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Book Details

  • Paperback
  • Bookstore's Wholesale Price: $15.50
  • December 2001
  • ISBN: 978-0-393-97580-2
  • 304 pages
  • Territory Rights: Worldwide

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Seamus Heaney (Translator), Daniel Donoghue (Editor, Harvard University)


Winner of the Whitbread Prize, Seamus Heaney’s translation "accomplishes what before now had seemed impossible: a faithful rendering that is simultaneously an original and gripping poem in its own right" (New York Times Book Review).

The translation that "rides boldly through the reefs of scholarship" (The Observer) is combined with first-rate annotation. No reading knowledge of Old English is assumed. Heaney’s clear and insightful introduction to Beowulf provides students with an understanding of both the poem’s history in the canon and Heaney’s own translation process.


    List of Illustrations


    The Language and Prosody of Old English

    Translator’s Introduction

    The Text of Beowulf


    1. The Beowulf Manuscript
    2. Cain and Abel, Genesis 4:1-16
    3. Hall Feasts and the Queen: from an Old English Poem
    4. Grettir the Strong and the Trollwoman
    5. The Frisian Slaughter - Episode and Fragment
    6. Alcuin - “What has Ingeld to do with Christ?”
    7. Gregory of Tours - Hygelac’s Raid into Frisia
    8. William of Malmesbury - Genealogy of the Royal Family of Wessex
    9. On the Wars between the Swedes and the Geats
    10. Genealogies of the Royal Families in Beowulf
    11. The Kingdoms of Tribes of Beowulf
    12. Beowulf‘s Name


    1. J. R. R. Tolkein - Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics
    2. John Leyerle - The Interlace Structure of Beowulf
    3. Jane Chance - The Structural Unity of Beowulf: Grendel’s Mother
    4. Roberta Frank - The Beowulf Poet’s Sense of History
    5. Fred C. Robinson - The Tomb of Beowulf
    6. Thomas Hill - The Christian Language and Theme of Beowulf
    7. Leslie Webster - Archaeology and Beowulf
    8. Daniel Donoghue - The Philologer Poet: Seamus Heaney and the Translation of Beowulf

    Glossary of Proper Names

    Selected Bibliography