By Stanley B. Greenfield, Alain Renoir
Stanley B. Greenfield, one of many world’s most suitable 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 could have placed it, ‘A Poem in Its personal Write.’ i wished it to ‘flow,’ to be effortless to learn, with the narrative flow of a contemporary prose tale; but to signify the rhythmic cadences of the previous English poem. i needed it either sleek and outdated English in its reflexes and sensibilities, delighting either the overall reader and the Anglo-Saxon expert. . . . i needed it to breed the intoxication of aural contours which… may have happy and amused warriors over their cups within the Anglo-Saxon mead-hall, or these priests in Anglo-Saxon monasteries who paid extra consciousness to tune and to tales of Ingeld than to the lector and the gospels.”
Greenfield has succeeded to a impressive measure in attaining his ambitions. An early reviewer of the manuscript, Daniel G. Calder of UCLA, wrote: “I locate it the simplest translation of Beowulf.
One of the good issues of different translations is they make the analyzing of Beowulf difficult. Greenfield’s translation speeds in addition to massive ease. . . students will locate the interpretation interesting as an workout within the profitable recreating of assorted features of previous English poetic style.”
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Additional resources for A Readable Beowulf: The Old English Epic Newly Translated
S. Merwin, and Helen M. Mustard, Medieval Epics (New York: Random House, 1963), p. 9. < previous page page_26 next page > < previous page page_27 next page > Page 27 On the Translation Though the Beowulf-poet composed in what was then known as English, the language has changed so radically in the thousand years since it was copied into Manuscript Cotton Vitellius A. XV that today only the specialist in Old English can read the original. Hence the need for translators. And there have been many who have sought to make the poem "readable" in the most basic sense of that word, turning this monument of Old English heroic literature into Modern English.
Bright-Danes' chief, bulwark of the Scyldings, now I have one favor to request: that you, protector of the people, not refuse, since I have come so far, to let me, alone with all my men, this hardy company, cleanse Heorot. Further have I heard that the dread foe in his wild rage scorns using weapons; therefore, that my liege-lord Hyglac may rejoice in his heart, I too abjure the use of sword or yellow broad-shield in battle, but with bare-handed grip shall I seize the fiend and fight for life, foe against foe; he whom death takes off must there give himself to God's judgment.
The heroic dominates in the first part. . "17 Although there is no room here for the detailed discussion of secondary characters, a few words about Queen Wealhtheow are in order since she is the only woman with a significant part in this overwhelmingly masculine poem. What with her entering the narrative at line 612, leaving it at line 2174, and making numerous appearances in between, she participates in more of the action than anyone else except the principal actors, and her name is mentioned more often than any but six others, including Grendel's.
A Readable Beowulf: The Old English Epic Newly Translated by Stanley B. Greenfield, Alain Renoir