Yep, it’s “Beowulf.” Finally, the English language starts to get relatively entertaining. Sure, it doesn’t always make sense, but it’s Beowulf, dammit! It doesn’t have to make sense. Of course, just because I like it doesn’t mean I won’t still make fun of it.
I’ve read only two translations of “Beowulf” in my time: I’ve had a couple of goes at Seamus Heaney’s rather mainstream rendition, and I’ve also taken a look at the translation linked above (clearly the best translation available that lies within the public domain). All the times of I’ve read it, I can’t say I ever loved it. Like I said, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense sometimes, and characters have a tendency to drone on for several pages. Those quibbles aside, it’s still a classic and enjoyable tale if you can ignore the chapter-length speeches.
It also has a tendency to really stick with people; my friend Spencer once named it his favorite piece of literature ever, and I believe he’s actually read every English translation ever made written. Spencer is, of course, quite mad.