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 some blurry parts of the story Essentially, a monster named Grendel hunts and kills the people of a town and many warriors have died fighting against it Beowulf tackles the monster and its mother, and well you re gonna have to read it to find out Or if you can t get yourself there, watch the Star Trek or Simpsons episode which does a nice little rendition.
Here s the reasons why you should take a look at the story 1 Many famous writers and editors have attempted to translate the story into modern English Tolkien is a famous example Each reader has his her own interpretation So pick one whose style you like and go to that version.
2 It s a translated book other than the famous Greek literature we read in high school, it s one of the earliest translated forms of literature Makes it worth taking a gander.
3 It s a really great story Monster terrorizes people Someone strong steps up to fight it There is a victory of sorts Momma wants revenge So how many books have you read that have just copied I mean borrowed that entire plot 4 There is a lot of beauty in the prose and the verse, and when you hear the words describe the creatures, it s a bit like fantasy Here s why you may not like it 1 It s long.
2 It s hard to understand at some points.
3 It s 1000 years old and you just like modern stories.
My advice pick a passage or two, read for 30 minutes and decide if it s something you want to read of But you should always give a chance to some part of our early heritage and culture RightAbout MeFor those new to me or my reviews here s the scoop I read A LOT I write A LOT And now I blog A LOT First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at where you ll also find TV Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I ve visited all over the world And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who what when where and my pictures Leave a comment and let me know what you think Vote in the poll and ratings Thanks for stopping by polldaddy poll 9729544 polldaddy poll 9719251 Popular E Book, Beowulf Author Unknown This Is Very Good And Becomes The Main Topic To Read, The Readers Are Very Takjup And Always Take Inspiration From The Contents Of The Book Beowulf, Essay By Unknown Is Now On Our Website And You Can Download It By Register What Are You Waiting For Please read And Make A Refission For You 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 my never caring about school again God do I hate this fucking book.
What an epic should be a valiant epic that will relish the joys of poetry at the hands of the translator who has made it possible once I enjoyed reading it many times but a free fall into the chasm of poetry was even interesting and enlightening.
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.
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 i.
, Beowulf s three notable feats , but this time, I was taken aback The whole durned thing was the good parts What luck I read it over the space of three days and boy is my voice tired I have a distinct inability when it comes to facing these sorts of tales I have to read aloud And with an accent And with bluster.
One of the coolest things spicing up this reading besides Heaney s great translation was the juxtaposition of the Old English to the translation As you may know, the only surviving copy of anything close to an original Beowulf is written in Old English or Anglo Saxon from tween AD 700 and 1000 Now Old English isn t just archaic some King James English with lotsa thees, thous, and forsooths, as many people seem to think It s the illegitimate birth father of Middle English which I believe came about sometime after AD 1066 which in turn spawned Modern English Modern English includes the English used in both Shakespeare and the King James Bible as well as the haphazard trash we sprechen today In truth, Old English is nearly indecipherable Below, I ve included the first three lines of Beowulf, which are not only a great example of what I m talking about, but strangely fitting for who I am Hw t w G r dena in ge r dagum od cyninga rym gefr non, h elingas ellen fremedon Fun, no Well so you know, that translates as So The Spear Danes in days gone by and the kings who ruled them had courage and greatness We have heard of those princes heroic campaigns Hoorah Hoorah for the Spear Danes And ahem.
who cares if by the time Beowulf comes around their busy getting their butts eaten off by Grendel Hoorah for the Spear Danes Hoorah for G r dena and doesn t that sound like a wonderful name for a city.
In any case, it was fun to look over at the Anglo Saxon to see if I could decipher any of it Alas, my attention was so rapt upon the tale that I didn t take as much time to peruse the original as I would have liked But since I bought it, I should be afforded plenty of time for such trivialities.
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 Because Beowulf started this fight, right And then Grendel s mom gets involved, as moms do, and then later there s a dragon 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.
