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Extended Audio Sample Beowulf Audiobook, by Seamus Heaney Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.75 out of 53.75 out of 53.75 out of 53.75 out of 53.75 out of 5 3.75 (32 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Seamus Heaney Narrator: Seamus Heaney Publisher: Highbridge Audio Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2006 ISBN: 9781598871524
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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 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 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 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 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. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chris Linebarger | 12/10/2013

    " Unbelievable. Haven't read Beowulf since high school and I had the opportunity to work through it with my middle and high school students. Watching them dive into this poem and thoroughly enjoy it, was a true treat. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Davis Nguyen | 12/10/2013

    " This story was a very interesting book. It was very difficult for me to understand and follow the plot. It was written in a very different style than I am used to reading, so it was really hard for me to enjoy it, because I was confused half the time. The figurative language that the author used was very hard to understand, so I often had to read it several time to get an idea of what he was talking about. There were several types of tones that the author used in this story, but the one that I picked up was confident. I also watched the Beowulf movie a while ago, and there were many, many differences. In my opinion, even though I didn't completely understand the book version of Beowulf, I think that the book was much better than the movie version. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jenny Jump | 12/10/2013

    " This book is a visual and visceral feast for the senses. Action packed and fantastic. I'm loving every moment! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lesliemae | 11/18/2013

    " I'm drawn in by the boar-headed helmeted warrior fighting without community in the end. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Elisabeth | 10/1/2013

    " Definitely the best contemporary translation out there. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jas | 9/19/2013

    " I don't remember when I read a translation the first time. I read this one in 2009. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Sartor | 12/13/2012

    " Mead halls and trophy brides. What a boring culture! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Erin | 12/11/2012

    " If you can slog thru the old english it's a good story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joseph Longo | 9/30/2012

    " I discuss this book in my review of "Grendel." "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kathryn | 9/20/2012

    " I had to read this in college, and it was a tough read. The parts my professor explained, we're interesting, but a lot if it, I could understand because of the language. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Megan | 6/10/2012

    " Probably one of my favorite myths "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Samara | 11/7/2011

    " This is my favorite translation. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Katie | 10/16/2011

    " The best version of a classic. What else can I say? Beautiful. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Brandon Westlake | 9/10/2011

    " A good man battles a monster, violent and bloody. I read it for the first time in HS English as a senior "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Pamela(AllHoney) | 8/3/2011

    " I listened to the Librivox version and so had many different narrators. Most were good and I have no complains about that. Truly I have no real complaint about the poem itself. Not always easy to understand but still nice to listen to. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rick | 7/16/2011

    " Even better when read aloud! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 David Hile | 7/12/2011

    " Heaney did a great job with the translation of this epic poem. I think I enjoyed his essay on the translation as much as I did the poem. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Deborah | 7/9/2011

    " Read the English Literature Version you read in English Class "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Shannon | 5/21/2011

    " Historically valuable but I could not make it through the whole thing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rp | 5/18/2011

    " I have loved Beowulf since Elementary and I finaly own a copy. This one is great because it has the original text right beside the english translation. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Silvie | 5/17/2011

    " If you're going to read Beowulf, this is the version you'll want. I can't even put into coherent words what this story did for me. Yes, I know, it's dated, but the language! Brought me to tears more than once because I was so into it.

    Keep in mind I'm a Norse geek and a weenie. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Carly | 5/16/2011

    " Old school monster battles? Written by a cloistered monk? Instant five stars. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 John | 5/12/2011

    " A great story written by a great storyteller. Must be read with a glass of mead and a haunch of beef! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sherry | 5/10/2011

    " Just excellent. I enjoyed every line. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Eric | 5/9/2011

    " Meh, Liked the Odyssey a lot better. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sarah | 5/5/2011

    " I had to read this for school and I am not into prose at all, but overall it was a good book. Funny how the movie in parts does not coincide with the book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Phoenix | 5/4/2011

    " It has the potential to be a good book. The story is.... though for me unrelatable, interesting. Its that having been forced to read it a thousand times that makes me hate it and burst into tears at its mention. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Toby | 5/2/2011

    " I probably would not have gotten as much out of the book as I did if it was not for the introduction. Now I truely appreciate Seamus Heaney's masterpiece. "

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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.