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Download Beowulf Audiobook (Unabridged)

Extended Audio Sample Beowulf (Unabridged), by C. W. Kennedy
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (94,869 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: C. W. Kennedy Narrator: Charlton Griffin Publisher: Audio Connoisseur Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2005 ISBN:
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Out of the mixture of Latin & Germanic paganism and the Christianity of the Early Middle Ages sprung one of the world's supremely great pieces of literature. J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings, delivered a famous lecture to the British Academy in 1936 in which he maintained that Beowulf was a poem all of a piece, not (as had been suggested) a jumble of fragments for pedantic scholars to paw over. The power & beauty of Beowulf enchanted Tolkien so much that he borrowed freely of its imagery & even of some of its plot when he forged his own epic of Middle Earth.

This medieval masterpiece, written in pre-Norman England Saxon, lay forgotten for centuries, rediscovered & printed for the first time early in the 19th century. It has been translated many times since, and the more people read Beowulf, the more they admire it. For good reason. In strikingly beautiful lines, it affirms the ideal of tenderness joined to strength, and of courage ennobled by virtue. It speaks resounding tones of valor, faith, and honor. It's a heroic tale of pagan Germanic origin, a saga of a vanishing age retold in the new light of the Christian era. Its author, most likely an educated monk from Northumbria, was certainly influenced by the work of Virgil. The old pagan legends of blood feuds & monsters formed the dark background against which the Christian hero Beowulf would shine forth with deeds of courage & virtue. Of all old Anglo-Saxon poems, Beowulf is the greatest.

This version of Beowulf is organized in 17 parts. Within some sections, there are digressions which do not, strictly speaking, belong to the central plot. These sections, called lays, have been enhanced by an echo to help the listener detect them. An introduction by Henry Bradley precedes the poem.

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Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sherry Chandler | 2/16/2014

    " Just excellent. I enjoyed every line. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Heath | 2/14/2014

    " A good translation of the Old English epic. The depiction of the hero of the Geats, Beowulf. It is brutal and gory, as are most stories of glory. Beowulf is a self-centered man turned king. He seeks to impress everyone and claim all heroics for himself, and you wonder why people are so loyal to him. However, you can't help but feel sympathy and sadness for him and his men in his final battle. It is the depiction of a hero from youth and height of victory to his old age and passing. It is truly a wondrous tale. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tanya Hakala | 1/21/2014

    " I highly recommend reading this out loud or having it read to you. I haven't yet taken the time to compare it to the original Old English. Impressive translation, getting the meter and alliteration to match. I think Ringler may have been a bit heavier handed with the God imagery than I recall, but, again, I need to go back to the original poem and compare. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Anthony J. | 1/19/2014

    " This Germanic epic features both a staggering number of instances of legendary hyperbole and a startling simplicity of thought characteristic of modern bedtime stories. However, to lambast it for its apparent lack of intellectual depth or a complex plot is to misunderstand the purpose and genre of the work. It is very much an ancient bedtime story for adults, a fairy tale of manly exploits, and a subtle statement of belief of newly Christianized Germanic tribes occupying Northwest Europe during the early Middle Ages. It can and should be enjoyed for its own sake and appreciated for its clear single-mindedness. However, if an academic analysis is deemed necessary, then it should be noted that a tightly balanced parallel plot structure, a respectable amount of both implied and stated political intrigue, and an incredible depth and breadth of symbolism are present and waiting to be discovered in a work that is primarily known for featuring sea monsters, a treasure-guarding dragon, and copious amounts of mead. Whether Beowulf is analyzed or simply enjoyed, however, the exploits of the prince of the Geats have withstood the test of time, and for very good reason. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Macha | 1/8/2014

    " oh look, here's the version i threw across the room, then de-accessioned "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Schwa51 | 1/4/2014

    " If you have tried to read Beowulf before, try this version. Heaney has produced a wonderful translation, that flows like I imagine a tale retold, night after night, year after year, in a dark crowded hall should flow. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Deb | 1/2/2014

    " The Seamus Heaney translation is the BEST version ever! Love that it is in both languages and the story is just riveting anyways! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stu | 1/2/2014

    " Yes, weirdly enough I actually really enjoined reading this, I have the version with the old enlish alongside the translation. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Leah | 12/30/2013

    " I quiver in ecstasy for the voice of Seamus Heaney. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 J. Brook | 12/27/2013

