What book did you use to teach "Beowulf" to your senior class?What book did you use to teach "Beowulf" to your senior class?
I love the Raffel version. It maintains the flow and beauty of the poetry, but the action is easy to follow. Whatever you do, avoid the Dover edition. My school provided that one--and I took it away from my students because it is the worst possible interpretation ever invented. Some of the students bought the Raffel version or found it in the local library. I directed others to a couple of versions, including a hypertext one that is quite good: http://www.humanities.mcmaster.ca/~beowulf/main.html. I've already told the administrator to order the Raffel version for next year.
Prentice-Hall has a version that is translated by Burton Raffel, also, and is easily understood with the aid of footnotes, etc. In addition, there is a comprehensive intoduction that gives the history of the Anglo-Saxons and the Anglo-Saxon verse.
We use the full Raffel version of Beowulf. The Holt edition has the first part translated from Raffel and the very end from Heaney. I found an excellent tool to talk about the translations and the pros and cons of the various translators. The lesson plan is attached. The students seem to understand the Raffel version best while still feeling the poetic qualities.