Download A Readable Beowulf: The Old English Epic Newly Translated by Stanley B. Greenfield, Alain Renoir PDF

By Stanley B. Greenfield, Alain Renoir

Stanley B. Greenfield, one of many world’s most desirable Anglo-Saxon students, writes of why, after greater than thirty years of research, he undertook the Herculean activity of rendering Beowulf into con­temporary verse: “I sought after my translation to be not just faith­ful to the unique yet, because the overdue John Lennon may have positioned it, ‘A Poem in Its personal Write.’ i wished it to ‘flow,’ to be effortless to learn, with the narrative circulation of a latest prose tale; but to indicate the rhythmic cadences of the outdated English poem. i wished it either glossy and previous English in its reflexes and sen­sibilities, delighting either the final reader and the Anglo-Saxon expert. . . . i needed it to breed the intoxication of aural contours which… may need happy and amused war­riors over their cups within the Anglo-Saxon mead-hall, or these priests in Anglo-Saxon monasteries who paid extra awareness to track and to tales of Ingeld than to the lector and the gospels.”

Greenfield has succeeded to a awesome measure in attaining his targets. An early reviewer of the manuscript, Daniel G. Calder of UCLA, wrote: “I locate it the simplest translation of Beowulf.

One of the nice issues of different translations is they make the studying of Beowulf difficult. Greenfield’s translation speeds in addition to massive ease. . . students will locate the interpretation attention-grabbing as an workout within the winning recreat­ing of varied elements of outdated English poetic style.”

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But readability involves more than modernization, especially when the work in question is both a narrative and a poem. The fact that translator has succeeded translator (I furnish a list of most of the twentieth-century English poetic translators in the end matter of this book) testifies to the dissatisfaction each has felt with his or her predecessors' efforts to capture the literal meaning, narrative movement, or poetic qualities of the original. And here, in my turn, am I. What do I offer that is better, more "readable" in all senses?

26 Wulfgar probably comes from Vendel, in Sweden;'Iike many warriors of that time, he would have sought service abroad with a (footnote continued on next page) < previous page page_49 next page > < previous page page_50 next page > Page 50 355 360 365 370 VI 375 380 I shall request of the Danish king, the illustrious prince and Scyldings' lord:. ask the ring-giver about your errand, and speedily bring you such response as that good king sees fit to give me. He hastened then to where. Hrothgar sat, old and hoary, with his band of heroes; known for valor, knowing court custom, he went and stood by the ruler's shoulder.

Nor does he decide to fight alone in a reckless attempt to prove his martial < previous page page_19 next page > < previous page page_20 next page > Page 20 valor before the world, as he did years ago with Grendel: though scholars have found a variety of plausible reasons for the deed,16 the text tells us that he will fight alone quite simply because he knows that, as king and formal protector of his people, he alone bears the responsibility of meeting the unequal challenge, and he thoughtfully sets matters straight when he tells his retainers, "It is not your venture, / nor any man's measure save mine alone, / to match his might with the fearful foe's" (253234).

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