R.M. Liuzza's Broadview edition of Beowulf was published at almost exactly the same time as Seamus Heaney's; in reviewing the two together in July 2000 for The New York Review of Books, Frank Kermode concluded that both translations were superior to their predecessors, and that it was impossible to choose between the two: "the less celebrated translator can be matched with the famous one," he wrote, and "Liuzza's book is in some respects more useful than Heaney's." Ever since, the Liuzza Beowulf has remained among the top sellers on the Broadview list. With this volume readers will now be able to enjoy a much broader selection of Old English poetry in translations by Liuzza.
As the collection demonstrates, the range and diversity of the works that have survived is extraordinary - from heartbreaking sorrow to wide-eyed wonder, from the wisdom of old age to the hot blood of battle and to the deepest and most poignant loneliness.
There is breathless storytelling and ponderous cataloguing; there is fervent religious devotion and playful teasing.
The poems translated here are meant to provide a sense of some of this range and diversity; in doing so they also offer significant portions of three of the important manuscripts of Old English poetry - the Vercelli Book, the Junius Manuscript and the Exeter Book.