Beowulf by Unknown

Beowulf

The national bestseller and winner of the Whitbread Award. Composed toward the end of the first millennium, Beowulf is the classic Northern epic of a hero’s triumphs as a young warrior and his fated death as a defender of his people. The poem is about encountering the monstrous, defeating it, and then having to live on, physically and psychically exposed in the exhausted aftermath. It is not hard to draw parallels in this story to the historica...


Details Beowulf

TitleBeowulf
ISBN9780393320978
Author
Release DateFeb 17th, 2001
PublisherW.W. Norton & Company
LanguageEnglish
Number of pages213 pages
GenreClassics, Poetry, Fiction, Fantasy, Literature, Academic, School
Rating

Reviews Beowulf

  • Michael
    2008-11-03
    *bum bum* IN A WORLD . . . *bum bum* . . . FULL OF NASTY MONSTERS . . . *bum bum* . . . WHO EAT PEOPLE AND BREAK INTO CASTLES . . . *bum bum* . . . THE BEASTLY GRENDEL LURKED LONG OVER THE MOORES . . . *bum bum* . . . BUT NOW . . . *Cut to scene of monster ripping someone's face off with his teeth* (silence. black screen.)*Unknown warriors approaching*"Who are ye, then, ye armed men,mailed folk, that yon mighty vesselhave urged thus over the ocea...
  • Jeffrey Keeten
    2011-03-18
    ”One of these things, as far as anyone ever can discern, looks like a woman; the other, warped in the shape of a man, moves beyond the pale bigger than any man, an unnatural birth called Grendel by country people in former days. They are fatherless creatures, and their whole ancestry is hidden in a past of demons and ghosts. They dwell apart among wolves on the hills, on windswept crags and treacherous keshes, where cold streams pour down the m...
  • AJ Griffin
    2007-07-02
    If I wrote a list of things I don't give a shit about, I'm pretty sure "some big fucking monster whose name sounds like a word for the area between my balls and my ass that attacks alcoholics and is eventually slain by some asshole, told entirely in some ancient form of English that I don't understand" would be near the top (for the record, run-on sentences would not. Judge not).This was one of the first books I was ever assigned to read in high ...
  • Seth T.
    2007-06-29
    I've just finished reading Beowulf for the third time! But lo, this reading was in the bold and exciting Beowulf: a New Verse Translation by Seamus Heaney! And what a difference a day makes - Heaney is unstoppable! Rather, he makes Beowulf unstoppable. Unstoppable in his ability to pound you in the face with his manliness and leave you bleeding-but-strangely-desiring-more.As I said, I've read the epic Anglo-Saxon poem several times now, but usual...
  • Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
    2014-08-12
    As a college English major, I studied Beowulf without any great enthusiasm; my real love was for the Romantic poets. And Chaucer, but that might have been partly because I thought it was hilarious that we were studying such bawdy material at BYU. Plus you can still puzzle out The Canterbury Tales in the original Middle English, while Beowulf in the original Old English--other than the immortal line "Bēowulf is mīn nama"--is beyond anyone but sc...
  • Simona Bartolotta
    2016-12-10
    "But generally the spearis prompt to retaliate when a prince is killed,no matter how admirable the bride may be."I'm astounded by the complexity of this poem. It makes me wish my Germanic philology course lasted forever so we could analyse it word by word, slowly, meticulously, languidly. This is why I personally suggest reading it with the help of a critical guide if you haven't the faintest idea what it tells about, when it was written and what...
  • J.G. Keely
    2007-05-24
    There are different ways to translate, and it comes down to what you want to get across. Most creative authors have such a strong voice and sense of story that they will overwhelm the original author. As Bentley wrote of Pope's Iliad: "It is a pretty poem, Mr. Pope, but you must not call it Homer".Sometimes this sort of indirect translation is useful in itself, such as during the transition of the Renaissance from Italy to Britain. Many of the Br...
  • Michael
    2008-01-04
    I teach Beowulf in my honors class, and it's a tale I've always loved. There's something about the raw power, the direct yet engaging storyline, the rhythm and tone of the story that draws the reader (or, ideally, the listener) into another world. The social conventions, alien in many ways to our modern mindset, show a world both brutal and honorable, where death and heroism go side-by-side, where every act has consequence and there is no expecta...
  • Aubrey
    2015-01-05
