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Beowulf - A Verse Translation (NCE) (Anglais) Broché – 4 février 2002

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Détails sur le produit

  • Broché: 304 pages
  • Editeur : W. W. Norton & Company; Édition : New Ed (4 février 2002)
  • Collection : Norton Critical Editions
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 0393975800
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393975802
  • Dimensions du produit: 1,3 x 0,2 x 2,1 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
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2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile  Par FrKurt Messick TOP 1000 COMMENTATEURS le 22 décembre 2005
Format: Broché
I once made the joke that Grendel was the first beo-degradable monster in history...
When I gave this joke to an English professor, he used it in class, and promptly returned it to me.
Okay. I'll accept that. But, Beowulf deserves the kind of serious attention that would prompt people to want to make bad jokes about it (unimportant things are ignored; only important things are held up in jest).
Beowulf is an old poem--often considered the first in English. This is technically not true, for linguistic and other reasons (where the demarcations of English beginnings fall are debatable; also there is the fact that there are older poems, just not epic poems). An epic is a long, narrative poem, a literary form undervalued today, but which was probably the equivalent of a Cecil B. DeMille production in more ancient times. The Illiad, the Odyssey, the Aeneid, Gilgamesh--all these are epic poems. Generally, they recount heroic deeds, and most often were composed and intended as oral history. Beowulf consists of 3182 existing lines.
Scholars also disagree on the 'British heritage' of the poem, many believing it more likely to be an import from Anglo-Saxon European homelands than a composition original to the Britain. The tale does portray two leaders, Hrothgar, leader of the Danes, and Beowulf, leader of the Geats, a Swedish tribe. These are interconnected through generations of family intermarriages, and Beowulf because of this loyalty takes his men to help defend Hrothgar's home against the monster Grendel.
The tale of Beowulf involves heroism, sacrifice, loyalty, warfare, conflict and resolution--all the elements that go into a good action feature. It also has moral overtones (so it was meant to educate and inspire as well as entertain).
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75 internautes sur 84 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Heaney is good, but not far superior to everyone else 28 janvier 2002
Par Syd Allan ( - Publié sur
Format: Broché
I have reviewed over 60 different translations of Beowulf, . . . Although the Seamus Heaney translation is one of the best available, it is not, despite what all of the marketing people would have us believe, far superior to every other translation ever written. There are at least 10 other translations which rank with Seamus Heaney's translation. I would still rank Frederick Rebsamen's translation as superior to Heaney's.
Daniel Donoghue's choice of essays to include in this volume is interesting, in that he includes the 1934 essay by J. R. R. Tolkien "Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics", an essay which has already been made available in many other volumes, and the popularity of which, in my view, is now based mostly on nostalgia. Professor Donoghue has neglected to include any of the writings of Professor Kevin S. Kiernan, who has been described by the British Library as "the world's leading authority on the history of the Beowulf manuscript," and who is the world's leading proponent of the theory that the Beowulf manuscript may have been initially composed after 1016.
This book will undoubtedly be very popular, in that it contains the Beowulf translation which most people believe is the best one available, as well as several essays which related directly to the most popular topics for Beowulf essays: women in Beowulf, and Christian themes in Beowulf.
It is a good book, . . . but don't believe the marketing hype that tells you that you shouldn't bother with any other translation. Try Bertha Rogers, or Ruth Lehmann, or Frederick Rebsamen, or John Porter as well.
41 internautes sur 45 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Much more than an old parchment... 24 juillet 2004
Par ewomack - Publié sur
Format: Broché
Most people probably think Beowulf is still read merely because it's old. Well, it is old. Wow it's old. Hoary and whiskery old. Best estimates place the composition somewhere between the 7th and 10th centuries A.D. One can speak in terms of millenia when speaking of Beowulf. Though it's old - have I mentioned that it's old - age is definitely not the sole, or even the best, reason for reading the poem. Flinging oneself into Beowulf is almost like flinging oneself into another language (if one wants to argue that Old English may as well be another language, then there you go). Simply speaking, Beowulf is still read because it is a poetic masterpiece. It's not read because the monsters go "boo" or because it's considered the prequel to "The Lord of The Rings"; it's read for the impact of its language and the themes that it explores. Of course the poem can be read for enjoyment on the level of an adventure tale. There are monsters, and they're scary, gruesome, and mean; there are also swords, gore, carnage, death, heroes, more swords, myth, partying, a vengeful mother monster, a fire-breathing dragon, and more swords. The Beowulf poet wove a good tale. Some parts spew drama. When Beowulf seeks out Grendel's mother to kill her in vengeance for terrorizing the town, he must submerge himself in a pool of horrid things, holding his breath for the best part of a day. When he finds her his ancient sword fails him. A claustrophobic scene ensues that hydrophobes should skip. Nonetheless, a cursory surface reading obscures the rich interwoven text and meanings that peek just under the surface of what seems to be - to a modern reader, at least - a heroic adventure tale.

