[Novel] Beowulf (R.K. Gordon)

Beowulf

This might be the manliest book I have ever read; I couldn’t help feeling like one of the characters would eventually bite my head of. Still, for all the literary cred this epic poem has, like most myths, it offers very little in terms of story — it’s just a lot of burly mean killing dragons and monsters, and then feasting on raw meat and drinking mead from the skulls of their enemies (okay, maybe it doesn’t go that far).

What’s most interesting about the work, however, is its historical background and the aesthetics of its writing (parts of which are probably lost in translation). In any case, an interesting read if you want to learn how badass medieval warriors were, or if you want to test your skills against some seriously hard to penetrate, complex writing (in which case R.K. Gordon’s translation written in Early Modern English is probably the way to go; pick Seamus Heaney if you’d rather not struggle though… or you could go really medieval and read it in Old English).

Positive: Negative:
Fascinating, high-level writing Predictable, and not particularly interesting story
Fascinating historical background One-dimensional characters
Enlightening on the culture of medieval people

 

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