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Would that someone like Seamus Heaney would come along and translate the Book of Mormon from its rather dated rendition of the King's English into modern verse!

Sounds like you have found your calling in life.

I've read one interesting attempt by a BYU English professor to render the Book of Mormon as an epic poem. It was only in early draft form, though, and I don't know if it will ever see the light of day.

To really appreciate Beowulf, though, you have to read it in the original Klingon.


I don't have the source at hand, but I know of what you speak -- I believe that a portion of that work is included in the 2003 AML annual or in a somewhat recent edition of Irreantum.

One of my favorite lines from Beowulf comes in one of the lengthy sections describing the hero, the narrator implies that one of the reasons that he is such a good guy is that when "drunk he slew no hearth companions."

I really enjoyed reading Hearney's translation of Beowulf. I found it very vivid, even forceful at times. It was a great contrast to reading Mandlebaum's translations of Virgil and Dante (which I also really enjoyed).


William, I would appreciate a cite if you have time. I'd like to see how it turned out.

I wrote a paper about Beowulf as an English major years ago. I figured out that the monsters and the heroes lived by the same values -- the only difference was that the heroes were vaunted and the monsters condemned. What made a real hero was that you killed a lot of monsters and distributed the wealth with your fellow warriors. What made a great monster was that you killed a lot of humans and distributed the wealth with your fellow monsters. I'm sure I had some other points as well but those are the main ones I remember.

I still enjoyed reading Beowulf thoroughly.

Danithew: aren't there other differences that correspond to the values of the society in which the epic was created? For example, remind me of the state of the monsters' loyalty to their chieftains. Also, how hospitable are the monsters to their hearth guests? Do they freely give of their mead? Finally, when it comes to raw courage (not speaking of strength or prowess), how do the monsters measure up compared to the heroes?

It's been years since I read the story but I remember finding a lot of striking similarities. Honestly, without going back and reading the story, I couldn't tell you for sure... i just remember being a little surprised once I started to look at things that way.

Speaking of Beowulf, have any of you read Gardner's kind of postmodern riff on it called _Grendel_? Very good book, if a tad depressing. It's basically the tale told from the monster's perspective. And the monster has a *lot* of existential angst.

Peter J. Sorensen. "Mormoniad: The Book of Mormn as Proto-Epic." AML Annual 2003. Ed. LAvinia Fielding Anderson. Pages 21-33. Association for Mormon Letters: Provo, 2003.

And I've posted on A Motley Vision about it.

I read Beowulf for the first time last semester -- most kids I know read it in high school, but I managed to miss that part somehow. Really enjoyed it, especially as it was read in the context of a course on Germanic mythology.

I think my favorite part of it all -- that is, the part that makes me laugh because I'm sure it makes sense to some people, and in a way it makes sense to me, but the thought is amusing anyway -- is when Beowulf, having killed Grendel, then goes off to kill...

...Grendel's mother.

I guess I get mental images of a hero slaying a monster and then marching off to slay an old woman baking cookies in the middle of a swamp. It amuses me.

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