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Beowulf: A Student Edition by George Jack

Beowulf: A Student Edition (edition 1994)

by George Jack (Editor)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
19,364261150 (3.81)2 / 785
Beowulf first rescues the royal house of Denmark from two marauding monsters, then returns to rule his people for 50 years, ultimately losing his life in a battle to defend the Geats from a dragon's rampage.
Title:Beowulf: A Student Edition
Authors:George Jack (Editor)
Info:Oxford University Press, USA (1994), Edition: Student, 256 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

Beowulf by Beowulf Poet

  1. 214
    Grendel by John Gardner (lyzadanger, sweetandsyko, sturlington)
    lyzadanger: Stunning prose from the point of view of the monster.
    sturlington: Grendel is a retelling of Beowulf from the monster's pov.
  2. 150
    The Iliad by Homer (benmartin79)
  3. 142
    Sir Gawain and the Green Knight by Gawain Poet (OwenGriffiths, chrisharpe)
    OwenGriffiths: If you like Old/Middle English texts translated by great poets...
  4. 144
    The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien (benmartin79)
  5. 101
    The Nibelungenlied: Prose Translation (Penguin Classics) 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
  6. 101
    The Icelandic Sagas by Magnus Magnusson (BGP)
  7. 102
    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.
  8. 71
    The Táin by Táin author (BGP)
  9. 82
    Sir Gawain and the Green Knight / Pearl / Cleanness / Patience by A. C. Cawley (OwenGriffiths)
  10. 61
    The Sagas of Icelanders by Örnólfur Thorsson (chrisharpe)
  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. 31
    The Mere Wife: A Novel by Maria Dahvana Headley (Cecrow)
  13. 14
    Opened Ground: Poems 1966–1996 by Seamus Heaney (JessamyJane)

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English (250)  French (2)  Swedish (2)  Tagalog (1)  Spanish (1)  Dutch (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (258)
Showing 1-5 of 250 (next | show all)
El primer libro de la literatura inglesa y va de unos daneses... ( )
  trusmis | Nov 28, 2020 |
I really enjoyed reading Headley's translation. ( )
  MarthaJeanne | Oct 28, 2020 |
This review is for Maria Dahvana Headley's translation.

Publicity materials and professional reviews of Maria Dahvana Headley's new translation of Beowulf have been using words like "radical" and "recontextualize" to describe her work, and making much of her use of modern slang. So great has been the effort to cast Headley's version as entirely different that I've been left wondering if it's so divergent that it shouldn't even be combined with other translations. Imagine my surprise when I read it and discovered it's actually a pretty standard translation.

Published reviews I've seen have chosen to quote passages showing Headley's incorporation of modern slang into the ancient poem, but this gives a false impression of most of the text. These lines spoken by Wealhtheow are much more representative of the translation:

"Accept this cup from me, my lord of rings, and lift this golden goblet. Give the Geats their due. Be good to them who've been good to you. Gifts are for granting, and your hands should be open, your heart happy, even as you remember--I know you do--the good men who gave kith-gifts to you."

That's definitely modern English, and it isn't deliberately archaic or full of poetic flourishes like some translations, but it's not earth-shatteringly radical either. Headley does use modern slang in places, but she also drops in old-fashioned terms just as often; readers are as likely to come across a "swan-road" and "warp and weft" as they are a "bling" or "hashtag." Oddly, this sparing use of slang actually works less well than more liberal use would have; the effect here is like a poseur trying to sound cool by slipping in words they don't really understand.

The most radical thing about Headley's translation is her clear sympathy for the monsters. Her word choices emphasize Grendel's alienation and his mother's grief-fueled rage at the death of her son. This interpretation isn't unsupported by the text; it's just a different take from most other translations, and it certainly makes for thrilling action scenes. I must say I don't share Headley's enthusiasm for Grendel's mother: I find it hard to stir up much sympathy for someone who goes on a murder spree to avenge a son who was killed while breaking in next door so he could eat the neighbors.

To sum up:

Do I believe this version meets the LT standard for combining with other translations? Yes.

Would I recommend this version to someone looking for an epic poem with some good action in it? Maybe.

Would I recommend this version to someone looking for a good translation of Beowulf, the 1,000+ year old poem? No. ( )
4 vote amanda4242 | Oct 9, 2020 |
Beowulf. Translated by Seamus Heaney. Norton, 2000.
Seamus Heaney has done what is now the standard reading translation of Beowulf. He makes good choices about when to follow the alliterative form of the original and when to abandon it for modern English clarity and poetic effect. If you get a chance, listen to some of Heaney’s reading of it on the audiobook or on YouTube. His north Irish accent and pacing are perfect for it. Beowulf is less familiar than Odysseus or Achilles, and the Danish names are always a mouthful and maddeningly alike, but Heaney makes the somber heroic tone of the poem come through. Beowulf is in the end like the old gunfighter who has to strap it on one last time and set a good example for the young deputy. If you have not read the poem since high school, try it again. You may be surprised at how much you like it. ( )
  Tom-e | Aug 22, 2020 |
This is my favorite edition of Beowulf. Seamus Heaney's verse translation is amazing, the marginal gloss helps to keep track of important plot developments, and the original old English text on facing pages is a nice touch.

I've always wanted to read the Tolkien prose translation but I have never been able to find it. Of the verse translations I have read, this is the best.
  CatherineMachineGun | Jul 31, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 250 (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 (83 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Beowulf Poetprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lehnert, MartinEditormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bolton, W. F.Editorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wrenn, C.L.Editorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Alexander, Michael J.Translatorsecondary 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
Headley, Maria DahvanaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Heaney, SeamusTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Heaney, SeamusIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Heaney, SeamusNarratorsecondary 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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Awards and honors
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)
For Grimoire William Gwenllian Headley,
who gestated alongside this book,
changing the way I thought about love, bloodfeuds,
woman-warriors, and wyrd.

Maria Dahvana Headley (2020)
First words
Hwæt we gardena in geardagum þeodcyninga þrym gefrunon, hu ða æþelingas ellen fremedon.
Bro! Tell me we still know how to speak of kings! In the old days,
everyone knew what men were: brave, bold, glory-bound.

(translated by Maria Dahvana Headley, 2020)
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)
Last words
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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.
Reserve this for dual-language texts (Anglo-Saxon and modern English) regardless of translator.
This is an unabridged translation of Beowulf, and should NOT be combined with abridged editions, regardless of translator.
Publisher's editors
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Beowulf first rescues the royal house of Denmark from two marauding monsters, then returns to rule his people for 50 years, ultimately losing his life in a battle to defend the Geats from a dragon's rampage.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary
Fear falls on the hall:
monster meets match in hero;
mother waits at home.

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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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