    I doubt I would have liked this so much had The Lord of Rings not been such an essential part of me so early on. Books are the one and only thing that has been mine and my own since the beginning, and the rings, the dragons, the songs of days long lost and the coming of the end have filled the place of me that religion never could. While there is much to critique, it has sunk so deeply into my resonance that the best I can do is hope that everyon...
  • Francisco
    2016-07-20
    Beowulf - you might have encountered it at a college English class. Your teacher may have written a few of the original lines of Old English on the blackboard and had you try to decipher them. There was probably lots of history taught in that class: the poem was written by an Anglo-Saxon poet some time between the 8th and the 11th century. The poet, a Christian, wrote about events taking place in "heathen" England two or three centuries before. I...
  • Richard
    2014-05-19
    This book contains Tolkien's scholarship, comments and literary output inspired by Beowulf, one of the oldest and longest surviving poems in Old English. Many readers know and venerate him as the author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings (LOTR). But this is a timely reminder of the academic side of his life.In his prose translation, Tolkien strives to reflect something of the rhythm, cadence and beauty of the original. The comments on the te...
  • Riku Sayuj
    2012-12-27
    Could not consider the experience complete without reading Heaney's acclaimed translation. The acclaim was well deserved. This version was much easier to read, less choked by stylistic anachronisms and more alive in every sense. Gummere's translation has an elegance and presence that intimidates and exalts the reading but Heaney brings it home, makes it as familiar as Homer's epics and somehow makes us at ease with the strange manes and the stran...
  • Wanda
    2013-12-23
    Beowulf is an interesting window into the past—specifically where Christianity and older pagan religions overlapped. It was fascinating to see the older, warrior culture being lived with an overlay of Christianity. But deeds of bravery and being able to hold your liquor whilst on the mead-bench were still valuable commodities! Modesty was not yet a virtue—a warrior was expected to declaim his exploits (a la the Norse god, Bragi, from whom we ...
  • Lucinda
    2014-06-16
    STRENGTH IS LIFEFor the strong have the right to ruleHONOUR IS LIFEFor with no honour one may as well be deadLOYALTY IS LIFEFor without one’s clan one has no purposeDEATH IS LIFEOne should die as they have lived A hero is someone who steps up when everyone else backs down .. JRR Tolkien’s distinctive, idiosyncratic translation of the epic, Anglo-Saxon poem shows a simplistic clarity of vision. You can feel everything as though subconsciously...
  • João Fernandes
    2015-05-15
    If Beowulf was a High School flick, or Blockbuster Income Idea #165 , by HollywoodHrothgar and his band of jocks are throwing a pool party at his new crib, and of course he didn't invite Stereotypical Hollywood Hero #5, the awkward, rejected, acne-ridden Grendel. Grendel is hurt and tries to take revenge on the drunken, loud cool kids by calling the cops on them. Heorot PD is a bunch of incompetent idiots, so Grendel gathers all his strength and ...
  • Terry
    2017-02-16
    4.5 starsI'm already an admirer of the poem Beowulf (and Old English literature in general) and am also a die-hard Tolkien fan so the fact that I loved this book isn’t perhaps a surprise. I certainly expected to like it when I started, but wasn’t prepared for the fact that it would reveal to me a side of Tolkien of which I was always generally aware, but never gave enough thought to. I refer, of course, to his position as a scholar, and speci...
  • David Sarkies
    2015-05-17
    The original fantasy epic21 May 2015 I am surprised that it has taken me so long to get around to reading this book, particularly since it isn't all that long, and also that I have been a long time fan of the fantasy epic. In fact this was one of Tolkien's major inspirations for his Lord of the Rings trilogy (and I do emphasise one, since he drew on lots of sources in crafting his fantasy epic – in particular the Nibelungenlied). Anyway, as I s...
  • Steve
    2010-05-17
    I've read this multiple times. One of the true, original bad asses. 6 stars. OK. Very briefly (in part because I've been very busy), the Heaney version is THE version to read if you're looking for accessibility. Who would have ever thought that such a rough and tumble read would come out so smooth? And from a poet who is all knots, rough rhythms, and peat moss. But it is. What I particularly liked were the various important speeches. Clarity is k...
