Monday, September 5, 2016

Review: Beowulf

Beowulf Beowulf by Unknown
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Not being a scholar on such poems as "Beowulf" and having read it for the first time, I find it was beautifully written and in such a way as you can almost see the poetic imagery in front of your eyes. From the first words of the prologue - "Hear me!" - one may be caught in the trap of, regardless of the poems length of 3182 lines (no fear, only 99 pages), finishing the book in one day.

There is adventure, suspense, anticipation, blood, revenge, fantasy, death, mourning, villains, faith in God, glorious heroes, dreadful monsters, all elements of what makes a great story combined in one. There are moments that you can almost feel the character's emotions, for example, in Wiglaf's failed attempt to revive Beowulf from death and his resignation to the Christian God's will:

"...He was sitting
Near Beowulf's body, warily sprinkling
Water in the dead man's face, trying
To stir him. He could not. No one could have kept
Life in their lord's body, or turned
Aside the Lord's will: world
And men and all move as He orders,
And always have, and always will."

(lines 2853-2859)

For those not familiar and new to reading this kind of poetry, as I am, there is provided a helpful introduction, an informative afterword, and a glossary of names and a diagram of the genealogy of characters mentioned.

I encourage reading the classics. After reading this one, you will know why it is called a classic, and that it has been a classic for centuries.

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