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The earliest extant poem in a modern European language, Beowulf was composed 400 years before the Norman Conquest. As a social document, this great epic poem reflects a feudal, newly Christian world of heroes and monsters, blood and victory and death. As a work of art, it rings with a beauty, power, and artistry that have kept it alive for more than twelve centuries.
Burton Raffel has taught English, Classics, and Comparative Literature at universities in the United States, Israel, and Canada. His books include translations of Beowulf, Horace: Odes, Epodes, Epistles, Satires, The Complete Poetry and Prose of Chairil Anwar, From the Vietnamese, Ten Centuries of Poetry, The Complete Poetry of Osip Emilevich, Mandelstram (with Alla Burago), and Poems From the Old English and The Annotated Milton; several critical studies, Introduction to Poetry, How to Read a Poem, The Development of Modern Indonesian Poetry, and The Forked Tounge: A Study of the Translation Process; and Mia Poems, a volume of his own poetry. Mr. Raffel practiced law on Wall Street and taught in the Ford Foundation’s English Language Teacher Training Project in Indonesia.