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Lost in translation

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Title:
Lost in translation the queens of Beowulf
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Horton-Depass, Laura Ann ( author )
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Denver, CO
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University of Colorado Denver
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English
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1 online resource (137 pages). : ;

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BeowulfTranslations into English ( lcsh )
Beowulf ( fast )
Queens in literature ( lcsh )
Queens in literature ( fast )
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Translations. ( fast )
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )
Translations ( fast )

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Abstract:
The poem Beowulf has been translated hundreds of times, in part or in whole. In past decades translators such as Howell Chickering and E. Talbot Donaldson firmly adhered to formal equivalency, following the original text line-by-line if not word-by-word. Such translations are useful for Anglo-Saxon students but cannot reach a larger audience because they are unwieldy and often incomprehensible. In the past fifty years, though, a group of translators with different philosophies has taken up the task of translating the poem with greater success. Translators such as Marc Hudson, Edwin Morgan, and Seamus Heaney used dynamic equivalency for their versions, eschewing strict grammatical accuracy and literal diction in order to recreate the sense and experience of the poem for a modern audience. How two translators, E. Talbot Donaldson and Seamus Heaney, treat the queens in the poem as revealed by a close textual analysis proves to be an excellent example of the two methodologies; formal equivalence translators do not endow their female characters with the agency and respect present in the original text, while dynamic equivalence translators take liberties with the language to give their readers a strong sense of the powerful but tragic queen figures. Harold Bloom's theory of the development of poets in The Anxiety of Influence can help explain this shift from formal equivalency to dynamic equivalency. Translators of Beowulf necessarily react against their predecessors, and since translators usually explain their process and philosophy in forwards or introductions, their motivations for "swerving away" are clear. Formal equivalence translators misrepresented the original text by devaluing the literary merit of the original poem and dynamic equivalence translators seek to remedy the misrepresentation by elaborating and expanding the language of the original to reach a wider audience. Each generation must continue to translate against the grain of its predecessors in order to keep the poem alive for a larger audience so that the poem will continue to be enjoyed by future audiences.
Thesis:
Thesis (M.A.)--University of Colorado Denver. English
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographic references.
System Details:
System requirements: Adobe Reader.
General Note:
Department of English
Statement of Responsibility:
by Laura Ann Horton-Depass.

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|University of Colorado Denver
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|Auraria Library
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868689107 ( OCLC )
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Full Text
LOST IN TRANSLATION:
THE QUEENS OF BEOWULF
by
LAURA ANN HORTON-DEPASS
B.A., University of Iowa, 1992
M.Ed., DePaul University, 2001
A thesis submitted to the
Faculty of the Graduate School of the
University of Colorado in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Arts
English Literature
2013


2013
LAURA ANN HORTON-DEPASS
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


The thesis for the Master of Arts degree by
Laura Ann Horton-DePass
has been approved for the
Department of English
by
Nancy Ciccone, Chair
Michelle Comstock
Eliot K. Wilson
12 April 2013


Horton-DePass, Laura Ann
Lost in Translation: The Queens of Beowulf
Thesis directed by Professor Nancy Ciccone
ABSTRACT
The poem Beowulf has been translated hundreds of times, in part or in whole. In past
decades translators such as Howell Chickering and E. Talbot Donaldson firmly adhered to
formal equivalency, following the original text line-by-line if not word-by-word. Such
translations are useful for Anglo-Saxon students but cannot reach a larger audience because
they are unwieldy and often incomprehensible. In the past fifty years, though, a group of
translators with different philosophies has taken up the task of translating the poem with
greater success. Translators such as Marc Hudson, Edwin Morgan, and Seamus Heaney
used dynamic equivalency for their versions, eschewing strict grammatical accuracy and
literal diction in order to recreate the sense and experience of the poem for a modern
audience. How two translators, E. Talbot Donaldson and Seamus Heaney, treat the queens
in the poem as revealed by a close textual analysis proves to be an excellent example of the
two methodologies; formal equivalence translators do not endow their female characters
with the agency and respect present in the original text, while dynamic equivalence
translators take liberties with the language to give their readers a strong sense of the
powerful but tragic queen figures. Harold Blooms theory of the development of poets in
The Anxiety of Influence can help explain this shift from formal equivalency to dynamic
equivalency. Translators of Beowulf necessarily react against their predecessors, and since
translators usually explain their process and philosophy in forwards or introductions, their
motivations for swerving away are clear. Formal equivalence translators misrepresented
the original text by devaluing the literary merit of the original poem and dynamic
equivalence translators seek to remedy the misrepresentation by elaborating and expanding
the language of the original to reach a wider audience. Each generation must continue to
translate against the grain of its predecessors in order to keep the poem alive for a larger
audience so that the poem will continue to be enjoyed by future audiences.
The form and content of this abstract are approved. I recommend publication.
Approved: Nancy Ciccone
m


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
Thanks to Nancy Ciccone and Eliot Wilson for their patience and willingness to consider
my scattered and oftentimes incomprehensible ideas.
And thanks to my special men, Robert Bruce Horton, Christopher Horton-DePass, and
Robert Bruce Horton-DePass, for their love and support.
IV


TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER
I. INTRODUCTION......................................1
II. FEMINIST CRITICISM................................6
III. KLAEBERS KIND WEALHpEOW.......................27
IV. TRANSLATION METHODOLOGIES........................30
V. HISTORY OF TRANSLATIONS OF BEOWULF...............49
VI. THE QUEENS: TEXT ANALYSIS........................62
VII. BLOOM............................................88
VIII. CONCLUSION.......................................90
REFERENCES...............................................92
APPENDICES
A. 1-3................................................98
B. l-3................................................102
C. l-3................................................107
D. l-3................................................110
E. l-3................................................113
v


F.l-3
116
G. l-3.....................................................................122
H. l-3.....................................................................125
1...........................................................................130
vi


CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTION
When Beowulf first arrives to the Danish shore with his troop of armed warriors,
he is of course challenged by Hro&gars sentinel to state his purpose. This delicate
situation could end in violence or in welcome depending on Beowulf s reaction. The text
of line 259 reads:
Werodes wisa, word-hord onleac:
The leader of the band unlocked his word-hoard. Beowulf has been silent to this point,
but now he must speak eloquently to avoid trouble; word-hord implies that his language is
like a beautiful treasure that is locked away and only brought out in times of need. And
the language of Beowulf is indeed beautifulthe metaphor suits not only the situation at
hand but also the poem as a whole, a work of art comprised of beautiful language.
Beowulf was not always thought to be a masterful work of art, thoughfor a long
time it was not part of the canon because it was thought to be primitive or only of passing
1


historical significance to scholars.1 Translators with a view only for history did not unlock
their word-hord; they created translations that did not consider the poem as literature, but
rather emphasized historical aspects. Such translations are dull and lackluster, full of
footnotes, adopting a literalness that is not reminiscent of the original poems depth and
figurative language. Although such translators may have stayed true to the word and the
line of the original, they were unfaithful to the unity of the poem as a work of art.
It was only when translators began to emphasize the artistic merits of Beowulf that
we see the poem come alive again. Translators such as Edwin Morgan and Seamus Heaney
unlocked their word-hoards to translate the poem not word-for-word but by creatively
adjusting lines and words and meanings in order to transmit the original sense of the poem
to a modern audience. By focusing on the queens of Beowulf and how translators treated
them, we can see the effect of the difference in translation theories; formal equivalence
translators, who generally value formal equivalency or line-by-line translation, tend to
translate the queens as two-dimensional and ornamental, while dynamic equivalence
1 Beowulf s reputation will be discussed in Chapter VII. Tolkiens article The Monsters and
the Critics outlines how the poem was underestimated for years.
2


translators, who implement a less exacting grammatical translation method, represent the
queens as strong, politically astute women who play an essential role in the poem.
The purpose of translating Beowulf for these two groups of translators differs. Older
formal equivalence translations were meant for students as a crib for translation or for the
study of the poem, leaving interpretation out of the text and placing context in footnotes.
More recent dynamic equivalence translators create versions for a larger audience, and so
place context in the lines themselves, although doing so means veering away from a line-
by-line translation. A greater focus on the poetry and aesthetics of the poem also demands
changes to the diction and syntax of the original lines. The result is a translation that
displays the possibilities in the figurative language of the original text, instead of hiding
them in a footnote.
This thesis begins by reviewing the feminist criticism of the female characters to
establish that the Beowulf queens are women of position and stature and to show the
importance of their roles both in the poem and in the culture. In chapter IV I discuss
different translation theories and their impact on Beowulf. Chapter V is an overview of the
translation philosophies of translators of Beowulf formal equivalence translators have quite
a different view of what the role of a translator should be that the dynamic equivalence
3


translators. I then focus in on two translators that can serve as representatives of their
respective disciplines: E. Talbot Donaldsons prose translation was the version used in the
Norton Critical Edition for decades, until Seamus Heaneys 4-stress verse translation was
commissioned to replace it. Since the Norton Critical Edition is the obligatory book for
many readers and students, these translators are an excellent gauge; Donaldson and Heaney
embody the changing attitude of translating Beowulf. In chapter VI I closely read the
original text and compare it to Donaldsons and Heaneys translations to show how a
collection of minor translation decisions change the characterization of female characters,
and thus the tenor of the poem.
Finally, in Chapter VII I suggest a reason for the shift in translation approaches by
using Harold Blooms The Anxiety of Influence. Blooms theory of the development of
strong poets relies on Freuds universal Oedipal Complex theory, in which the son desires
to kill his father and love his mother in order to mature. Blooms application of this theory
of the development of poets can also apply to the translators of Beowulf who similarly
create literature through language and also seek to develop their own identities as
translators by reacting against their predecessors.
4


The difficulty in analyzing Beowulf comes from the muddiness of its provenanceit
is a Germanic tale that was Christianized and written down by two medieval scribes. Only
one original copy exists. We cannot know the intentions of the creator(s) of the tale or of
the scribes/monks who decided to put the oral poem on paper. We, like the translators,
can only guess at what the poem means, guided by the language itself. Those more skilled
in the use of language to create meaning and who are familiar with both medieval and
Germanic cultures will be more able to glean the figurative language and possible meanings
of the poem. Because of their different agendas, the metaphor of unlocking a word-
hoard is more resonant to a dynamic equivalence translator than it is to a formal
equivalence translator, and the multiple layers of possibility of what the phrase can mean is
more of a joy to the former than to the latter. Thus, the Beowulf of a dynamic equivalence
translator is more expressive and sensitive than the Beowulf of a formal equivalence
translator.
5


CHAPTER II
FEMINIST CRITICISM
a more rounded picture is now emerging which gives the royal women of this period the
importance that they undoubtedly deserve (Hill, Joyce 154)
One of the ways Beowulf has been translated into contemporary culture is as a
cartoon; there is an animated major motion picture loosely based on the poem.1 Angelina
Jolie provided the voice for Grendels mother. Monsters and dragons will always have
appeal, I suppose, and there will always be those who will capitalize on them. Such
abridgement of the poem as is common in a movie removes one of the most important
elements, however; to cull whatever is not directly relevant to the main storyline, to remove
the digressions and allusion and historical context, reduces the poem to an easily-digested
adventure story worthy of a cartoon. If we read only with an eye for the arc of the story, we
miss the subtleties that make the poem great.
The poems subtle arrangement is like a braid: John Leyerle compares the structure
of Beowulf to the interlace design common in Anglo-Saxon times (see app. I). The line of a
1 Beowulf earned 197 million in 2007. The two hour animated feature by Paramount
Pictures was directed by Robert Zemeckis, screenplay by Neil Gaiman.
6


design curves around and moves forward only to fold back on itself and weave through
other strands. Although the whole of an interlace design may create a line or a letter or an
animal, the details of the design are not linear and seem difficult to follow. Likewise
within the structure of Beowulf and other Anglo-Saxon texts:
Interlace appears so regularly on sculpture, jewellery, weapons, and in
manuscript illuminations that it is the dominant characteristic of this art.
There is clear evidence that a parallel technique of word-weaving was used
as a stylistic device in both Latin and Old English poems of the period.
(Leyerle 163)
This word-weaving is particularly noticeable in Beowulf. Historical events, stories, and
themes will pop up in one place and then submerge back into the interlace of the poem
only to reemerge later on, and close examination of each strand reveals relevance to the
whole of the poem. Each strand strengthens the interlace of the poem. Some strands are
often called digressions, but the term is inaccurate because although the stories and
histories interwoven into poem do not affect the main action, they place the story in a
larger context, and in doing so the poem becomes more significant that a mere adventure
story; it becomes a commentary on culture and the human experience. Comparisons,
explanations, and allusions create a larger space in the poem than merely Hro&gars hall and
Beowulf s homeland; readers can place the poem in the continuum of a complete world, and
7


so individual events in the poem have more resonance. Beowulf is called an epic poem
because it is about an entire culture.1
One such strand that has been recklessly dismissed is that of the female characters.
There are only eleven women in the poem, and only five of those have names, all queens.
Only two women have agency in the main action of the poem, and we only hear
Wealh}>eow speak. The one female character who directly affects the action in the poem is
Grendels mother, but she is often interpreted as more monster than female. It is easy to
assume that since women were valued less than men historically, they also have little value
in the poem; indeed, before 1970 the female characters were often mere footnotes in
literary analysis of the poem. A closer examination of the position of women in the culture
of the story of Beowulf counters this assumption. The female characters are complex and
multidimensional. As women they have a subtlety necessary in a culture in which only men
are active, and the Beowulf poet uses them as necessary devices to the poems elaborate
structure. If we were to take this strand out of the interlace, the poem would be weakened
significantly, as it was in many early scholarly translations.
1 J.R.R. Tolkien in his essay The Monsters and the Critics suggested that It may turn
out to be no epic at all (254). The point is debated by Beowulf scholars.
8


