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.