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3.42  ·  Rating details ·  187,322 Ratings  ·  5,137 Reviews
The earliest extant poem in a modern European language, "Beowulf" is an epic that reflects a feudal, newly Christian world of heroes and monsters, blood, victory, and death. This repackaged Signet classic Includes a Glossary of terms.
Mass Market Paperback, 11th Printing, 159 pages
Published 1963 by A Mentor Book from New American Library (first published 975)
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  • Beowulf by Unknown
    Beowulf: The New Translation
    Release date: Aug 12, 2013
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    Jonathan Farley I learned Old English especially to read it. I dip into it regularly and probably reread it at least once every two years or so.
    Holly I found listening to the audio book to be very entertaining and relatively quick (about two hours). I listened to the version by Seamus Heaney.…moreI found listening to the audio book to be very entertaining and relatively quick (about two hours). I listened to the version by Seamus Heaney. Personally, I found his Irish accent to add to the story even though it was more a Northern European tale than English. (less)
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    Community Reviews

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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
    Jeffrey Keeten
    ”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 mountain and disappear under mist and moorland.”

     photo Beowulf20Heaney_zpsamhndnds.jpg

    It r
    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 bawdy material at BYU. Plus you can still puzzle out The Canterbury Tales in its original Middle English, with the help of a few handy annotations, while Beowulf in the original Old English--other than the immortal (at least in my mind) line "Bēowulf is mīn nama"--is beyond a ...more
    AJ Griffin
    Jul 02, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  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
    Beowulf is thought to have been written around the year 1000 AD, give or take a century. And the author is the extremely famous, very popular and world renowned writer... Unknown. Got you there, didn't I? LOL Probably not... if you're on Goodreads and studied American or English literature, you probably already knew this is one of the most famous works without an author.

    It was first really published in the 1800s, using the Old English version where many have translated it, but there are still so
    Seth T.
    Jun 29, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    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
    Simona Bartolotta
    Dec 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: in-english, poetry
    "But generally the spear
    is 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 it seeks to portrait, of the debate about it bein
    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,
    Jan 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    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
    Feb 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    Recommends it for: literally all white men
    Beowulf and his drunk meathead friends are having a loud party, and their neighbor Grendel comes over like hey guys, can you keep it down? - that's funny because actually he eats a bunch of them - and then Beowulf tears his fuckin' arm off and nails it above his door, and honestly nobody really comes out of this looking like a good neighbor, do they?

    So like Humbaba in Gilgamesh, or Odysseus’s cyclops, Polyphemus, we have a monster of questionable monstrosity. Beowulf started it, right? And then
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    Books can be attributed to "Unknown" when the author or editor (as applicable) is not known and cannot be discovered. If at all possible, list at least one actual author or editor for a book instead of using "Unknown".

    Books whose authorship is purposefully withheld should be attributed instead to Anonymous.
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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…