The female characters prove to be quite sophisticated and multi-faceted. They serve
both as rich characters unto themselves and also as symbols of larger issues and themes.
Stacy Klein asserts that:
Anglo-Saxon writers positioned legendary royal women in the midst of
texts that were designed to express their authors views on the most
difficult and contentious issue of Anglo-Saxon society. And they did so, I
would argue, because these authors saw women as deeply affected by and
able to affect those issues. (195)
As participants in and often victims of complicated social issues of the culture, female
characters shed light on causes and ramifications of social norms. The female characters
signify much more than characters that bring the mead to the men.
Although past scholarship has ignorantly marginalized them as secondary
characters, the queens in Beowulf are indeed important to the poem in many ways. The
queens are mentioned throughout each section of the poem: women are not excluded
from the world of Beowulf. They play important roles that are public and active rather than
merely private and passive (Olsen 314). Characters such as WealhJjeow may not pick up a
sword and chop off Grendels head, but her contribution to both the society of Heorot and
to the poems meaning cannot be dismissed. They are both a powerful women with agency
and a representation of larger ideas, such as heroism and gender politics.
9


Germanic Women vs. Medieval Women
In 1805 Sharon Turner wrote in her book The History of Manners, Landed Property,
Governments, Laws, Poetry, Literature, Religion, and Language of the Anglo-Saxons about the
position of women in that society:
It is well known that the female sex were much more highly valued and more
respectfully treated by the barbarous Gothic nations than by the more polished
states of the East. Among the Anglo-Saxons they occupied the same important
and independent rank in society which they now enjoy. (108)
Turner goes on to explain the legal rights and social respect Anglo-Saxon women
possessed; she equated these women with women of her own age. At the time of her
writing, Beowulf had yet to be translated into Modern English, but the knowledge of
womens place in that historical time was at hand to help guide any translator. Although
today we read the poem with our modern day culture, a medieval audience and a Germanic
audience would have read or heard the poem with a Germanic ideal of women. Women in
the Germanic tradition had even more status and held stronger positions in society than
their late medieval counterparts; the Germanic tradition of a womans role was slowly
dissolving in Anglo-Saxon England. As Pat Belanoff of State University of New York
notes, the women in Beowulf compare to other characters from Germanic literature:
10


The long tradition lying behind the Anglo-Saxon female portrait becomes
evident when one looks at the women of Old Norse literature, which
preserves the earliest extant written versions of many stories common to
Germanic culture. These women are both intelligent and shining. (823)
The queens in Beowulf are indeed both wise and shining with gold. Wealh}>eow is usually
described as shining in her gold (614, 640, 1163), and she is a wise counsel to Hro&gar
(169).
Although the queens in Beowulf were subject to arranged marriages with distant
tribes in order to forge bonds as peaceweavers, the role was neither passive nor simple.
According to Carol Parrish Jamison, Early Germanic women had, in fact, a number of
possible responses to marital exchanges and could find ways to move well beyond the role
of object, asserting their influence as mothers and diplomats by king-making, or king-
breaking, in their new husbands homes (30). Their mere presence was not the bond of
peace: the queens had to actively negotiate the complex social fabric of dynasty and warring
nations within a new tribe. Their influence was great. WealhJjeow demands Hro&gar
remember his own sons in succession, and Hygd offers the kingship to Beowulf instead of
her sons: It is difficult to perceive Wealh}>eow as an object: she has established a new
identity in her husbands hall, occupying a position that enables her to participate in king-
11


making decisions (Jamison). The queen is more of a political figure with her own power
than the hostess of Hro&gar.
It is only later in history, after Beowulf was written, that women began to be
marginalized by western Christianity. Belanoff reminds us that
Undoubtedly medieval Christianity drastically altered Anglo-Saxon society,
but its influence on the status of women was not immediately negative.
Such evidence as is available suggests that the full impact of the churchs
antifeminist attitudes was not felt until after the Norman Conquest. (827)
If the original audience of Beowulf viewed the queens as characters worth consideration
beyond that of objects, it is disingenuous for any translator to instead recreate the
characters of the queens as passive and simple. Reading or translating the poem with the
assumption that women are sublimated and insignificant characters, one can dismiss the
female characters as secondary to the heroic tale; reading or translating with the Germanic
assumption that women hold a valued and complicated position in society, it becomes easy
to see how essential the queens are in the interlace of the epic.
Peaceweavers
Just as the Beowulf poet is a weaver of words and themes, the queens are weavers of
social relationships. Queens in the world of Beowulf had the difficult position of
12


peaceweavers. In a time when tribes warred with each other to gain lands and riches, the
marriage of the daughter of a leader into another tribe could create strong bonds; by
becoming family, treaties between tribes were strengthened. At least this was the idea. As
evidenced by Hildeburh and Hro&gars daughter Freawaru, marriage was no guarantee of
peace. Gillian Overing in her book Language, Sign, and Gender in Beowulf notes, Peace-
weavers are assigned the role of creating peace in a culture where war and death are
privileged values. Female failure is built into this system (82). If honor and bravery and
booty are the primary values of a culture, battle is inevitable because it is the only way to
gain them. Thus queens in this culture are innately tragic figures because they are destined
to fail. They can never fulfill their basic function within a tribe.
Wealh}>eow is the model peaceweaver. As Hro&gars queen, her place is both
domestic and public at the same time. She must confirm her husbands elevated status and
work for the stability of the whole tribe, not just her dynasty. It is not a role for weak or
insignificant women, as Klein states: Peaceweaving proceeds according to a logic that
demands that one redefine the place traditionally allotted to the domestic within a heroic
ethos...and recognize women as central forces, rather than marginal supports, in the
production of social order (104). Wealh}>eow negotiates peace not only between her tribe
13


of origin and her tribe by marriage, but she must keep the peace within the hall itself.
Queens had to keep the social fabric of the tribes from rending in a culture bent on
violence, yet they could not wield their power directly and openly like a king. Subtlety and
indirect action were necessary to keep the peace:
Her ways of achieving this goal within the tribe were several: she might
serve as wise counselor, all the time being close-mouthed about the counsel;
she might be rum-hearted with horses and treasures in rewarding the
valiant men of the tribe; and finally, she might distinguish among the men
of the tribe by first presenting the lord with mead and then passing the cup
to the ranking members of the duguth, or old retainers, and the geoguth, or
young retainers, as does Wealhtheow. (Chance 4)
Social protocol was the domain of the queens, and WeallQeow is a crafty and graceful
wielder of the power of her position, as we will see in chapter VI.
In a culture in which violence and battle are so highly valued as in the heroic
culture of Beowulf, though, peaceweavers are ironically destined to fail. Klein notes the
difficulty of the position of the queens:
In a society in which peace is only effected through war and war is defined
as the rightful domain of men, weaving peace through female bodies would
seem to be theoretically impossible. Within such a culture, the female
peaceweaver can only symbolize peace that has been effected through the
actions of men, which may partly explain why... Weal h|)eow always appears
after a battle has been concluded. (100)
14


WealhJjeow cannot create peace through direct action, but she can only try to head off
battle or manage the aftermath. Freawaru and Hildeburh are examples of peaceweavers in
Beowulf who could not succeed no matter how great their efforts. Hildeburh could not
prevent a battle between her original tribe and her husbands tribe, and so all the men
closest to her died. Beowulf predicts Freawarus failure as a peaceweaver in her engagement
to the head of another tribe because he says men will not forget a perceived slight and will
want revenge when the honeymoon is over. We see WealhJjeow as a successful queen, but
we know from the historical interludes in the interlace of the story that most queens hold a
precarious position and may be doomed to failure no matter how skillful their weaving.
Valkyrie Figures
If we view the female characters through a Germanic lens, it is possible that the
queens are actually Valkyrie figures, according to Helen Damico in her book Beowulf s
Wealhtheow and the Valkyrie Tradition. Such characters in Norse mythology decide which
soldiers will die in battle, or they are lovers of heroes and daughters of royalty. Damico
compares the queens in Beowulf to Valkyrie figures in the Germanic tradition and finds
many parallels. Since it is probable that the story of Beowulf originated in a Germanic land
15


and then was brought to England to be written down in Anglo-Saxon after modifications
due to culture and Christianity, Valkyrie figures would be not only appropriate but also
expected. Reading the queens as Valkyrie figures, women with special powers or women
who guide men in battle, clearly gives them more power and complexity: Wealhtheow,
rather than being an anomalous figure in the literature, not only is compatible with the
female warriors of Anglo-Saxon epic, Elene, Judith, and Juliana, but like them is in
harmony with the Valkyrie-brides of the Eddie lays (Damico 86). Contemporary
audiences and even Anglo-Saxon audiences of Beowulf might not immediately make the
connection, but once the connection is made it becomes impossible to dismiss the queens
as extraneous. The parallels are interesting:
As drink-bearing welcoming figures in environments that are redolent of
past and future violence, they evoke the idea of the transience of present
merriment and pleasure. In their metallic resplendence, they may be seen as
embodiments of the intoxicating beauty of gold and the possible destruction
it brings to those who seek it. And as possessors of consummate necklaces
with erotic and religious potency, they represent two forces of human
experience that impel men to action and alter their personalities. (Damico
179-180)
WealhJjeow is described as goldhroden, arrayed in gold (614, 640), and she is first seen
passing mead to the men in the hall in order of precedence (615). She gives Beowulf a
16


necklace (1216) and exhorts both Beowulf and Hro&gar to remember and protect her sons.
As Damico points out such similarities, one cannot help but see Wealh}>eow and other
queens in new light.
New Idea of Heroism
The queens and the feminine voice could also represent a new ideal of heroism. In
the heroic age, heroism of course involved feats of strength and courage. Direct, violent
action was rewarded with glory and spoils. Men were successful in this culture if they
could prove themselves in battle, and a death from battle was considered a good death. In
Beowulf the men accept this protocol, but the poem does not glorify the heroic culture,
according to Klein:
queens serve as a means for the Beowulf poet to redefine an old and outdated
model of heroism...the poem urges readers to focus on the costs rather than
the glories of the traditional heroic code of violent action and to adopt the
view of those members of society, such as women and aged men, who were
unable to participate fully in that code. (196)
The women and even Hro&gar are passive and yet still seen as worthy of respect and
admiration. Both Hro&gar and WealhJjeow are equally unable to save their hall, yet we do
not fault them for it. In addition, the Beowulf poet shows Wealh}>eow doing more and
taking more direct action with her words and gifts among the men than Hro&gar does.
17


WealhJjeow provides an alternative example of success to that of violent battle, representing
the Christian version of heroism: turn the other cheek and live a good life, and salvation
will be the reward instead of gold.
Since Beowulf is a Christian retelling of a Norse tale, it makes sense that the poet
would superimpose a different set of cultural values on the Germanic story in a way that
does not change the storyline, and the feminine characters easily provide a new, Christian
ideal of heroism. The poem is not a battle of man-against-man, but of culture against
monsters. To act in a correct manner and support the tribe become much more important
than a might-makes-right mentality, and the feminine characters are perfect examples of
this new ideal of heroic success:
To move a figure, image, or idea into a new textual arena is necessarily to
transform it. As the Beowulf poet mobilizes feminine voices to prescribe a
new model of heroism premised on turning the violent energies of heroic
self-assertion inward and waging battles against ones inner vices rather than
against human foes, the very nature of such entrenched heroic ideas as
battle, enemy, and hero undergo significant shifts to the point where
heroic, as either generic category or cultural code, becomes almost
unrecognizable. (Klein 89)
The poem is not merely a gory tale of a bloody battle; there are consequences to be had
from battle for which no amount of gold can compensate. A man-against-man conflict,
18


such as the ones described in the history and stories within the tale, is tragic; man against
monster, Beowulf against Grendel, is adventurous and romantic. The poet or scribe
composed a cautionary tale for his medieval Christian audience: What the feminine voices
of the poem do is gesture toward the possibility of a new model of heroism that redefines,
and incorporates the energies of, preconversion Germanic heroism so as to being it more
closely in line with the Christian worldview of the poems readers (Klein 88-89). The
queens weave peace even in the face of impending battle between tribes, and it is their
attempt to preserve culture that makes them heroic, as opposed to success in battle that is
destructive to culture.
Archetypes: Eve, Mary, Dual Mother
The queens in Beowulf were molded by the Beowulf poet or by the medieval scribes
from classic archetypes, making them more than characters in a storythey work as
examples of ideals of women in medieval culture. Queens either follow the archetype of
Mary or Eve from the Bible, or, like Grendels mother, become a parody as the inversion of
Mary, according to Jane Chance. Because of the plight of peace-weaver as discussed
previously, women in medieval tales often are seen as a mournful woman archetype,
discussed by Joyce Hill. Grendels mother and Wealh}>eow together can be seen as Jungs
19


