A Dramatic Translation
Vinsonhaler, a bold and subtle critic of this poem, has produced a
translation for our times: grief-stricken and appalled
by bloody wars waged for the glittering loot, which in
the end lies buried beneath a monument, useless, as it was before.
Her ear, attuned to the richer beauty and greater cogency of an ironic
reading, has taught her to translate the poems dark music as
a rejection of the value of death; her radical interpretation strikes
this reader as not only true but necessary.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxMary Baine Campbell,
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxAuthor, Wonder &
in Early Modern Europe
This new translation, sure to spark excitement
and debate, challenges conventional views of the poem at every juncture.
For the first time the question is raised whether we should view Beowulf
as a positive figure at all.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxEdward R. Haymes, Cleveland
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxAuthor, Heroic Legends
of the North
Chris Vinsonhalers Beowulf is not
just another translation of this classic of British literature. Its
the first genuinely new translation that I have seen in 30 years of
studying, reading, and teaching the poem. Her years of performing
the poem before live audiences have paid off handsomely, for she has
recovered the poems long-lost orality with her sensitive rendering
of its richly complex textures of ironic voices and aural resonances
largely overlooked by generations of tone-deaf translators. The result
is the first performance interpretation of Beowulf, one
that also soundly challenges the traditional heroic reading of the
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxRon Stottlemyer, Carroll
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxProfessor of English