Via Call of the Siren.
Though – as I wrote a couple posts back – Heaney was not my favorite translator of Beowulf, it’s impossible to deny the impact of his translation, and for those who find medieval literature to be not only interesting and entertaining but also somehow important, that impact can only be a good thing.
As I am outside the academy it’s hard to gauge the current state of medieval scholarship in educational institutions, but a more widespread readership of Beowulf means more people are thinking about it, writing about it, making movies and art about it. We can wrangle about the quality of that art (which is a good deal of the fun!), but to the extent that Beowulf becomes part of our cultural awareness, it becomes part of a living tradition. I think Seamus Heaney had a good deal to do with that.