Resources & Recommendations | Seamus Heaney Reads Beowulf

Hey you, how’re we doing?

One thing I haven’t discussed much on the blog is my struggles with nightmares / night terrors insomnia. For a while, the nightmares and flashbacks became so immersive and terrifying I couldn’t physically get myself to sleep.

And then I discovered this gem. For those of you who don’t know, Beowulf is an anglo saxon epic/poem written around 800 AD. It is the papa of fantasy writing inspiring countless authors– most notably, Tolkien. It’s about a warrior (Beowulf) who challenges this monster (Grendel), the monster’s mother, and eventually a dragon. It was written down in Old English and the most common translation can be viewed here. I prefer the translation by Seamus Heaney, though, as it uses more alliteration and feels more authentic in terms of style and mood. Check out this excerpt:

“A ring-whorled prow rode in the harbour,
ice-clad, outbound, a craft for a prince.
They stretched their beloved lord in his boat,
laid out by the mast, amidships,
the great ring-giver. Far fetched treasures
were piled upon him, and precious gear.”

― Seamus Heaney, Beowulf

Luckily, there’s a reading that Heaney did of the text on YouTube. You can listen to Part 1 here:

And Part 2 here:

I hope you enjoy these, and that they help you in some way.

Take care, annieme-niac,

Annie

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