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A Readable Beowulf: The Old English Epic Newly Translated by Stanley B. Greenfield, Alain Renoir

By Stanley B. Greenfield, Alain Renoir

Stanley B. Greenfield, one of many world’s most popular Anglo-Saxon students, writes of why, after greater than thirty years of research, he undertook the Herculean job of rendering Beowulf into con­temporary verse: “I sought after my translation to be not just faith­ful to the unique yet, because the past due John Lennon might have placed it, ‘A Poem in Its personal Write.’ i needed it to ‘flow,’ to be effortless to learn, with the narrative circulate of a contemporary prose tale; but to indicate the rhythmic cadences of the outdated English poem. i needed it either smooth and outdated English in its reflexes and sen­sibilities, delighting either the overall reader and the Anglo-Saxon expert. . . . i needed it to breed the intoxication of aural contours which… may need happy and amused war­riors over their cups within the Anglo-Saxon mead-hall, or these clergymen in Anglo-Saxon monasteries who paid extra realization to tune and to tales of Ingeld than to the lector and the gospels.”

Greenfield has succeeded to a awesome measure in attaining his ambitions. An early reviewer of the manuscript, Daniel G. Calder of UCLA, wrote: “I locate it the simplest translation of Beowulf.

One of the nice issues of different translations is they make the interpreting of Beowulf difficult. Greenfield’s translation speeds besides massive ease. . . students will locate the interpretation attention-grabbing as an workout within the winning recreat­ing of assorted features of previous English poetic style.”

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For a fine appreciation of Beowulf, see Edward B. , A Reading of "Beowulf" (New Haven: Yale Univ. , 1968). < previous page page_25 next page > < previous page page_26 next page > Page 26 who has called it "a national monument as well as a poem,"20 but one should add that it is a very special monument. On the one hand, it is a grand and monumentlike celebration of the ideal of human excellence; on the other hand, the way in which it involves each one of us personally and intimately in the action is as unmonumentlike as it is moving and effective.

Previous page page_45 next page > < previous page page_46 next page > Page 46 225 sea-cliffs gleaming, and the craggy bluffs, the broad headlands. Behind lay the sea, the crossing over. Quickly the Geats sprang on to the shore, and moored their ship: as they moved, their coats of mail rang out, their battle-garments, sang; they thanked God their ocean journey had been easy. The Danish Coast Then from the wall the Scyldings' warden, Guard Challenges whose task was to keep the sea-cliffs safe,.

Further have I heard that the dread foe in his wild rage scorns using weapons; therefore, that my liege-lord Hyglac may rejoice in his heart, I too abjure the use of sword or yellow broad-shield in battle, but with bare-handed grip shall I seize the fiend and fight for life, foe against foe; he whom death takes off must there give himself to God's judgment. I expect that he will, if he wins in the battle-hall, feast fearlessly on Geats, this force of glorious men, as he's fed on Danes. If death takes me, you will have no need to hide my head 28 Weders] See note to 1.

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