So the stoic, tragic, beautiful Beowulf is one of the few high points in this whole millenium Here s what it sounds like Check out the alliteration that s when words start with the same letter in most Old English stuff, like this and the awesome Gawain, they didn t use rhyme so much They depended on alliteration By the way, if you want a challenge, look on Youtube for someone reciting Beowulf without holding a sword The crossover between fans of this poem and fans of Dungeons Dragons is pretty heavy I ve read Beowulf like five times now This was my second time through Heaney s translation, which like Armitage s translation of Gawain and the Green Knight conveniently gives the original text on the left side and Heaney s translation on the right That s super cool, and this is the exact translation that appears on The Toast s list of books that literally all white men own, so I guess that tells you whether you should buy it or just borrow it from some white dude you know You can come over any time, I got a nice living room Here it is, with a custom bookmark my friend Frank whipped up special on his 3D printer, it s Grendel s armMore of my custom bookmark project here If you re into stuff like this, you can read the full review.
Pre Arthurian Myth Beowulf by Unkwown, Seamus Heaney original Review, 2001 02 20 If you are familiar with the Hindu myth kitty though, you may also find parallels between Beowulf and the Mahabharata and the Ramayana When Jambavan spends a lot of time telling Hanuman about how great he is, to induce him to jump to Lanka in search of Sita, or Arjun surveys the array of warriors against him, described in some detail, leading to the Bhagavad Gita, or the Pandavas advisor at Draupadi s swayamvar asks the unknown Karna to declare his lineage and rank.
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 It rained, but it was colder than what it should be to be raining A combination of warmer atmosphere and colder temperatures on the ground produced an ice storm It hit over the weekend so I could sit quite comfortably by my fireplace and watch out the window as the rain formed into sheets of ice on the streets and sidewalks Power lines thickened as they became cubed in ice Foot long and longer icicles dangled and swayed from the power lines, from the eaves of houses, from signs, from fence lines The most affected though were the trees The bigger the tree with the thicker branches, the affected they would be The ice accumulated on their branches bending and twisting them down to the ground They became monsters, slumbering beneath an armour of ice I d been thinking about rereading Beowulf for some time This story has been a part of me for almost as long as I can remember I read a child s version when I was young, several times before moving on to other adult translations The idea of a man taking on a monster, much stronger than most men, and finding a way to defeat him was compelling mythology for my young mind The terror of it, the monster that comes into your home and kills in the dead of the night and takes heads as trophies, left shivers in the very center of me Beowulf hears of a monster who is attacking the Danes He is one of thirteen men who decide to go to the rescue of Hrothgar, King of the Danes He goes because he needs to make a name for himself, as Buliwyf in the movieThe 13th Warrior saysI have only these handsBeowulf is poor, renown for his strength, but he has no Hall to call his own and, but for this small band, no men to call him King Their mail shirts glinted, hard and hand linked the high gloss iron of their armour rang So they duly arrived in their grim war graith and gear at the hall, and, weary from the sea, stacked wide shields of the toughest hardwood against the wall, then collapsed on the benches battle dress and weapons clashed They collected their spears in a seafarers stook, a stand of greyish tapering ash And the troops were as good as their weapons I had spent most of the day finishing another book and, thus, had started reading Beowulf late in the evening The wife and my Scottish Terrier had gone to bed, and I was left in the soft glow of my reading lamp Most of the city had lost power as lines too heavy with ice had crashed down one by one I had candles close to hand It never crossed my mind, power or no power, that I would go to bed Beowulf was written in Old English between 975 1025 The Seamus Heaney translation that I read had the Old English on one page and Heaney s translation on the other page In college, I took a Chaucer class and became a fair hand at deciphering Middle English, but looking and even pronouncing these unfamiliar words did not ring any ancient bells in my English soul I would have had better luck reading Greek than Old English 1,000 year old manuscript of Beowulf As Beowulf grapples with Grendel and then with Grendel s mother, I was just as enthralled with the story as I was as a wee tot The carnage, the darkness, the uncertainty that Beowulf had to feel, despite his boasts to the contrary, all lend a fine, sharp edge to the tale As I read, I also started to hear the sharp cracks