Beowulf

October 31, 2020
Beowulf

Any translation is a reading. Chris McCully readsBeowulf as an epic written in English using all thecomplex metrical conventions of its time, as well as distinctiveepic tropes including sea-crossings, oracular pronouncements, andencounters with the monstrous. This version renders the original inreadable contemporary English, but also keeps as close as it can tothe older, alliterative metrical system, so that readers mayexperience something of the textures and formal properties of theoriginal. An "Afterword" explains the translator's formal choicesand explores the nature of this epic, with its emphasis on tribe,location and mortality."McCully captures the special magic and power of the Beowulfpoet's word-pile and life-thoughts." —Martin Duffell, Fellow ofQueen Mary, University of London