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Beowulf Audiobook

Beowulf

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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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (531 )
5 star
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4.5 (354 )
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2 star
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Performance
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  •  
    GMG South Salem, NY 12-22-11
    GMG South Salem, NY 12-22-11 Member Since 2005
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    "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
  •  
    Kim Jefferson, TX, USA 06-03-09
    Kim Jefferson, TX, USA 06-03-09
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    "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
  •  
    Jason P Ohio USA 09-02-15
    Jason P Ohio USA 09-02-15 Member Since 2015

    Sasquatch

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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
  •  
    D. F. Grossett Fort Collins, CO USA 02-26-08
    D. F. Grossett Fort Collins, CO USA 02-26-08 Member Since 2008
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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
  •  
    Nicholas Jacobi 04-27-17 Member Since 2005
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    "Amazing"

    Amazing in it's depth and complexity, some traditional parts were not included such as the swimming race but great translation on the themes of true heroism and nobility.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    AustinHallahan 03-26-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Beautifully Narrated"

    I could listen to the soft lilt of Seamus Heaney all day. Wonderful recording. Cheers

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bea C. PA, US 03-11-17
    Bea C. PA, US 03-11-17 Member Since 2017
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    "A magnificent performance!"

    I will never tire of treating myself to another recitation! I never thought I could enjoy this except in the original but Seamus Heaney has proven himself in this masterful translation and authentic recitation!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eric 02-08-17
    Eric 02-08-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Wow."

    Wow. Amen to you, Seamus. May your days be long and good and well ended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    akaGracie AUSTIN, TX, United States 12-07-16
    akaGracie AUSTIN, TX, United States 12-07-16 Member Since 2017
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    "A Wonderful Translation Brought Alive"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    T-Rex 11-04-16
    T-Rex 11-04-16 Member Since 2014
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    "Brilliant on Every Level"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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