Weasel524)
    Weasel524: Embodies and champions the same spirit/ideals commonly shared by norse mythology, scandanavian sagas, and northern germanic folklore. Significantly longer and different in structure, should that be of concern
  5. 134
    The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien (benmartin79)
  6. 101
    The Icelandic Sagas by Magnus Magnusson (BGP)
  7. 82
    Sir Gawain and the Green Knight / Pearl / Cleanness / Patience by A. C. Cawley (OwenGriffiths)
  8. 82
    Eaters of the Dead by Michael Crichton (PaulRackleff)
    PaulRackleff: Michael Crichton had written "Eaters of the Dead" as a means to show Beowulf's story value. The character names and plot line are very similar. Though Crichton changed some elements to make it more interesting than just a copy of Beowulf.
  9. 61
    The Sagas of Icelanders by Örnólfur Thorsson (chrisharpe)
  10. 61
    The Táin by Táin author (BGP)
  11. 74
    Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders by Neil Gaiman (moonstormer)
    moonstormer: the short story in Fragile Things - Monarch of the Glen - is very related to Beowulf and could be seen as an interesting commentary.
  12. 14
    Opened Ground: Poems 1966–1996 by Seamus Heaney (JessamyJane)
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English (222)  Swedish (2)  French (2)  Tagalog (1)  Dutch (1)  Spanish (1)  All (229)
Showing 1-5 of 222 (next | show all)
Cried today as we re-read the woeful "Father's Lament." Reading this again makes me want to teach a class in all ancient literature. ( )
  msmilton | Jul 18, 2018 |
Cried today as we re-read the woeful "Father's Lament." Reading this again makes me want to teach a class in all ancient literature. ( )
  msmilton | Jul 18, 2018 |
Beowulf was pretty damn awesome.

Seamus Heaney breathed new life into the unknown poet's text and brought it into a recognizable vernacular - I could easily imagine my grandfather being the one to tell me this story. The poem became direct, important, and even strangely intimate. The advice that Hrothgar gives to Beowulf reads as if it is being whispered in your own ear. The text feels important - it's truly extraordinary.

Not being able to read Old English, I still appreciated being able to look at it, and found myself studying it a couple of times. It's incredible both how far the language has advanced, and how little it has - seeing words that I could recognize without much difficulty (or sound out) went a bit beyond novelty. I really gained an appreciation of the old language.

Furthermore, the introduction (Yes, I read those) lent further import to the text itself. Reading the poem trough the lens of both time and distinctly Irish history (yes, I know the poem isn't Irish) brought it into a rather different perspective - particularly the ending. Watching the death of a culture, and a people who knew they were soon to be defeated, hit home in a variety of ways. Beowulf signifies an end of an era - the change from Paganism to Christianity, from the Geats being a force to be reckoned with to knowing there is no way they can survive - in a lot of ways, I think only an Irishman born to a family with a healthy respect of that Republic could translate it with such a keen eye towards how that feels. ( )
  Lepophagus | Jun 14, 2018 |
Beowulf is an Old English epic poem about a strong and brave warrior (Beowulf) who battles a huge monster, Grendel, and becomes a hero in his homeland, Geatland. Beowulf later becomes king of the Geats, but is forced to fight a dragon fifty years after his rule. However, this battle with the dragon is much harder than Beowulf expected. This book is a must read classic literature for high school to college students. The characters are very likeable, and although the Old English language may be difficult to understand, the plot is very engaging.
  grkim | Jun 5, 2018 |
For many, Beowulf is a painful childhood memory because we were all forced to read -- or read parts of -- a translation of Old English into somewhat less old English. It was a fairly average tale made worse through unenthusiastic translation. It's oft featured in English literature curricula precisely because of its age, but that doesn't make it good poetry. A story like Beowulf was first carried forward from teller to listener long before it was ever written down. Once committed to paper though, it becomes frozen in time. Once it's frozen, it starts to lose its connection to the audience so it's only right that we entertain new translations. Seamus Heaney does a brilliant job of it, making an eminently readable epic poem, worthy of your overtaxed attention. From dragon-slaying to Scandinavian alliances, it's worth revisiting. ( )
  traumleben | May 21, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 222 (next | show all)
At the beginning of the new millennium, one of the surprise successes of the publishing season is a 1,000-year-old masterpiece. The book is ''Beowulf,'' Seamus Heaney's modern English translation of the Anglo-Saxon epic, which was created sometime between the 7th and the 10th centuries.
added by danielx | editNew York Times, Mel Gussow (Mar 29, 2000)
 
Translation is not mainly the work of preserving the hearth -- a necessary task performed by scholarship -- but of letting a fire burn in it.
added by danielx | editNew York Times, Richard Eder (Feb 2, 2000)
 

» Add other authors (127 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Beowulf Poetprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Alexander, MichaelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Anderson, Sarah M.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Baskin, LeonardIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Botkine, L.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brunetti, GiuseppeEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chickering, Howell D.Translation and Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Clark-Hall, John RichardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Collinder, BjörnTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Crossley Holland, KevinTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dean, RobertsonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Donaldson, E. T.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Earle, JohnTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ettmüller, Ernst Moritz LudwigTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Flynn, BenedictTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gordon, Robert KayTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grein, Christian Wilhelm MichaelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grion, GiustoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grundtvig, Nicolas Frederic SeverinTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Guidall, GeorgeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gummere, Francis BartonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hall, John LesslieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Heaney, SeamusIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Heaney, SeamusTranslator, Introduction, Readersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Heaney, SeamusTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hoffmann, P.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hube, Hans-JürgenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kemble, John M.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lehmann, Ruth P. M.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Leonard, William ElleryTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lumsden, H. W.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Magnusson, MagnusIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McNamara, JohnTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Meyer, ThomasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mitchell, StephenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Morris, WilliamTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pekonen, OsmoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Raffel, BurtonTranslation and Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Roberts, SueProducersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schaldemose, FrederikTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Simons, L.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Simrock, KarlTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Steineck, H.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Swanton, MichaelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thorne, BeccaIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tinker, Chauncey BrewsterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wackerbarth, A. DiedrichTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ward, LyndIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wickberg, RudolfTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wolpe, BertholdCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wolzogen, Hans vonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wright, DavidTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wyatt, A. J.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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People/Characters
Important places
Important events
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Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
In memory of Ted Hughes

