Reflection: Unit Planning Shrink the Epic: Introducing "Beowulf" and the Anglo-Saxon Period of English Literature - Section 1: Time Frame

 

When I began teaching, I didn't realize the importance of choosing the right edition of a text. The textbook my school uses has excerpts from the Burton Raffel translation of Beowulf. We also have the full-text of Raffle's Beowulf. My first teaching job I used an old Scott Foresman text with excerpts from the Kennedy translation. 

Typically, I teach excerpts of the epic and combine the Raffel and Kennedy translations because I like to include the Unferth swimming match, which isn't in our text but is in the old SF text. 

At times I have taught the complete Raffel text but have found students get bogged down in the family history sections. 

Most critics agree that the Seamus Heaney translation is a far superior work than others in terms of accessibility to students, both at the secondary and undergrad level. 

If we really want to make Beowulf accessible to students, the best choice is Seamus Heaney's Beowulf. So lively and engaging is it that he became an overnight sensation and hit the best seller lists when it was published in 2001. It truly is a translation for 21st Century students. 

  From Old English to Late Modern English: Choosing a Translation
  Unit Planning: From Old English to Late Modern English: Choosing a Translation
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Shrink the Epic: Introducing "Beowulf" and the Anglo-Saxon Period of English Literature

Unit 6: We Need a Hero: The Anglo-Saxon Epic "Beowulf"
Lesson 1 of 7

Objective: SWBAT identify major plot details and characters in the Anglo Saxon epic "Beowulf."

Big Idea: Front-loading activities prepare students to read the Old English, Anglo-Saxon epic.

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Subject(s):
English / Language Arts, Anglo-Saxon, epic poem, Beowulf, Seamus Heaney, Beowulf Shrinklit, The History of English in Ten Minutes
  45 minutes
beowulf seamus heaney
 
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