Old English Poetry: An Anthology
A Broadview Anthology of British Literature Edition
  • Publication Date: March 26, 2014
  • ISBN: 9781554811571 / 1554811570
  • 280 pages; 5½" x 8½"

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Old English Poetry: An Anthology

A Broadview Anthology of British Literature Edition

  • Publication Date: March 26, 2014
  • ISBN: 9781554811571 / 1554811570
  • 280 pages; 5½" x 8½"

R.M. Liuzza’s Broadview edition of Beowulf was published at almost exactly the same time as Seamus Heaney’s; in reviewing the two together in July 2000 for The New York Review of Books, Frank Kermode concluded that both translations were superior to their predecessors, and that it was impossible to choose between the two: “the less celebrated translator can be matched with the famous one,” he wrote, and “Liuzza’s book is in some respects more useful than Heaney’s.” Ever since, the Liuzza Beowulf has remained among the top sellers on the Broadview list.

With this volume readers will now be able to enjoy a much broader selection of Old English poetry in translations by Liuzza. As the collection demonstrates, the range and diversity of the works that have survived is extraordinary—from heartbreaking sorrow to wide-eyed wonder, from the wisdom of old age to the hot blood of battle, and to the deepest and most poignant loneliness. There is breathless storytelling and ponderous cataloguing; there is fervent religious devotion and playful teasing. The poems translated here are meant to provide a sense of some of this range and diversity; in doing so they also offer significant portions of three of the important manuscripts of Old English poetry—the Vercelli Book, the Junius Manuscript, and the Exeter Book.

Comments

“With a poet’s eye and a scholar’s touch, the acclaimed translator of Beowulf has given us a superb volume for both the common reader and the literature classroom. All the major Old English poetry is here, beautifully translated into living English verse, introduced and annotated by an expert Anglo-Saxon scholar. Liuzza’s anthology of highly accurate, scholarly, poetic translations captures the full expressive range of the oldest poetry in English: the mournful note of elegy, the profound beat of wisdom poetry, the ardent music of faith, and the high songs of heroic fame.” — Andrew Scheil, University of Minnesota

“The translations are beautiful—those of the elegies quite stunningly so. … Overall, this is a wonderful anthology.” — Andrew Scheil, University of Minnesota

Introduction

Preface—The Birth of Poetry

  • Bede, Ecclesiastical History IV.24 (The Story of Cædmon)

1. Elegies—Complaint and Consolation

  • The Wanderer
    The Seafarer
    Deor
    Wulf and Eadwacer
    The Wife’s Lament
    The Ruin

2. Wisdom—The Order of Wonder

  • The Cotton Maxims (Maxims II)
    The Gifts of Men
    The Fortunes of Men
    Vainglory
    The Order of the World
    Exeter Book Riddles
    Old English Metrical Charms
    • For a Swarm of Bees
      Against a Dwarf
      For a Sudden Stitch
      The Nine Herbs Charm

3. Faith—Heaven’s High King

  • Advent (Christ I)
    Seasons for Fasting
    Two Poems from MS Junius 11
    Exodus
    Daniel
    Poems from the Vercelli Book
    The Dream of the Rood
    Andreas
    The Fates of the Apostles
    Judith

4. Fame—Heroes and History

  • The Battle of Maldon
    The Battle of Brunanburh
    The Fight at Finnsburh
    Widsith

Contributing Editor & Translator R.M. Liuzza, a Professor in the English Department at the University of Toronto, is one of the general editors of The Broadview Anthology of British Literature.

For R. M. Liuzza’s translation of “The Seafarer” from Old English Poetry, click here. (Opens as a PDF.)