Seamus Heaney (1999)
For Brian and Blake

Burton Raffel (1963)
In memory of Joseph and Winifred Alexander

Michael Alexander (1973)
First words
Hwæt we gardena in geardagum þeodcyninga þrym gefrunon, hu ða æþelingas ellen fremedon.
Of the strength of the Spear-Danes in days gone by we have heard, and of their hero-kings: the prodigious deeds those princes perfomed!

(translated by Stephen Mitchell, 2017)
So. The Spear-Danes in days gone by
and the kings who ruled them had courage and greatness.
We have heard of those princes' heroic campaigns.

(translated by Seamus Heaney, 1999)
Hear me! We've heard of Danish heroes,
Ancient kings and the glory they cut
For themselves, swinging mighty swords!

(translated by Burton Raffel, 1963)
Attend!
We have heard of the thriving of the throne of Denmark,
how the folk-kings flourished in former days,
how those royal athelings earned that glory.

(translated by Michael Alexander, 1973)
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
This work is any complete, unabridged translation of Beowulf. The Seamus Heaney translation is not a separate work from the other complete, unabridged translations. To quote the FAQ on combining - "A work brings together all different copies of a book, regardless of edition, title variation, or language."

Based on currently accepted LibraryThing convention, the Norton Critical Edition is treated as a separate work, ostensibly due to the extensive additional, original material included.
This is an unabridged translation of Beowulf, and should NOT be combined with abridged editions, regardless of translator.
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language
Book description
AR 10.4, 5 Pts
Haiku summary
Fear falls on the hall:
monster meets match in hero;
mother waits at home.

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0393320979, Paperback)

In Beowulf warriors must back up their mead-hall boasts with instant action, monsters abound, and fights are always to the death. The Anglo-Saxon epic, composed between the 7th and 10th centuries, has long been accorded its place in literature, though its hold on our imagination has been less secure. In the introduction to his translation, Seamus Heaney argues that Beowulf's role as a required text for many English students obscured its mysteries and "mythic potency." Now, thanks to the Irish poet's marvelous recreation (in both senses of the word) under Alfred David's watch, this dark, doom-ridden work gets its day in the sun.

There are endless pleasures in Heaney's analysis, but readers should head straight for the poem and then to the prose. (Some will also take advantage of the dual-language edition and do some linguistic teasing out of their own.) The epic's outlines seem simple, depicting Beowulf's three key battles with the scaliest brutes in all of art: Grendel, Grendel's mother (who's in a suitably monstrous snit after her son's dismemberment and death), and then, 50 years later, a gold-hoarding dragon "threatening the night sky / with streamers of fire." Along the way, however, we are treated to flashes back and forward and to a world view in which a thane's allegiance to his lord and to God is absolute. In the first fight, the man from Geatland must travel to Denmark to take on the "shadow-stalker" terrorizing Heorot Hall. Here Beowulf and company set sail:

Men climbed eagerly up the gangplank,
sand churned in the surf, warriors loaded
a cargo of weapons, shining war-gear
in the vessel's hold, then heaved out,
away with a will in their wood-wreathed ship.
Over the waves, with the wind behind her
and foam at her neck, she flew like a bird...
After a fearsome night victory over march-haunting and heath-marauding Grendel, our high-born hero is suitably strewn with gold and praise, the queen declaring: "Your sway is wide as the wind's home, / as the sea around cliffs." Few will disagree. And remember, Beowulf has two more trials to undergo.

Heaney claims that when he began his translation it all too often seemed "like trying to bring down a megalith with a toy hammer." The poem's challenges are many: its strong four-stress line, heavy alliteration, and profusion of kennings could have been daunting. (The sea is, among other things, "the whale-road," the sun is "the world's candle," and Beowulf's third opponent is a "vile sky-winger." When it came to over-the-top compound phrases, the temptations must have been endless, but for the most part, Heaney smiles, he "called a sword a sword.") Yet there are few signs of effort in the poet's Englishing. Heaney varies his lines with ease, offering up stirring dialogue, action, and description while not stinting on the epic's mix of fate and fear. After Grendel's misbegotten mother comes to call, the king's evocation of her haunted home may strike dread into the hearts of men and beasts, but it's a gift to the reader:

A few miles from here
a frost-stiffened wood waits and keeps watch
above a mere; the overhanging bank
is a maze of tree-roots mirrored in its surface.
At night there, something uncanny happens:
the water burns. And the mere bottom
has never been sounded by the sons of men.
On its bank, the heather-stepper halts:
the hart in flight from pursuing hounds
will turn to face them with firm-set horns
and die in the wood rather than dive
beneath its surface. That is no good place.
In Heaney's hands, the poem's apparent archaisms and Anglo-Saxon attitudes--its formality, blood-feuds, and insane courage--turn the art of an ancient island nation into world literature. --Kerry Fried

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:38 -0400)

(see all 11 descriptions)

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.… (more)

» see all 32 descriptions

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W.W. Norton

2 editions of this book were published by W.W. Norton.

Editions: 0393320979, 0393330109

Penguin Australia

3 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140449310, 0451530969, 0141194871

University of Texas Press

An edition of this book was published by University of Texas Press.

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Tantor Media

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