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Beowulf cover art

Beowulf

Written by: Seamus Heaney
Narrated by: Seamus Heaney
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Publisher's Summary

Translated and read by Seamus Heaney.

New York Times best seller and Whitebread Book of the Year, Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney's new translation of Beowulf comes to life in this gripping audio. 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.

©2000 Seamus Heaney (P)2000 Penguin Books Ltd., by arrangement with the BBC. Published by arrangement with W. W. Norton.

What the critics say

"The classic eighth-century English poem is strikingly presented, making accessible the story of a young man's heroic journey to find and slay two monsters." (Publishers Weekly)

What listeners say about Beowulf

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Beowulf, A heroic Tale Told Perfectly

So! You're interested in 8th-century literature about heroic Beowulf. This is the perfect place to start. translated and expertly narrated by Mr. Heaney himself.

My only wish is that it wasn't abridged, but that's my fault for not noticing before purchasing! Even still, I can see why the skipped bits were left out as they offer little to the overall tale besides adding contemporary commentary.

Definitely something I'll be listening to again and again!

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6 people found this helpful

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good, but it is abridged.

The narration is good, except you can hear the author's breaths quite loud between lines. The only thing is that the audiobook is an abridged version of the original text, not the whole thing. This was rather disappointing.

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  • DS
  • 2023-12-02

Da Wild

Interesting poetry that I must listen to again to fully understand this classic epic poem.

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Great narration and story.

I enjoyed this translation. It was very visual and emotional and described an epic hero and his adventures.

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a classic voice for a classic tale

Seamus Heaney reading his translation of Beowulf; I really enjoyed this audio book. Thank you.

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A classic

Beowulf is one of the rare epic poems, which even when translated, still conveys a sense pace and flow. I enjoyed hearing it in the voice of the translator, who has an intimate knowledge of the materiel. An old Norse version read by a baritone old Icelander is the only way I can picture enjoying the work more thoroughly. it is a surprisingly fun and engaging story, full of action and suspense. I have read Beowulf before in print, but poetry deserves the spoken word, and this was excellent.

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    4 out of 5 stars

Seamus Heaney’s performance is unbelievable!

Not a huge fan of the story but I could listen to this man’s voice for hours on end and not grow tired of it.

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