idea of the archetype of the dual mother, according to Jeffrey Helterman. Enough scholars
have studied female medieval characters as archetypes that it is clear the function of the
queens in Beowulf is culturally significant.
The precarious and tragic position of peaceweavers is an important example of an
archetype of medieval literature: the grieving woman. Joyce Hill explains, In heroic
poetry... the dominant stereotype is that of tht geomuru ides [sad or mournful woman]
(154). Hildeburh and the woman who mourns at Beowulfs funeral are examples, and we
know from digressions that other queens will soon become mournful because of their
situations. Women in cultures of violence and battle are usually victims, no matter how
much indirect power they have: the female (is) a figure of inaction and isolation, a victim
of the destructive forces of heroism, and a witness to the degradation of treasureand of
human (female) lifeto the level of mere plunder (Hill 161). Women survive the battle
but mourn for their loved ones, women are stolen and given and traded without their
consent, and women are subject to the male-centric culture of the heroic age, but this does
not mean that female characters should be likewise sublimated because their tragic stories
make them essential to the literary unity of the poem. Removing the female characters
would result in a loss of tragic stories that are juxtaposed to the adventure story of
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monsters and a dragon; a human vs. monster story is put into perspective when compared
to the human vs. human conflicts that occur on the edges of the poem. The mournful
queens have heartbreaking stories that shed light on heroic culture; as survivors, they are
harbingers of cautionary tales:
The heroic code puts a premium on action and physical aggression and takes
as indicators of power success in war and the acquisition of treasure, often
by brutal means. But in the Old English tradition the consequences of such
a code also stand revealed and it is partly through the female figures that
this revelation is achieved...the sophistication of certain Anglo-Saxon poets
responses to that legendary material give woman a position of ethical and
imaginative importance. (Hill 166)
It is because the women have reason to be mournful that they are complex and interesting
figures. Their stories reveal complications and issues of the heroic culture, making them
essential literary figures. The queens sad stories give them depth of character.
Of course, in the Christian world of medieval England, there are no more important
women than Mary and Eve. All women would strive to emulate the Madonna and not
Evewoman as instigator of original sin would serve as a cautionary tale. The queens in
Beowulf likewise follow these common archetypes, explains Chance: Anglo-Saxon womans
ideal secular role as peace-weaver or peace pledge was analogous to the Virgins role as
intermediary between man and God; in addition, the Virgin perfected all the secular roles
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available to womenmaiden, wife, mother, virago (65). WealhJjeow gracefully and gently
intervenes to keep peace in the hall, much like Mary, who can keep peace between man and
god. Freawaru, Hygd, and Hildeburh are also Mary-like because of their gentle demeanor;
passive, obedient stance; and their support of the culture of the hall as positions as peace-
pledges. The opposite example is Mod}>ry<5o, who instead of keeping the peace causes
chaos, much like Eve: For queens who did not remain chaste and acquiescent, there was a
different model, one also found in the BibleEve (Chance 65). Mod}>ry<5o was anything
but acquiescent in the beginning of her digression, but eventually becomes more Madonna-
like after marriage to Offa once she has a lord husband (1952). The situation is parallel to
mans reconciliation to god through Jesus. An Anglo-Saxon audience would be familiar
with both types of women and know how to consider each queen in the story by her
archetype.
An interesting archetypal example in Beowulf is Grendels mother because she is
actually the inversion of the Mary archetype. Although her status as a woman is sure
because she is a mother and is described as ides, or royal woman, she is also described as a
monster. Chance explains why: Such a woman might be wretched or monstrous to an
Anglo-Saxon audience because she blurs the sexual and social categories of roles. For
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example she abrogates to herself the masculine role of the warrior or lord (97). Since
Grendels mother exacts revenge on her son and fights Beowulf, both the actions of male
warriors, she is an unnatural queen; she does not conform to the cultural standards and
protocols of women and queens. Grendels mother is a foil to Wealh}>eow, who is the
perfect queen based on a Mary character: Grendels mother...is used as a parodic inversion
of both the Anglo-Saxon queen and mother, the ideal of which was embodies in the Virgin
Mary (Chance 97). The Beowulf poet examines what it means to be a woman and a queen
through the character of Grendels mother; to be Madonna-like is admirable, and to be the
opposite is monstrous and evil. The queens represent the ideal of womanhood in medieval
culture, and the anti-queen is the antithesis of womanhood.
Another way of considering Wealh}>eow and Grendels mother is as Jungs idea of
the dual mother since they are clear foils. Jeffrey Helterman explains that Wealh}>eow
and Grendels mother together form what Jung calls the dual mother (13). The dual
mother has two sides that together comprise a universal power, the nurturing, life-
affirming side and the destructive, devouring side: Wealhtheow represents woman in her
ideal role as freothowebbe (peaceweaver)...Grendels mother symbolizes the feud aspect of the
web of peace (Helterman 14). Wealh}>eow is so nurturing and Grendels mother is so
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destructive that together they represent the spectrum of motherly existence. Wealh}>eow
makes everyone welcome in her hall and Grendels mother attacks Beowulf in her hall;
With her words, Weallfyeow makes sure her sons are taken care of after Hro&gar dies, and
Grendels mother gains revenge for her sons death with her claws and strength. Both have
important identities as mothers, but they go about their mothering in opposite manners
that exemplify Jungs idea of the dual mother.
Each of the archetypes can be seen clearly in the queens of Beowulf, and because of
this we know that the queens function as more than individual characters who support the
men; they serve as cultural indicators in the medieval age, and they raise important
questions as to what the role of queens is and should be in the heroic age.
Gender Construction
The Beowulf poet constructed the female characters in a way that raises questions
about the nature of the feminine and the masculine. Wealhfyow, Hildeburh, and Freawaru
are examples of women who are feminine, but Mod})ryho and Grendels mother are
examples of masculine women, suggesting that sex and gender are not necessarily linked.
Although Grendels mother is a foe to Heorot and ModfyySo is discussed as a royal woman
who behaved inappropriately, both characters are worthy of respect and awe because of their
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power. Hro&gar, an elderly lord, is distinctly feminine; he cannot challenge Grendel
himself, but allows Beowulf to fight his battle while he stays safe in his hall with the
women. Characters either fight or influence: to be masculine is to take direct action and to
be feminine is to be passive in this heroic age, but the Beowulf poet does not necessarily
link these gender characteristics to biological sex.
Mod}>ry<5o is a prime example of a masculine woman. Mary Dockray-Miller notes
that Mod|)ry<5o takes control of her life in a world where women have little control:
(Modthrytho) cannot merely be dismissed as an evil queen who becomes
good after marrying the right man...her character both confirms and denies
a masculine economy that depends on women as
commodities...Modthrythos masculine performance manages to subvert the
usual use of women as objects in exchanges between men. (Women)
She is not punished for her masculine actions of killing men who look at her; although she
is not an ideal queen because of her peace-rending instead of peace-weaving, Mod}>ry<5o is
given a chance to become a good wife and proper queen, which she accepts. Dockray-
Miller points out, though, that the diction the poet uses for Modf>rySos position as a
queen is still active instead of passive (Women).
Grendels mother is perhaps more complex than the other queens because she is
described as both a woman and a monster. She is a grieving mother who has lost her son;
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although she takes revenge, which is a masculine role, her mothers grief is a womans grief.
As noted before, she is constructed as the inverse of a proper queen: she takes revenge
instead of peaceweaving, she is active instead of passive. By not acting as a queen should in
almost every action, Grendels mother raises questions as to what a woman should be: is a
woman with masculine characteristics monstrous or sympathetic?
Although all these specific points in feminist criticism of Beowulf can be debated,
the point is that these female characters all have the potential for analysis. Two-
dimensional characters do not. The queens were written and developed to have complex
characters that resonate for an original or modern readership, and to translate them as
insignificant characters because they are not involved in the adventure aspects of the story is
unreasonable.
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CHAPTER III
KLAEBERS KIND WEALHpEOW
Since most readers of Beowulf come to the story through a translator, readers accept
the translators attitudes towards the female characters as presented in subtleties of diction,
syntax, and poetic device. A translators own culture can have significant influence over his
or her translation. Josephine Bloomfield of Ohio University analyses Frederick Klaebers
translation of Wealh}>eow and finds that his own cultural biases toward women colored his
interpretation. Klaeber was considered one of the worlds leading experts on Beowulf, and
his translations completed in the early 1900s were considered the most important and
accurate. His translation was very influential to scholars and students. Yet, as Bloomfield
notes, his version gives short shrift to WealhJjeow because he translates most adjectives
describing her as kind:
we see Wealhtheows motivations regulated and her role transformed from
peace weaver and power broker to tender maternal care-giver: her messages
lost political significance and her deep understanding of tribal ritual
becomes muted as her relationship with her husband and sons is altered by
this series of uniform glosses to emphasize personal affection over tribal
necessity. (184)
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Through the choice of a single word, WealhJjeows character is marginalized and the
position of a queen is minimized. Klaebers mistranslation changes the interlace of the
storyline to mirror gender roles of nineteenth-century German bourgeois culture (203);
Klaeber seems to have imposed concepts and relationships on the textparticularly in the
areas of kingship, family, and gender rolesthat cannot be found in the source text or the
source culture (184). The story of Beowulf may be part Anglo-Saxon and part Germanic,
but it is not modern German, and to change characterization to fit the readers own culture
is unfortunate. Characters identities should withstand any translation. Klaeber may have
done this inadvertently, but the effect of his misreading changes the storyline and meaning
significantly.
The power of the translator is this great, that a single word mistranslated can have
such an effect. Translators must walk a fine line between making a text accessible for a
modern receptor audience and staying true to the authors intent, and every choice a
translator makes for a text as old as Beowulf veers one way or the other. Sometimes choices
marginalize the female characters, but in more recent times translators have deliberately
made choices that might not adhere to the Anglo-Saxon grammar or syntax, but that
definitely characterize the queens as they were written in Anglo-Saxon.
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Klaeber is not alone in his tendency to recreate characters in translation according
to his own cultural beliefs. He changed adjectives so WealhJjeow would represent women
of his own time: kind and maternal. Other translators refused to change anything,
resulting in a literal translation that cannot represent the artistry in a poem. A literal
translation of a poem so rich in figurative language cannot fully express the multi-layered
meanings that make the poem great.
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CHAPTER IV
TRANSLATION METHOLODOLOGIES
An old adage concerning translation goes: translations are like women; they are
either beautiful or faithful. Sexism aside, the sentiment expresses the translators dilemma,
especially the translator of poetry; should the translator aim for the precision of a line-by-
line translation, or should the translator sacrifice exact content for the overall sense of the
poem? Is content more important than aesthetics, form and poetic device? A poems
meaning is inextricably linked to its form and poetic device, and Beowulf is no exception.
Since languages differ not only in vocabulary but also in grammatical structure and syntax,
not to mention cultural innuendo and cultural assumptions in background knowledge, no
translation will ever achieve perfection. As Eugene Nida, an expert in the field of
translation studies, notes, The total impact of a translation may be reasonably close to the
original, but there can be no identity in detail (153). Something will always be lost, and
the translators main task is to decide what can be sacrificed and what is essential to the
poems transmission to another culture.
J.R.R. Tolkien argues that any translation of Beowulf could not match the beauty of
the original, could not be transmitted to Modern English, and he makes a good point. The
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form, story, and language of the poem work together in Anglo-Saxon in a way that cannot
be exactly reproduced in Modern English. Tolkien notes:
No translation that aims at being readable in itself can, without elaborate
annotation, proper to an edition of the original, indicate all the possibilities
or hints afforded by the text. It is not possible, for instance, in translation
always to represent a recurring work in the original by one given modern
work. Yet the recurrence may be important. (On Translating)
Since no translation could do the poem justice, Tolkien believes, the only acceptable
pretext for translating would be to provide an aid to study. Otherwise, a translator is
rewriting the poem, not translating it.1 Yet Tolkien wanted readers to learn Anglo-Saxon
to fully appreciate Beowulf. Access to the poem therefore would be limited to scholars, and
the text would remain almost as arcane as it was when discovered. Tolkiens assumptions
are not practical today.
Tolkien appreciated the beauty of Beowulf as a work of literature, one that could not
be rendered into another language because it is a work of art. He respected the poetry:
And therein lies the unrecapturable magic of ancient English verse for those
who have ears to hear: profound feeling, and poignant vision, filled with the
beauty and mortality of the world, are aroused by brief phrases, light
1 Tolkien, instead of translating the text he adored, instead used Beowulf as the
inspiration for his own fantastical tale, The Lord of the Rings. The character Gollum
resembles Grendel, and, of course, there is the dragon with his hoard in each text.
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touches, short words resounding like harp-strings sharply plucked. (On
Translating)
The poems language is indeed condensed and symbolic and resonant, and few people in
Tolkiens time appreciated its beauty. In his article The Monsters and the Critics,
Tolkien lambasts previous critics for only considering Beowulf important as a historical
document and rejecting any notion of the poem as art since the critics did not hear the
music of Tolkiens harp string, and so he subtly equated the critics with monsters in the
title of his article. Tolkien did not like the way scholars treated the poem, both in study
and in translation because no version at that time addressed the artistic beauty of Beowulf as
a piece of art.
Tolkien mentioned in as late as 1936 that Beowulf was only a curiosity for scholars:
Beowulf has been used as a quarry of fact and fancy more assiduously than it has been
studied as a work of art...it is as an historical document that it has mainly been examined
and dissected (246). Tolkien lists the criticisms of many decades, including calling the
poem primitive, feeble, a wild folk-tale, rude and rough, weak in construction,
thin and cheap, a burden to English syllabuses, and the confused product of a
committee of muddle-headed and probably beer-bemused Anglo-Saxons (249). Although
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the poem had some admirers, it was not considered the masterpiece of literature it is today.
Beowulf was widely misunderstood, misread, and abused in translation.
The beauty of Beowulf can only be realized by those knowledgeable about medieval
culture, otherwise it would indeed seem primitive. But the translator of any dead language
such as Anglo-Saxon has a dilemma that is compounded by limited knowledge of the
ancient culture. We have a few texts from Medieval England in Latin or Anglo-Saxon and
can therefore hypothesize about the culture of that time, but our knowledge is limited, and
the average reader does not know much about this time period that is so different from our
own. For example, the Anglo-Saxon word we would use for boast, pryp-word, has no exact
equivalence in English; pryp-word in the Bosworth-Toller Dictionary means brave or
noble speech, but translators often translate it as boast. To boast, in 21st Century
America, is obnoxious. Germanic warriors didnt boast in our modern-day sense of the
word. Having pride in our accomplishments and exuding confidence is acceptable, but we
consider bold proclamations of our greatness to be immature and vulgar. In the Heroic
Age, however, warriors were expected to extol great achievement, or otherwise they would
seem weak. To simply insert the word boast in a translation gives the wrong idea to a
contemporary audience, but there is not one word that encompasses the Anglo-Saxon idea.
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The translator can either include a lengthy footnote or change the structure of the poem to
better represent the sense of the idea. Such decisions are almost impossible:
The translator has to steer between extremes, between staying so close to
the source that the new readership is alienated by unfamiliar concepts,
forms or language, in short by that which is perceived to be Other and, at
the opposite extreme, leaving the source so far behind in an attempt to
satisfy the needs of that new readership that he or she may be accused of
betrayal. (Bassnett)
A translator will always be accused of some kind of betrayal, either of the text or of a
readership. Beautiful or faithful, never both.
Formal vs Dynamic Equivalence
Eugene Nida defines this dilemma as the major issue in translation studies. He
contrasts formal equivalence, the faithfulness to the original language in terms of diction
and grammar, and dynamic equivalence, faithfulness to the spirit or sense of the poem.
Beowulf translators who prefer formal equivalence favor line-by-line, almost word-by-word
translations with copious footnotes to explain cultural connotation, complicated passages,
or historical implication. Although such translations are handy for the student of Anglo-
Saxon, they are little more than utilitarian: it seems to be increasingly recognized that
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adherence to the letter may indeed kill the spirit (158). Some past formal equivalence
translations of Beowulf are inscrutable because of the adherence to the letter, such as the
1895 translation by William Morris and Alfred Wyatt, long ridiculed by Beowulf scholars.
Dynamic equivalence translators value the unity of the poem over the syntax and
grammatical structure. Unity, for our purposes, is the combination of diction, poetic
device, form, sound, and story working together to create an experience. In a dynamic
equivalence translation, a translator may take liberties with the original language to increase
the readability for modern readers. In dynamic equivalence, the relationship between
receptor and message should be substantially the same as that which existed between the
original receptors and the message (Nida 156). The experience of the poem should be as
close to the same for a contemporary reader as it was for the medieval reader as possible.
The translator might replace boast with confident in his accomplishments for good
reason; although longer and of a different grammatical structure, the reader understands
the character as he was meant to be. There is no negative connotation. Since an average
reader has little background in Anglo-Saxon culture, translation must involve transmission
of culture, to some degree: If his intended audience is not the Old English scholar, the
translator of Beowulf can count on virtually no collaboration with his readers memory
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(Hudson 117). Formal equivalence places context in the footnotes, while dynamic
equivalence blends context into the lines for a smoother reading experience. When a reader
must constantly interrupt his or her reading to look at a footnote for comprehension, the
story loses some of its interest.
And publishers are ultimately concerned with the readers because readers buy
books.1 The tendency currently is toward dynamic equivalence, to varying degrees. Seamus
Heaneys 2000 translation takes many liberties with the language, to some critics delight
and to others dismay. The translation sold many copies, and the Norton Critical Edition
replaced E. Talbot Donaldsons formal equivalence translation with Heaneys dynamic
equivalence translation in 2004.
Heaneys intent is to give us the experience of Beowulf, not break down the
component parts. Since a poems essence is more than the sum of its parts, plot and form
and poetic device, translators who focus on only the parts stifle the poem; translators who
1 From the LA Times, April 25, 2000, an article by Martin Miller, about the sales of
Heaneys Beowulf "This is beyond anybody's expectations. It's just amazing," said Anne
Coyle, a spokeswoman for Farrar, Straus and Giroux, known for its highbrow literature and
poetry.
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focus on the unity or essence of the poem might sacrifice an adjective or syntax, but
ultimately show more respect for the poem as a whole.
Translation and Transformation
Because of the obstacles any translator of Beowulf must face, the text can considered
transformed more than it is translated. Grammar, diction, syntax, connotation, implication,
poetic structure and pacing cannot all smoothly and accurately be converted into modern
English. Something must give: Translators must constantly make decisions about the
cultural meanings which language carries...In fact the process of meaning transfer often has
less to do with finding the cultural inscription of a term than in reconstructing its value
(Simon 138). Culture does not come through in a formal equivalence translation; it must
be reconstructed through dynamic equivalence. The translation, then, cannot be seen as
an exact replica of a textit works together with the original, not as a replacement but as
an addition:
As regards the meaning, the language of a translation canin fact must
let itself go, so that it gives voice to the intentio of the original not as
reproduction but as harmony, as a supplement to the language in which it
expresses itself, as its own kind of intentio. Therefore it is not the highest
praise of a translation, particularly in the age of its origin, to say that it
reads as if it had originally been written in that language. (Benjamin 81)
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Although we may not know the exact experience of an original audience, we do know that
the female characters had agency. Formal equivalence translations will always fail to
transmit the spirit of the poem; transformations can preserve the unity of Beowulf for
contemporary readers.
Because most humanistic qualities of a strong poem cross language/cultural/time
boundaries. Only the details can seem foreign. Translation superimposes domestic
significance to a foreign text to make it seem less foreign. Lawrence Venuti states that the
translator negotiates the linguistic and cultural differences of the foreign text by reducing
them and supplying another set of differences, basically domestic, drawn from the receiving
language and culture to enable the foreign to be received there (Translation 482). In
order for a text to be relevant and understandable in Modern English, some foreign
elements must be replaced with familiar domestic ones. The idea of an acceptable boast
seems foreign in a respected hero, but confidence in a hero is familiar, so to really
understand the hero Beowulf, the term must be modified. Then we admire him which is
the experience of the original audience. Construction of a translation is akin to an art form
because the translators modification of an original text comes from his or her skill,
experience, and character.
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The translator, like any artist, cannot help but instill his or her own personality in
the translation: some stamp of the translators own mind and style upon the text is bound
to be a part of the process of rewriting a literary work into a language other than its native
one, and a firm stamp is sometimes preferable to a timid one (Niles 859). The decision-
making process stems from a persons character, education, skill, and experience, and
immersing oneself in a text necessitates interpretation. Translation can never be objective,
must always be subjective: translation ceases to be a passive linguistic transfer from one
language to another and becomes an active process influenced by the translators identity,
views of the world and environment (Andone 149). Someone does not undertake the
translation of Beowulf without loving the poem, and the contribution of a new translation
to the long list of versions of Beowulf involves bridging two cultures through ones own
character: The translator today is increasingly represented as negotiator, as inter-cultural
mediator, as interpreter...Translation involves taking responsibility, for the translator is the
person through whom a text passes on its journey from one context to another (Bassnett).
How a translator superimposes domestic familiarity onto the original text involves the
hundreds of little decisions about language as any author or poet makes in composing
literature.
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Making effective decisions in the translation of Beowulf demands a vast knowledge
of both languages and cultures, ancient and modern. The translator must know the Anglo-
Saxon culture well to negotiate it for the reader. The work of the translator is as much to
understand this extraliterary frame, the mythos of the tribe and its signa sacra, as it is to
work through the poem word by word...he must steep himself in whatever has an Anglo-
Saxon, or even northern-medieval, smell to it (Hudson 118). For although a translator
must transform a text so it has domestic familiarity, he or she cannot lose sight of the fact
that Beowulf is a medieval poem. Especially for Beowulf, translators must understand the
medieval world well enough to know how bridge the gap between the middle ages and the
modern; transformation necessitates knowledge of culture so that it doesnt step over the
line and become adaptation, bearing little resemblance to the original. The essence of the
poem must remain medieval, and any tweaking of diction or form must take this into
account.
So change to the original text is inevitable, and there can be no true formal
equivalence: Transformation, as well as loss, is inevitable...the translator must become a
dealer in equivalences rather than exactitudes (Hudson 111). A translator, armed with the
knowledge of both ancient and modern culture and languages, may even go so far as to
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enhance the original text for a better reading experience: the translator illumines, clarifies,
even fulfills meanings latent in the original; in certain instances, he may surpass the
original (Hudson 115). Transmission of a poem from one culture to another is a delicate
process, and if a translator is skilled enough, he or she can modify the original text in a way
that retains the medieval feel of the poem while making it accessible and beautiful for
modern readers.
The Political Agenda of Translation
Any text has an agenda, and translations do even more so than most. Why does a
translator choose a particular text? Why do they make the decisions they do in the process
of translation? Why would a translator choose formal equivalence or dynamic equivalence?
Most importantly, how domestic should a translation become, or how foreign should a
translation remain? The latter question has ethical implications:
translation has moved theorists toward an ethical reflection wherein
remedies are formulated to restore or preserve the foreignness of the foreign
text...This ethical attitude is therefore simultaneous with a political agenda:
the domestic terms of inscription become the focus of rewriting in the
translation. (Venuti 483)
A translators purpose in translation of a specific text determines what the original text will
become. A formal equivalence translator may focus on the plot or history in Beowulf, while
41


