Beowulf, composed between the seventh and tenth century, is the elegaic 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 returns to his own country and dies in old age in a vivid battle against a dragon.
The poem is about encountering the monstrous, defeating it, and living on in the exhausted aftermath.
Heaney's celebrated translation honours what is remote and intuits what is uncannily familiar, at the end of the twentieth century, in this founding masterpiece of English poetry.
Now, for the first time, the Old English text - which survived only in a single scorched manuscript, now held in the British Museum - can be read in conjunction with the translation on facing pages.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 256 pages
- Publisher: Faber & Faber
- Publication Date: 01/03/2007
- Category: Poetry
- ISBN: 9780571230419
- Paperback from £7.69
- EPUB from £7.19
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Review by CatyM
Warrior Beowulf saves the Danes from the monster Grendel and then Grendel's mother and then many years later does battle against a dragon guarding a hoard of gold.I loved reading this. The poetry of the Heaney translation is very vivid and flowing, and creates a great atmosphere of fighting and carousing and boasting warriors and epic battle against mythical beasts. The story is dark and sometimes gruesome, and it is not at all hard to imagine the poem being recited around the fire by Anglo-Saxon warriors, passing round the cup of mead as the tale unfolds.I am definitely going to pick up a literal/glossed translation at some point and read it again, and try to make more sense of the original text.