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)
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.
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.
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.
A fine, poetic translation, too. The cut sections are chiefly from the narrative digressions, so they don't hurt the flow of the main story. Still, I wish they had let the late Heaney record an unabridged version.
Don't think just buy. This is the most amazing rendering of this heroic and timeless tale that should be an inspiration to humanity and each individual person.
There is a reason this translation is so widely acclaimed. Because it is not a poetic translation, care has been taken to preserve the original Old English feel. This is especially evident in visceral phrases like "bone cage" for ribs and "word locker" mouth and vocabulary. But even so, the translation is modern enough that it feels natural.
It takes someone of his stature to make me revisit the things I remember reading in college. I can count on one hand the number of poems I've read in the past decade. This is one. And it is breath-taking and wonderfully read. Why haven't I made a greater effort to find these things?! Why haven't I read more?! Thank you for reminding me, Seamus Heaney!
The narrator's tone preserves the poetic nature of the book. As if it were told by an eyewitness. Remove the quality of narration and you still have something great. Really enjoyable.
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