a dynamic equivalence translator may be concerned with the sound and sense of the poem.
Each considers his or her translation to be ethically appropriate because of the purpose of
translation.
A translations readership decides if that translation is relevant or worthwhile. The
translation has to be important to a reading audience:
A translation aims to produce a new text that matters to one community
the way another text matters to another: but it is part of our understanding
of why texts matter that this is not a question that convention settles;
indeed, it is part of our understanding of literary judgment, that there can
always be new readings, new things that matter about a text, new reasons
for caring about new properties. (Appiah 397)
A translator of Beowulf takes an ancient text and makes it new for an audience, and that
audience in a different time period and culture may react to the text in new and unexpected
ways. Just as there is always new scholarship on Shakespeare, new ways to perceive and
analyze his plays, there will always be new ways of looking at Beowulf because the poem is
rich and resonates with questions of human existence. The way the poem is translated
plays a crucial part in a new audiences take on the poem.
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Cultural Turn and Feminist Translation
An important modern method of interpretation is feminist criticism, and Beowulf is
ripe for such interpretation because of its complex characters and rich world built by the
original poet. I would argue that any modern day translator is a feminist translator because
he or she would not dismiss the female characters as extraneous even if the female
characters werent given agency; they are clearly essential to the poems meaning and they
are interesting in and of themselves. The womens movement of the 1960s and 1970s
changed the way our western culture perceives the position of women in society. The
gender divide is no longer an issue any scholar can ignore, according to Oana-Helena
Andone: feminist ideology ...acknowledges the tensions between masculine and feminine
identities and strives to make feminine identity visible in language (136). Wealh}>eow is
more than just Hro&gars wife, and her identity and worth as an individual is clear in the
original Anglo-Saxon. Whether or not it is clear in a modern translation depends on the
sensitivity of the translator. A feminist translator is sensitive to the effect of language in
the creation of an individual character both in the original and modern language: In
feminist translation theory, language interferes actively in the creation of meaning.
Language does not only mirror reality but contributes to its creation (Andone 143). A
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translator can create a complex Wealh}>eow or an insignificant wife, and through language
choices, the reality of the character is set.
Translation of Beowulf utilizing feminist theory is a relatively new undertaking.
Feminism was not applied to translation studies until the early 1990s:
The cultural turn in Translation Studies designates the move towards the
analysis of translation from the perspective of cultural studies...the
understanding of translation has changed, and it is seen as an activity which
may create or destabilize cultural identities and thus become a new mode of
cultural creation. (Andone 135)
Translators now would not think of ignoring the implications of culture in the process of
translation. The position of women in the world of Beowulf and the position of women in
modern-day culture must be consideredotherwise, a translation with shallow, two-
dimensional female characters will result, since in our patriarchal society women
traditionally have been seen as secondary.
The process of translation has necessarily changed because of the cultural turn as
defined by Andone. We can no longer impose our own assumptions of patriarchy on every
text regardless of original culture: ...the process of reclaiming the past for
women...(reevaluating) an uncontested vision of the world, past and present, as dominated
by great men...is mirrored in the revisions to the history of translation practice and in a
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reevaluation of what translation means (Bassnett). To translate a female character from
medieval culture into modern-day culture must involve analysis of the position of women
in both cultures, and only then can informed and sensitive translation choices be made that
respect the worth of the character in the text. We cannot assume that WealhJjeow was a
passive queen figure. To translate in modern times means to negotiate cultural
assumptions and implications.
Such negotiation is an intricate and personal process. A translator cannot remove
himself or herself from the translation because as noted before, the decisions a translator
makes stem from his or her experience and character and even gender: Gender awareness
in translation has brought about a revision of another conceptthe so-called invisibility of
the translator...They can no longer accept to function as the transparent channel which
does not leave any mark on the target text (Andone 147). The identity of a translator will
bleed through in their translation. A male translator may make very different choices than
a female translator, and an expert in Anglo-Saxon history may make different choices than
a poet. How medieval female characters are reconstructed in Modern English depends on
the identity of the translator, their knowledge, assumptions, and agenda, as we saw with
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Klaeber. The translator will never be able to remove himself or herself from the
translation.
The cultural turn changed the entire way we view the translation of a text. What
it is to be faithful and beautiful has changed:
Whereas fidelity has traditionally been analyzed in terms of word-for-word
vs. sense-for-sense translation, feminist theory views fidelity as directed
toward neither the author not the reader but toward the writing project.
The project involves both the author and the translator. The translation
project is not a carrying across, but a reworking of the meaning.
(Andone 144)
Translation is not just about the text, but about the original author and the translator, also.
How all three work together determine the faithfulness and the beauty.
Differing Philosophies of Translators
Formal equivalence and dynamic equivalence translators have opposing translation
methodologies. The agenda of a formal equivalence translator is to convey Anglo-Saxon
history and language; such translators have immersed themselves in the details of medieval
life and the grammar of Anglo-Saxon. Dynamic equivalence translators tend to remake the
46


