Beowulf
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Beowulf

By (author) Seamus Heaney

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Composed towards the end of the first millennium, the Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf is one of the great Northern epics and a classic of European literature. In his new translation, Seamus Heaney has produced a work which is both true, line by line, to the original poem, and an expression, in its language and music, of something fundamental to his own creative gift. The poem is about encountering the monstrous, defeating it, and then having to live on, physically and psychically exposed, in that exhausted aftermath. It is not hard to draw parallels between this story and the history of the twentieth century, nor can Heaney's Beowulf fail to be read partly in the light of his Northern Irish upbringing. But it also transcends such considerations, telling us psychological and spiritual truths that are permanent and liberating.

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  • Paperback | 144 pages
  • 126 x 194 x 12mm | 222.26g
  • 02 Oct 2000
  • FABER & FABER
  • Faber & Faber Poetry
  • London
  • English
  • Main
  • 0571203760
  • 9780571203765
  • 10,068

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Author Information

Seamus Heaney was born in County Derry in Northern Ireland. Death of a Naturalist, his first collection of poems, appeared in 1966, and was followed by poetry, criticism and translations which established him as the leading poet of his generation. In 1995 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, and twice won the Whitbread Book of the Year, for The Spirit Level (1996) and Beowulf (1999). Stepping Stones, a book of interviews conducted by Dennis O'Driscoll, appeared in 2008; Human Chain, his last volume of poems, was awarded the 2010 Forward Prize for Best Collection. He died in 2013.

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Review text

Heaney renders this marvellously alive Old English poem - a pagan masterpiece of fate, heroes and monsters, filtered in part through early Christianity - with superb craftsmanship, always at the service of the original, never drawing excessive attention to itself, yet at the same time yielding poetry that is moving and readable in its own right. (Kirkus UK)

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