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Beowulf: A New Translation
A New Translation
Narrated by JD Jackson & Maria Dahvana Headley / 4 hours 8 minutes
If you enjoyed Beowulf, then you’ll love Beowulf: A New Translation.
“Maria Dahvana Headley has created a truly fresh, simultaneously current & ancient, engaging translation of this thousand-year-old hero tale. She's taken great risks as a translator, daring to use the most contemporary language in order to give 21st century readers the same experience of the poem's original audience - hearing the story unfold in the words they used every day.Elliott, Big Blue Marble Bookstore
Every translation is a series of a million branching choices about vocabulary, rhythms, rhyme, syntax, tone, echoes, and more. Headley's intro invites us into her decision process, such as using "Bro!" as the marker for when the narrator is starting new sections, and refusing to translate the description of Grendel's mother as "monstrous" when the text may not support that, despite hundreds of years of male translators who have insisted upon it.
At its heart, "Beowulf" isn't an Official Literary Masterpiece or Series of Puzzles for a PH.D. - it's an around-the-campfire hero and monsters story, told to give shivers, teach listeners what good leadership should look like, and entertain. The summer of 2020 is certainly in need all of these attributes in a story - pop in your earbuds and sink into this tale.”
A new, feminist translation of Beowulf by the author of the much-buzzed-about novel The Mere Wife
Nearly twenty years after Seamus Heaney’s translation of Beowulf—and fifty years after the translation that continues to torment high-school students around the world—there is a radical new verse translation of the epic poem by Maria Dahvana Headley, which brings to light elements that have never before been translated into English, recontextualizing the binary narrative of monsters and heroes into a tale in which the two categories often entwine, justice is rarely served, and dragons live among us.
A man seeks to prove himself as a hero. A monster seeks silence in his territory. A warrior seeks to avenge her murdered son. A dragon ends it all. The familiar elements of the epic poem are seen with a novelist’s eye toward gender, genre, and history—Beowulf has always been a tale of entitlement and encroachment, powerful men seeking to become more powerful, and one woman seeking justice for her child, but this version brings new context to an old story. While crafting her contemporary adaptation of Beowulf, Headley unearthed significant shifts lost over centuries of translation.
A Macmillan Audio production from MCD x FSG Originals
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