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Beowulf

Edwin Morgan

Cover Picture of Beowulf
RRP: GBP 9.95
Available
eBook (EPUB)
ISBN: 978 1 847776 04 4
Categories: British, Medieval, Scottish
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: July 2012
128 pages (print version)
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: Paperback, eBook (Kindle)
Digital access available through Exact Editions
  • Description
  • Author
  • Awards
  • Reviews
  • 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).
    Edwin Morgan (1920-2010) was born in Glasgow. He served with the RAMC in the Middle East during World War II. He became lecturer in English at the University of Glasgow, where he had studied, and retired as titular Professor in 1980. He was Glasgow's first Poet Laureate and from 2004 until ... read more
    Awards won by Edwin Morgan Winner, 2000 Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry
    Praise for Edwin Morgan   '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.'

    Kathleen Jamie 

    '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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