Author(s): Maria Dahvana Headley
A new, feminist translation of Beowulfby the author of The Mere Wife
Nearly twenty years after Seamus Heaney's translation of Beowulf -- and fifty years after the translation that continues to torment high-school students around the world -- there is a radical new verse translation of the epic poem by Maria Dahvana Headley, which brings to light elements never before translated into English.
A man seeks to prove himself as a hero. A monster seeks silence in his territory. A warrior seeks to avenge her murdered son. A dragon ends it all. These familiar components of the epic poem are seen with a novelist's eye toward gender, genre, and history. Beowulfhas always been a tale of entitlement and encroachment -- of powerful men seeking to become more powerful and one woman seeking justice for her child -- but this version brings new context to an old story. While crafting her contemporary adaptation, Headley unearthed significant shifts lost over centuries of translation; her Beowulfis one for the twenty-first century.