Translated by Dan Veach
Beowulf & Beyond is the first and only poetic translation to include not only Beowulf but all the best-known works of Anglo-Saxon literature in one convenient volume. Previously, students have had to buy a separate book to read essential works like “The Seafarer,” required reading in all courses of early English literature. And even these may miss some of the greatest delights of this period: the wonderful stories from Bede, the charms, sayings, spells, and riddles that inspire students to delve deeper into this strange and magical world. These translations, which derive their power from cleaving “close to the bone” of the original Anglo-Saxon, capture the power and punch of the original in a supple verse that sweeps the reader onward irresistibly.
Beowulf & Beyond
viii + 224 pages
6 x 9 inches
ISBN 978-1-948488-61-7 (paperback)
ISBN 978-1-948488-62-4 (PDF)
What a golden hoard of Anglo-Saxon Dan Veach has delved up for us: prose, riddles, spells, Beowulf and more, polishing away the grime of centuries so they shine as though freshly fashioned. I cannot think of a more deeply learned translator who, at the same time, wears his learning so lightly, locating each work with a brief introduction and letting its humanity gleam through. I was especially intrigued to see how he brings women to the fore here, as warriors, peace-weavers, and speakers with their own voices. The modern language is clear and uncluttered, with just enough color, melody, and flavor of old English (“dawn-sorrow”; “summerlong”; “mind full of murder”) to delight the eye, ear, and palate.
— A. E. Stallings, translator of Hesiod and Lucretius, author of Like and Olives.
In our country no one has translated Old English as acutely and richly. Jorge Luis Borges, one of Veach’s mentors, loved Anglo-Saxon above all other tongues. Ezra Pound, in his best early Cantos, imitated Anglo-Saxon figures. But Veach gives us more than resemblances—his characters leap off the page armed with primitive justice and beauty, in passages of unparalleled poetry.
— Willis Barnstone, Pulitzer Prize-nominated author of The Restored New Testament, The Gnostic Bible, and Borges at Eighty: Conversations, as well as numerous anthologies of world literature and translations of Chinese, Greek, and Spanish poetry.
About the Author
Dan Veach won the Willis Barnstone Prize, America's most prestigious single-poem translation prize, for his rendering of "The Seafarer" included in this volume. He edited and helped translate the first book of poetry by Iraqis about the American invasion: Flowers of Flame (Michigan State University Press, 2008), winner of an Independent Publisher Book Award. Founding editor of the international poetry journal Atlanta Review, author of Elephant Water and Lunchboxes, Veach is an internationally celebrated poet who has performed his work from Oxford to Cairo, Singapore to Beijing. He studied Anglo-Saxon with the great William Alfred at Harvard.