lines and add context for Anglo-Saxon passages that are difficult enough to demand hard
choices and which cannot be transmitted smoothly:
here the translator-imitator may find justification for his liberties. But,
obviously, to travel on this path with any success the translator must be a
good poet in his own right...(Ezra) Pound and many others have revealed
that fidelity can sometimes be achieved through what some would consider
licentious freedom. (Hudson 113)
So a dynamic equivalence translators freedom and creativity with language in translating
Beowulf might actually turn out more faithful than a precise and exact formal equivalence
version. Donaldson, whose version was used in the Norton edition for decades, chose
precision over beauty: Donaldson steadfastly declines to resolve these questions creatively.
His method is so literal as to seem artless (Niles 868). How ironic: to be faithful and
respectful to the poem, sometimes one has to deviate from exacting precision.
But this is the nature of poetrythe balance of beauty and meaning. To
completely sacrifice the beauty and the rhythm of the poem for the sake of word-for-word
precision is to fail to see the forest for the trees. It is not unscrupulous to veer away from a
strict and literal interpretation of a section of the poem if doing so preserves the beauty or
the reading experience or the overall sense:
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The argument that a domesticating translation strategy is somehow
unethical, because it elides signs of foreignness in the text becomes untenable
once we start to look at translation as process...a translator who reveres the
source so much that the needs of readers are secondary, is unlikely to find a
responsive audience. (Bassnett)
The reader should be of foremost concern to a translator. Beowulf is more than the sum of
its parts, grammar and vocabulary and plot, and the most important element in the
transmission of the text from Anglo-Saxon to modern English must be the reader. A
translator needs to remember that he or she is translating and publishing for an audience,
not as an academic exercise. Why else bother to translate?
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CHAPTER V
HISTORY OF TRANSLATIONS OF BEOWULF
There are hundreds of translations of Beowulf: complete translations, fragments,
digressions, in German, English, Spanish, and other languages. We have been fascinated by
this Anglo-Saxon text hidden away for centuries and then almost accidentally burned up in
a fire. Since there is only one copy of the text and since the author and provenance are
unknown, we can only speculate about many facets of the text and the history behind the
text. As mentioned before, J.R.R. Tolkeins famous essay The Critics and the Monsters
admonished the scholars who considered the epic poem of more historical significance than
literary, defending the integrity of the poem as a complex and masterful work of literature.
As a historical artifact the poem provides information of a previous culture, but as a poem
Beowulf is enjoyable and enlightening. Although older translations are more interested in
the history and grammar of the text, more modern translators clearly take joy in the artful
language and the story of the poem.
John M. Kemble was the first to translate the whole of Beowulf into English. He
was a scholar and historian at Cambridge University in England, and his complete
translation was first published in 1833. Since he was the first he had no models for
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comparison, he was not influenced by any predecessors, and his purpose was to give the
basic sense of the poem:
The translation is a literal one; I was bound to give word for word, the
original in all its roughness: I might have made it smoother, but I purposely
avoided doing so, because had the Saxon poet thought as we think, and
expressed his thoughts as we express our thoughts, I might have spared
myself the trouble of editing or translating his poem, (i)
He wanted to maintain the sense of foreignness in the poem, not turn it into a modern
equivalent. Kembles version was in prose because he was more concerned with the story
and how it was told than the poetry. His aim was historical and academic to make the text
accessible to students. He made huge strides in contributing to the study of the Anglo-
Saxon language: The Glossary, I hope, will be found to contain every word which occurs in
the poem, and it contains many which are not found there, because I thought that it might
some day serve as a foundation for a Dictionary of the Saxon Poetic language (ii). Kemble
fulfilled his purpose; he created a rough yet grammatically accurate translation of a poem
that had not been read in Modern English before as an academic historical exercise.
Kemble began a long tradition of translating Beowulf. Many other complete
translations followed, both in prose and in verse. William Morris and Alfred John Wyatt
created a translation in verse using archaic language; their version is confusing and
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awkward, sounding more humorous than heroic because of the form, and it was ridiculed
by most Anglo-Saxon scholars.1 Early translators of Beowulf were necessarily academics
because Anglo-Saxon, as a dead language, was studied in universities in history
departments. Their aim was the study of the poem, not recreational reading. Tolkeins
essay was indeed aimed at such scholars.
Chickering
Another influential scholar who translated Beowulf is Howell Chickering, a
professor at Amherst. His aim was to be true to the grammatical language:
My translation takes a few liberties from time to time, but for the most part
it gives the plain sense of the original or, when a literal translation would be
unclear, the intended meaning as I see it. By not trying to imitate the
alliteration and other audible features of the facing original, I was able to
concentrate on reproducing the poetic ordering of parts, sentence by
sentence, (x)
By ignoring poetic devices, Chickering could focus fully on keeping the syntax and
structure parallel to the original; in fact, in Chickerings version the Anglo-Saxon is on the
left and his translation is on the right, directly across the pages from each other. The
1 An example of Morris and Wyatt translation, when WealhJjeow speaks to Hro&gar: I
ween that good-will yet this man will be yielding / To our offspring that be after us, if he
mind him / of all that which we two, for good-will and for worship, / Unto him erst a
child yet have framed of kindness.
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translation, due to this arrangement, is supported by the original text. The book is helpful
for students of Beowulf because of the closeness of original and translation. His dedication
to individual lines and words, though, makes the text somewhat inaccessible to casual
readers; the tight terseness of Anglo-Saxon poetry is not elegant in modern English.
Chickering made the deliberate decision to focus on language over meaning: I felt I could
leave the more complex connotations for the commentary as long as the translation did not
sound overblown...I know only too well how annotation can deaden the very things it was
meant to illuminate (xii). He sacrificed the sense of the poem for correctness; teaching
students to translate Anglo-Saxon involves more rote skill than creativity, as does this
version of the poem.
In addition to translating the poem himself, Chickering reviewed many other
translations, including E. Talbot Donaldson and Seamus Heaney, translators to be
discussed later. From his critiques we can see his own formal equivalence tendencies.
Chickering comments that A poetic form...must be an improvement over prose
(Donaldsons 779), criticizing Donaldsons choice of prose over poetry; Chickerings own
version is in verse. Overall Chickering admires Donaldsons version, though. Of
Donaldsons very literal translation he says:
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In choosing to be literal, and choosing prose, Donaldson shows a humility
which is not only downright attractive by contrast, but, more importantly,
comes from being a finely perceptive reader of the Anglo-Saxon.
(Donaldsons 775)
Chickering believes that a literal, word-for-word and line-by-line translation shows
humility because Donaldson could have used his skills to deviate from the original syntax.
I am not sure how adhering to a medieval grammatical structure instead of to the poetry
and unity if the poem shows humilityit is a conscious choice made by a translator,
sacrificing one aspect for another. I also am not sure how replacing Modern English words
for Anglo-Saxon words for the sake of literalness makes Donaldson a perceptive reader,
but Chickering also admires Donaldsons formal equivalence translation methods, which are
very similar to his own.
Donaldson
E. Talbot Donaldson was a scholar translator very much like Chickering. A
professor at Yale, he received many honors as an American Medievalist. He was considered
such an expert that Norton adopted his translation for their critical edition in 1975. Like
Chickering, Donaldson focused his efforts on diction and grammar over sense:
it has seems best to translate as literally as possible, confining oneself to the
linguistic and intellectual structure of the original. It is perfectly true that a
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literal translation such as this is bound to result in a style of modern
English prose that was never seen before on land or sea and is not apt to be
again, (xi)
Donaldson admits that his translation is awkward and inelegant due to his strict adherence
to the linguistic and intellectual structure of the original. His aim as a medievalist is to
present the information in the text in as close a form to the original as possible, and
provide copious footnotes for clarification. The style and beauty of the poem are of
secondary concern; Donaldsons aim is to provide a literal version for study in a classroom,
leaving context and figurative language as the responsibility of the student. He knew the
consequences of choosing a literal prose translation:
If... a verse translation does not try to be a poem in its own right, then it
can only be versification, a literal rendering constantly distracted from
literalism by the need to versify, as a more creative translation is constantly
distracted from literalism by the translators creativity. Rather than try to
create a new and lesser poem for the reader, it seems better to offer him in
prose the literal materials from which he can re-create the poem, (xiii)
Donaldsons assumption that any translation in verse would be a lesser poem is telling;
that a translator would weaken the poem with creativity belies his bias toward
information over art. The consummate scholar, Donaldson wanted to publish a version of
Beowulf for study instead of for pleasure reading.
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In the mid-twentieth century, however, a different population began to take notice
of the poem. This interest may have come about because the poem gained respect for its
sophistication along with its historical import; Tolkeins message of the importance of the
poem as an artistic creation finally got through. The new translators efforts with Anglo-
Saxon poetry changed the way the poem was perceived. It became a text to read for
pleasure as much as a text for study in a university. Dynamic equivalence translators had a
different focus: poetic style and reader reception, as opposed to historical and grammatical
accuracy.
Morgan
Edwin Morgan was such a translator. His 1952 translation of Beowulf is quite
different from previous translations by academics, which Morgan disliked:
not one of these has succeeded in establishing itself as a notable
presentation, even for its own period, of a great original...Nothing has been
found, therefore, in these Beowulf translations to interest either the
practicing poet or the cultivated reader of poetry, unless his aim is simply to
find out what the poem deals with, and that would be more safely and easily
got from a prose version, (vii)
Morgans theory of translating Beowulf is not that of a historian. He was concerned with
the reader more than with historical accuracy, with the language and beauty of the poetry
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more than a dry, torpid retelling of the story. Because of this he embraced dynamic
equivalence rather than formal equivalence, giving him more power to mold words into a
beautiful and energetic poem: The lines must be able to contract to terseness, and expand
to splendor (xvi). Even Morgans description of his translation has beauty. Morgan
eschewed archaisms but kept the four-stress meter, giving the poem the sense and texture
of the original but not reminding the reader that the poem is ancient instead of present and
relevant. A reader needs no footnotes or dictionary or knowledge of Anglo-Saxon to read
and understand the epic because Morgan blended such information into the poem itself.
Hudson
Poet Marc Hudson is similarly concerned with poetic elements in his 1990
translation. Reminiscent of Tolkeins insistence that Beowulf is first and foremost a work of
literature, Hudson states, to ignore the rhythm and the aural patterning of the verses is to
betray Beowulf s artistry (122). Hudson has an ear for the poetry of the epic and so
embraces dynamic equivalence in order to maintain the poetic elements and create a sense
of the poem that might not be as accurate as a word-for-word rendering but has the same
feel and texture of the original. Hudson adds words and makes changes in his translation
to develop more accurate music of the line...For the spirit and not the literal, inanimate
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letter...The outcome of the whole game depends, finally, on the tact and accuracy of the
translators intuitions (167). Both Hudsons and Morgans dynamic equivalence
translation methodologies allow the reader a greater sense of what the experience of the
original was for the original audience. Hudson comments on his process:
The four-stress line, the diction of a higher tone, the resolution of kennings
into phrases, the fidelity to the rhetorical figures and to the contemplative
character of the poemthese represent controlling biases that informed my
choices, providing the work as a whole with a unity it would not have
otherwise possessed. (159)
The unity Hudson refers to incorporates poetic elements and story details to create an
overall sense of the original, which was not just a story but a creation of a world, not just
information about a situation but an experience for the reader. The four-stress line of the
poem is an essential part of the sound of the lines. The Beowulf poet deliberately chose this
form to provide flow to the story, and to remove it from a translation would be like
rewriting Shakespeares sonnets without iambic pentameter. The terse, condensed lines are
part of the experience of reading this poem, and to translate without using this form
implies that the information and historical significance is more important than the
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exquisite artistry of Beowulf. The same can be said of the kennings and rhetorical figures
Hudson insists are necessary for the unity of the translation.
Heaney
The most famous contemporary translation of Beowulf is by the Irish poet Seamus
Heaney. He strongly believes that Beowulf is of cultural importance not because of
historical aspects but because the poems relevance to us today as great literature: Its
narrative elements may belong to a previous age but as a work of art it lives in its own
continuous present, equal to our knowledge of reality the present time (ix). The poem is
relevant and the narrative resonates for a modern day reader, according to Heaney. He
translated for the contemporary reader, not for an Anglo-Saxon scholar. His book was first
published in 2000 to great acclaim1 and was adopted by Norton to replace Donaldson in the
Norton Critical Edition of Beowulf This shift in the Norton Critical Edition is indicative
of the recent trend in translation of the epic; in order to keep the text alive, poet
translators have taken up the challenge and have translated with a contemporary audience
in mind. Heaney purported to recreate the experience of the poem for readers today, and
to do so, he felt free to make certain changes:
1 Seamus Heaneys translation won the Whitbread Book of the Year Award in 2000.
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I have not followed the strict metrical rules that bound the Anglo-Saxon
scop. I have been guided by the fundamental pattern of four stresses to the
line, but I allow myself several transgressions. For example, I dont always
employ alliteration, and sometimes I alliterate only in one half of one line.
When these breeches occur, it is because I prefer to let the natural sound
of sense prevail over the demands of the convention. I have been reluctant
to force an artificial shape or unusual word choice just for the sake of
correctness, (xxix)
Like Marc Hudson, Heaney translated in a manner that respects the artistry and ignores
convention to that end. He makes decisions to create a naturalness in the poem for his
readers, creating an easy flow in the storyline with few arcane references, instead of
distracting readers with a sense of foreignness.
An example Heaney uses to explain his translation method is the first word of the
poem, Hwatt. Literally the word in Anglo-Saxon means what. But the idea of
beginning a tale with what doesnt work in modern English:
Conventional renderings of hwaet, the first word of the poem, tend towards
the archaic literary, with lo and hark and behold and attend and
more colloquiallylisten being some of the solutions offered previously.
But in Hiberno-English Scullionspeak, the particle so came naturally to
the rescue, because in that idiom so operates as an expression which
obliterates all previous discourse and narrative, and at the same time
functions as an exclamation calling for immediate attention, (xxvii)
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Heaney could have used the direct translation of what and then included a long footnote
to explain the etymology of the word and how we culturally have accepted a different idiom
to gather attention and begin a story apropos of nothing, but the pleasure reader doesnt
care. The reader knows what the word So represents and can continue on with the poem
with interest instead of tedium. So is direct and to the point, and fits easily into the
sound or music of the Anglo-Saxon poetry: What I was after first and foremost was a
narrative line that sounded as if it meant business, and I was prepared to sacrifice other
things in pursuit of this directness of utterance (xxix). The sacrifice of the etymology of
what is not a great loss.
Howell Chickerings review of Heaneys translation was not flattering. Chickering
admits that For fidelity to both the letter and spirit of the original, it is a resounding but
mixed success, with some awkward missteps (Heaneywulf 162); his acknowledgement of
Heaneys success is heavily qualified. Chickering calls Heaneys freedom in verse translation
full of overcooked imagery and bumping alliteration (Heaneywulf 168). He also does
not like the fact that Heaney used 12 words of Ulster origin because Chickering thought
Heaney was writing for himself and not for a non-Ulster audience, calling it bad cultural
and linguistic history (Heaneywulf 173). Here we see Chickerings bias: linguistics. As
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for Heaneys readers, 12 words will not confuse the texts meaning, and they provide a sense
of texture in the poetic language of Beowulf, which is not supposed to be ordinary language.
As a formal equivalence translator, Chickering is suspect of Heaneys dynamic equivalence
version and the new model of making the original text new again.
Chickering was not the only translator to criticize his colleagues. Each translator I
examined, from Kemble to Heaney, commented on his translation philosophies and why
his was best in a forward or introduction. The trend toward dynamic equivalency was
resisted by many translators at first but now seems to be the default method of translation
