Beowulf
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Beowulf
Poetry
Aug 7, 2018
Surviving in one manuscript dating from around AD 1000, and believed to have been composed some two or three hundred years earlier, Beowulf is a poem composed in Old English, also known as Anglo-Saxon, a language worlds apart from even Chaucer’s Middle English. Although written in England, the poem’s action is set in Scandinavia; it centers on the human warrior Beowulf’s courageous encounters with three foes: the beast Grendel, whose fierce attacks have been terrifying the Danes; Grendel’s mother, whom Beowulf battles in an underwater cavern; and, some fifty years on, an unnamed dragon who threatens Beowulf’s homeland in southern Sweden and whom the hero dies defeating. The drama of these battles enlivens the heroic atmosphere the poet conjures: Beowulf’s adventures unfold against a backdrop of stories and loyalties that, together with the monstrous nature of his adversaries, give this tale an ahistorical strangeness and power. Throughout his marvelous rendering, Seamus Heaney captures and holds fast the human feelings that animate this stirring saga.
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Nov 6, 2018
Quintessential reading. This is the prototype that many others have followed.
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Dec 26, 2018
For five years I have been teaching Beowulf to my sophomores and I always learn new things!! Such a strange, riveting tale.
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Although I seriously love Beowulf- there is nothing quite like listening to this version recited by the author. It allowed me to skip the struggle with all the 14-digit Scandinavian names and really hear the story.
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The original action story. Fantastic hero tale.
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Wonderfully accessible version of this great story, Heaney breathes fire and excitement into the saga
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Mar 29
Read this in high school.
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What's better than reading it is to listen to Seamus Heaney reading it. It was, after all, meant to be heard.
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