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1155Re: New Beowulf

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  • David Lenander
    Feb 29, 2000
      Yes, I agree with you, Mary. I'm dubious about the necessity of rewarding
      Heaney's translation of Beowulf, for that matter. The news report I saw said
      that in part the award recognizes popularity. Personally, I think such an
      award is pretty silly. The financial reward and popularity ought to be reward
      enough, and I don't especially begrudge Harry Potter the popularity, but I
      think awards to call our attention to lesser-known but worthwhile works make
      more sense. And today is the deadline for e-mailing nominations to Ellie
      Farrell for the Mythopoeic Scholarship and Fantasy Awards.

      This morning in the car we were listening to Jane Yolen's _Wizard's Hall_ on an
      audiotape. Quite similar in some respects to Harry Potter, it's a earlier book
      that hasn't had near the the notice or readers. I don't know if the story is
      any better than Harry Potter, it's much shorter and not so breakneck in pacing,
      and probably written for slightly younger readers, but it is told with more
      finesse, grace and style by a writer who has mastered her craft on a level
      towards which Rowlings is still climbing. Quite different from Harry Potter
      but likewise worthy of more readers are such past winners of the MFA as Diana
      Wynne Jones' _Dark Lord of Derkholm_ (last year's children's division winner)
      and Jane Yolen's "Young Merlin" trilogy (winner the year before). Dark Lord
      seemed to me as much fun as Harry Potter, but much more complex and
      interesting, and while "Young Merlin" is not a lot of fun, it's strikingly
      beautiful in its spare, poetic prose and story construction, and full of action
      in a story that is probably shorter--in all three volumes--than any one of the
      Harry Potter books. Both of these books are probably aimed at somewhat older
      readers than Harry Potter's target audience. In saying this, by the way, I'm
      not disparaging Harry Potter, which I enjoyed, at least the first two books
      that I've read (my 10-year old daughter and most of her class at school have
      avidly read all three).

      Stolzi@... wrote:

      > From: Stolzi@...
      > In a message dated 2/29/00 9:12:51 AM Central Standard Time,
      > tedsherman@... writes:
      > > Also, for the Whitbread
      > > Prize, which Heaney's translation won, the vote was split: five judges
      > > voted for Beowulf and four for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of
      > > Azkhaban.
      > Hmm! What exactly does the Whitbread Prize reward?
      > What a combo. I won't say "from the sublime to the ridiculous," for I quite
      > like Harry, but there =is= a disproportion here.
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