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Beowulf: A New Verse Translation (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 15. Februar 2000

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Gebundene Ausgabe, 15. Februar 2000
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  • Gebundene Ausgabe: 213 Seiten
  • Verlag: Farrar Straus & Giroux; Auflage: Bilingual. (15. Februar 2000)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 0374111197
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374111199
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 15,8 x 2,5 x 23,9 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 4.6 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (55 Kundenrezensionen)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 105.136 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
  • Komplettes Inhaltsverzeichnis ansehen


In Beowulf warriors must back up their mead-hall boasts with instant action, monsters abound, and fights are always to the death. The Anglo-Saxon epic, composed between the 7th and 10th centuries, has long been accorded its place in literature, though its hold on our imagination has been less secure. In the introduction to his translation, Seamus Heaney argues that Beowulf's role as a required text for many English students obscured its mysteries and "mythic potency." Now, thanks to the Irish poet's marvelous recreation (in both senses of the word) under Alfred David's watch, this dark, doom-ridden work gets its day in the sun.

There are endless pleasures in Heaney's analysis, but readers should head straight for the poem and then to the prose. (Some will also take advantage of the dual-language edition and do some linguistic teasing out of their own.) The epic's outlines seem simple, depicting Beowulf's three key battles with the scaliest brutes in all of art: Grendel, Grendel's mother (who's in a suitably monstrous snit after her son's dismemberment and death), and then, 50 years later, a gold-hoarding dragon "threatening the night sky / with streamers of fire." Along the way, however, we are treated to flashes back and forward and to a world view in which a thane's allegiance to his lord and to God is absolute. In the first fight, the man from Geatland must travel to Denmark to take on the "shadow-stalker" terrorizing Heorot Hall. Here Beowulf and company set sail:

Men climbed eagerly up the gangplank,
sand churned in the surf, warriors loaded
a cargo of weapons, shining war-gear
in the vessel's hold, then heaved out,
away with a will in their wood-wreathed ship.
Over the waves, with the wind behind her
and foam at her neck, she flew like a bird...
After a fearsome night victory over march-haunting and heath-marauding Grendel, our high-born hero is suitably strewn with gold and praise, the queen declaring: "Your sway is wide as the wind's home, / as the sea around cliffs." Few will disagree. And remember, Beowulf has two more trials to undergo.

Heaney claims that when he began his translation it all too often seemed "like trying to bring down a megalith with a toy hammer." The poem's challenges are many: its strong four-stress line, heavy alliteration, and profusion of kennings could have been daunting. (The sea is, among other things, "the whale-road," the sun is "the world's candle," and Beowulf's third opponent is a "vile sky-winger." When it came to over-the-top compound phrases, the temptations must have been endless, but for the most part, Heaney smiles, he "called a sword a sword.") Yet there are few signs of effort in the poet's Englishing. Heaney varies his lines with ease, offering up stirring dialogue, action, and description while not stinting on the epic's mix of fate and fear. After Grendel's misbegotten mother comes to call, the king's evocation of her haunted home may strike dread into the hearts of men and beasts, but it's a gift to the reader:

A few miles from here
a frost-stiffened wood waits and keeps watch
above a mere; the overhanging bank
is a maze of tree-roots mirrored in its surface.
At night there, something uncanny happens:
the water burns. And the mere bottom
has never been sounded by the sons of men.
On its bank, the heather-stepper halts:
the hart in flight from pursuing hounds
will turn to face them with firm-set horns
and die in the wood rather than dive
beneath its surface. That is no good place.
In Heaney's hands, the poem's apparent archaisms and Anglo-Saxon attitudes--its formality, blood-feuds, and insane courage--turn the art of an ancient island nation into world literature. --Kerry Fried


"[Heaney is] the one living poet who can rightly claim to be the 'Beowulf' poet's heir."--Edward Melson, The New York Times Book Review

