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Categories: British, Medieval, Scottish, Translation
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (128 pages)
(Pub. Nov 2002)
eBook (EPUB) Needs ADE!
(Pub. Nov 2002)
(Pub. Nov 2002)
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Edwin Morgan's Beowulf has been a popular standard translation for half a century. His version is a vigorous, spoken English and conveys the heroism, violence and pathos of the first English epic. The poem marks a key moment in Edwin Morgan's development, as he recalls: 'This translation of Beowulf was made in the last years of the 1940s and was published in hardback by the Hand and Flower Press in 1952. In the present Carcanet edition, poem and introduction have been kept the same despite temptations to tinker here and there. The translation which was begun shortly after I came out of the army at the end of the Second World War, was in a sense my unwritten war poem, and I would not want to alter the expression I gave to its themes of conflict and danger, voyaging and displacement, loyalty and loss. Inter arma musae tacent ("In the time of conflict the Muses are silent"), but they are not sleeping.'
Edwin Morgan was a major translator. In 2011 he was awarded the Weidenfeld Translation Prize for his version of Racine, Phaedra. His Carcanet titles include his Collected Translations (1996).
Awards won by Edwin Morgan Winner, 2000 Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry
Praise for Edwin Morgan 'distinctly and excitingly nonconformist [...] they stunningly convey the poet's love for Glasgow. The traditional structure is interjected with Scottish language and anecdotes, making it a thought-provoking read.'
'A broad celebration of one of the most lively and creative writers of his time'
Mike Ferguson, Stride Magazine
'For readers new to Morgan, it forms a perfect introduction, showcasing his fearless experimentation... For those who already know Morgan's work, this selection is a welcome romp of rediscovery. It offers a reminder that he masters every form - from sonnets to strict rhyme schemes with free rhythm to the disintegrating word curtains of some of his early concrete poems - and gilds them all with the humour and humanity that infuse his own effervescent voice.... He never shrinks from the darkness but the shimmering beauty of his words somehow makes it more bearable.'
Fiona Rintoul, The Herald
'Thank God, thank whatever all-seeing quick-witted deity you like, we have Edwin Morgan to show us how to live, and keep living..."pleasure" is nowhere strong enough to convey the joyous energy of his work.'
'Edwin Morgan's translation of twent-five poems into Scots, now reissued after almost half a century, finesses one difficulty by substituting another. Wi Haill Voice gives Mayakovsky a shout from the streets without making him a Dickensian exercised in dialect - Scots provides the necessary sense of estrangement.'
William Logan, The New Criterion
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