Beowulf has been translated before, but not like this. In this faithful, but hardly wooden translation, Douglas Wilson gives listeners a taste of the heavy alliteration of Anglo-Saxon poetry. Lewis said Anglo-Saxon poetry was like "blows from a hammer" or "the repeated thunder of breakers on the beach." This recording should delight anyone who loves the sounds of words for their own sake. The essays found in the book are not included in this recording.
©2013 Canon Press (P)2016 Canon Press
Wilson's "rendering" is a fun read. It definitely captures the poetic style of the original in a way that most English translations do not. Wilson reads this audiobook himself, and you can tell that he put a lot of care into his reading. He reads it like a poem, rather than a book, and keeps the poetic rhythm pretty well throughout.
Unfortunately, the audio quality is not great. I'm pretty sure he just set up a microphone in his office and started recording. There's a lot of scratchy background noise, and the audio sometimes "hiccups" or repeats at the chapter breaks. Still, for the translation and Wilson's reading style, this is definitely worth getting despite the flaws. The description says "This recording should delight anyone who loves the sounds of words for their own sake" and that's definitely true.
The only other minor complaint is that Wilson's essays are not included here. That's a shame, because I enjoyed his commentary and insight, and it would've been nice to have those in audio form.
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