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2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich Von G. Merritt am 23. Juli 2000
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
"In off the moors, down through the mist bands/ God-cursed Grendel came greedily loping" (p. 49). So goes the familiar narrative of BEOWULF. A recent article in the New York Times indicated that this is a book that readers buy because it is a classic, but a book that few ever actually read once purchased. BEOWULF is not a difficult poem. Basically, it is a 3000-line poem about a company of soldiers and their kinsmen who just want to drink mead and party in a wine hall ("Heorot Hall"), only to have their merriment interrupted by one man-eating monster attack after the next. Beowulf the warrior is then called upon to put an end to the monster attacks.
BEOWULF was originally written in the 7th to 10th Century in Old English. In his excellent introduction, Heaney writes BEOWULF's "narrative elements may belong to a previous age, but as a work of art it lives in its own continuous present, equal to our knowledge of reality in the present time" (viii). Heaney's edition also includes the complete poem in Old English, together with summary notes adjacent to his own translation. Although I am not qualified to comment on Heaney's translation from Old English, I can say that this version brings the poem's characters to life: Beowulf, the warrior, Grendel, the man-eating monster, Grendel's mother (a "monstrous hell-bride"), and a fire-breathing dragon. Once read, Heaney's BEOWULF will never be forgotten.
G. Merritt END
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1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich Von bernie am 28. November 2005
Format: Taschenbuch
Actually Grendel did not say that. However this translation is something that you can sink your teeth in. There is a substantial introduction. At first you think it is too long. After reading the introduction you realize it is too short and knowing more about what Seamus Heaney accomplished, you wish half the book were the introduction. In the introduction He covers references to J.R.R. Tolkien's ""Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics", the average readers needed background knowledge and the reason he chose the particular words for this translation.
It is the words he chose to use and method of applying them that makes this translation palatable to the average reader. It may also be this translation that may grate on some people. This is like comparing the King James Version of the Bible to the Good News Bible. (However he is not transliterating or paraphrasing) The main idea is that this would be the translation if you were to verbalize the saga.
This is not just an early poem; it is an epic. The basic story was also used as a basis of many movies. We have people helping others in what appears to be a no win situation.
There are 200 plus pages with the original text on the left page. The text is numbers to correspond with numbers on the translated right page. On the far right is a synopsis of what you are reading. This synopsis helps keep you from wandering from the text to speculate on what is really being said. It does not hurt to listen to this book but the written word is crucial towards finding the origins of names and the way words are used.
At the end of the book is a diagram of the family trees and this helps visualize how the different clans are related. There is also a large print version so you do have to get out your magnifying glass.
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1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich Von S Daedalus am 6. März 2000
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
I have to be honest that my first encounter with "Beowulf" was not an enjoyable one. Lacking a translation by a master poet like Seamus Heaney, I read the old Burton Raffel translation which, though venerable, lacked a sense of the poem that Beowulf is.
When I found that Heaney was developing a new translation of Beowulf, I became eager to revisit the poem a second time. What he has produced is no less than a treasure, not only for its poetry, but for the strong sense of history that permeates the book.
Heaney has been well-recognized for his own poetry and has produced here a dynamic translation of an ancient poem that still has relevance for crusaders and defenders today. To be sure, the Anglo-Saxon world he and the un-named ancient poet portray is vastly different from the one we know. There are very few women; the brave men who populate the story are slain bloodily by dark monsters and dragons. Gold and chain mail glisten and clank. Heaney brings all of these sights and sounds to life in the cadence of the poem; guttural, with two sub-lines per line. I found myself trying to make sense of the Anglo-Saxon just as much as I read the modern English translation. This was initially frustrating owing to the lack of a pronounciation guide, but I actually found understanding the Saxon alphabet and figuring out what I could of the grammar to be a challenge.
This leads me to the second joy of this translation, which is the sense of history that it is filled with. Heany writes of his own Irish-Gaelic background and how it informed his use of language in translating the poem. Beowulf is an ancient text that survived for hundreds of years in the oral bardic tradition, then in a single copy at the British Museum.
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1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich Von Ein Kunde am 28. Februar 2000
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
In this translation of Beowulf, the story is the star. I've read other translated editions, but gotten so bogged down in the attempts at exact translation (those tiresome hyphenations!) that I never noticed Beowulf himself. Here, we see him develop as a character: first a young hero, then a king, then a seasoned ruler with one last fight to face.
And everything means something. Heaney mentions in his introduction that he wanted every word to have weight; he's succeeded.
The introduction alone, incidentally, is worth the price of the book. Reading how Heaney sees poetry and the English language is a privilege; he's one of our best living poets. Also, though I don't read Old English, I did appreciate the bilingual edition, just for reference's sake.
I highly recommend this edition. Whether the reader is new to the poem or not, it's fresh and meaningful here.
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