Beowulf

  • by Seamus Heaney
  • Narrated by Seamus Heaney
  • 2 hrs and 13 mins
  • Abridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Translated and read by Seamus Heaney.New York Times best seller and Whitebread Book of the Year, Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney's new translation of Beowulf comes to life in this gripping audio. Heaney's performance reminds us that Beowulf, written near the turn of another millennium, was intended to be heard not read.
Composed toward the end of the first millennium of our era, Beowulf is the elegiac narrative of the adventures of Beowulf, a Scandinavian hero who saves the Danes from the seemingly invincible monster Grendel and, later, from Grendel's mother. He then returns to his own country and lives to old age before dying in a vivid fight against a dragon.
The poem is about encountering the monstrous, defeating it, and then having to live on in the exhausted aftermath. In the contours of this story, at once remote and uncannily familiar at the end of the twentieth century, Seamus Heaney finds a resonance that summons power to the poetry from deep beneath its surface.

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What the Critics Say

"The classic eighth-century English poem is strikingly presented, making accessible the story of a young man's heroic journey to find and slay two monsters." (Publishers Weekly)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Why, oh, why is it abridged?

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.
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- Tad Davis

Would like the whole thing!

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
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- Gail

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-10-2006
  • Publisher: HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books