"Beowulf" and Other Old English Poems

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The best-known literary achievement of Anglo-Saxon England, Beowulf is a poem concerned with monsters and heroes, treasure and transience, feuds and fidelity. Composed sometime between 500 and 1000 C.E. and surviving in a single manuscript, it is at once immediately accessible and forever mysterious. And in Craig Williamson's splendid new version, this often translated work may well have found its most compelling modern English interpreter. Williamson's Beowulf appears alongside his translations of many of the major works written by Anglo-Saxon poets, including the elegies qThe Wandererq and qThe Seafarer, q the heroic qBattle of Maldon, q the visionary qDream of the Rood, q the mysterious and heart-breaking qWulf and Eadwacer, q and a generous sampling of the Exeter Book riddles. Accompanied by a foreword by noted medievalist Tom Shippey on Anglo-Saxon history, culture, and archaeology, and Williamson's introductions to the individual poems as well as his essay on translating Old English, the texts transport us back to the medieval scriptorium or ancient mead hall to share an exile's lament or herdsman's recounting of the story of the world's creation. From the riddling song of a bawdy onion that moves between kitchen and bedroom, to the thrilling account of Beowulf's battle with a treasure-hoarding dragon, the world becomes a place of rare wonder in Williamson's lines. Were his idiom not so modern, we might almost think the Anglo-Saxon poets had taken up the lyre again and begun to sing after a silence of a thousand years.For the riddles, I used my own edition, The Old English Riddles of the Exeter Book and took the translations with minor revisions from my ... Poetry, 2nd ed. rev ., and also consulted several versions of the short poems in grammars and readers such as A Guide to Old English, rev. 7th ed., ed. Mitchell and Robinson; Peter Baker, Introduction to Old English, 2nd ed.; Eight Old English Poems, 3rd ed., ed.

Title:"Beowulf" and Other Old English Poems
Author:Craig Williamson
Publisher:University of Pennsylvania Press - 2011-06-30


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