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Book Details

  • Paperback
  • Bookstore's Wholesale Price: $15.50
  • February 2019
  • ISBN: 978-0-393-93837-1
  • 300 pages
  • Territory Rights: Worldwide

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Beowulf: A Verse Translation

A Norton Critical Edition

Second Edition


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


“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

“Excellent ancillary materials in this critical edition make a potentially alienating text and culture accessible and engaging.” —Tim Melnarik, California State University, San Bernardino

This Norton Critical Edition includes:

• Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney’s poetic translation of the great Anglo-Saxon epic—winner of the Whitbread Prize—along with his translator’s introduction.
• Detailed explanatory annotations and an introduction to Old English language and prosody by Daniel Donoghue.
• More than two dozen visuals, including, new to the Second Edition, a fine selection of objects from the Staffordshire Hoard.
• A rich array of Anglo-Saxon and early northern civilization materials, providing student readers with Beowulf’s cultural and historical context.
• Nine critical interpretations, three of them new to the Second Edition.
• A glossary of personal names and a selected bibliography.

About the Series

Read by more than 12 million students over fifty-five years, Norton Critical Editions set the standard for apparatus that is right for undergraduate readers. The three-part format—annotated text, contexts, and criticism—helps students to better understand, analyze, and appreciate the literature, while opening a wide range of teaching possibilities for instructors. Whether in print or in digital format, Norton Critical Editions provide all the resources students need.



“Magnificent, breathtaking. . . . Heaney has created something imperishable and great that is stainless—stainless, because its force as poetry makes it untouchable by the claw of literalism: it lives singly, as an English language poem.” —The Guardian


Now included in this edition are the opening and ending passages in the original Old English facing the translation, providing seventy lines of Anglo-Saxon alliterative verse so that students may do a comparative reading and get a flavor of the poem as it would have been heard when first composed.


In addition to a map of the Scandinavian setting, a glossary of the characters’ names, and an explanation of Old English language and prosody, this edition includes photographs or reconstructions of approximately thirty examples of artifacts from the period of the poem.


Students save 25% on packages of two or more Norton Critical Editions.

Download Contents (pdf)