Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Book Review- Beowulf

For the Classics Club, the literary movement challenge, alphabet soup challenge, pre-printing press challenge, author a-z (unknown) challenge, books in translation challenge, back to the classics challenge, full house challenge and the Mount TBR challenge I read Beowulf. Yes, that's a lot of challenges it counted for... but it needs to because I'm signed up for a lot of challenges. :)
Synopsis from Goodreads: The earliest extant poem in a modern European language, Beowulf was composed 400 years before the Norman Conquest. As a social document, this great epic poem reflects a feudal, newly Christian world of heroes and monsters, blood and victory and death. As a work of art, it rings with a beauty, power, and artistry that have kept it alive for more than twelve centuries.
I was very pleasantly surprised by this book. It was a pleasant mixture of the epicness of Tolkien and the format of Homer's The Odyssey. I whizzed through this in one day, something I did not expect to do. It actually kept me riveted the whole way through. I enjoyed the Christian aspect to it and the unquenchable bravery of Beowulf. If you like Tolkien I think you'll love this as well. Tolkien actually wrote a translation of it but unfortunately that's not the copy my family had. Someday though I'm sure I'll re-read it and be sure to get that copy. The translation I did read was from Burton Raffel.
Beowulf goes in the Medieval section of my literary movement challenge. I think it belongs there not only because of the time period within which it was written but also because various aspects of the story fit into that movement such as the anonymity of it, it's written in old English, and the poetic style in which it was written.
This was the first book I read for 2015, which was very exciting! I actually started it about 12:30 the morning of New Years just for the fun of it and then finished it that evening. :)
How are you all doing with reading this year? :)

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  1. You're the first one to post a link for the Back to the Classics Challenge! Wow! I've never read Beowulf because epic poetry scares me. I'll have to give it a try sometime though -- I might add a pre-1800 classic challenge sometime. Thanks for linking up to my challenge!

    1. I know! I was excited to be the first! :) It was quite excellent, which surprised me. Give it a try.... it may surprise you too. :)

  2. I just read Tolkien's translation, and it was wonderful. I loved it. I have read Ian Serrailer's translation, which is pretty good, too. I missed the Christian overtones when I read Serrailer's version, several years ago; but Tolkien does not skimp on it. Also Tolkien's adds commentary on Beowulf and a story version, Sellic Spell, which I read to my kids last night, and they totally got into it. It was well done.

    1. Oh Tolkien's translation sounds so good! Hopefully I'll get ahold of a copy sometime soon! :) I love that the kids were able to enjoy it too. :)

  3. I have read this a couple of times over the years and listened to it - amazing - love epic poetry but have Tolkien's version on my list of to buys and looking forward to reading his take


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