Saturday, October 27, 2012

Seamus Heaney's Beowulf

I have previously commended to you the modern translation of Beowulf by Seamus Heaney.  I do so again, though perhaps I should call it contemporary rather than modern since it lacks the flaws inherent in many modern translations.  Its lyrical cadence reaches near perfection, and he seamlessly incorporates traditional poetic devices...all while remaining meticulously faithful to the original story.

I discovered tonight that his own reading of the translation is available through YouTube.  For me, the first 45 seconds are mesmerizing.  I've listened to the recording in its entirety many times in the past and Heaney's voice, a perfect complement to the drama,  highlights some of the aural devices that are not as apparent upon a silent reading of the translation.

Here is installment 1:

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