and howls of ice heavy tree limbs separating from their trunk in much the same way as Beowulf pulls Grendel s arm loose from his shoulder The crash of these ice shrouded branches against the frozen ground sounded to my mind like the steel swords of the Geats banging against their metal wrapped shields Curiosity got the better of me, and I walked out of my back door into an alien landscape Each individual stem of grass had frozen into a nub of ice With every step, my boots crunched and slipped across this icy topography Piles of limbs laid at the bottoms of the bigger trees A small limb detached from the cottonwood tree as I stood there and made discordant music as it hit the limbs below before finally landing among its fallen, dying brethren on the ground The younger trees, limber, were probably fine, I told myself They are bowed over as if in supplication to Mother Nature Their top branches were frozen to the ground, making arches of their shapes It was all very beautiful I remembered reading about a party that was given for Anastasia, the Russian princess, before her life became tangled in the turmoil of revolution The servants were outside spraying water on the trees so they would glitter with ice as the aristocracy arrived on their horse pulled, bell laden sleighs I went back inside and peeled off my boots and my jacket and returned to Beowulf Another log was required for the fire, so I spent a few moments poking the remaining logs to make room for wood I flinched as I heard crashes from outside An assembly of Geats preparing for battle When I finally settled back into my chair, Beowulf has become King of the Geats and fights battles with the greatest champions of the land He involves himself in disagreements When Eofor cleft the old Swede s helmet, halved it open, he fell, death pale his feud calloused hand could not stave off the fatal blow I just loved that feud calloused hand I also really likedyour blade making a mizzle of his bloodThere are lines like that all through the story Words unfamiliar and evocative of a different age Beowulf does age and does need the help of others in the end when he battles a dragon, but few men are made with the courage that he is, and they fail to help him when he needs it most He does kill the dragon, but at the cost of his own life No sword blade sent him to his death,My bare hands stilled his heartbeatsAnd wrecked the bone house Now blade and hand,Sword and sword stroke, will assay the hoard Stormy weather requires the proper book and a proper, hot, Scottish tea laced with a few drops of Scotch whiskey For me Beowulf, those 3,182 lines, added enchantment and necromancy to a world transforming before my eyes into something magical and unknown.
If you wish to see of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit also have a Facebook blogger page at 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 B owulf is m n nama is beyond anyone but scholars, and it loses something in translation.
So I cheerfully forgot about Beowulf until I was puttering around in Barnes and Noble one day, and came across Seamus Heaney s recent translation I read his forward and was absolutely entranced by its brilliance Heaney tosses off phrases like the poem possesses a mythic potency and talks about the three archetypal sites of fear the barricaded night house, the infested underwater current, and the reptile haunted rocks of a wilderness He discusses how we are enveloped in a society that is at once honour bound and blood stained, presided over by the laws of the blood feud And he explains in detail how he went about creating a new translation of the poem and the difficulty of finding the right voice A simple sentence such as We cut the corn to day took on immense dignity when one of my father s relatives spoke it They had a kind of Native American solemnity of utterance, as if they were announcing verdicts rather than making small talk And when I came to ask myself how I wanted Beowulf to sound in my version, I realized I wanted it to be speakable by one of those relatives.
Anyway, all this is to explain why, after years of blissfully ignoring Beowulf, I felt compelled to buy this book and give it another try Did it hold up to my hopes Well, not quite I still appreciate Beowulf than I love it But I heard the solemn, deliberate voice that Heaney was seeking to use, and I thought he did a great job of translating it as well as possible into modern English while preserving the original feel and intent of the poem I love the liberal use of alliteration and the compound words whale road sea ring giver king that are found in the original version of the poem as well as this translation I felt the side by side nobility and brutality of these characters from it s surmised 6th century Scandinavia And I was getting some serious Tolkien vibes from the ending, which is not at all a bad thing.
In the end, it was a bit of a tough slog reading through the entire poem, but I m glad I did it I think I still love Heaney s forward than I love the actual Beowulf poem I need to check out J.
R Tolkien s Beowulf translation one of these days.