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3.4 of 5 stars 3.40  ·  rating details  ·  153,824 ratings  ·  4,068 reviews
The first true masterpiece of English literature, Beowulf depicts the thrilling adventures of a Scandinavian warrior of the sixth century. A true pleasure to read, the work has influenced many important writers, including J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings. Part history and part mythology, Beowulf begins in the court of the Danish king, where a demon named Gre ...more
Paperback, 116 pages
Published July 1st 2008 by Waking Lion Press (first published 900)
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Khalid Khan is it a translated version of beowolf?
The best piece of english literature in medieval age for sure
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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*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 vessel
have urged thus over the ocean ways,
here o'er the waters?"

*bum bum* . . . ONE M
Seth Hahne
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 usually, I'm trudging through to get to the "good parts
AJ Griffin
Jul 03, 2007 AJ Griffin rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: assholes, dickless pieces of shit, dumbfucks, douchebags
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 school, and I'm pretty sure it was the catalyst to
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 everyone has such a refuge in their heritage as I do in E ...more
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 expectation of joy and happiness—these things have to be ...more
J.G. Keely
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 British poets rewrote Italian sonnets into English,
Riku Sayuj

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 stranger tides.
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 technical aspects of the text, taken from lectures d

For the strong have the right to rule

For with no honour one may as well be dead

For without one’s clan one has no purpose

One 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 you’re a part of the past. [I.e. standing alongside
João Fernandes
If Beowulf was a High School flick, or Blockbuster Income Idea #165 , by Hollywood

Hrothgar 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 courage, goes to Heorot and beats the shit out of
Barry Pierce
Well this is great. Really great in fact. It's such a fantastic story that is just drowned in historical significance. I feel that Beowulf is something that everybody should read at least once in their life because without it we probably wouldn't have a lot of modern fiction.
David Sarkies
May 26, 2015 David Sarkies rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fantasy Buffs
Recommended to David by: My book club
Shelves: fantasy
The original fantasy epic
21 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 suggested this is pretty much your typical fantasy no
Mar 22, 2014 Stephanie marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition


*frolics through a meadow of tiny pine trees and dragon scales*
Tadiana ✩ Night Owl☽
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 rowdy 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 scholars, and it loses something in translation.

So I c
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 pagan aspects, the episodes, potential interpolations ...more
Jun 22, 2015 Alex rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: literally all white men
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, there is not much good stuff to read.

But there was some
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.
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 of 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 key with this version, but with lots of nice poetic p
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 brave wolf’s safety net,
The adventuring prince Beowu
Skyler Myers
"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"


* Good story

* Likeable characters

* Perfect length

* Amazing language

* Influential


* Names of all the tribes and people can ge
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?
Riku Sayuj
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...
Tolkien made this translation of the most famous extant Anglo Saxon poem early in his career. It's prose which disappointed me when I found out - after purchase! - it is very rhythmical, but I don't suppose it approximates the experience of reading the original very well. Still, I've always liked the story. Flagon thinks the Dragon is hard done by and that everybody (including the Dragon) should have calmed down and discussed the situation properly - that's what he'd have done! Then Beowulf coul ...more
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!!

Aug 30, 2013 Wealhtheow rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Tolkein
Shelves: historical
By far my favorite translation, although the least faithful to the original text. Heaney was particularly good at preserving the alliteration, rhythm, and feeling of a fast-paced oral poem. It's not a perfect translation. Sometimes he added more archaic words to the mix (like his translation "tarn-hag" for mere-wif, when water-witch would do just as well; or "keshes" for fen-gelad, when I think just saying fen paths gives all the meaning one needs), which on the one hand, adds to the feel of the ...more
Alex Telander
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 bother much with fancy words to make the poem seem more ...more
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 mechanics are (by our over-developed, modern sensibili
Ariel (mot_avant)
I'm a Heaney fan and, after reading his introduction to and translation of Beowulf, I think the depth of that statement swelled a few leagues. That being said, I haven't read Beowulf prior to this encounter and would have to read other translations to really offer up a satisfyingly comparative review. However, I can say that this particular effort of Heaney's has inspired enough interest to do just that.

As for the story of Beowulf in and of itself: it offers a view into an honor-bound society a
Beowulf is one of the oldest, complete surviving epic poems in existent. There are a few others from the same era that have survived in fragments, so the significance of Beowulf remains in regards to English literature. Written in Old English (or Anglo-Saxon) the manuscript of Beowulf is believed to date back to the 10th century (1,000AD). This is an example of a heroic poem, which can be defined as a text that deals with heroic actions in battle. Beowulf focuses on three great battles, with Gre ...more
Keith Davis
There is a famous quote about poetry translations that says if a translation is faithful then it is not beautiful and if it is beautiful then it is not faithful. Tolkien's translation of Beowulf is extremely faithful.

Tolkien was a scholar of Old English and wrote a paper titled "Beowulf: the Monsters and the Critics" which is considered one of the most significant works in Beowulf scholarship. He was of course also the grandfather of all modern Fantasy fiction. These two factors taken together m
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“It is always better
to avenge dear ones than to indulge in mourning.
For every one of us, living in this world
means waiting for our end. Let whoever can
win glory before death. When a warrior is gone,
that will be his best and only bulwark.”
“Behaviour that's admired
is the path to power among people everywhere.”
More quotes…