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Beowulf: A Glossed Text (Penguin Classics) Paperback – 23 Feb 1995


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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; New Ed edition (23 Feb 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140433775
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140433777
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 1.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 355,137 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

This heroic Anglo-Saxon narrative poem, believed to have been written 1,250 years ago, is rich in history and legend. Michael Alexander edits this latest edition to great acclaim.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By G. Kinch on 27 Mar 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
great book for all serious students of the poem and all those trying to get behind the many English translations, to what the words are. Every noun adjective and verb on every line is directly given its one nearest meaning on the opposite page by the most pedestrian/scholarly of translators - just what is needed to appreciate the lovely poetic interpretations of K.Crossley-Holland and S.Heaney etc. Some good and thorough introductory material by the scholarly M.Alexander
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By JB TOP 500 REVIEWER on 5 Dec 2012
Format: Paperback
This edition of Beowulf is rather different from most others you'll find on the bookshelf, but one which you should definitely consider if you want to really get inside the poem.

Michael Alexander has mirrored each page of Old English with a facing page realising most of the words in Modern English. You can begin to make your translation, and if you do get stuck on a difficult word, instead of having to reach for your copy of Clark-Hall, you can discover it right away on the opposite page.

This strategy encourages the reader to form their own images, and on occasion can help make the text jump to life in a quite magical way. You're not bound into another translator's view of any particular passage but are free to create your own. What you don't have of course is a guide to the grammar; the tenses, cases etc, but still, the experience is a liberating one.

This is a book I turn to time and time again, as it really does challenge you to interact with the text whilst enabling a smooth flow of the narrative. Highly recommended.
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12 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Jacques COULARDEAU on 21 Jan 2004
Format: Paperback
Beowulf is a masterpiece of English literature, the mastermind of all the authors, playwrights, and many other artists coming after it. The language is rather difficult because it is Anglosaxon. But the book gives systematic notes about the words, and only the words, of the poems. Some of these notes are vague if not faultive. One example : page 51, the word « eorl » is given as meaning « man » on line 761 et « warrior » on line 769, without any more ado. We do regret that these lexical notes are not collected into a lexicon, which would save many repetitions and make it easier to find the word one is looking for. We also regret that there are no notes about the « grammar », « morphology » or « syntax » of Anglosaxon. We thus miss a lot, for example the feminine, masculine and neuter genders, and this is absolutely essential. One example : « Beowulf » is the association of the feminine « beo » meaning « bee » and the masculine « wulf » meaning « wolf ». Yet one can, if one has a good lexicon or dictionary and a good « grammar » of Anglosaxon, get into these subtleties. And then the poem is remarkably beautiful. I am not going to insist on the mirror it is for the christianizing of the old scandinavian, germanic and probably celtic mythology. This is not commonly studied, but I would like to insist on another element : the structure of the poem. The very first part is absolutely typical of the old culture : Beowulf goes out against some monsters who have survived from a very old period, a very old race (the giants who have been locked up in some mountain by the Gods of this religion), and he conquers glory and fame. There is no « fate » in this section, or very little. Beowulf is a young « adventurer » who blazes his trail through the world and history.Read more ›
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2 of 11 people found the following review helpful By djs20@york.ac.uk on 9 Aug 2000
Format: Paperback
Shamus Heenie recently read his version of Beowulf on the BBC. After reading this book, it was obvious that the tales contained within were intented to be told rather than read. Having said this, I would recommend this book to anyone who has astrong stomach and has a wide span of concentration.
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2 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 30 Mar 1999
Format: Paperback
What a story, the modern story tellers have nothing on the violence of yesteryear. Ok little tricky to get through but when the action starts the claret starts spilling.
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