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Beowulf translated by Maria Dahvana Headley

Beowulf translated by Maria Dahvana Headley

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From the publisher:


A new, feminist translation of Beowulf by the author of the acclaimed novel The Mere Wife.

Nearly twenty years after Seamus Heaney’s translation of Beowulf— and fifty years after the translation that continues to torment students around the world — there is a radical new verse interpretation of the epic poem by Maria Dahvana Headley, which brings to light elements never before translated into English.

A man seeks to prove himself as a hero. A monster seeks silence in his territory. A warrior seeks to avenge her murdered son. A dragon ends it all. These familiar components of the epic poem are seen with a novelist’s eye towards gender, genre, and history. Beowulf has always been a tale of entitlement and encroachment — of powerful men seeking to become more powerful and one woman seeking justice for her child — but this version brings new context to an old story. While crafting her contemporary adaptation, Headley unearthed significant shifts lost over centuries of translation.

‘Maria Dahvana Headley has made an enthralling, scalding, contemporary epic; she combines newly-wrought ancient kennings with US street slang and lights up the women in the poem with unusual sympathy.’ MARINA WARNER, NEW STATESMAN 'BOOKS OF THE YEAR'