Sunday, November 27, 2016


Beowulf: A New Verse Translation by Seamus Heaney, 213 pages.
Teju Cole, in the introduction to his book of essays, Known and Strange Things, tells how when he is shopping for a new pen he tests the candidates out by writing the first page of Heaney's 2000 translation of this (more than) thousand year old Anglo Saxon tale which he had memorized. I am assuming that he meant the  "So. The Spear-Danes in days gone by
and the kings who ruled then had courage and greatness.
We have heard of those princes' heroic campaigns."
and not the "Hwaet we Gar-Dena in gear-dagum peod cyninga . . ." part.
So, the tale of the Geat warrior, Beowulf, and his battles with Grendel and then with Grendel's mother, retold by one of this century's (and the last one) greatest poets. Heaney, who died in 2013, has made this classic poem exciting and accessible for generations to come.
Plus it's the bilingual edition, so double page points.

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