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When sleep was at its deepest, night at its blackest, up from the mist-filled marsh came Grendel stalking....
Thus begins the battle between good and evil, for lying in wait and anxious to challenge the ogre Grendel is a young man, strong-willed and fire-hearted. This man is Beowulf, whose heroic dragon-slaying deeds were sung in the courts of Anglo-Saxon England more than a thousand years ago. Beowulf is our only native English heroic epic. In the figure of Beowulf, the Scandinavian warrior, and his struggles against monsters, the unknown author depicts the life and outlook of a pagan age.
The poem is a subtle blending of themes on the conflict between good and evil, and an examination of heroism. Its skillful arrangement of incidents and use of contrast and parallel show it to be the product of a highly sophisticated culture. This version of Beowulf is the translation by Francis B. Gummere.
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Wonderfully Grim, Austere, Beautiful Beowulf
This is a great audiobook Beowulf! The translation by Francis B. Gummere apparently follows closely the Anglo-Saxon original, even to the alliterative verse and kennings, so that listening to it gives one the illusion of listening to the "real" poem. And Rosalyn Landor does a fine job with it, using her deep and gravitas-filled voice effectively, building a dark momentum and sounding heroic and wyrd-filled and cool. The scenes with Grendel, Grendel's mother, and the dragon are all exciting and imaginative, and the scenes of interaction between Beowulf and Hrothgar and the other Scyldings are fascinating. Highly recommended!
10 people found this helpful
very good translation
this is the translation that I have listened to several times over the years and it was a favorite of mine and still serves, but again, see my other reviews of B. At times Gummere tries very hard to keep the alliterative element of the original in the lines.
4 people found this helpful
- Jason P
Get the Seamus Heaney version of this story.
This feels like an Old English translation not a modern English audio book. This makes it hard to follow both in story and speech. I highly recommend the Seamus Heaney version. It is abridged but that works to its advantage because this Francis B. Gummere version feels overwhelming, and more like a reading assignment than a leisurely read.
See my Seamus Heaney version review for a good comparison before you buy.