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Number of Pages: 224
Vendor: Yale University Press
Publication Date: 2017
|Dimensions: 8.25 X 5.50 (inches)|
Beowulf tells the story of a Scandinavian hero who defeats three evil creaturesa huge, cannibalistic ogre named Grendel, Grendels monstrous mother, and a dragonand then dies, mortally wounded during his last encounter. If the definition of a superhero is "someone who uses his special powers to fight evil," then Beowulf is our first English superhero story, and arguably our best. It is also a deeply pious poem, so bold in its reverence for a virtuous pagan past that it teeters on the edge of heresy. From beginning to end, we feel we are in the hands of a master storyteller.
Stephen Mitchells marvelously clear and vivid rendering re-creates the robust masculine music of the original. It both hews closely to the meaning of the Old English and captures its wild energy and vitality, not just as a deep "work of literature" but also as a rousing entertainment that can still stir our feelings and rivet our attention today, after more than a thousand years. This new translationspare, sinuous, vigorous in its narration, and translucent in its poetrymakes a masterpiece accessible to everyone.
"Stephen Mitchell comes as close to fulfilling the translators task as anyone at work today. He admirably balances two imperatives: to maintain fidelity to the text while rendering it available to the English we speak today. Mitchells reader-friendly version of Beowulf honors the narrative and will extend the readership for this foundational work of English literature."David Lehman