Beowulf, translated by Burton Raffel

Beowulf cover


Beowulf, translated by Burton Raffel, from Old English to flowery, poetry English, is about Beowulf and his continued quest to uphold his heroic reputation with additional “monster hunting”: Grendel, Grendel’s mother, and a dragon. This poem may be the origin of the modern expression “I will rip off your arm and beat you with it” as Beowulf elected not to use weapons (he didn’t want to hide behind weapons) in his fight with Grendel. It is poetry and all that comes with poetry: the sun is sometimes “Almighty’s candle”, ”Heaven’s Jewel”, or “God’s bright beacon”; Beowulf didn’t fight, he “treated them politely, offering the edge of my razor-sharp sword”; and I sometimes had to go back and reread pages because the action had clearly (ok, never clearly) transitioned and I didn’t understand where or why.

Availability: COSMOS, SMCM, USMAI
Review Submitted by: Andy Ashenfelter
Rating: Recommended for readers of epic poetry or if you are interested in famous literature
Challenge: A translated book, a book with a one word title, book to film

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