Just what the poem is about remains somewhat controversial. The incredible essays included in this Norton Critical Edition bring the poem, its history, and its controversies to life. J.R.R. Tolkien's famous and groundbreaking critique of Beowulf heads up the critical section. Also included are analyses of the structure of the poem(is it analogous to interwoven tapestries and designs of the Anglo-Saxons?), its religious tone (is it Pagan or Christian or both?), is it critical of the heroic life (does heroism lead to ruin), is it a statement on the impermanence of greatness? Was Beowulf deified? There's so much to munch on that a list of questions, controversies, and potential resolutions would be exhausting and inevitably incomplete. Leave it to say that the section of criticism allows one to read Beowulf at a higher level and discover just why this old thing is still around.

The translation by 1995 Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney reads wonderfully. No parallel Old English text is included. Heaney's introducton is amazing. It points out salient sections of the poem where the impact of the text is greatest. Heaney directs the reader to Beowulf's funeral where a Geat woman wails and mourns not only the passing of Beowulf but the impending destruction of her culture by foreign invaders now that their defending hero is gone. Heaney's introduction should be read by all Beowulf readers.

Also included are discussions about the archeology of Beowulf. Photos of artifacts and sites provide imagery for the setting of the poem. The boar-crested helmets are worth the price alone.

Beowulf is worth reading. It can be read on many levels: on the level of poetic analysis, historical analysis, philological analysys, as a monster tale, as one of the oldest poems in the english language, or for enjoyment. Big imposing degrees are not required (though admittedly some of the criticism can get heady and academic; this is not a beginner's guide or "Beowulf for Morons"). Open up. Grendel, Mamma, and Dragon await...
51 internautes sur 60 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Excellent, but stay with Donaldson 29 juillet 2005
Par Ira Abrams - Publié sur
Format: Broché
I am a dissenter from the hype surrounding Seamus Heaney's new translation. I prefer Donaldson for two important reasons: the transparency of the translation and the translator's humble willingness to let stand archaic implications that may seem absurb or offensive to most people today.

On a technical level, Donaldson--much more consistently than Heaney--reproduces Old English compounded words and phrases with Modern equivalents. He does this with accuracy and freshness--if not with seamless grace as some readers would prefer. The great advantage of Donaldson's approach is that the reader who does not read OE can at least imagine that she can second-guess the translator, and can feel the raw, rugged texture of the original. Even my 12th grade (inner city high school) students who have bought Heaney's version have become irate at a number of crucial points where the complexity preserved by Donaldson has been eliminated by Heaney.

A second point--or a second way of looking at the same point--concerns interpretation. With all due respect to Heaney, he has an agenda related to the future of the European Union, and I suspect that this motivated or influenced his approach to the translation of Beowulf. Heaney is presenting, via the seminal text of Beowulf, a vision of the origins of European politcs that he believes will ultimately lay a foundation for its future viability and humanity.

Heaney's version is this a much more creative endeavor than was Donaldson's. Where Donaldson allows seeming incoherencies to emerge for the modern reader, Heaney makes things make sense. The main difference here lies in the treatment of the hero. For Heaney, Beowulf is an unambiguous ideal figure. Donaldson, on the other hand, preserves the original ambiguity of a hero who is physically similar to the monsters he fights in his superiority to ordinary men.

There's no translation without interpretation, but there's also a question of degree of control to consider. Heaney's translation falls in line with the unfortunate tradition of Raffel, whose Procrustean approach privileged modern sensibility above everything else. Heaney is much better than Raffel, but Donaldson is one of those rare translations that has and will continue to stand the test of time because he didn't try too hard to be a person of his time.
10 internautes sur 10 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Sometimes it's good to be critical 5 février 2007
Par Jack - Publié sur
Format: Broché
I had already bought Heaney's "A New Verse Translation" before I needed to buy this edition for a university class. That said, if you're only looking for a translation of the poem with no frills, buy the "New Verse Translation" because it's got the text in parallel with the original Anglo-Saxon. But if you're interested in Beowulf criticism and related anthropology then pick up this edition, because half the book is critical essays, including Tolkein's seminal work.
8 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Excellent edition 30 août 2006
Par Nouche - Publié sur
Format: Broché
This is a beautiful translation that captures the tone and tenor of Old English. Although it eschews the alliterative line essential to Old English poetry, Heaney's rendering is magically evocative of the somber stoicism and occasionally wry understatement of this seminal poem. The critical commentary provides a nice general scholarly apparatus that helps one contextualize and better appreciate the poem and the achievement of Heaney as a modern day "scop" through whom the original - alas anonymous - poet speaks.
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