Beowulf

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Faber & Faber, Feb 19, 2009 - Poetry - 256 pages

Composed towards the end of the first millennium, the Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf is one of the great Northern epics and a classic of European literature. In his new translation, Seamus Heaney has produced a work which is both true, line by line, to the original poem, and an expression, in its language and music, of something fundamental to his own creative gift.

The poem is about encountering the monstrous, defeating it, and then having to live on, physically and psychically exposed, in that exhausted aftermath. It is not hard to draw parallels between this story and the history of the twentieth century, nor can Heaney's Beowulf fail to be read partly in the light of his Northern Irish upbringing. But it also transcends such considerations, telling us psychological and spiritual truths that are permanent and liberating.

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About the author (2009)

Seamus Heaney was born in County Derry in Northern Ireland. Death of a Naturalist, his first collection, appeared in 1966, and since then he has published poetry, criticism and translations which have established him as one of the leading poets of his generation. He has twice won the Whitbread Book of the Year, for The Spirit Level (1996) and Beowulf (1999). In 1995 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. District and Circle, his eleventh collection of poems, was published in 2006 and was awarded the T. S. Eliot Prize.

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