Beowulf: Verse Translation (Penguin Classics)

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9780140447880: Beowulf: Verse Translation (Penguin Classics)

Beowulf stands at the head of English literature; a poem of historical interest and epic scope. Although the first manuscript of Beowulf dates from around the year 1,000, it is thought that the poem existed in its present form from the year 850. Beowulf's adventures themselves stand in front of the wide historical canvas of 5th and 6th century Scandinavia. Against this heroic background of feuding and feasting, Beowulf first kills the monster Grendel and her mother, and later defends his people against a dragon in a battle that leaves them both mortally wounded.

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About the Author:

Michael Alexander is Berry Professor of English Literature at the University of St Andrews. For Penguin he has translated, 'The Earliest English Poems', 'The Canterbury Tales: The First Fragment', as well as a prose translation of Beowulf.

From the Inside Flap:

Beowulf is the most important Old English poem and perhaps the most significant single survival from the Anglo-Saxon period.

Though its composition was completed in England in the eighth century, the poem is set in the heroic societies of a fifth-century Scandinavia. Against this background of feuding and feasting, the hero Beowulf kills Grendel and Grendel's mother, but in killing the Dragon is himself killed.

We have here something more than merely a heroic poem of historical interest: Beowulf has a truly epic quality and scope, and this verse translation successfully communicates the poem's artistry and eloquence.

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