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Beowulf | [Seamus Heaney]

Beowulf

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.
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Publisher's Summary

Translated and read by Seamus Heaney.

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.

What the Critics Say

"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)

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4.2 (294 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Rhaaagh 01-03-15
    Rhaaagh 01-03-15 Member Since 2014

    OrkzDaBestez

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    "better just read."

    The book is a long time favorite of mine but this was rather difficult to follow along with. I would find my self blanking on random sentences. It took me a while to realize why this was happening. The main reason I found is that it felt like the sentences would run together. The voice actor was quite monotoned through the entire book. There was no real differentiating between the different characters as he spoke. I don't expect full different voices for each character but a change in pitch would be nice at least when someone is speaking. All and all not a terrible listen but nowhere near a good one. My suggestion is just read the book if you can.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer TALLAHASSEE, FL, United States 08-15-14
    Amazon Customer TALLAHASSEE, FL, United States 08-15-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Beautiful translation and narration"

    Beowulf is the ultimate epic warrior story. It is fantastical and believable; it is poetic and savage.

    This story of a great warrior king and his people was beautifully translated by Seamus Heaney. The translation is modern, but it does not loose any of the beauty of the poetry in its effort to be modern. The descriptions are vivid and the meaning is clear throughout the poem.

    As to the narration, Seamus Heany's rendition is masterful. He does not attempt to differentiate between the various voices in the poem, but that allows for better concentration on the poetry, itself. This reading of Beowulf would be best enjoyed before bed with a cup of tea in your favorite chair. I would be interested to hear a narration that does differentiate between the voices, but I did not feel slighted by this reading in any way. Heaney's voice is beautiful, clear, and melodic.

    For those who are not familiar with the poem, you should be aware that all does not necessarily end well. That's all I'll say about the plot, itself. As this is the oldest surviving Old English poem (at least to my knowledge), the plot is generally known. Just don't approach it thinking that it's Disney-esque. That's not to say that there is anything that could be considered inappropriate in the poem - it's just to say that little ones might not be ready for everything in it.

    I would highly recommend this audiobook to anyone interested in poetry, epic battles, Old English, or even just something different because there's nothing else quite like Beowulf in all of literature.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    blah Champaign, IL, United States 12-19-12
    blah Champaign, IL, United States 12-19-12 Member Since 2012
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    "A powerful new verse translation!"

    Fantastic! My students loved their study of Beowulf this year, largely due to the addition of this audiobook to the curriculum.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rick Saginaw, MI, United States 09-15-12
    Rick Saginaw, MI, United States 09-15-12
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    "Um.... It's Abridged"

    Heaney's version of Beowulf is great, and I was looking forward to the man reading his own book. But it's not the whole thing. Not happy about this! The book is not so long that they couldn't have given us an unabridged version.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Valerie Fairborn, OH, USA 06-24-10
    Valerie Fairborn, OH, USA 06-24-10
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    "Beowulf (Seamus Heaney)"

    This is one of the most magnificent books I've ever read. The text can be somewhat confusing so this audio version proved extremely helpful. I highly recommend this audio version and translation.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brent Barboursville, WV, United States 11-24-08
    Brent Barboursville, WV, United States 11-24-08
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    "This is an All Time Favorite Story and Narrator."

    Required reading in high school. I have been back to this one again and again. Heaney is so much my preferred reader that I will listen to no other rendition of this work.
    I listen to this for different reasons each time it seems. I have come to Beowulf to experience the action, or the honor, or the tragedy, or the hope. I am in the mood for this book every fall and many summers. Listening to it helps me identify my own internal struggle in the mirrored images of these people.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eric plainfield, IL, USA 03-18-08
    Eric plainfield, IL, USA 03-18-08 Member Since 2008
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    "Wow, just wow"

    Seamus Heaney's reading is phenomenal. His narration is passionate and somber.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Flower Mound, TX, USA 11-19-07
    John Flower Mound, TX, USA 11-19-07 Member Since 2008
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    "My Personal Favorite"

    Words fail. I love the story, this particular translation and Mr Heaney's narration. It's short but epic. You feel as if you're sitting around the campfire hearing tales from the bard. I listen to this every few months and it's never stale.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cindy 03-05-12
    Cindy 03-05-12
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    "Beowulf"
    If you could sum up Beowulf in three words, what would they be?

    Pagan Christian Worldview


    What did you like best about this story?

    I enjoyed how the story allowed us to enter into the world of Beowulf's day, to begin to understand the world before Christianity and to see the seeds of salvation that God was planting in this story and in this time of history.


    What does Seamus Heaney bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The pronunciation of so many names and his wonderful accent!


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No, that might be too much. We enjoyed listening and then discussing in segments.


    Any additional comments?

    A classic I recommend to all!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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