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Seamus Heaney is a wonderful poet and a wonderful reader: listening to him is like hearing the original poet holding forth. But the reading is abridged, in what seems more like a marketing decision -- trying to fit the audiobook onto a two-CD set -- than an artistic one. "Beowulf" could certainly use some abridgement here and there, and I wouldn't mind if there were only minor omissions; but among the episodes cut is the challenge that Unferth issues to Beowulf about his swimming contest with Brecca. This isn't just empty padding: it's essential to the characters of both Unferth and Beowulf. In many ways this is the best single recording of "Beowulf" available: why couldn't there be an unabridged (or at least a less-abridged) version as well? That would get six stars out of five. No other version comes close to the mastery of language shown by this one.
61 of 61 people found this review helpful
This is my favorite translation of Beowulf, and I have given multiple copies of this book as gifts over the years. So I was super excited to see the audiobook read by Heaney himself. And while I have no complaints at all about the reader (fabulous) or the text, i wonder what the criteria for the excerpt selections were. Some key episodes are omitted and some of the ones included aren't among the best parts of the book. THe choices are mystifying.
Still, a worthy listen - though I would definitely spring for a full-length audiobook if there is one available
47 of 47 people found this review helpful