of Beowulf. A close look at the original Anglo-Saxon lines reveals why Donaldsons version
is no longer relevant and why Heaneys version is this generations accepted translation.
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CHAPTER VI
THE QUEENS: TEXT ANALYSIS
The formal equivalence translators and dynamic equivalence translators have
different purposes, the former to preserve information and the latter to provide an
authentic reading experience, but they are both translating for a reading audience. A closer
examination of Donaldsons and Heaneys words serves as a useful gauge; they can represent
each group of translators (formal and dynamic), they are each acclaimed for their
translations, and each was adopted by the Norton Critical Edition. A close textual analysis
of how each translator approached the female characters through use of diction, poetic
device, and elaboration reveals the difference in their methods; female characters are
marginalized in the formal equivalency of the scholars, and they are rightfully given agency
in the dynamic equivalency of the poets.
Donaldson specifically chose to write his translation in prose so that a reader
wouldnt be distracted from the information of the poem by the form of a lesser poem.
He divides his translation into sections with descriptive headers that explain what will
happen. Donaldson uses modern paragraphing but within each sentence he uses many
commas that mirror the phrasing of the original lines. He tries to keep the syntax as close
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to the original as possible. The result is an awkward and rambling sentence structure that
becomes tedious to read, as well as vague or confusing, as we will see. It is not
representative of the artistry of the original.
Seamus Heaney does just the opposite. He is concerned not only with the storyline
but with how the form and devices in the poetry support the epic. To show the original
form, Heaney places the original text opposite the translation in his book. He does this so
that the reader never forgets it is a translation of an medieval and Germanic epic, a foreign
text. The juxtaposition also allows the translation to lean on the strength of the Anglo-
Saxon original, which tempers the liberalness of his translation: although the words in each
line might not be parallel, readers can see the tempo and structure of the source text. Even
though the reader might not know Anglo-Saxon, he or she knows the feel of the poem just
by viewing the lines. Heaneys translation brings the epic into the modern age for smooth
readability, but the parallel text roots it firmly in the medieval age.
WealhJjeow
Wealhjjeow is always present before and after Beowulfs battles as a representative of
her people. She comments on the situation and offers encouragement and warnings. We
see her wielding power with words instead of swords. As Hro&gars queen she has an
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exalted and influential position in the hall, and as she warns Beowulf, the men of the hall
will gladly do her bidding. Yet Donaldsons strict attention to word and line in his
translation make Weallfyeow seem two-dimensional and weaker than she is, thoughher
strong character and power do not survive a formal equivalence translation. Heaneys words
do allow Wealh}>eow the power and character of her queenship. Instead of limiting himself
to the precise diction and syntax, Heaney uses his poetic skills to work with the original
text and represent its sense and ideas to a modern audience. Donaldsons translation is
meant to be studied; Heaneys is meant to be savored.
We first meet Wealhfyow when Beowulf comes to offer his services to Hro&gar (see
app. Al-3). She enters the hall after the feast has begun and completes her duties as a
queen. Donaldsons translation makes her duties seem that of a hostess, merely Hro&gars
servant, while Heaneys translation allows her the potency and ability befitting her station.
Gold, to the people of this heroic age, is representative of much more than
wealthit is a status symbol, a symbol of courage and heroism, and implies power and
authority. A person obtains gold by violence or by the favor of a rich leader. The Beowulf
poet used the metal to signify much more than treasure, especially as concerns the queens.
The most telling phrase is goldhroden in line 614 and 640 used to describe Wealh}>eow
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when she enters the hall. This term is used four times in the epic to describe Wealhjieow,
Freawaru, and Modthrith, all royal women. The Bosworth and Toller Anglo-Saxon
Dictionary1 defines goldhroden as gold-adorned, an adjective. Precise to a fault,
Donaldson uses this definition in his translation. The word hroden means laden or
ornamented, an adjective describing a passive object that has been embellished. The
connotation of hroden makes Wealhjieow into an object to be displayed in the hall, an
extension of Hro&gars wealth and status. It negates Wealhjieows status. However, as
discussed previously, Germanic queens held positions of status that made them politically
astute, and in the role of peace-weaver a queen played subtle politics in order to keep the
peace in the hall and among tribes. Since Wealhfieow is both, she is clearly not a
mannequin used to display Hro&gars goldthe gold actually represents her own power and
stature. Heaneys translation of goldhroden as adorned in her gold in line 614 makes much
more sense for todays reader. The possessive pronoun her changes Wealhjieows position
and character drastically. Then, when we come to line 640, the term arrayed with gold
follows the description regal, reinforcing the idea that Wealhjieow is queen with a queens
power, represented by her riches. 1
1 All definitions from this point forward will be from The Bosworth and Toller Anglo-
Saxon Dictionary.
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Gold again is an issue when WealhJjeow speaks to Hro&gar after the first battle in
line 1162 (see app. Bl-3); WealhJjeow walks into the hall under gyldnum beage. A beage is a
crown or ring, and Donaldson translates the phrase as under gold crown. The ownership
of the crown is vague; it could be any crown or piece of jewelry. However, WealhJjeow is
about to speak firmly to Hro&gar and ensure the succession of the tribe, so Heaneys
translation in her gold crown is more suitable, because the possessive pronoun reminds
the reader of her position and power; she can and will influence Hro&gar and Beowulf. She
owns the queenship instead of the queenship owning her, and her gold crown is
representative of her authority in the hall. Heaney looks past the literal words to see
symbolism and implication that Donaldson misses.
The way WealhJjeow is described by the narrator is another matter that clearly
reveals the difference in Heaneys and Donaldsons translations. When WealhJjeow first
acknowledges the men in the hall she is acting as a proper queen; the Anglo-Saxon word
grette (line 614) has a number of definitions in Bosworth and Toller, including speak, call
upon, hail, greet, welcome, salute, and bid farewell. Donaldson chose the definition that
sounds similar: greeted. To greet is to simply say hello, a pedestrian action made
everyday in all walks of life. Heaney chose the definition saluted, which is a wholly
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different gesture; saluted has military connotations, which would befit the leader of a
group of warriors. It is also a gesture of respect, buttressing the bonds between a close
tribe and a leader. Later in the poem the suggestion that the men will fight for their queen
(1230) supports the position of queen-as-commander.
A further description of Wealh}>eow in this section is that of wisfiest wordum; wisfiest
is defined as wise, discreet, or judicious, and the dictionary entry makes a note that in the
case of line 626 in Beowulf it applies to people (see app. Al-3). Wordum means of words,
so the description of Wealh))eow is a woman who speaks wisely and judiciously, a
consummate politician. Donaldsons translation is sure of speech and Heaneys is With
measured words, two different ideas; sure of speech implies confidence, but leaves out
any idea of wisdom or skill. With measured words implies thought and caution, very
appropriate for a situation in which an unknown warrior shows up with his band of
warriors. Heaney is describing a politician; Donaldson is describing a figurehead.
Wealh}>eows speech to Hro&gar beginning in line 1168 is introduced with Spr&c "6a
ides Scyldinga: (see app. Bl-3). Donaldson translated this literally to mean Then the
woman of the Scyldings spoke. Yet the word ides complicates this line; Bosworth and
Toller note that the noun is used mainly in poetry. Ides does not mean any woman, but is
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used for women of high standing, as Joyce Hill explains in her article past Wats Geomuru
Ides! Donaldsons translation gives ownership of Wealh}>eow to the Scyldings, but a
woman of high standing would not have this sense of being an object that is owned; rather,
she is one of their leaders. Donaldsons grammatically faithful sentence does not reveal
Wealhjjeows character. Heaney translates this line simply: The queen spoke. The reader
immediately remembers that this is a woman of authority, and so her words gain weight
and significance. Hro&gar will listen to her, because she is not any woman, she is his
queen. Also interesting is that the poet did not use the work mapelode but spr&c: the verb
mapelode, meaning said, is commonly used to introduce dialogue or monologue. Spreec,
spoke, is much more formal and commanding in Modern English, emphasizing the
formality and significance of Wealh}>eows speech.
Wealh}>eows final public speech, given when Beowulf leaves to sail home, is to
thank him, wish him luck, and give him valuable gifts (see app. Cl-3). As a queen she has
the power to give the gifts of a gold ring and a mail shirt from the tribes hoard. The word
mapelode from line 1215 is translated by Donalsdon as spoke and by Heaney as
pronounced, two very different verbs. To speak is merely to talk, but to pronounce is to
make a truth known to a large group of people. As queen, Wealh}>eow is in a position to
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act in such a formal and ritual way: the gifts and wishes come from the entire tribe instead
of from just herself.
After her pronouncement, WealhJjeow leaves the center of the stageEode pa to
setle (1232). The simple action of walking back to Hro&gar has dissimilar connotation in
the different way it is translated: Donaldsons version is Then she walked to her seat and
Heaneys is She moved then to her place. Setle does mean seat, but it is too general a
definition in this specific line. Again, everyone in the hall has a seat, but only a queen or
king has a place. A queens place is next to the king in a representative position of power,
possibly a head table higher than the rest. WealhJjeow gains gravitas when we are reminded
of her power and authority in this wayit is indeed her place to speak to Beowulf on
behalf of all the people.
Wealhjjeows own words are translated to present her either as a weak woman or a
queen with agency. When Wealh}>eow admonishes Hro&gar to remember his sons after he
suggests giving Beowulf an inheritance in line 1168 (see app. Bl-3), she must be an
effective peaceweaver, because to give the leadership of a tribe to an outsider would cause
conflict and bloodshed. Additionally, she wants to make sure her kin, and through them,
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herself, retains control. She must speak carefully and diplomatically. A simple conjunction
in this speech changes Wealh}>eows character. In her admonition to Hro&gar, she says,
bruc penden pu mote
manigra medo, ond pinum magum l&ffolc ond rice.
Donaldson translates: Enjoy while you may many rewards, and leave your kinsmen folk
and kingdom. The ond does mean and, but Heaney liberally translates it as but:
Relish their company, but recollect as well
all of the boons that have been bestowed on you.
The slight shift of conjunction gives Wealh}>eows words an ominous feeling; Donaldsons
translation focuses on the word Enjoy, a positive and happy word, while Heaneys lines
focus on the word recollect as a threat since the conjunction but shows contrast instead
of similarity. Donaldsons Wealh}>eow is polite and softHeaneys Wealh}>eow is bold and
firm.
Heaney also gives WealhJjeows words a sense of drama through his use of anaphora
in lines 1180-83 (see app. Bl-3). Although not a device used in Beowulf, anaphora is used
in modern English poetry to create a heightened feeling of tensionthe repetition
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emphasizes specific lines and sets them apart from the rest. Wealh}>eow is making a case
for keeping the tribes power in the family:
I am certain of Hrothulf.
He is noble and will use the young ones well.
He will not let you down. Should you die before him,
He will treat our children truly and fairly.
He will honour, I am sure, our two sons
The repetition of He highlights the idea that Hrofmlf, not Beowulf, will do what is best
for the hall. Heaney shows WealhJjeow as a queen capable of wielding words to control a
difficult situation; Hro&gar has made a poor suggestion, and his queen lets him know it.
Heaney continues to allow WealhJjeow strength in the phrase I am sure from
above. Donaldson translates the words Ic minne can as I think instead. Can means I
know. The connotation of I think is uncertainty and indecisiveness, words used to
soften a statement. I am sure is bold and strong. WealhJjeows character is colored by
these many small distinctions that add up to create either a soft hostess or a strong political
player.
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Freawaru
Freawarus character is likewise made different through a number of small
translation choices. We dont see much of Wealh}>eow and Hro&gars daughter, but
Beowulf explains her situation to Hygelac when he returns to his lord and reports of the
Scyldings (see app. Dl-3). The term goldhroden (line 2025) is again translated by
Donaldson as gold-adorned and by Heaney as in her gold-trimmed attire, in the first
instance making Freawaru into an object and in the possessive pronoun in the second
giving her enough clout as a royal princess to own gold. Such characterization is clear in
the translation of lines 2029-2031:
Oft seldan hwar
after leodhryre lytle hwile
bongar bugeS, peah seo bryd duge!
Beowulf predicts that Freawarus marriage into a hostile tribe as a peace-weaver will end in
tragedy because of past hostilities. Donadsons version reads: Yet most often after the fall
of any prince in any nation the deadly spear rests but a little while, even though the bride
be good. Good is about as vague as an adjective can be: horses are good, and gold, and
ships. Anything is good that is not bad. Freawaru is characterized as more of an object
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that a human being. Duge does mean to do or be good, but Heaney looks beyond the
literal meaning:
But generally the spear
is prompt to retaliate when a prince is killed,
no matter how admirable the bride may be.
Heaney chooses admirable instead of good, a much more specific adjective. People are
admirable for their deeds and character, so it is a compliment to Freawaru; it shows her
character. She is a princess in a difficult situation; as discussed before, royal women in this
culture had the impossible job of creating peace among people who value war. This
necessary function of queens is emphasized by Heaney; Freawaru is probably admirable for
her ability to weave peace, but even this skill cannot compete with the instinct for revenge.
If she is indeed admirable, her situation becomes more tragic, because she will try, and fail,
and not deserve her fate.
Hildeburh
Hildeburh is another archetypal medieval character that has a tragic fate she cannot
escape (see app. El-3). As the poem states in line 1075, peet wees geomuru idesl The lines
are juxtaposed to the lines early on in the poem about Scyld Scefing, peet wees god cyning!
Hildeburh is juxtaposed to the famous king, giving her a status similar to a kings. This
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idea is not clear in a formal equivalence translation. Word for word, Donaldson translates
this half line as, That was a mournful woman. This statement of fact is impersonal and
could apply to many a woman, and it reveals little about Hildeburh herself. Heaneys
translation of this section is difficult to line up with the original text, but he is much more
descriptive about Hildeburhs horrible position:
She,
the woman in shock,
waylaid by grief,
Hocs daughter
Mournful is less specific and less dramatic than shocked and waylaid by grief. Even
the fact that Heaney arranges these lines of the scops tale in italics and spaces the half-lines
out as he does creates a greater sense of drama in her tale. The alliteration in these original
linesboth, battlefield, bereft, blamelessmakes Hildeburhs grief stand out in relief.
Hildeburhs pathetic plight is very dramatic in Heaneys translation, as it should be for his
readers.
ModJjryS
Mod}>ry<5 is a complicated character in that she undergoes a complete character
change almost inexplicably (see app. Fl-3). Her evil nature is contrasted with Hygds
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generous character in a story told by the narrator when Beowulf returns home in lines
1931-2:
Mod pryfio w&g,
Fremu folces cwen, firen ondrysne.
Heaney changes the syntax and parts of speech:
Great Queen Modthryth
perpetrated terrible wrongs
Donaldsons words are very similar: ModthryS, good folk-queen, did dreadful deeds [in
her youth]Donaldson must insert information in brackets for his translation to make
sense. Heaney makes the word fremu into a title, moving the adjective to modify
Modfyy&s name, and the result is that the reader knows Mod])ry& has power and status.
Donaldsons good folk-queen is much weaker; not only is good weaker than Great, it
follows the proper noun, weakening the adjectives status in the sentence. Likewise with
Queen and queen; although the capitalization can be attributed to grammar, the capital
Q gives a greater sense of significance.
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Hygd
Hygd is a queen very much like Wealh}>eow in that she has a position of authority
and is admired by her people (see app. Fl-3). When Beowulf returns to his homeland, the
narrator describes Hygd in line 1929-31:
H&repes dohtor; rues hio hnah swa peah,
ne to gneafi gifa Geata leodum,
mapmgestreona.
She is Hatreds daughter, meaning she was born into a powerful family, giving her clout.
Donaldson follows the litotes of the original poem: For she was not niggardly, not too
sparing of gifts to the men of the Geats, of treasures. Defining someone by what they are
not in modern English is complicated. If a person is not niggardly the double negative
suggests that the person could actually be stingy but not as extreme as niggardly. The
meaning becomes vague without a clear sense of tone. Litotes can also be used for
understatement, as is the case in the original Anglo-Saxon lines. Heaney avoids the
ambiguity of litotes altogether:
Hareths daughter behaved generously
and stinted nothing when she distributed
bounty to the Geats.
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Heaneys eloquent lines refer to Hygd as generous, an admirable quality, instead of not
niggardly, which is awkward and implies that Hygd gives what she should, not more.
Heaneys translation does not follow the syntax of the original, but reorganizes grammatical
elements for a smoother flow. The reader does not have to slow down to grapple with a
choppy sentence like Donaldsons, and can focus instead on Queen Hygds character.
Hygds power is most apparent after her husband Hygelac dies and she offers
leadership to Beowulf (see app. Gl-3):
ter him Hygd gebead hord ond rice,
beagas ond bregostol, bearne ne truwode
peet he wifi telfylcum epelstolas
healdan cufie, fia wees Hygelac dead.
These lines prove without a doubt the power and savvy of a queen: Hygd has the power to
choose the next leader and can even break the family dynasty, and she is intelligent enough
