How did Seamus Heaney fashion verses, singularly handsome verses that not only capture the somber Beowulf: A Verse Translation: A Norton Critical Edition . Available in: Paperback. Winner of the Whitbread Prize, Seamus Heaney’s translation. Winner of the Whitbread Prize, Seamus Heaney’s translation “accomplishes what before now had seemed impossible: a faithful rendering that is simultaneously.

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Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you’ll like this book. He has managed to retain the elemental and visceral power of the original while giving it a contemporary voice. This is not a modern interpretation; it is a modern translation, by someone who knows that hdaney is more than rhyme and meter; who knows that the swords and monsters embedded in myth are the least powerful of all things found there.

The power of Beowulf is not in the story itself, though it is a compelling and very human one; nor has it because the poem is a curiosity piece. Beowulf is important because it tells us so much about how people over a thousand years ago saw the world, and represented the essential struggles – both the heroic and the doomed – of life. And for us to realise that they are no different from our view of life. This is not a poem about a hero; it is about the what moves the world and what we face to withstand it – and that we may be often fallible, and frequently frail, but such things do norto define us.

I studied Beowulf in the original language as part of my Old English course at University crritical got far less out of a rather intense study of it than I got from a single reading of this translation.

AlanSkinner Jul 26, This edition is really crigical, with lots of critical material, including Tolkien’s seminal essay. It includes some explanations of traditions in Old English poetry and the translator’s introduction, as well, before the text. It’s interesting to see where he used Ulster dialect.

9780393975802 – Beowulf A Verse Translation (Norton Critical Editions) by Seamus Heaney

I neaney read any other translation of Beowulf, except in short extracts, but this version is both a translation of the poem and a new work in itself. It flows very well and is easy to read, which is another mark of a good translation, to my mind.

In my brain it was a Nordic hall with a borderline viking audience, but I hope you’ll forgive me as the story is super Nordic in flavor. I think it makes more sense like that. The way it’s organized, the dynamic action, the repetition beowult stuff we’ve already heard in great detail It seems made for a listening audience, divided up into self contained story editoon for many nights of consecutive storytelling.


That or it was compiled from several pre-existing stories mashed together. As such it definitely doesn’t have the level of story craft we expect from modern literature. You will never, ever find a character retelling in exact detail the events he has just lived through that you just read a few pages back in a modern critucal. But there it is in Beowulf.

There are eedition some continuity errors. While eulogizing Beowulf it is claimed that swords always failed Beowulf because his strength was such that they always broke on the first swing Also, stop talking about your father in heaven.

Invoking Christian mythology in the middle of a monster-fighting action scene isn’t badass, it’s just weird. Clearly I’m not a 12th century Saxon.

That said I can see why this is important historically and artistically. Heaney’s translation is vibrant and dynamic as I imagine the original must have been to Old English folk. And while the structure and style is almost certainly lifted for older Nordic skaldic poetry oh the kennings!

As much as Beowulf is about super-human heroics it is just as much about mortality and the inevitability of even the greatest man’s downfall. It adds a level of humanity to the story that isn’t often seen in mythic tales. On the other hand it’s not nearly as mad and funny as its Nordic kin.

Not one goat-testicle tug of war if you can believe it. But such a reaction is not fair, because I am not at all familiar with the traditions, the style of poetry, and the historic characters and mythological gods. There was no emotion and no epic feel to it.

The story was violent, and for me, it just felt flat. Nothing much happened beyond the good guys winning. Given my unfamiliarity with the Scandinavian myths and traditions, I accept that this is my failing, and probably not an issue with the text or the translation, neither of which I feel qualified to comment on. The notes and Translator’s Introduction are brilliant.

It has inspired me to read the poem in other translations too. Tells the story of the heroic Beowulf and of his battles, first with the monster Grendel, who has laid waste to the great hall of the Danish king Hrothgar, then with Grendel’s avenging mother, and finally with a dragon that threatens to devastate his homeland.

Beowulf: A Verse Translation [Norton Critical Edition] by Daniel Donoghue | LibraryThing

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From the very first word of Heany’s translation, I was captivated. AlanSkinner Jul 26, This edition is really good, with lots of critical material, including Tolkien’s seminal essay. I read this imagining it being read aloud or recited over a series of nights in a Medieval mead hall.

In the introduction to his translation of Beowulf, Irishman Seamus Heaney ponders the epic nature of the story and the mythology of the Anglo-Saxon tradition. More on my blog. I was very surprised by how readable the translation was. GavinBowtell Jul 1, Status Daniel Donoghue — primary author all editions calculated Beowulf Poet — main author all editions confirmed Alcuin Contributor secondary author all editions confirmed Chance, Jane Contributor secondary author all editions confirmed Donoghue, Daniel Contributor secondary author all editions confirmed Donoghue, Daniel Editor secondary author all editions confirmed Frank, Roberta Contributor secondary author all editions confirmed Gregory of Tours Contributor secondary author all editions confirmed Heaney, Seamus Translator secondary author all editions confirmed Hill, Thomas Contributor secondary author all editions confirmed Leyerle, John Contributor secondary author all editions confirmed Robinson, Fred C.

Contributor secondary author all editions confirmed Tolkien, J. Contributor secondary author all editions confirmed Webster, Leslie Contributor secondary author all editions confirmed William of Malmesbury Contributor secondary author all editions confirmed. You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data. Please do not combine it either with alternate versions of the Norton Critical Edition e. Tuso or with the LT Work for the original poem itself. References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English None. The translation that “rides boldly through the reefs of scholarship” The Observer is combined with first-rate annotation. No reading knowledge of Old English is assumed. Amazon Kindle 0 editions. CD Audiobook 0 editions. Project Gutenberg 0 editions. Google Books — Loading Become a LibraryThing Author.

Norton Critical Editions Members. For more help see the Common Knowledge help page. Beowulf Beowulf’s Dragon Grendel Grendel’s mother.