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Author Topic: New translation of Beowulf  (Read 8871 times)

Linden

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New translation of Beowulf
« on: February 20, 2011, 11:34:47 PM »
Has anyone seen this new translation of Beowulf?

http://www.mellenpress.com/mellenpress.cfm?bookid=8214&pc=9

which includes "new interpretations of the original text".

There is an intriguing review here

http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/opinon/2011/02/137_81730.html

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Iohannes

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Re: New translation of Beowulf
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2011, 08:19:12 AM »
As I'm at work now (alas  :'(!), I haven't had the time yet to read the description and the review of the work. However, I'm pleased at seeing that Beowulf, and ASJF literature in general, are of interest as far away from the Western World as in South Korea. Especially if we consider the level of interest they have now in the Western World.

The book is still a little too expensive, though...

Linden

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Re: New translation of Beowulf
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2011, 01:06:35 PM »
.......................The book is still a little too expensive, though...

It is expensive which is why I wanted to know if anyone else had had a chance to look at it.  I must admit to being intrigued largely because one review is by Professor Robert Stevick; one of his areas of study is "graphotactics" - the way that manuscripts are actually written and where content other than the alphabetical symbols alone is taken into account -e.g. spaces, comparative length of spacing, comparative size of letters, 'accent' markings, points etc.  As I now think that some of these may be significant in further analysis of the riddles (together with the sometimes peculiar/unique spellings), I wondered to what extent this new translation/interpretation of Beowulf might take these into account. 
I really must get hold of a copy.
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Iohannes

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Re: New translation of Beowulf
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2011, 01:49:11 PM »
Can we hope for a paperback edition in the future? If this is an academic edition, oriented for use in universities, I think this may not be that feasible.

I'm so curious as you, Linden.

Bye for now.

Horsa

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Re: New translation of Beowulf
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2011, 08:48:28 PM »
It says that the 'verse translations manage to retain the verse rhythm of the originals.' That's quite exciting. Mind you, they said the same thing about Rebsamen's translation, and that used an alliterative 4-stress line but it was not OE verse metre. Aelfic would've called it prose.

If I'm going to read a translation of Beowulf that uses a metre roughly similar to the O.E, I'll read, Heaney. There aren't many Anglo-saxonists who rate the Heaney translation, but I like Heaney, and Beowulf-does-a-Heaney-impression works for me.

It has been said that it is impossible to write poetry in Modern English using Old English the Old English metrical form, but. Tolkien did it in Sigurd and Gudrun, and George Johnston wrote poetry in this and Norse metres. Dorothy Sayers managed a translation of Roland, using using the metre of the original, but still, Beowulf in the original verse metre seems a tall order.

Time to buy a University of Toronto library membership?

Off topic. Linden, you mention graphatactics and accent-like marks. Have you any idea what they're for? I did a search on Prof. Robert Stevick and not much came up. Those accent like marks seem to be used pretty randomly.

Linden

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Re: New translation of Beowulf
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2011, 10:16:22 PM »
.........Off topic. Linden, you mention graphatactics and accent-like marks. Have you any idea what they're for? I did a search on Prof. Robert Stevick and not much came up. Those accent like marks seem to be used pretty randomly.

Yes - they do look random which is why I got interested in them whilst working on the Exeter Book riddles.  Regarding the "accent" marks, they cannot be indications of long vowels as they (i) occur on only a few long vowels and (ii) occur on at least one short vowel.  The capitalisation is interesting too and does not  always coincide with the start of a half-line.  I have some leads and ideas and "I'm working on it" but unless and until I can get to see the Exeter Book itself or a facsimile thereof, I'm having to work with the various editors' reports of  how the riddles actually appear in the manuscript.  These other textual differences only came to my attention when I realised that the riddle texts as they appear in various publications and on the 'net are not exactly the same as the texts in the Exeter Book manuscript.  The word themselves have occasionally been 'corrected', replaced and inserted according to the various editor's interpretations.  By using a combination of Wyatt, Krapp& Dobbie, Tupper and Williamson I am managing to put together a rough representation of the written bits including punctuation, accents and capitalisation but comparative spacing is something that none of them cover.


Regarding Robert Stevick, his PhD is of 1950's vintage so looking him up on the Internet does not yield very much.  His publications include:-
Date N/K  A Firstbook of Old English
1964 One Hundred Middle English Lyrics
1967 Five Middle English Narratives
1968 Suprasegmentals, Meter, and the Manuscript of Beowulf.
1968 English and Its History : The Evolution of a Language
1975 Beowulf: With Manuscript Spacing, Notation & Graphotactic Analyses
1994 The Earliest Irish and English Book Arts: Visual and Poetic Forms Before A.D.1000
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