Beowulf (translated by JNO: Lesslie Hall)

Beowulf By


Beowulf is an epic poem written by an unknown author.  This particular version, the Gutenberg version (pre-loaded on my Kobo), is translated by JNO: Lesslie Hall.  The translator tried to keep the structure of the original poem as close to the original Anglo-Saxon structure as possible.  For each verse the translator also gives a short (one sentence) prose summary of what the verse is about.


Well I’m not very good with poetry because, in truth, I’m just not smart enough to understand poetry.  Had I not watched the Beowulf movie and had the translators own notes, I most likely would have been more lost than I was.  Those little translator notes in particular were great.  At the end of each chapter there are also little footnotes about certain translations and why the translator chose a certain word over another, which I ignored.

Since Beowulf is a poem, there isn’t the character development or in depth descriptions of the setting that you’d typically see in a story.  That’s neither good nor bad; it’s just a characterstic of poems.  I’m sure there are translations out there where the entire poem is translated into prose.  I probably would have understood the story more, but it just wouldn’t have the same feel to it I suppose.

There were some formatting issues that I didn’t like, but that has to do with the e-book and how it displays on the Kobo so I won’t comment on that here.

Despite some difficult to read passages, it was still a nice and quick read.  It’s not considered a classic for no reason.  I’ve also read somewhere that Beowulf is an extremely influential person in Tolkien’s works.

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