Sounds like the opening lines of a great comic book, huh? These are the opening lines of the epic poem ‘Beowulf’ from a translation that was published in 1999. Today’s Brit is it’s translator, Seamus Heaney. Heaney is a Nobel Prize winning poet in his own right, and despite being Irish, he is a technical Brit, coming from Northern Ireland. In the introduction to ‘Beowulf,’ he explains that the music/language of his translation from Old to Modern English owes its life to the ‘big voice’ of his father’s Ulster relatives. I’m very excited to report that I began reading Heaney’s ‘Beowulf’ today, and unlike my high school acquaintance with it, this time I don’t think I’ll be consulting the Cliff Notes.
I finished reading Seamus Heaney’s translation of ‘Beowulf’ last night, and while I do NOT intend to see the 2007 movie, for all kinds of reasons, I was interested to learn that Brendan Gleeson played Wiglaf. Wiglaf, in the poem, ends up in the morally superior position of being the only one of Beowulf’s men who does not run away in fear from the dragon. Brendan Gleeson will always be, first in my mind, Mad-Eye Moody.