to put the needs of the tribe before her own sons position. Donaldsons version reads:
There Hygd offered him hoard and kingdom, rings and a princes throne. She had no
trust in her son, that he could hold his native throne against foreigners now that Hygelac
was dead. Hygd is characterized as powerful in this version, but it is not as strong as
Heaneys:
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There Hygd offered him throne and authority
as lord of the ring-hoard: with Hygelac dead,
she had no belief in her sons ability
to defend their homeland against foreign invaders.
In Donaldsons version, Hygd offered Beowulf four objects: hoard, kingdom, rings, and
throne. Heaney more explicitly indicates that Beowulf will have power, which is only
implies in Donaldsons lines: Hygd offers him authority. That she can give him power
shows more strength of position than offering him objects, however large. Heaneys
translation also makes the political climate seem dire, and thus Hygds offer more
significant: instead of hold his native throne against foreigners, Heaney uses the words
defend their homeland against foreign invaders. To defend is a stronger verb than to
hold, and homeland is more important than a persons throne since it affects more
people, and foreigners are less threatening than foreign invaders. In Donaldsons
version it seems that there might be some trouble, but in Heaneys version, war is
imminent. That Hygd would recognize the danger of war and act as a peaceweaver by
giving power to Beowulf proves her to be astute, strong, and authoritative.
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Grendels Mother
Grendels mother is not a typical female character: she can be considered a woman
or a monster, sympathetic or horrific, or all at the same time. For my purposes, I equate
Grendels mother with the queens, for a few reasons: like the other queens, she is a mother
and advocates for her son, she is in a position of authority in her hall, she was forced into a
tragic life (she is an outcast because she is a descendant of Cain), and she must be stealthy
and cautious instead of acting aggressively to gain what she needs (revenge and Grendels
arm). Grendels mother is a border-walker; she walks the line between human and
monster, she lives on the outskirts if society, and she is female with the disposition of a
male. The description of her using many hyphens, such as monster-wife, shows this idea
she walks the line between the two incongruous nouns. There is a strong sense of
underlying sympathy for this character that is in-between. We are given the justification
for her actions, no matter how destructive she may be. Her character has many somewhat
contradictory facets.
When we first meet Grendels mother (see app. Hl-3), she is described in line 1258
as:
Grendles modor,
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ides, agl&cwif,
yrmpe gemunde
As discussed before, ides means woman, but is most often used to describe an unusual
woman who has some special quality. It is a word usually used in poetry, so it is not a
common word for a common woman. In this passage ides may be used ironically.
Donaldson follows word for word: Grendels mother, woman, monster-wife, was mindful
of her misery. In this translation ides is not ironic, nor do we get the sense that there is
anything special or unusual about this woman. Monster-wife refers to Grendels mothers
descent from Cain; by not clarifying this point, she seems more evil than tragic and cast
outafter all, Cain committed the crime, not Grendels mother. Mindful of her misery
emphasizes thinking about her sad circumstances, but does not identify the cause of them.
Heaneys lines read:
Grendels mother,
monstrous hell-bride, brooded over her wrongs.
Here Grendels mother is described as more of a monster than a woman also, but she has
been wronged by an outside party, as opposed to being sad. Of course she is broodingshe
has reason, her son is dead. Heaney, like Donaldson, does not explain the significance of
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hell-bride, a choice that pushes Grendels mother into the realm of evil, which seems
counter to his usual tendency.
Heaneys translation does make Grendels mother seem more of a wronged woman
than Donaldsons. In Donaldsons version, she had to dwell in the terrible water, but we
dont know why. Did she choose her dwelling place herself? Heaney uses the words
forced down into fearful waters, which is much more dramatic. Someone, probably god,
used violent means to push Grendels mother out of society into a terrible place. She is the
passive, wronged party in this scenario. In describing her need for revenge Heaneys
mother is also sympathetic and pathetic; she is grief-racked and ravenous, desperate for
revenge. This is a woman who is suffering because of the loss of her son, something to
which any mother could relate. Desperation and grief make her more human, not more
monstrous. Donaldson would have her be a monster, though; she is greedy and gallows
grim, (she) would go on a sorrowful adventure, avenge her sons death. The words
greedy, gallows, grim, and sorrowful all support the notion that Grendels mother is
an evil, violent beast instead of a sympathetic albeit mentally unstable mother.
The most telling passage of Grendels mothers characterization is in the description
of her strength. The narrator makes an interesting gender comparison in line 1282:
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Was se gryre lassa
efne swa micle swa bid magpa craft,
wiggryre wifes, be wapnedmen,
ftonne heoru bunden, hamere gepuren,
sweord swatefah swin ofer helme
ecgum dyhttig andweard scired.
A woman inciting battle is not normal in this culture, so we are given this analysis of just
how powerful Grendels mother is. Donaldson follows the words carefully: The attack was
the less terrible by just so much as is the strength of women, the war-terror of a wife, less
than an armed mans when a hard blade, forge-hammered, a sword shining with blood,
good of its edges, cuts the stout boar on a helmet opposite. The logic is hard to follow,
the sentence is awkward, and we are not sure how deadly the war-terror of a wife actually
is. Heaney unravels this mess:
Her onslaught was less
only by as much as an amazon warriors
strength is less than an armed mans
when the hefted sword, its hammered edge
and gleaming blade slathered in blood,
razes the sturdy boar-ridge off a helmet.
Heaney changes the war-terror of a wife into the amazon warriors strength, making the
reference clear and also making Grendels mothers actions admirable. The reference to an
amazon, a renowned woman warrior, has more heft that a wife, a woman who is defined by
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her husband. Although the reference is not historical, we understand instantly the sense of
the lines. Heaneys mother is a strong warrior; Donaldsons, once a reader can make sense
of his sentence, is a wife who may be forced into battle. The mention of a wife also
reminds the reader that Grendels mother is a descendent of Cain, reestablishing her
destructive nature.
When Grendels mother is found in the hall, her egress is dramatic. She cannot
fight all of the men in the hall. Donaldsons translation is informative but removed from
the situation: She was in haste, would be gone out from there, protect her life after she
was discovered. Heaneys translation is much more dramatic, making the reader feel her
fright and heightening the action:
The hell-dam was in panic, desperate to get out,
In mortal terror the moment she was found.
Panic, desperation, and mortal terror create a sense of tension in which we become
sympathetic for Grendels mothers position. She is characterized by Heaney as a woman
with feelings, even though he continues to call her a hell-dam in order to preserve her
role as an opponent to Beowulf.
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Grendels mother must be fantastical in some way as one of Beowulf s three non-
human opponents, but it is clear that Grendels mother is also the tragic woman archetype
of medieval times. We cannot dismiss her as a non-female character. We feel a sympathy
for her that we do not feel for either Grendel or the dragon. A translator must walk the
difficult line of keeping her a monster while at the same time providing a sense of sympathy
for the reader.
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CHAPTER VII
BLOOM
Seamus Heaneys dynamic equivalence translation of Beowulf is full of figurative
language and connotation that hints at possibilities of meaning a literal translation
overlooks. A poem is the condensation of wisdom and truths that need to be unpacked; a
poem is never literal; an intuitive sense of language is more valuable to this task than a
historians catalogue of facts and analysis.
Harold Blooms theory of poets development in The Anxiety of Influence therefore
applies to the translations of a poem as well as to original poetry. Bloom posits that poets
undergo a kind of psychological transformation due to a misreading of and rejection of the
influence of previous poets:
Poetic influencewhen it involves two strong, authentic poetsalways
proceeds by a misreading of the prior poet, an act of creative correction that
is actually and necessarily a misinterpretation. The history of fruitful poetic
influence, which is to say the main tradition of Western poetry since the
Renaissance, is a history of anxiety and self-saving caricature, of distortion,
of perverse, willful revisionism without which modern poetry as such could
not exist. (30)
The willful revisionism of a previous poet is akin to Freuds Oedipus conflict: it is a
struggle to transume or, in Oedipal terms, kill a previous poet. Bloom uses the term
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misprision to describe a defensive misinterpretation of an older poet, also called
clinamen, a resulting swerving away due to a revisionary misreading of the predecessor.
A poet creatively misreads the poetry of a predecessor and wants to avoid the influence of
this poetry, so he or she swerves away from it, moving against the pressure of the past.
Thus, any work of poetry cannot be seen as wholly original or independent; all poetry is
connected to other poetry, even if it is reactionary.
Blooms theory actually may apply better to translators of Beowulf than it does to
poets. Translators engage in creative recreation and their work can be considered a form of
art. In the case of Beowulf, there have been so many translations that no one can work in a
vacuum; each translator reacts to or against previous translators. Since they speak copiously
about their process and philosophy, we know who and what they are reacting against
from whom or what they are swerving away. As previously noted in Chapter IV,
translators always justify their work. They explain why they are taking a different path than
others and why their choices best suit Beowulf. What is more complicated about translators
than poets is that sometimes there is misreading of previous translations, and sometimes
there is misreading of the original text, or both.
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So Blooms theory applies seamlessly to the multitude of translations of Beowulf.1
The first translators of the poem were historians in universities, because they were the only
ones with the access and impetus to work with this one arcane manuscript accidentally
found in a private library, bound together with other Anglo-Saxon texts. John M. Kemble
had no model for translation and his purpose was to literally reproduce the poems diction,
syntax, and storyline into modern English in prose. So focused was he on the correct
diction that he began a cursory dictionary. His became the prototype translation and other
historians followed suit. It is important to remember that English and literature as an
academic discipline was just coming into existence: at Cambridge, where Kemble was a
historian, English Literature as an academic discipline was not accepted until the early 20th
century; literature was for women and the lower classes, not for educated men (Eagleton
27). Beowulf would not have been studied in any other discipline in Kembles time, and
without the historians, the text would probably still be in some dusty archive.
The formal equivalence translations are indeed a misprision, a willful misreading,
because the interest and purpose of the translators did not include literary studies. Kemble
and the historian translators that followed him read Beowulf for historical elements that
1 Harold Bloom edited hundreds of anthologies, including one on Beowulf
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would give insight into the medieval age and the Germanic peoples. They misread the
word goldhroden by simplifying it to mean merely gold-adorned, when clearly the word
implies the authority and power of a queen as represented by the gold she owned and
displayed on her person. Hildeburh was described as an ides geomuru, a mournful woman,
but the phrase is clearly an understatement to emphasize the horrors of a woman in the
position of a peace-weaver, and she was not just any woman but a famous queen. The
formal equivalence translators undervalued and underestimated the text as literature,
seeking to pinpoint facts about Hygelacs life and disregarding the rest. They swerved away
from the poem as a work of art and made it into a text to be studied and translated as an
exercise.
When new translators began to take an interest in translating Beowulf in the second
half of the 20th century, they in turn swerved away from the formal equivalence
translation of the academics in favor of the freedom of dynamic equivalence translation.
They needed the space to address goldhroden as a concept and not just a word, which could
only happen by eschewing word-for-word and line-by-line translating. Edwin Morgan and
Seamus Heaney brought the poem to life in a way that might have delighted Tolkien. In
swerving away from the more academic translations of previous decades, dynamic
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equivalence translators have recreated Beowulf as a work of literary art that is enjoyable for
the modern reader. They recognize that the poem has the beauty and relevance to capture
the modern imagination. This second swerving away was not due to misprision,
howeverthe new translators did not creatively misread previous versions, because there
really is no misreading of something so literal and concrete. Instead, dynamic equivalence
translators intended to bring to life a masterful poem for todays readers by loosening the
firm grip on strict adherence to words and lines. Seamus Heaneys success, the fact that his
translation was a bestseller, meaning his book reached a large audience, is a strong indicator
that dynamic equivalence translation works to open up an arcane poem for the enjoyment
of a non-scholar audience.
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CHAPTER VIII
CONCLUSION
Blooms theory of influence was meant for poets, and although it clearly applies to
translators as well, it is interesting to note that most dynamic equivalence translators are
poets. The formal equivalence translators were necessarily academic historians, since
Beowulf could only be read in the original Anglo-Saxon by those in academia. Academic
focus on the history and the grammar of the story was of paramount importance; their
audience was others in academia that wished to study the poem, and formal equivalence
translations fulfilled this purpose. After a few hundred years, though, formal equivalence
translations were nothing new. Technology makes literature more accessible for a general
audience, and a general audience will not suffer footnotes; a literal Beowulf is dry and
unappealing, oftentimes incomprehensible. The purpose of the poets was to work with the
language to create translations accessible to a large readership, and they were very
successful. The consequence of such dynamic equivalence translations is a readers
experience of the poem that is akin to the original audience; the lines of poetry are
beautiful, the rhythm is mesmerizing, and the queens are interesting characters. I would
argue that poet translators, because of their experience with the art of creating poetry,
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create translations of Beowulf that are not only more accurate in an experiential sense but
also more alive and relevant to todays readership.
People have been fascinated by Beowulf for hundreds of years now: the story was an
oral tale from a Germanic culture that was repeated and popular enough to travel to
England, where it was Christianized and written down by a scribe. The manuscript was
considered interesting enough to be bound together with other Anglo-Saxon works, and
when discovered in Robert Bruce Cottons library, was removed to London for
safekeeping.1 Scholars began to translate passages in German and English, and John
Kemble translated it in full in 1833, and people have been reading and translating it ever
since. The poem has lasted because it is relevant; the tale explains what it is to be human,
what is of import in the human existence, examining bravery and heroism, loyalty, tragedy
if losing loved ones, facing fears, and living up to responsibilities in an honorable way.
Such themes are presented in beautiful and powerful language. The historical curiosity of
the story and the manuscript itself only adds to Beowulf s mystique. 1 2
1 The safekeeping wasnt so safe, since the manuscript was singed in a fire.
2 At Oxford University, students are still required to read the poem in the original Anglo-
Saxon, a curriculum requirement much criticized in recent years.
https://www.wwnorton.com/college/english/nael/beowulf/introbeowulf.htm
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Although each generation has had its own preferred translation, we will never be
satisfied with one authoritative version because our culture, the culture of the receiving
readership, is constantly in flux. Nortons choice of translators is the perfect example:
Donaldsons dry prose was studied for years, to be supplanted by Heaneys version, since we
came to appreciate the literary aspect of the poem more than the scholarly aspect. Beowulf
will continue to be translated, as it should be, in order to keep the text alive. Howell
Chickering commented:
Some few (translators) will always have the chutzpah to think they have
enough poetic talent to render the original into Modern English verse. And
Beowulf will go on being newly translated for the foreseeable future.
(Heaneywuh 177)
The chutzpah to continue to work with Anglo-Saxon poetry seem to me a positive
prospecteach generation must make the poem their own in order to keep the
conversation going, in order to make the words from a dusty manuscript come alive, in
order to keep the word-hord unlocked. Otherwise, Beowulf dies, and the heroic tale is over.
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BIBLIOGRAPHY
Andone, Oana-Helena. Gender Issues in Translation. Perspectives: Studies in
Translatology 10:2 (28 April 2010): 135-150. Tandfonline. Web. 6 September
2012.
Bammsberger, Alfred. Wealhtheows Address to Beowulf (Beowulf, Lines 1226b-7).
Notes and Queries 57 (2010): 455-457. Academic OneFile. Web. 15 January 2012.
Bassnett, Susan. Translation, Gender and Otherness. Perspectives: Studies in
Translatology 13:2 (5 January 2009): 83-90. Tandfonline. Web. 6 September 2012.
Belanoff, Pat. The Fall of the Old English Female Poetic Image. PMLA 104:5 (October
1989) 822-831. JSTOR. Web. 29 October 2012.
Beowulf. Trans. Howell D. Chickering. New York: Anchor Books, 2006. Print.
Beowulf. Trans. E. Talbot Donaldson. New York: Norton & Co., 1975. Print.
Beowulf. Trans. Seamus Heaney. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2000. Print.
Beowulf. Trans. Marc Hudson. Hertfordshire: Wordsworth Classics, 2007. Print.
Beowulf. Trans. John M. Kemble. London: William Pickering, 1837. Google Books.
Beowulf. Bruce Mitchell and Fred C. Robinson, eds. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers,
1998. Print.
Beowulf. Trans. Edwin Morgan. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1966. Print.
Beowulf. Trans. Alfred John Wyatt and William Morris. New York: Longsman, Green and
Co., 1898. Reprint by Forgotten Books, 2012.
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Full Text

