Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Beyond Beowulf

It's a little-known fact that a highly ranked institution of higher learning granted me a Ph.D. in English some years ago without bothering to verify that I had read Beowulf. In fact I had not, thus disqualifying myself for the first half of the survey course that used to be called "from Beowulf to Virginia Woolf." (There's lots more in that first half that I probably couldn't teach, but we won't go there now.)

Eventually I read Beowulf because my dad translated it. That's right. He read it about ten years ago and got so interested in it that he worked up the Old English to make his own verse translation.

Have I mentioned that my dad's retired?

Anyway, after the translation was finished, he found he had more to say about these people, and the result is his new book, Beyond Beowulf. In alliterative verse, like the original (well, except not quite: read the introduction to find out more), the poem tells a great story of a people searching for a new place, a new life. I'm hoping to read it to Nick this summer; he enjoyed Nancy Farmer's Sea of Trolls a year or two ago, and knows enough about Vikings and Irish monks and the like to enjoy it a lot.

And now Dad has a blog, too, where you can find out more about Beyond Beowulf and his other books (eventually, or so he says). [edited to provide correct url!]

So, thanks, Dad, for forcing me to fill one of those gaps in my neglected education, and for giving us all more to read!


Susan said...

Your DAD has a BLOG? AND he translated Beowulf?!? How cool is that? It's so cool it's... Antarctica! Wow.

KingBeowulf said...

I read a translation of Beowulf in the 5th grade and the image of he and Grendel was so powerful I gave my Son the name. (Middle name did not have the guts to stick it on first.)

You also might want to check out Gardener's "Grendel" same story but told from the view point of guess who?

blogolodeon said...

This coolness itself! I just ordered the book -- I, too, have never read Beowolf, so your dad has helped cure another defect in someone's education. Aren't people great!