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Beowulf the Warrior

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    Beowulf the Warrior

    What are your thoughts on Beowulf the Warrior? I'm surprised to see that MP uses a retelling aimed at youth rather than a translation for Beowulf. My oldest daughter (currently in 8th) read Seamus Heaney's translation of Beowulf last year and really enjoyed it. She was excited to see it scheduled for 9th grade in the MP catalog, but then we saw that MP's edition was a retelling rather than a translation and took it off of our list. Am I missing something? Generally MP has high expectations for their students, but here they seem to aiming low. Even the public schools around here read Beowulf in high school.
    For the record, I'm not knocking Beowulf the Warrior. It seems like a neat book. I actually just ordered it to use as a read-aloud for my 10yo and 13yo. My question is really about whether it's appropriate for high school literature.

    #2
    Beowulf is one of the few things we do in an abridged manner. Much as we prefer to work with as original a version the literature as possible, our founder felt that, given Beowulf's place in our 9th grade literature studies, taking the time to work with the direct translation of Beowulf (alongside Gawain, Shakespeare, etc.) at the same level as we do the other works that year would not make sense. We can absolutely recommend reading Beowulf fully to 9th grade students, but for the purposes of our literature course expectations, a familiarity with the story and its themes will do.

    Another possible factor is that Beowulf the Warrior is a higher-quality abridgement than one can find for most of the other works we teach at that level. If we have to abridge anything, the availability of an abridgement we can confidently vouch for recommends its replacement over that of any other books at that grade level.

    Given that our course organization is built to be equally workable in a classroom or homeschool setting, however, that means that in the microcosm of one's home, I think I can safely encourage you to "unabridge" your literature in this case if your students seem up to the task! As you say, we believe our kiddos can engage with these books fully; the few occasions on which we do take the easy path, then, have far more to do with scheduling than content - except for the Canterbury Tales, which 100% require abridgement.

    - Jon

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      #3
      Originally posted by Meg323 View Post
      For the record, I'm not knocking Beowulf the Warrior. It seems like a neat book. I actually just ordered it to use as a read-aloud for my 10yo and 13yo. My question is really about whether it's appropriate for high school literature.
      We did this. I was teaching co-op classes at the time and ended up using the Beowulf the Warrior for my younger group and when dd got to the 9th grade level, we used Heaney. I've mostly used MPs lit as unit studies, though, picking the titles that worked best for our particular year.
      Bean. Long time MP user. I usually post before my coffee is finished. I apologize in advance for my typos and grammatical mishaps.

      DD 10th: Aerospace enthusiast. All AP & dual enrollment courses for 20-21.

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        #4
        Tangential: I adore Heaney's audiobook reading of his Beowulf translation. I made the kids listen to it in the car just the other day. Captive audience!
        Festina lentē,
        Jessica P

        Next up this fall!
        2021-2022
        12th year HSing • 10th year MP
        12th • Latin online, DE Calculus & Physics, HLN
        10th • HLN, Latin online, MPOA Geometry
        7th • HLN & Home
        4th • HLN & Home

        Highlands Latin Nashville Cottage School

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          #5
          Originally posted by pickandgrin View Post
          Tangential: I adore Heaney's audiobook reading of his Beowulf translation. I made the kids listen to it in the car just the other day. Captive audience!
          Yes, the audio really "made" that year for dd.
          Bean. Long time MP user. I usually post before my coffee is finished. I apologize in advance for my typos and grammatical mishaps.

          DD 10th: Aerospace enthusiast. All AP & dual enrollment courses for 20-21.

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