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By the 1995 Nobel Laureate for Literature and author of "The Spirit Level", winner of the Whitbread Book of the Year (1996).

About the Author

Seamus Heaney (1939-2013) was an Irish poet, playwright, translator, lecturer and recipient of the 1995 Nobel Prize in Literature. Born at Mossbawn farmhouse between Castledawson and Toomebridge, County Derry, he resided in Dublin until his death.


"[Heaney] has made a masterpiece out of a masterpiece." -- Andrew Motion - The Financial Times "Accomplishes what before now had seemed impossible: a faithful rendering that is simultaneously an original and gripping poem in its own right." -- New York Times Book Review "How did he do it? How did Seamus Heaney fashion verses, singularly handsome verses that not only capture the somber grandeur and mythic vigor of the Anglo-Saxon original, but also reflect the rhythm and timbre of the English we speak today... This newborn translation makes accessible to everyone the first supremely great poem to be written in the English language." -- Colin Campbell - Christian Science Monitor "Mr. Heaney's translation beats with a recurring pulse, from homely and concrete to elevated and back again. The great battle scenes are rendered with a power and a grisly horror both increased and made oddly transparent by a freshness and innocence of diction... In sustaining contrast is the lyricism, quiet yet immediate, of the small passages." -- Richard Eder - New York Times "As vivid as a tabloid headline and as visceral as a nightmare. Heaney's own poetic vernacular... is the perfect match for the ?Beowulf? poet's Anglo-Saxon. Heaney uses this idiom not to modernize the epic but to showcase it's surprisingly contemporary feel... As retooled by Heaney ?Beowulf??should easily be good for another millennium." -- Malcolm Jones - Newsweek "Magnificent, breathtaking... Heaney has created something imperishable and great that is stainless-stainless, because its force as poetry makes it untouchable by the claw of literalism: it lives singly, as an English language poem." -- James Wood - The Guardian "Excellent ... has the virtue of being both dignified and sophisticated, making previous versions look slightly flowery and antique by comparison. His intelligence, fine ear and obvious love of the poem bring ?Beowulf?alive as melancholy masterpiece, a complex Christian-pagan lament about duty, loss and transience... Heaney has done it (and us) a great service." -- Claire Harman - Evening Standard

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