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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grendel, "Finally, something I can sink my teeth in"., 28 Nov. 2005
By 
bernie "xyzzy" (Arlington, Texas) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Actually Grendel did not say that. However this translation is something that you can sink your teeth in. There is a substantial introduction. At first you think it is too long. After reading the introduction you realize it is too short and knowing more about what Seamus Heaney accomplished, you wish half the book were the introduction. In the introduction He covers references to J.R.R. Tolkien's ""Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics", the average readers needed background knowledge and the reason he chose the particular words for this translation.
It is the words he chose to use and method of applying them that makes this translation palatable to the average reader. It may also be this translation that may grate on some people. This is like comparing the King James Version of the Bible to the Good News Bible. (However he is not transliterating or paraphrasing) The main idea is that this would be the translation if you were to verbalize the saga.
This is not just an early poem; it is an epic. The basic story was also used as a basis of many movies. We have people helping others in what appears to be a no win situation.
There are 200 plus pages with the original text on the left page. The text is numbers to correspond with numbers on the translated right page. On the far right is a synopsis of what you are reading. This synopsis helps keep you from wandering from the text to speculate on what is really being said. It does not hurt to listen to this book but the written word is crucial towards finding the origins of names and the way words are used.
At the end of the book is a diagram of the family trees and this helps visualize how the different clans are related. There is also a large print version so you do have to get out your magnifying glass.
I found it handy to keep a dictionary with me as he uses a wide variety of words as in different context than most novels or texts use them. Still the language is so clear that if you do not mind glossing over these words you will still get the story and enjoy reading the adventure.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Spectacular & poetic telling of the tale, 29 Oct. 2013
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This review is from: Beowulf (Hardcover)
Seamus Heaney's poetic translation is both fresh and timeless. If you've not read other translations of this ancient story, this is a must read--and you have read or studied the tale, still you must read this one! It's a treasure.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Ultimate Beowulf?, 13 July 2014
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Mr. D. Brown (Suffolk UK) - See all my reviews
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I believe this is the best translation of Beowulf currently available but Seamus Heaney is a poet,after all, and here he really struts his stuff
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Beowulf: A New Verse Translation
Beowulf: A New Verse Translation by Seamus Heaney (Library Binding - Feb. 2001)
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