Identities in Seamus Heaney’s Translation of Beowulf


  • Eleonora Nakova Katileva UOC



Beowulf, linguistics, literature, Old English, poetry, translation


The present article sets out to prove the hypothesis that the Modern English translation of Beowulf by Seamus Heaney reflects his Irish political and cultural roots. His interpretation aroused the interest of critics by its use of Hiberno-English and dealing with linguistic structural tasks in a different way for the first time. By considering specific examples from the original and the translated version of the poem, the present article analyses the linguistic choices made by Heaney in his translation of the Old English version of Beowulf taking into account its critical reception and the author’s personal opinions and experiences. It sets out to establish the roots of this translation in Heaney’s upbringing in rural Ireland by observing specific memories from his own childhood, family members, politics and surroundings. The article also compares this translation to previous ones to provide the reasons for the uniqueness of Heaney’s rendering and establish its importance in today’s literary scene. 


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How to Cite

Nakova Katileva, E. (2020). Identities in Seamus Heaney’s Translation of Beowulf. The Grove - Working Papers on English Studies, 27, 57–70.