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Search tags: novel-in-verse
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review 2018-01-13 02:07
Beowulf: A New Verse Translation
Beowulf: A New Verse Translation - Seamus Heaney,Anonymous

The oldest epic poem in English follows the feats of its titular protagonist over the course of days and years that made him a legend among his clan, friends, and even enemies.  Beowulf was most likely orally transmitted before finally be written down several centuries later by an unknown Christian hand in Old English that today is readily accessible thanks to the translation by Seamus Heaney.

 

The epic tale of Beowulf begins in the mead hall of King Hrothgar of the Danes which is attacked by the monster Grendel for years.  Beowulf, upon hearing of Hrothgar’s plight, gathers fourteen companions and sails from Geatland to the land of the Danes.  Hrothgar welcomes the Geats and feasts them, attracting the attention of Grendel who attacks.  One of the Geats is killed before the monster and Beowulf battle hand-to-hand which ends with Beowulf ripping off Grendel’s arm.  The monster flees and bleeds out in the swamp-like lair shared with his mother.  Grendel’s mother attacks the mead hall looking for revenge and kills one of Hrothgar’s long-time friends.  Beowulf, his companions, Hrothgar, and others ride to the lair and Beowulf kills Grendel’s mother with a giant’s sword.  After another feast, the Geats return home and fifty years later, Beowulf is King when a dragon guarding a hoard of treasure is awakened by a thief and goes on a rampage.  Beowulf and younger chosen companions go to face the fiery serpent, but all but one of his companions flees after the King goes to face the foe.  However, the one young warrior who stays is able to help the old King defeat the dragon though he his mortally wounded.  It is this young warrior who supervises the dying Beowulf’s last wishes.

 

This is just a rough summary of a 3000 line poem that not only deals with Beowulf’s deeds but also the warrior culture and surprisingly the political insightfulness that many secondary characters talk about throughout the poem.  The poem begins and ends with funerals with warrior kings giving look at pagan worldview even as the unknown Christian poet tried to his best to hide it with references to Christian religiosity.  Although some say that any translation deprived the poem of the Old English rhyme and rhythm, the evolution of English in the thousand years since the poem was first put down in words means that unless one reads the original with a dictionary on hand, this poem would not be read.  Heaney’s translation gives the poem its original epicness while also allowing present day readers a chance to “hear” the story in their own language thus giving it new life.

 

Beowulf is one of the many epic poems that have influenced storytelling over the centuries.  Yet with its Scandinavian pagan oral roots and Christian authorship it is also a melding of two traditions that seem at odds yet together still create a power tale.  Unlike some high school or college course force students to read the Old England or so-so translated excerpts from the poem, Seamus Heaney’s book gives the reader something that will keep their attention and greatly entertain.

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review 2017-12-30 12:37
History, Crime and Limericks
Crime Rhymes: From Bad to Verse - Dixie ... Crime Rhymes: From Bad to Verse - Dixie J Whitted

This was such a fun read. There were times I had to read the limericks out loud so that my husband (who was driving the car to KY again) could hear it. My middle child sat in the back groaning at the puns in the limerick. It had limericks on Holmes and Watson. It had a whole section on Lizzy Borden. There was even a little short story on the Borden murders and Sherlock Holmes and Watson came to solve it. Highly recommend this book. 

 

"A MELANCHOLY AIR

 

What is that lugubrious sound?

Some weird Baskervillian Hound?

People shudder and moan

At its uncanny groan—

It’s only Holmes, fiddling around."

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review 2017-12-23 01:57
So much going on in such a short time
Inhumans: Once And Future Kings (2017) #4 (of 5) - Christopher Priest,Ryan North,Phil Noto,Gustavo Duarte,Nick Bradshaw

Maximus and Black Bolt fight Spider-Man, leading to a feedback loop between Maximus and Peter Parker, in which Maximus frets over May while Spider-Man knows about Attilan. This is dealt with when Maximus tells him to forget in a half hour, and I'm assuming Parker does since he doesn't have insider knowledge of Attilan later on in the Marvel universe. 

 

Crystal comes to Earth to find her sister. 

 

Triton finds Karnak and they talk about what they'll do.   Karnak clearly cares about Triton even if he's a bit aloof about it all: he's aloof about everything, really, but the fact that he goes after Triton and tells him not to talk when he's out of water because it has to be hard to hold his breath and breathe say more than he does on the matter. 

 

Oh, and Elisha?  Not so sure he's trustworthy right now, which means that everyone may be in trouble now...

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review 2017-12-22 18:07
Gwen and Castle Versus DD/Kingpin
Spider-Gwen (2015-) #27 - Olivia Margraf,Veronica Fish,Jason Latour,Robbi Rodriguez

Keeping in mind that Matt Murdock, aka the biggest creep ever, is The Kingpin in this universe, and responsible for Gwen's father being in a coma?   That makes way more sense, now, doesn't it?   

 

Castle has killed The Rhino, who did the dirty work of beating Captain Stacy into his coma, and Gwenom isn't dealing well with her loss: her father being in the coma, and the loss of her chance at revenge against the main who was physically responsible.   Everyone tries to talk her out of this: Silk points out that he only controls her if he allows her to, and that revenge won't bring peace.   Not giving him another thought, though?

 

Maybe if she weren't Venomized, maybe she could let this go.   But Venom is in her now, and Gwenom can't let this go: can't forgive Castle, and can't forgive Murdock for engineering all this.    

 

The thing is Castle wants to go up against Murdock, too.  And so I misspoke.   Almost everyone is trying to convince Gwenom to let this go.   Castle is trying to convince her that now that she doesn't have anything to lose, she should absolutely join him and take down Murdock.   It's creepy all around, and Gwenom is doing what she wants - but also is a pawn of those who would try to convince her their horrible, horrible way is right.   

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review 2017-12-22 18:02
Gwen versus S.H.I.E.L.D
Spider-Gwen (2015-) #26 - Jason Latour,Robbi Rodriguez

As everyone starts to realize that the things Spider-Woman are doing are so out of character, and that there's something wrong with her, SHIELD even starts to take notice.   Can Gwen regain control, or is Gwenom here to stay?

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