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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Appreciation of hearing poet reading his own translation
I cannot recommend too highly the experience of listening to Seamus Heaney reading - or should it be reciting? - his own translation of Beowulf. The original poem was not intended to be read on the page, but to be heard, and Seamus Heaney has carried over this intention into his own words, and his manner of delivering them. He held me fascinated. The sound of Heaney's...
Published on 20 Jan 2000 by Marian

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "A Somewhere Being Remembered" Unheroicly
Heaney's translation of the Anglo-Saxon poem `Beowulf' was the Whitbread Book of the Year for 1999. I came to the book recently and belatedly, having never read any other version.

I came to `Beowulf' more with the eye of an historian than a literary critic, for any study of Anglo-Saxon history or archaeology is imbued at some point with the aura of `Beowulf',...
Published 20 months ago by Nicholas Casley


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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Legend, 18 May 2000
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I first read an exerpt from this in primary 7, when it was a required thingy for some english level or other. It only contained the grendel bit, and it was written in a manner for children, but I loved it.
So ...
I got this book recently, and read it, and wow. It is brilliant. I love the whole way of things in this sort of time. The Norse sort of life. And this has got to be one of their greatest legends.
And, you can believe almost that you are actually there while reading this (ah, to hold a broadsword ...).
The reason for it being a poem, though, is that originally, the Norse didn't have written language as such, and so all history and tales and legends were passed on in song or poem. Later on, when Christianity began to invade their area of the world, and life style, monks were often employed as scribes to write their stories down. It is said that a lot of their legends became Christianized through this, and I can see how this has krept into Beowulf, but it is not as extreme as in some other writings, and especially most accounts of their traditions and religion. This is the story of honour, and bravery, and decency. (Actually, the Norse religious system is surprising similar to Christianity in some respects, and gives a mouch more true picture of human nature, and gets honour accross to a different age of people ... yet was from long before Christianity ... that in itself raises questions ...)
Also, it is the basis for Michael Crichton's 'Eaters of The Dead' (films version, 'The 13th Warrior'), which is interesting (though Beowulf is ultimately better, if you're looking for a legend in the old style, but that's to be expected, as Crichton didn't live back then, but has made it accessible to ordinary people).
I do believe that Heaney has done a superb job at translating this poem (and I'm sure that his style has enhanced it). He deserves his award totally.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An oldie but a goodie, 10 July 2006
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T. R. Alexander (East Anglia, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Beowulf: A New Translation (Paperback)
Beowulf is one of the origins of the adventure story and I have always intended to read it, and with the upcoming movie I thought now was a good a time as any. At first I was surprised by the length of Beowulf but once I got into it the book didn't take that long to read. The introduction by Seamus Heaney is interesting but would mostly be of use to those studying Beowulf, rather than the casual reader. The story itself is interesting, and was generally what I was expecting of the period, I also feel Heaney did a relatively good job translating the text.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A classic - but not for the faint of heart, 15 May 2000
I really enjoyed this book - even after having had its credibility destroyed by having it as a set text at school.
Coming to it at a later, more mature age, I enjoyed it much more. I am, however, into these kind of sagas. I love the whole "Early-English" thing. Wrong word, I know, there was no "English" as we know it then.
I would say if you're not into the sagas or early literature of this kind, stay away - you probably wont like it at all.
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5.0 out of 5 stars excellent service., 25 Aug 2014
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This review is from: Beowulf: A New Translation (Paperback)
It's all that I expected, excellent service.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 10 Sep 2014
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Thomas A. Mercer (uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Beowulf: A New Translation (Paperback)
read it three times and really love it
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 24 July 2014
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This review is from: Beowulf: A New Translation (Paperback)
Nicely presented for a modern reader.
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7 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not Truely Unabridged, 28 Oct 2011
I bought this to help me get through Beowulf in my college lit class. I had tried to read it last year in high school, but ultimately got bored because I felt like it needed to be heard not read. At any rate, I was very happy to see that the version my college class required had an audio book to accompany it. I quickly snatched up a copy of this audio book to help me get through Beowulf once again. However, I was quickly disappointed. This audio book is not at all unabridged. While listening to it I had the text right out in front of me and was surprised that it skipped anywhere from several words to 15 lines several times. Fortunately, this didn't affect me because I was able to pause it and read what the book missed, but this is very faulty advertising to say that it is unabridged when it clearly is not. I give it one star as it is not what the packaging says that it is. Anyone who is buying this audio book to accompany the actual text (or to avoid reading the actual text for school) should be warned that this audio book is missing huge sections and it is not a reading of the entire text.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars perseverance required, 3 Mar 2014
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Unless you are fully aware of the dedication needed to follow a book in ancient english style then this is not for the faint hearted. Try as I might I could not see this one through to the end.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beowulf, 21 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Beowulf: A New Translation (Paperback)
Not really my type of read, but OK given its a translation from the 9th century original.
a a a
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really good translation, 15 Dec 2013
By 
J. W. Berry (Manchester, England) - See all my reviews
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Seamus Heaney has got this work spot on. The translation flows so well, I cannot fault it. However, it does read quite differently to other translations I have come across. I don't know any old english, but I'm sure some people who do might say, 'It doesn't say that, Heaney's taking liberties!'. Well, I think translations should avoid a word for word translation, if they are to keep the spirit of the original and tell a good story. I think Heaney achieves that. Also, the idea of this bilingual edition is very nice, with the original text on the left hand page and the translation on the right. If you know any old english, you can compare for yourself. It also has a very readable short intro by Heaney to connect him personally with the original text. The front cover shield picture is nice too. It doesn't make it look like a school edition. Other editions had covers that put me off for that reason.
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Beowulf: A New Translation
Beowulf: A New Translation by Seamus Heaney (Paperback - 8 April 2000)
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