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Extended Audio Sample Beowulf, by Seamus Heaney Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (94,939 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Seamus Heaney Narrator: Seamus Heaney Publisher: Highbridge Audio Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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A New York Times Bestseller and Whitbread Book of the Year. Heaney's performance reminds us that Beowulf, written near the turn of another millennium, was intended to be heard not read.

Composed toward the end of the first millennium of our era, Beowulf is the elegiac narrative of the adventures of Beowulf, a Scandinavian hero who saves the Danes from the seemingly invincible monster Grendel and, later, from Grendel's mother. He then returns to his own country and lives to old age before dying in a vivid fight against a dragon.

The poem is about encountering the monstrous, defeating it, and then having to live on in the exhausted aftermath. In the contours of this story, at once remote and uncannily familiar at the end of the twentieth century, Seamus Heaney finds a resonance that summons power to the poetry from deep beneath its surface.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “[A] translation that manages to accomplish what before now had seemed impossible: a faithful rendering that is simultaneously an original and gripping poem in its own right…Generations of readers will be grateful.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “[Heaney] has made a masterpiece out of a masterpiece.”

    Financial Times

  • [Heaney’s] translation of the poem was commissioned for and is going straight into The Norton Anthology of English Literature; set for virtually every introductory course in English on the North American continent…Heaney’s Beowulf Is the poem now.

    Times Literary Supplement

  • “Seamus Heaney’s stunning new translation gives the epic a much-needed dusting-off, so much so that this version is certain to become a standard classroom text. But that sells it short: The translation makes this northern Gilgamesh gripping and racy, startingly contemporary.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • Winner of the Whitbread Award for Book of the Year in 1999
  • Winner of the Whitbread Award for Poetry in 1999

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Kasey | 2/13/2014

    " it is really good! its alot more interesting than it looks "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by April | 1/24/2014

    " I remember in high school having to read, dissect, discuss, and write at least four seperate papers on Beowulf. It took all the fun out of it and made it a chore. A few years ago I reread it just to see if as an adult it would take on a new life for me... it did. Epic in every way!!! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Isabella Gray | 1/1/2014

    " I know this is considered a classic but it is the book that nearly killed my love affair with books. I was assigned to read it in 7th grade and I could barely get through it because it was so awful. I begged the teacher to assign me anything else but he was a prick (as witnessed through other behavior, not just because of this) and he refused. He said Beowulf was a masterpiece and I could read it or get an "F". I was well-read and enjoyed books of all different genres and up until I came across Beowulf, there were no books I didn't get SOMETHING out of. This book gave me nothing. It was not a masterpiece for me. It was a flaming bag of dog poop that my prick of a teacher left on my front porch. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Carolyn | 12/10/2013

    " So often we avoid reading the classic literature about which English teachers rave. In this case go ahead and read it. Seamus Heaney has done a remarkable job of translating this ancient text into language which all of us want to read. "

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About the Author
Author Seamus Heaney

Seamus Heaney (1939–2013) was an Irish poet, playwright, translator, and lecturer. He won numerous awards, including the PEN Translation Prize and two Whitbread Prizes. In 1995 he received the Nobel Prize in Literature. He published many collections of poetry and prose, as well as numerous translations, the best known of which was his translation of Beowulf, which became a New York Times bestseller in 1999.