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Stephen Mitchell
Beowulf by Stephen Mitchell at Abbey's Bookshop,


Stephen Mitchell


Yale University

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945);
Myth & legend told as fiction;
Religious & spiritual fiction;
Fiction in translation;
Christian life & practice


264 pages

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A widely celebrated translator's vivid, accessible, and elegantly concise rendering of an ancient English masterpiece Beowulf tells the story of a Scandinavian hero who defeats three evil creatures-a huge, cannibalistic ogre named Grendel, Grendel's monstrous mother, and a dragon-and then dies, mortally wounded during his last encounter. If the definition of a superhero is someone who uses his special powers to fight evil, then Beowulf is our first English superhero story, and arguably our best. It is also a deeply pious poem, so bold in its reverence for a virtuous pagan past that it teeters on the edge of heresy. From beginning to end, we feel we are in the hands of a master storyteller.

Stephen Mitchell's marvelously clear and vivid rendering re-creates the robust masculine music of the original. It both hews closely to the meaning of the Old English and captures its wild energy and vitality, not just as a deep work of literature but also as a rousing entertainment that can still stir our feelings and rivet our attention today, after more than a thousand years. This new translation-spare, sinuous, vigorous in its narration, and translucent in its poetry-makes a masterpiece accessible to everyone.

Translated by:   Stephen Mitchell
Imprint:   Yale University
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 210mm,  Width: 140mm,  Spine: 24mm
Weight:   426g
ISBN:   9780300228885
ISBN 10:   0300228880
Pages:   264
Publication Date:   December 2017
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Unspecified

Stephen Mitchell'smany books include Tao Te Ching, which has sold over a million copies, The Gospel According to Jesus, Bhagavad Gita, The Book of Job, Gilgamesh, and The Iliad.

Mitchell aims to find for Beowulf a `contemporary language that seems natural and alive', and he does this well... His rendering of Beowulf has much to offer -narrative momentum, clarity, a sense of the poem's heroic verve, and a contemporary slant. -Susan Irvine, Times Literary Supplement A most readable, energetic, and colorful translation of this savage epic. . . . An amazing achievement. -Billy Collins Stephen Mitchell's new translation of Beowulf is elegantly wrought, highly accurate, and fully annotated. It is a compact and remarkably readable version. -Eric Weiskott, Boston College Stephen Mitchell comes as close to fulfilling the translator's task as anyone at work today. He admirably balances two imperatives: to maintain fidelity to the text while rendering it available to the English we speak today. Mitchell's reader-friendly version of Beowulf honors the narrative and will extend the readership for this foundational work of English literature. -David Lehman Mitchell's version is eloquent and conveys a true sense of the original. In addition, his notes are a great enhancement. -Harold Bloom

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