Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Re-Reading Review of Beowulf

Read for: Re-reading of a favorite
Synopsis: "Beowulf is the conventional title of an Old English heroic epic poem consisting of 3182 alliterative long lines, set in Scandinavia, commonly cited as one of the most important works of Anglo-Saxon literature. It survives in a single manuscript known as the Nowell Codex. Its composition by an anonymous Anglo-Saxon poet is dated between the 8th and the early 11th century."

My Review: It has been many years since I last read Beowulf. I first read it in high school English class and again in college in my Epic Poetry class and thoroughly enjoyed it both times. So this was my first time reading it for personal pleasure and it was much different from a class setting. I certainly learned a few things, first was that the translation I picked up was a lot different from the translation I had in school, next was that this is a book you need complete silence to read and concentrate on, next is once you get the rhythm and flow you will be sucked into the story and finally each time you read this book you will get something different out of it. In class we were told what to take away from reading this book. Upon reading it this time what I took away more than anything was a warning against pride and greed. I read the translation by Gummere and it was definitely a more Old English translation than what I originally read so it was a little more difficult to read but I think the verse was probably closer to the original text. It took some time in between breaks to get the flow of the verse back but once I got back into the rhythm it was much smoother and faster reading. While it many not rank among my top favorites any more it is still a great story.
My Rating: It really was interesting reading this book outside of an educational setting and for my own pleasure. It was definitely a different experience, especially with the more difficult translation. A lot of the story comprehension was probably lost this time around but it was still an interesting read and I did take some new views away from this re-reading. While it won't remain in my top favorite books I still think it is a great book that should be read and re-read. I give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.

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