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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.

Critic Reviews

"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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

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  • GMG
  • South Salem, NY
  • 12-22-11

The English Poem

Beowulf is a Norse/English masterpiece. Seamus Heaney's work is also a masterpiece - of translation. Example: "Fate goes ever as Fate must" is his equivalent of what is literally "Goes ever fate as she wills". Heaney's intonation is perfect. I love this audio performance, but what a travesty to make it an abridgment, terrible decision. Still if you care about poetry listen to this.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Kim
  • Jefferson, TX, USA
  • 06-03-09

4 Stars

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
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Seamus Heaney Breathes new life into an old fable.

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Beowulf- a captivating character

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Well Done

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.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
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WARNING: this recording is abridged!

The reader does NOT read the entire book! Though Seamus Heaney is the voice actor for his own book, for some reason he abruptly skips over entire pages of the hard copy in this voice recording. When reading along in the hardback as I listened to this audio book, I found content missing from the audio in several locations where the book continued. The recording skips anywhere from a couple of paragraphs to several pages at a time, and without warning or any indication, either; it is impossible to determine which excerpts are omitted in the recording without the book in front of you, making use of this audio book as a study tool perilous. The biggest frustration of mine was that neither the recording nor Audible advertise this audio book as an abridged performance as it so obviously is. If I had known about this beforehand, I would not have wasted my money on this audio book.

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Abridged!

Very well read by Seamus Heaney, but mysteriously many passages are omitted. I followed with the book in hand.

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Fantastic

Loved it, really a great production. My only wish would be that the unabridged was available, since this leaves a significant body of the poem out.

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Some of the content are missing from the book

Some of the content are missing from the book. Besides that the audio is fine.