The First Poems in English

The First Poems in English This new selection of the most important and frequently studied of the Old English poems has the original Old English text with facing page verse translation

  • Title: The First Poems in English
  • Author: Michael Alexander
  • ISBN: 9780140433784
  • Page: 412
  • Format: Paperback
  • This new selection of the most important and frequently studied of the Old English poems has the original Old English text with facing page verse translation.

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      Published :2020-01-17T16:25:17+00:00

    About “Michael Alexander

    • Michael Alexander

      Michael Joseph Alexander born 1941 is a British translator, academic and broadcaster He held the Berry Chair of English Literature at the University of St Andrews until his retirement in 2003 He translated Beowulf into modern English verse.

    453 thoughts on “The First Poems in English

    • I remember lying on my coach reading the gnomic poems in this collection, waiting for a friend of mine to arrive. It was a few days after a heavy snowstorm, so his coming over was a pretty charitable effort. At about the same time as I heard him knock, I saw a small thrush alight on a phone wire outside my window, barely intelligible as a form through the frost. It was a really nice moment. My heater would shit out on me several days later, but for then I was pretty much content as I'll ever be. [...]

    • This anthology of poems from the Anglo-Saxons stands as testament to the artistic achievement of the Germanic people. I find that the translator, Michael Alexander, was correct in his belief that modernity seems to have looked over the contributions of Germanic culture in favor of Mediterranean ones. Of the selections he included my favorites would be "The Wanderer", "The Seafarer", The Gnomic Verses, "The Dream of the Rood", and "The Battle of Maldon". In both the Gnomic Verses and "The Dream o [...]

    • I loved the style of the riddles, and I think this is the book that everyone should read:1. Because it gives mew view on things, the poems are much different than the ones of modern era, or Greek(obviously)2. Shows different styles of the eras and places. 3. If you are writing anything similar to LOTR then this is for you.

    • This may sound strange, but I actually got a little teary-eyed after reading "Dream of the Rood". I am a big fan of Anglo-Saxon literature, and I enjoyed "Wanderer" and "The Seafarer" as well, but "The Dream of the Rood" definitely left a big impression on me. Amazing work of literature.

    • Particularly worth reading for the elegant and interesting (if not terribly) rigorous introduction that is far more interested in the works as poems than as historical artefacts. He is particularly clear on his principals of translation which add an additionally level of interest to the reading of the poems. Would recommend to those with an interest in translation or in the Anglo-Saxons.

    • Michael Alexander, the translator and compiler of this collection of ancient anglo-saxon poetry, says that his goal with this book is to make anglo-saxon poetry accessible and enjoyable for non-academics, and at this he mostly succeeds. Where he fails is, oddly enough, in the formatting. This is a terribly formatted book. For example, Michael spends a great deal of time in the introduction talking about how to read the poetry correctly, and he say stat there is a mid-line pause in each poem. In [...]

    • The chief interest in this edition of Old English poetry is in the translation. Michael Alexander took the bold step of not trying to translate the literal sense of the poems into modern English, but to try and preserve both the original form of the poems (alliterative, with each line broken into two half lines) and as much of the original vocabulary as can be retained without destroying the sense completely. And I must say this technique, for the most part, works brilliantly (at least for someo [...]

    • A worthwhile collection to read as an introduction to Anglo-Saxon literature (specifically poetry), especially for the near-complete version of "The Battle of Maldon" (an unsung classic, in my opinion). The only thing keeping it from being a five-star read is its brevity; it could definitely use some more informative notes to the poems, since those unfamiliar with Old English literature will find the information in the collection lacking in key details about the poems (estimated date they were w [...]

    • Hacía tiempo que quería releer esta compilación en particular, y me alegro de haberlo hecho. La poesía anglosajona se acomodó en un rincón del espectro emocional bastante limitado. El clima de melancolía y pérdida es constante, y nunca es interrumpido por los registros del humor, la furia y la alegría que uno encuentra, por ejemplo, en la literatura oral irlandesa. Pero trabajando dentro de esas limitaciones, los scop anglosajones lograron joyas como The wanderer, the Seafarer y The dre [...]

    • This is a great intro to Old English poetry. The introduction has a helpful guide to meter, pronunciation, and so on, plus a history. There are selections from all the major works, my favorite being selections from the riddles in the Book of Exeter. This is not only a great book for anyone interested in medieval studies and Old English literature in particular, but also a good option for fans of Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, both of whom were prominent philologists and reference the style and content [...]

    • I read this book mostly for the famous elegies "The Ruin," "The Wanderer," and "The Seafarer," the last of which was my favorite poem in high school. The imagery is perfect for autumn: grey skies, icy winds, and ruined cities, seen by those resigned to exile from the fires of home. While the poems about love and war were relatively dull, I found that some of the Exeter Riddles were almost as poetic as the elegies. I wonder if they inspired one of the most famous scenes in The Hobbit.

    • Again, I'm not rating anthologies. I read this because I was interested in the relation between it and The Seafarer, and I especially did enjoy that poem. I also thought the commentary from Alexander was highly enjoyable, although I prefer the Seamus Heaney translation of Beowulf to the portions of Beowulf translated here. Other poems, like the riddles, were interesting, but that's about it.

    • I have to say that this is a great collection. My favorite, and what would earn it a 5-star rating in my book even if the others were all terrible, were the riddle poems. However, that being said, the rest of the poems and prose in this collection are spectacular with great historic notes that give a fuller appreciation of the collected works.

    • These poems are very short and for the most part quite easy to read. Most of them are melancholy meditations on loss, revealing a time and place where life was short and painful and people had a deep appreciation for the simplest things. These poems express a very personal view of a people's intense love of home and hearth, and their profound need to belong.

    • Very Good. I learned more about Old English verse reading Alexander's notes than I have from many other books of O.E. poetry. I still love the Heaney translation of Beowulf but this version and the other poems have a different feel and much to recommend them.

    • Enjoyable commentary and poetic translation of Beowulf-era Anglo-Saxon poetry. Much of it survives only in fragments, more's the pity, for these poems were composed with wit and cunning, displaying a linguistic mastery that we literate moderns would not, perhaps, expect from an oral culture.

    • I found the editorial apparatus surrounding the poems long, at times dull, and surprisingly personal. Do follow the translator's suggestion and read the poems aloud. The Battle of Maldon is the best by far, and was kindly saved for last.

    • These Old English poems are beautifulI really like the "Wanderer" as it really summed up and expressed my thoughts in those lines.

    • "The Dream of the Rood" is one of the most interesting early British poems. It is a story told from the perspective of the wood that made the cross that Jesus died on.

    • Generations of teenagers have been bored stiff by "The Wanderer" and "The Seafarer," but they're teenagers. Also includes a nice sampling of riddles from The Exeter Book.

    • "Caedmon is the first poet in English whose name is known to us, because he is the first Christian poet, and therefore worth Bede's preserving."

    • Circa Jan. 30, 2011 (early british lit.)Read: Wanderer(an extension of the themes of Beowulf) The Dream of the Rood(Amazing.)

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