    " Not thoroughly enjoyable. I pretty much only read it so that I can say that I did. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Miranda | 12/12/2013

    " Difficult read. Similar to move but also different! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kendra | 11/30/2013

    " 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. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jenee | 11/24/2013

    " Interesting enough. Not one of my favorites. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jared Seth | 11/22/2013

    " The mixture of post-Christian thought and pagan beliefs takes authenticity away from the story, but overall it is quite enjoyable. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Betsy | 11/19/2013

    " Interesting early tale. Good read and interesting historical perspective. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Brad | 10/27/2013

    " This is a great work. The translation is incredibly readable and maintains the exciting, moment by moment excitment of the poetry. This one is worth reading, and the translation reads with artful intensity. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jillian | 8/1/2013

    " For a classic, old English story, it was not bad. It has themes that are still relatable and it makes a good action story. It was required reading for me, otherwise I would not have read it, but it was definitely worth reading. Superheroes are fun! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Missy | 7/2/2013

    " Read in junior high school. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Caroline Ann | 5/26/2013

    " This book and subsequent AP English essay senior year awoke the feminist in me that had been hibernating for far too long. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tim Mocarski | 10/7/2012

    " This translation won the National Book Award in Britain and with very good reason. Heaney's translation is a fresh and modern approach to the Old English! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Caitlin | 9/1/2012

    " The Seamus Heany translation is truly spectacular, an insight into the structure and sound of Anglo-Saxon. Also interesting: Benjamin Bagby's performance of Beowulf. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bryce | 4/16/2012

    " Not my exact edition (mine in Anchor's First edition, 1977) but close enough. A lot of great supporting info, including a "Guide to Reading Aloud." "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Soleil | 4/9/2012

    " I wasn't thrilled by it, but I did think it was signifcantly better than othr books I have had tgo read for English class. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Meagan | 2/4/2012

    " Somewhat hard to get through but the story was trully amazing. One side of the book was the old english type and the other modern english so it was really fun to compair the two =) "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Michael Sommers | 11/19/2011

    " Heaney's translation is okay, but it is too polished, too smooth, too modern, too ... civilized. Not alliterating really changes the tone of the poem. I prefer Burton Raffel's translation. Of course, the original is better than any translation, but Old English is a foreign tongue to us. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Brenton | 11/10/2011

    " Really too difficult to read to appreciate "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 J.A. | 6/30/2011

    " Heaney adds the depth and emotion lacking in most translations. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Patty | 6/30/2011

    " Kickstarted Senior Year AP English! Thanks Laverne, I mean, Mrs. Johnson.
    "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tracy | 6/30/2011

    " I read this in college and wrote a paper on Grendel. To this day, it is still one of my favorite paper writing experiences. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Eileen | 6/29/2011

    " A vibrant translation! My students love it! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Paul | 6/26/2011

    " This translation opened a window on the love between Grendel and his own father. A little different perspective from earlier translations, and more sensitive to the plight of Grendel. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sylvain | 6/24/2011

    " I've always enjoyed the story of Beowulf. The story is fascinating as are the strange references to Christianity ... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gail | 6/23/2011

    " Heaney's translation is the best to date. This reader felt a meaningful connection between translator and epic rather than though not devoid of dedication to verse. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Scott | 6/23/2011

    " Was good, a shot of the mindset of the 8th century. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Abby | 6/21/2011

    " it was kind of boring. its an old classic though so im happy ive read it. :) or at least i think its classic. idk. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Amanda | 6/15/2011

    " Beowulf makes me want to learn Old English. It's so awesome. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kevin | 6/14/2011

    " Good translation, and it helped...but only finished the part with Grendel. Will finish the dragon part later, maybe, but not sure if I need it for my "project".... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Steven | 6/10/2011

    " I like to think of myself as a descendant of a spear-Dane. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ellen | 6/8/2011

    " Having studied this one in the original, I know that Heaney takes a lot of liberty with the text, but what he turns out is magnificent. This book made me fall in love with the English language when I was 13, and it does so again every time I open it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Vicki | 6/7/2011

    " I read a version by Nye. It was good - should I read it with a 5th grade class or is it too scary??? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amanda | 6/3/2011

    " A lyrical yet accurate version of the original hero-must-slay-the-dragon story. An important source for Tolkien. "

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