Saturday, December 02, 2017

Lee Sung-il's Beowulf

Lee Sung-il

Several weeks ago, Lee Sung-il - emeritus professor of Yonsei and expert in the English language from Old English onward - sent me a copy of his translation of Beowulf. I was already aware of the greatness of his achievement, having heard him read several lines at a medievalist conference some years back.

I'm no expert on Beowulf, but I have published a couple of articles on this ancient 'Anglo-Saxon' text, so I can perhaps be allowed a point of view in claiming that Lee's is the best modern rendering of this epic poem that we have.

But don't just listen to me. Here's what the expert Robert D. Stevick wrote in his forward to the translation:
Why read this translation of Beowulf? Because there isn't a better one to be found.
This text isn't just the translation. It's Beowulf in Parallel Texts, the Old English original on the left-hand page, Lee's translation on the right-hand page. The cover looks like this:

Go forth, therefore, to purchase it, and read . . .



At 3:18 PM, Blogger Kevin Kim said...

Is this the kind of book that can only be found at campus bookstores, or can one go to, say, Gyobo Bookstore to purchase it? I've already tried to find it on Kindle, but it seems not to be available as an e-book quite yet. (Do you know whether there are any plans to turn this into an e-book?)

At 8:09 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Sorry, Kevin, but I don't know which sort of bookstore to try. I also don't know about turning it into an e-book. I'm not much use on these practical issues . . .

Jeffery Hodges

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At 10:44 PM, Blogger Kevin Kim said...

Understood. There's a store in Itaewon called What the Book. If WTB doesn't stock a requested title, the store can usually order it, so I might try to grab this tome that way.

At 10:46 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Good luck, Kevin.

Jeffery Hodges

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