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Beowulf: A New Translation
“Bro! This is not your English teacher's Beowulf. Maria Dahvana Headley's "radical new translation" takes the familiar story of man versus monster and turns it into something both completely new and also as timeless as the original. What happens when Beowulf is less hero and more party boy? Or when Grendel's mother isn't a monster but just a woman trying to avenge her son? Get it from libro.fm to experience this epic oral tale as it was meant to be (smoky mead hall sold separately).”Anthony,
Brilliant Books Audio
“Very rarely can you say a new edition of a story as old as BEOWULF has truly done something revolutionary, but I would argue that Headley achieves that in her new translation. In some senses, Headley modernizes the language, as all good translations do, but more than that, she imitates modern spoken word poetry. This brings Beowulf, a poem originally invented to be performed aloud, back into the oral tradition. It also allows the poem to lean further into the poetic form of the original epic, as alliteration and epithets flow more naturally in spoken poetry than they do in the written word. This is Beowulf as it hasn't been seen in thousands of years, and you won't want to miss out on it. I know it has me reassessing all the ways I think of epic poems.”Katherine,
Trident Booksellers and Cafe
“Maria Dahvana Headley has created a truly fresh, simultaneously current & ancient, engaging translation of this thousand-year-old hero tale. She's taken great risks as a translator, daring to use the most contemporary language in order to give 21st century readers the same experience of the poem's original audience - hearing the story unfold in the words they used every day.
Every translation is a series of a million branching choices about vocabulary, rhythms, rhyme, syntax, tone, echoes, and more. Headley's intro invites us into her decision process, such as using "Bro!" as the marker for when the narrator is starting new sections, and refusing to translate the description of Grendel's mother as "monstrous" when the text may not support that, despite hundreds of years of male translators who have insisted upon it.
At its heart, "Beowulf" isn't an Official Literary Masterpiece or Series of Puzzles for a PH.D. - it's an around-the-campfire hero and monsters story, told to give shivers, teach listeners what good leadership should look like, and entertain. The summer of 2020 is certainly in need all of these attributes in a story - pop in your earbuds and sink into this tale.”Elliott,
Big Blue Marble Bookstore