  • Alex
    2010-02-02
    It’s become fashionable lately to claim that the Dark Ages weren’t so dark. There were great civilizations like the Celts and the Golden Age of Islam; there was extensive trade; things weren’t so bad. This is not entirely true at the best of times - seriously, this was a shitty thousand years full of wars and plagues - but it’s especially untrue when we're talking about literature. Between the fall of Rome and the Renaissance in the 1300s...
  • Nikki
    2014-05-23
    I'm full of wonder right now. Not so much at the translation of Beowulf -- Tolkien was well-versed in the language and knew what he was doing, and the tone is often reminiscent of The Lord of the Rings, which emphasises his attempts to weave his own stories with the old stories of England -- but at all the commentary published together here. Pretty much every issue I considered in my undergraduate class/es on Beowulf is touched on here -- the pag...
  • Mario
    2016-10-10
    It is always better to avenge dear ones than to indulge in mourning.Well that was a surprise. I didn't expect at all to like this book (well, epic) at all, especially because I read it for university, but I ended up enjoying it quite a bit. I liked the characters, the plot, the setting and I especially liked the fantasy element to the story. I'm just happy that I enjoyed something I had to read for university, because that doesn't happen very oft...
  • Ryan
    2011-05-12
    On page 109:So. In the midst of this fiendish fun-book. Monsters flit to and fro, the hungry blokes.Heaney's translation exhales and breathes. It brooks no comparison mayhaps, Old English’s boon is drinking in its words, Delivering blow by blow as swords clash Bilingually, the movie grays beyond Compare to the verses that believe In the breast where the chain-mail protects Our hero’s blood, and flesh, the chain-mail cloth Is everything to the...
  • Mara
    2015-06-27
    I just love Beowulf and the fact that this pretty short epic inspired so many of my favourite books. Since the moment I read this for uni, it's been one of my favourite poems and I think everyone should at least read this once and realize that this is the start of fantasy, right here.
  • Skyler Myers
    2014-02-12
    "Men-at-arms, remain here on the barrow, safe in your armor, to see which one of us is better in the end at bearing wounds in a deadly fray. This fight is not yours, nor is it up to any man except me to measure his strength against the monster or to prove his worth. I shall win the gold by my courage, or else mortal combat, doom of battle, will bear your lord away"PROs:* Good story* Likeable characters* Perfect length* Amazing language* Influenti...
  • Riku Sayuj
    2011-12-01
    We want Tolkien! We want Tolkien!I demand that this be made a top priority, instead of spending millions trashing good books by making movies of them.The coolest thing about Beowulf was the tracing of Tolkien's imaginative journey as I read it. Maybe someday I would like to write a short review story on the morphing of Beowulf into a hobbit...
  • Trin
    2007-06-14
    This epic poem becomes even more astonishing if you read it aloud in a valley girl voice. ("So. The Spear-Danes? Like, in days gone by?")On a more serious note, I love Heaney's theory of the Irish as the cold and rejected Grendel prowling outside the warm fires of England's Herot. Who doesn't sometimes feel like the exiles of the world?
  • Jeremy
    2015-09-22
    I just finished teaching this to my 10th graders, and having never read it before myself, I found myself really delighted. Heaney does a fantastic job of showing how much a patchwork Beowulf is, the weird pagan and christian influences, the bizarre feudal culture of anglo-saxon England, and most importantly, the sorrow and sense of impending mortality which permeated so much of human life in this age.Like a lot of early literature, the basic mech...
  • Greg
    2008-09-11
    Yeah, yeah it's a 'classic' of literature and all that but what would make this better is if a movie was made of it with some big name talented actors reduced to playing second string to some crappy CGI, now that would be entertaining!!
  • Alex Telander
    2007-11-02
    BEOWULF: A NEW VERSE TRANSLATION BY SEAMUS HEANEY: Earlier this year a new version of Beowulf was published, translated by the Irish Nobel Prize Winner (for 1995) Seamus Heaney. Heaney has spent many years trying to get this translation just right, and I believe he hit the nail on the head in this case. This book presents a different insight into reading Beowulf, adopting a more archaic viewpoint in both language and imagery. Henry does not bothe...