A version of the legend of Beowulf chronicles the epic struggle of the hero against the sinister monster, Grendel
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The name "Beowulf" lingers in our collective memory, although today fewer people have heard the tale of the Germanic hero's fight with Grendel, the dreadful Monster of the Mere, as recounted in this Anglo-Saxon epic. This edition of Beowulf makes the poem more accessible than ever before. Ruth Lehmann's imitative translation is the only one available that preserves both the story line of the poem and the alliterative versification of the Anglo-Saxon original. The characteristic features of Anglo-Saxon poetry— alliterative verse with first-syllable stress, flexible word order, and inflectional endings—have largely disappeared in Modern English, creating special problems for the translator. Indeed, many other translations of Beowulf currently available are either in prose or in some modern poetic form. Dr. Lehmann's translation alone conveys the "feel" of the original, its rhythm and sound, the powerful directness of the Germanic vocabulary. In her introduction, Dr. Lehmann gives a succinct summary of the poem's plot, touching on the important themes of obligation and loyalty, of family feuds, unforgivable crimes, the necessity of revenge, and the internal and external struggles of the Scandinavian tribes. She also describes the translation process in some detail, stating the guiding principles she used and the inevitable compromises that were sometimes necessary.
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.
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.
Beowulf is the longest and finest literary work to have come down to us from Anglo-Saxon times, and one of the world's greatest epic poems. Set in the half-legendary, half historical Scandinavian past, it tells the story of the hero Beowulf, who comes to the aid of the Danish king Hrothgar by killing first the terrifying, demonic monster Grendel, and then Grendel's infuriated and vengeful mother. A lifetime later, Beowulf's own kingdom, Geatland, is threatened by a fiery dragon; Beowulf heroically takes on this challenge, but himself dies killing the dragon. The poem celebrates the virtues of the heroic life, but Hrothgar and Beowulf are beacons of wisdom and courage in a dark world of feuds, violence and uncertainty, and Beowulf's selfless heroism is set against a background of ruthless power struggles, fratricide and tyranny. This acclaimed translation is complemented by a critical introduction and substantial editorial apparatus. `The poem has at last found its translator . . .supremely well done' Charles Causley
What makes one Anglo-Saxon poem better than another? Why does Beowulf still have the power to move us after so many centuries? What might have been aesthetically pleasing to Old English readers and writers of poetry? While there is an apparent consensus by scholars on a core of poems considered to be exceptional literary achievements - Beowulf, Judith, the Vercelli book - there has been little systematic investigation of the basis for these appraisals. With new essays on rhetoric, wordplay, meter, structure, irony, form, psychology, ethos, and reader response, the contributors to this collection aim to find objective aesthetic qualities in Anglo-Saxon poetry. Posing questions of quality and beauty as discoverable in artefacts, On the Aesthetics of Beowulf and Other Old English Poems significantly advances our understanding not only of aesthetics and Old English poetry, but also of Old English attitudes towards literature as an art form.
R.M. Liuzza’s translation of Beowulf, first published by Broadview in 1999, has been widely praised for its accuracy and beauty. The facing-page translation is accompanied in this edition by genealogical charts, historical summaries, and a glossary of proper names. Historical appendices include related legends, stories, and religious writings from both Christian and Anglo-Saxon traditions. These texts help readers to 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. Appendices also include a generous sample of other modern translations of Beowulf, shedding light on the process of translating the poem. This new edition features an updated introduction and an expanded section of material on Christianity and paganism.
A lengthy introduction discussing historical background accompanies the poem about the monster slayer Beowulf
He comes out of the darkness, moving in on his victims in deadly silence. When he leaves, a trail of blood is all that remains. He is a monster, Grendel, and all who know of him live in fear. Hrothgar, the king of the Danes, knows something must be done to stop Grendel. But who will guard the great hall he has built, where so many men have lost their lives to the monster while keeping watch? Only one man dares to stand up to Grendel's fury --Beowulf. From the Paperback edition.