New York Times best seller and Whitebread Book of the Year, Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney's new translation of Beowulf comes to life in this gripping audio. Heaney's performance reminds us that Beowulf, written near the turn of another millennium, was intended to be heard not read.
Composed toward the end of the first millennium of our era, Beowulf is the elegiac 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 then returns to his own country and lives to old age before dying in a vivid fight against a dragon.
The poem is about encountering the monstrous, defeating it, and then having to live on in the exhausted aftermath. In the contours of this story, at once remote and uncannily familiar at the end of the twentieth century, Seamus Heaney finds a resonance that summons power to the poetry from deep beneath its surface.
©2000 Seamus Heaney; (P)2000 Penguin Books Ltd., by arrangement with the BBC. Published by arrangement with W. W. Norton.
"The classic eighth-century English poem is strikingly presented, making accessible the story of a young man's heroic journey to find and slay two monsters." (Publishers Weekly)
Hearing the book adds so much more character to than reading it especially since it was narrated by Seamus Heaney. I ordered the book for a literature class and thoroughly enjoyed the book. I agree with one other review that I wish it would have been unabridged.
This version is abridged but better than other unabridged versions. Seamus Heaney seems to have translated this story into modern English, not Old English like all other versions. This means that it is less poetic but very easy to understand. The result is an easier to follow story that has been whittled down to the essential core. Seamus Heaney as an author is excellent. He has an accent that makes this old Germanic tale feel authentic.
Simply put get this version. You will not regret it.
Jumps on his bed while licking the bottom of one foot. He persists in this life affirming act despite interference from the head nurse.
I was persuaded to buy this by reviews from Beowulf aficionados. They state that this is the version to get, so I got it . . . and it's okay. For all the whoopla it's just another rendition of Beowulf, In reciting the saga Mr. Heaney uses little vocal dynamics and the lines are spoken rather flatly. At same time, I surmise that Heaney's modern rendition is close in spirit and substance to the the original, and this is the thing which sent Medievalists' hearts racing. If you're not into line-by-line authenticity then expect a decent but not awesome version of the story. If you have to read Beowulf for high school or college this version would be useful because there is very little that is unclear.
I got this for a school report and it was so much better to listen to it then read it. Seamus Heaney has a great voice for the part and was able to make even the parts where they are just listing Danish kings interesting.
Who better to read Seamus Heaney's magical translation of Beowulf than Seamus Heaney? I believed in him from the beginning, when he said in his beautiful voice, "That was one good king."
Way back in the last century, I majored in English Lit - but I never read Beowulf (how is that possible? I didn't read The Canterbury Tales then, either, but I did read lots of Jane Austen and Thomas Hardy, so there's that). As soon as Mr Heaney's translation came out I bought it, and carried it around with me as some sort of proof (to myself) that I was a real English major. I read it over quickly, then slowly, and then I tried convincing everyone else that they should read it, too. In fact, it was my choice for my book group - they humored me but then we went back to more recent history such as The Metaphysical Club and Paris 1919, interesting and well-written, but nowhere near as stirring as Beowulf.
Beowulf is meant to be heard. It's like Joyce's Ulysses in that regard (Jim Norton's is the version to listen to), and Alice Oswald's Memorial: A Version of Homer's Iliad (narrated by Mark Ashby). I can also recommend two versions of The Canterbury Tales: The Retelling by Peter Ackroyd and the Blackstone Audio version.
This isn't a book just for English majors - it's a book for everyone who likes a gripping story with great heart. That we have the opportunity to hear Seamus Heaney himself read his translation is a gift.
I rated this all 5s because it's a masterpiece everyone should have the opportunity to hear.
This is a fantastic rendition of this classic piece of literature! Hearing him narrate, you almost feel like you are sitting around a fire being told the story by one of the great men of old.
Great reading by the translator but whoever edited it for audio went just a bit too far in abridging it. Beowulf 's great verbal bout with Unferth is entirely cut out.
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