Beowulf, a young warrior of the Geats, comes to the aid of Hrothgar, king of the Danes, in his time of need. He first fights the hellish Grendel, then struggles with Grendel's no less fearsome mother in her hall beneath the cold waters of the mere. More than fifty years later, he must face his final challenge in the shape of a huge dragon.
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A modern translation of the Anglo-Saxon poem, attempts to portray the alliteration and rhythm of the original
This translation of the ninth-century epic poem, considered the first great work of English literature, was originally intended for nonnative speakers of English with the intention of reducing difficulties present in the Old English style.
A stunning experimental translation of the Old English poem "Beowulf," over 30 decades old and woefully neglected, by the contemporary poet Thomas Meyer, who studied with Robert Kelly at Bard, and emerged from the niche of poets who had been impacted by the brief moment of cross-pollination between U.K. and U.S. experimental poetry in the late 1960s and early 1970s, a movement inspired by Ezra Pound, fueled by interactions among figures like Ed Dorn, J.H. Prynne, and Basil Bunting, and quickly overshadowed by the burgeoning Language Writing movement. Meyer's translation -- completed in 1972 but never before published -- is sure to stretch readers' ideas about what is possible in terms of translating Anglo-Saxon poetry, as well as provide new insights on the poem itself. According to John Ashberry, Meyer's translation of this thousand-year-old poem is a "wonder," and Michael Davidson hails it as a "major accomplishment" and a "vivid" recreation of this ancient poem's "modernity."
Beowulf could well be the oldest surviving long poem in Old English and simultaneously one of the most important works of Old English literature. The action is set in Scandinavia, where Beowulf comes to the aid of Hrothgar, the king of the Danes, who is under attack by a monster known as Grendel. Beowulf conquers Grendel and finally also his mother.Later he also defeats a dragon, but is fatally wounded in the battle.
The classic story of Beowulf, hero and dragon-slayer, appears here in a new translation accompanied by genealogical charts, historical summaries, and a glossary of proper names. These and other documents sketching some of the cultural forces behind the poem's final creation will help readers see Beowulf as an exploration of the politics of kingship and the psychology of heroism, and as an early English meditation on the bridges and chasms between the pagan past and the Christian present. A generous sample of other modern versions of Beowulf sheds light on the process of translating the poem.
A lengthy introduction discussing historical background accompanies the poem about the monster slayer Beowulf