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Written by:
Seamus Heaney
Narrated by:
Seamus Heaney

Abridged Audiobook

Release Date
May 2000
2 hours 14 minutes
A New York Times Bestseller and Whitbread Book of the Year.Heaney's performance reminds us that Beowulf, written near the turn of another millennium, was intended to be heard not read.Composed toward the end of the first millennium of our era, Beowulf is the elegiac narrative of the adventures of Beowulf, a Scandinavian hero who saves the Danes from the seemingly invincible monster Grendel and, later, from Grendel's mother. He then returns to his own country and lives to old age before dying in a vivid fight against a dragon.The poem is about encountering the monstrous, defeating it, and then having to live on in the exhausted aftermath. In the contours of this story, at once remote and uncannily familiar at the end of the twentieth century, Seamus Heaney finds a resonance that summons power to the poetry from deep beneath its surface.While an abridgment of Heaney's full translation of Beowulf, Heaney prepared this abridgment himself to read for the BBC program from which this recording is taken.
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This book, on the whole, is a four-star read, but it gets a star taken away because this audiobook is an abridged version of the text and nowhere in the description or the book narration itself does it say that. Heaney leaves out some “unnecessary” passages that may be confusing, but there are some that he left out that I thought were worth reading. If this kind of thing bothers you, I would definitely suggest getting a physical copy of this book. Now onto the proper review! This was genuinely much more fun and entertaining than I expected it to be! The story is engaging, action-packed, and the pacing is pretty great as well. I’m not quite sure how much of that is due to the translation, but Seamus Heaney transcribed it line-by-line, so he couldn’t have affected the pace that much. Speaking of the translation, I loved that Heaney laid out exactly how he went about translating this text in the introduction. He has created an entirely faithful, but entirely understandable, translation that bristling a with charm and character. I found the explanation of Old English verse very fascinating, and was happy to learn more about it. Furthermore, I love that Heaney did his best to keep loosely within the Old English meter, but took some obvious exceptions to make the text easier to read. This makes the text feel poetic, even in modern English, as well as keeps the spirit of the poet cadence of Beowulf alive. Overall, great book! It’s relatively short so it doesn’t take too long, and it’s a fun read if you’re interested in ancient literature, fantasy, or tales of heroes and dragons.

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Allan Dinkoff

Riveting. If you're a purist, or looking to follow along with the text, not for you. If you want a great tale well told, it is hard to beat. I'm not a big fan of audio books generally, but I thoroughly enjoyed this one.

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Linda kothe

It skips over large portions of the text and is very hard to follow. The book itself isn't bad, it just annoying to follow along when the narrator skips pages at a time.

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Ginger Chaffin

it needs sections, because im at a certain spot and cant find it at all!!!

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