Book Of The Week, 28th June 2021
Maria Dahvana Headley, Beowulf, Scribe, 2021
A New Translation by Maria Dahvana Headley
Horrifying monsters, blood-thirsty warriors, gold-drenched glory – you think you know the real story of Beowulf? Think again!
While remaining true to the original poem, Maria Dahvana Headley’s recently published adaptation fizzes with new perspectives, and unflinchingly draws our attention closer to themes that are often left underexplored, particularly around issues of gender, sexuality, and the position of Grendel’s’ mother.
An astonishing retelling of the oldest-known work of English literature, this translation is fresh and strikingly modern, and is a must-read – for newcomers to the story, and for those familiar with Seamus Heaney’s legendary interpretation. As this tale shows, we might wear not armour into battle, but we are still surrounded by demons.