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Beowulf: A New Verse Translation

Average Rating 4
( 99 )
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5 Star

(50)

4 Star

(25)

3 Star

(12)

2 Star

(6)

1 Star

(6)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Finally!

Ok, as an English Lit. major in school, I've had my share of Beowulf, most of which are horridly translated drivel. The fine line with Anglo-Saxon poetry (and any translated poetry for that matter) is there requires a balance between fidelity to the text, and fidelity t...
Ok, as an English Lit. major in school, I've had my share of Beowulf, most of which are horridly translated drivel. The fine line with Anglo-Saxon poetry (and any translated poetry for that matter) is there requires a balance between fidelity to the text, and fidelity to the ideas of the text; that is to say, where literal translation may be more 'accurate' in a completely logical and scientific sense, the poetic beauty and proper notions behind the text must also be upheld. Heaney finds the middle ground so commonly lost in modern translations. The Anglo-Saxon poetry of Beowulf is so beautiful and easy on the ears when read in the original Anglo-Saxon--a sense of bold and strong verse, but with the grace and beauty--reflected in Beowulf and especially in the Wurm. This is frequently translated into modern english as grossly (what I would call) 'harsh' and 'grating' verse, with all the punch that it requires, but without the languid fluiditiy required to fully appreciate the epic. Seamus Heaney finds the perfect balance between the two, not addressing the 'bone-crunching Beowulf' as a solely heartless character, but finding the section of the modern english language (that lost area right in the middle of form and function) and giving us this gift. A MUST have for anyone wishing to appreicate the beauty of Germanic poetry. My recomendation: have someone read it aloud to you; it adds SO much to the experience!

posted by Anonymous on September 17, 2004

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

Serious problem with AUDIO version of Heaney's Beowulf

I do like Heaney's translation of Beowulf, though I still prefer Talbot Donaldson's. But this review is to warn potential buyers of the misleading advertising for the recorded version. Although it claims to be unabridged, it actually omits quite a few lines and even s...
I do like Heaney's translation of Beowulf, though I still prefer Talbot Donaldson's. But this review is to warn potential buyers of the misleading advertising for the recorded version. Although it claims to be unabridged, it actually omits quite a few lines and even some sizable chunks. For example, he has entirely skipped the very important confrontation between Beowful and Unferth. I don't like abridged versions of anything because I'd rather decide for myself what is most important, but I find it especially troubling when an abridged version is advertised as unabridged. What he does read he reads well, making it a useful tool in the classroom. But with so much missing it would be a poor substitute for the written text. I give it one star, not for its poor quality, but for the deceitful packaging.

posted by Anonymous on September 11, 2004

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2013

    Beo

    Boring start the rest good

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2012

    Good

    I enjoyed this work of art. It is considered an epic poem. I enjoyed the action and that it was set in olden days. I had to read this for Literature and now I enjoy just reading it for pleasure.

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  • Posted January 31, 2011

    great.

    if only it had verse #.

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  • Posted September 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Beowulf.

    I wouldn't recommend this book to an indivudal, but rather to and English class. The language was good, and so was the plot, but the endless list of characters and their histories can be overwhleming at times.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2001

    Does the bad outweigh the very good in this recording?

    I enjoyed the Seamus Heaney reading of his translation of Beowulf on your CD product (Catalog number HBP 86003). Certainly no one could give a better reading of that poem. On balance, however, the deficiencies in the total product are so severe, in my mind, that I will avoid purchasing HighBridge products until they are corrected. Those deficiencies are: Deception in the cover about the completeness of the recording. The front cover of the CD says ¿BEOWULF, translated and read by Seamus Heaney¿. There is no suggestion that this is not a complete recording. The back cover refers to ¿unabridged selections¿. I did not realize until I listened to the recording that ¿unabridged selections¿ means, in this case, ¿abridged¿. More seriously, HighBridge has provided only one track on each CD. This makes it impossible to listen to any particular passage more than once. Sitting through a 66 minute CD with no lapse in one¿s attention is more than I could manage. I do not believe it would have significantly added to the cost to break the performance into, say, 200 or 300 line increments.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2008

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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