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ISBN: 978 1 857545 88 3
Categories: British, Medieval, Scottish, Translation
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: November 2002
215 x 137 x 10 mm
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: eBook (EPUB), eBook (Kindle)
Digital access available through Exact Editions
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 '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
'[Dreams and Other Nightmares] is a gorgeous lucky-bag of bits and pieces...'
Alan Spence, Sunday Herald Best Books Of 2010 'Morgan's poetry has always been large, vigorous and imaginative. It has been energetic and various.'
lain Crichton Smith 'There seems no subject Morgan cannot alight upon with his effervescent art.'
The Scotsman 'Morgan is just as capable of taking the breath away in cool, stanzaic English, as in roustabout Scots free verse.'
VERSE 'Edwin Morgan is probably the writer most influential (in this) generation of Scottish poets.'
Robert Crawford '(Morgan) is still at the height of his powers as storyteller, polemicist, lyric poet and translator.'
Alan Brownjohn 'Mr Morgan writes in a way which I would characterise as generous and forceful as well as immediately sensible.'
The Scotsman 'Mr Morgan is as versatile as he is inventive ... the qualities that most appeal are a capacity for celebration ... and an unsentimental humaneness, a considering sympathy.'
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