Beowulf: A New Translation for Oral Delivery

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Overview

Dick Ringler's deceptively simple translation captures the rhythm, movement, and power of the original Old English poem while employing a fluid modern English style and a relatively spare vocabulary. His generous Introduction, a lively yet masterly guide to the work, along with his translations of three shorter Old English poems elucidate a major English text almost as well-known for its subtlety and intricacy as it is for its monsters and heroes.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Although an audience of enamored nonspecialists embraced Heaney's version . . . other scholars gave only grudging respect to the poet whose 'Heaneywulf' often seemed to represent an Anglo-Saxon world re-created in the Irish poet's own image. Since 2002 new and revised translations have come and gone, none attracting as much attention as Heaney's. That should change with Ringler's new translation, and not just because scholars such as Tom Shippey, Frederick Rebsamen, and John Niles vouch for it. The proof is in the reading, whether one does so silently or aloud. In his comprehensive, insightful introduction and rhythmic replication of Old English poetry, Ringler offers the specialist what Heaney did not; this is a performative translation that re-creates the world of Beowulf as accurately as may be possible. Accessible and exciting for specialist and nonspecialist alike, this is the edition professors should be using to introduce the venerable poem to a new audience. Summing up: Essential. --A.P. Church, CHOICE

Ringler has produced a really good translation of the poem, free of Seamus Heaney's quirks and Irishisms, keeping the rhythm and alliteration, and retaining a simplicity which demonstrates how otiose film effects are when the poem is both powerful and moving. The translation is accompanied by a marvelously straightforward introduction, eschewing all modish modern criticism and thus a useful corrective for those student-readers confused by the liberties taken by [Robert Zemeckis'] Beowulf and its writers. Tolkien would have been pleased by Ringler's version. --Carolyne Larrington, The Times Literary Supplement

Dick Ringler's masterful New Translation for Oral Delivery . . . is indispensable for readers with an interest in the history of the literature of the fantastic, as well as teachers and anyone steeped in early English literature and lore. Ringler . . . has created a vibrant translation that combines Heaney's earthy poetry with a straightforward narrative that will also appeal to first-time readers. Best of all is a lengthy and fascinating introduction that provides a pocket-history of the text and its anonymous scop, or poet, as well as a character index and informative discussions of the poem's structure. . . . A bonus to this edition is the inclusion of three short Old English poems. The second of these, 'A Meditation' (sometimes published as 'The Wanderer') is a beautiful and haunting piece on loss and the fall of empires. It gave me goosebumps of a different sort than those generated by Grendel. --Elizabeth Hand, Fantasy & Science Fiction

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780872208940
  • Publisher: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/25/2007
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Dick Ringler is Professor of English and Scandinavian Languages, Emeritus, University of Wisconsin, Madison.

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