Translating Early Medieval Poetry

October 2017
250 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
BISAC LIT011000, LIT000000

Translating Early Medieval Poetry

Transformation, Reception, Interpretation

Edited by Tom Birkett, Kirsty March-Lyons

The essays here, united by their appreciation of the centrality of translation to the interpretation of the medieval past, add to our understanding of how the old is continually made anew
The first decades of the twenty-first century have seen an unprecedented level of creative engagement with early medieval literature, ranging from the long-awaited publication of Tolkien's version of Beowulf and the reworking of medieval lyrics by Ireland's foremost poets to the adaptation of Eddic and Skaldic poetry for the screen. This collection brings together scholars and accomplished translators working with Old English, Old Norse and Medieval Irish poetry, to take stock of this extraordinary proliferation of translation activity and to suggest new ways in which to approach these three dynamic literary traditions. The essays in this collection include critical surveys of texts and traditions to the present day, assessments of the practice and impact of individual translators from Jorge Luis Borges to Seamus Heaney, and reflections on the particular challenges of translating poetic forms and vocabulary into different languages and media. Together they present a series of informed and at times provocative perspectives on what it means to "carry across" early medieval poetry in our contemporary cultural climate.

Dr Tom Birkett is lecturer in Old English at University College Cork; Dr Kirsty March-Lyons is a scholar of Old English and Latin poetry and co-organiser of the Irish Research Council funded conference and translation project "Eald to New".

Contributors: Tom Birkett, Elizabeth Boyle, Hannah Burrows, Gareth Lloyd Evans, Chris Jones, Carolyne Larrington, Hugh Magennis, Kirsty March-Lyons, Lahney Preston-Matto, Inna Matyushina, Rory McTurk, Bernard O'Donoghue, Heather O'Donoghue, Tadhg Ó Síocháin, Bertha Rogers, M.J. Toswell.

Table of Contents

Introduction: From Eald to New
From Eald Old to New Old: Translating Old English Poetry in(to) the Twenty-first Century
Edwin Morgan's Translations of Anglo-Saxon Poetry: Turning Eald into New in English and Scots
Gains and Losses in Translating Old English Poetry into Modern English and Russian
Borges, Old English Poetry, and Translation Studies
"Let Beowulf now be a book from Ireland": What Would Henryson or Tolkien Say?
The Forms and Functions of Medieval Irish Poetry and the Limitations of Modern Aesthetics
Aislinge Meic Conglinne: Challenges for Translator and Audience
Translating Find and the Phantoms into Modern Irish
Reawakening Angantýr: English Translations of an Old Norse Poem from the Eighteenth Century to the Twenty-First
Translating and Retranslating the Poetic Edda
From Heroic Lay to Victorian Novel: Old Norse Poetry about Brynhildr and Thomas Hardy's The Return of the Native
Michael Hirst's Vikings and Old Norse Poetry
A Translation of Riddle 15 from the Exeter Book


[A] view of translation as process, as complex aesthetic, cultural, and intellectual activity with different aims and interests depending upon context. . . . [A]n impressive blend of art and scholarship. JOURNAL OF ENGLISH AND GERMANIC PHILOLOGY

Also in Series

Related Titles

Related Articles