The Song of BEOWULF by J. D. Winter
Call Number: ebook
Publication Date: 2018-06-01
An epic poem is a performance. The telling of Beowulf carries something of the days of its pre-literary composition, as it evolved as something memorised, half spoken and half sung, over many generations. The single manuscript we have, from about 1000 AD, is the end result of a great chain of poetic adaptation. Of all new versions Seamus Heaneys (1999) has made the most striking impact, in part for his willingness to experiment, to be a new scop or oral poet, to depart at times from the exact text and join the tradition when there was no such thing. The licence such an approach adopts can make for a riveting poem in itself, a work of wonder. But there is a different route to the flame of the original. J.D. Winters rendering of the Beowulf song accepts the text as historical fact, and by a gradual revelation of its deeper music, discovers an illumination from within.