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LOST IN TRANSLATION: THE QUEENS OF B OWULF by LAURA ANN HORTON DEPASS B.A., University of Iowa, 1992 M.Ed., DePaul University, 2001 A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Colorado in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts English Literature 2013

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2013 LAURA ANN HORTON DEPASS ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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ii The thesis for the Master of Arts degree by Laura Ann Horton DePass h as been approved for the Department of English b y Nancy Ciccone, Chair Michelle Comstock Eliot K. Wilson 12 April 2013

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iii Hort on DePass, Laura Ann Lost in Translation: The Queens of B!owulf Thesis directed by Professor Nancy Ciccone ABSTRACT The poem B!owulf has been translated hundreds of times, in part or in whole In past decades translators such as Howell Chickering and E. Talbot Donaldson firmly adhered to formal equivalency, following the original text line by line if not word by word. Such translations are useful for Anglo Saxon students but cannot reach a larger audience because they ar e unwieldy and often in comprehensible. In the past fifty years though, a group of translators with different philosophies has taken up the task o f translating the poem with greater success. Translators such as Marc Hudson, Edwin Morgan, and Seamus Heane y used dynamic equivalency for their versions, eschewing strict grammatical accuracy and literal diction in order to recreate the sense and experience of the poem for a modern audience. How two translators E. Talbot Donaldson and Seamus Heaney, treat the queens in the poem as revealed by a close textual analysis proves to be an excellent example of the two methodologies; formal equivalence translators do not endow their female characters with the agency and respect present in the original text, while dyna mic equivalence translators take liberties with the language to give their readers a strong sense of the powerful but tragic queen figures. Harold Bloom's theory of the development of poets in The Anxiety of Influence can help explain this shift from form al equivalency to dynamic equivalency Translators of B!owulf necessarily react against their predecessors, and since translators usually explain their process and philosophy in forwards or introductions, their motivations for "swe rving away" are clear. Formal equivalence translators misrepresented the original text by devaluing the literary merit of the original poem and dynamic equivalence translato rs seek to remedy the misrepresentation by elaborating and expanding the language of the original to reac h a wider audience. Each generation must continue to translate against the grain of its predecessors in order to keep the poem alive for a larger audience so that the poem will continue to be enjoyed by future audiences The form and content of this abst ract are approved. I recommend publication. Approved: Nancy Ciccone

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iv ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Thanks to Nancy Ciccone and Eliot Wilson for their patience and willingness to consider my scattered and oftentimes incomprehensible ideas. And thanks to my special men, Robert Bruce Horton, Christopher Horton DePass, and Robert Bruce Horton DePass, for their love and support.

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v TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER I. INTRODUCTION .1 II. FEMINIST CRITICISM ... 6 III. KLAEBER'S "KIND" WEALH!EOW .. 27 IV. TRANSLATION METHODOLOGIES 30 V. HISTORY OF TRANSLATIONS OF B OWULF .. 4 9 VI. THE QUEENS : TEXT ANALYSIS ... .62 VII. BLOOM .. .88 VIII. CONCLUSION .. ..90 REFERENCES .92 APPENDICES A. 1 3 .98 B.1 3 ...102 C.1 3 ..107 D.1 3 ..110 E.1 3 ..113

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vi F.1 3 116 G.1 3 122 H.1 3 125 I 130

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1 CHAPTER I I NTRODUCTION When B!owulf first arrives to the Danish shore with his troop of armed warriors, he is of course challenged by Hr!"g#r's sentinel to state his purpose. This delicate situation could end in violence or in welcome depending on B!owulf's reaction. The t ext of line 259 reads: Werodes w!sa, word hord onl ac: The leader of the band unlocked his word hoard. B!owulf has been silent to this point, but now he must speak eloquently to avoid trouble; word hord implies that his language is like a beautiful treasure that is locked away and only brought out in times of need. And the language of B!owulf is indeed beautiful the metaphor suits not only the situation at hand but also the poem as a whole, a work of art comprised of beautiful language. B!owulf was not always thought to be a masterful work of art though for a long time it was not part of the canon because it was thought to be primitive or only of passing

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2 historical significance to scholars 1 T ranslators with a view only for history did not unlock their word hord ; they created translations that did not consider the poem as literature but rather emp hasized historical aspects Such translations are dull and lackluster, full of footnotes, ad opting a literalness that is n ot reminiscent of the original poem's depth and figurative language. Although such translators may have stayed true to the word and the line of the original, they were unfaithful to the unity of the poem as a work of art. It was only when translators began to emphasize the artistic merits of B!owulf that we see the poem come alive again. T ranslators such as Edwin Morgan and Seamus Heaney unlocked their word hoards to translate the poem not word for word but by creatively adjusting lines and words and meanings in order to transmit the original sense of the poem to a modern audience By focusing on the queens of B!owulf and how translators treated them, we can see the effect of the differenc e in translation theories; forma l equivalence translators who generally value formal equivalency or line by line translation, tend to translate the queens as two dimensi onal and ornamental, while dynamic equivalence 1 B!owulf's reputation will be discussed in Chapter VII. Tolkien's article "The Monsters and the Critics" outlines how the poem was underestimated for years.

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3 translators who implement a less exacting grammatical translation meth od, represent the queens as strong, politically astute women wh o play an essential role in the poem. The purpose of translating B!owulf for these two groups of translators differs. Older formal equivalence translations were meant for students as a crib for translation or for the study of the poem, leaving interpretation out of the text and placing context in footnotes. More recent dynamic equivalence translators create versions for a larger audience, and so place context in the lines themselves, althoug h doing so means veering away from a line by line translation. A greater focus on the poetry and aesthetics of the poem also demands changes to the diction a n d syntax of the original lines. The result is a translation that displays the possibilities in t he figurative language of the orig inal text, instead of hiding them in a footnote. This thesis begins by reviewing the feminist criticism of the female characters to establish that the B!owulf queens are women of position and stature and to show the importance of their roles both in the poem and in the culture In chapter IV I discuss different translation theories and their impact on B!owulf Chapter V is an overview of the translation philosophies of translators of B!owulf ; formal equivalence translators have quite a different view of what the role of a translator should be that the dynamic equivalence

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4 translators. I then focus in on two translators that can serve as representatives o f their respecti ve disciplines : E. Talbot Donaldson's prose translation was the version used in the Norton Critical Edition for decades, until Seamus Heaney's 4 stress verse translation was commissioned to replace it. Since the Norton Critical Edition is the obligatory b ook for many readers and students, these translators are an excellent gauge; Donaldson and Heaney embody the changing attitude of translating B!owulf In chapter VI I closely read the original text and compare it to Donald son's and Heaney's translations to show how a collection of minor translation decisions change the characterization of female characters, and thus the tenor of the poem Finally, in Chapter VII I suggest a reason for the shift in translation approaches by using Harold Bloom's The Anxiet y of Influence Bloom's theory of the development of strong poets relies on Freud's universal Oedipal Complex theory, in which the son desires to kill his father and love his mother in order to mature. Bloom's application of this theory of the developmen t of poets can also apply to the translators of B!owulf who similarly create literature through language and also seek to develop their own identities as translators by reacting against their predecessors.

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5 The difficulty in analyzing B!owulf comes from the muddiness of its provenance it is a Germanic tale that was "Christianized" and written down by two medieval scribes. Only one original copy exists. We cannot know the intentions of the creator(s) of the tale or of the scribes /monk s who decided to put the oral poem on paper We, like the translators, can only guess at what the poem means, guided by the language itself. Those more skilled in the use of language to create meaning and who are familiar with both medieval and Germanic culture s will be more able to gle an the figurative language and possible meanings of the poem B ecause of their different agendas, the metaphor of "unlocking a word h oard" is more resonant to a dynamic equivalence translator than it is to a formal equival ence translator and the multiple layers of possibility of what the phrase can mean is more of a joy to the former than to the latter Thus, the B!owulf of a dynamic equivalence translator is more expressive and sensitive than the B!owulf of a formal eq uivalence translator

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6 CHAPTER II FEMINIST CRITICISM "a more rounded picture is now emerging which gives the royal women of this period the importance that they undoubtedly deserve" ( Hill, Joyce 154) One of the ways B owulf has been translated into contemporary culture is as a cartoon; there is an animated major motion picture loosely based on the poe m. 1 Angelina Jolie provided the voice for Grendel's mother. Monsters and dragons will always have appeal, I suppose, and the re will always be those who will capitalize on them. Such abridgement of the poem as is common in a movie removes one of the most important elements, however; to cull whatever is not directly relevant to the main storyline, to remove the digressions and a llusion and historical context, reduces the poem to an easily digested adventure story worthy of a cartoon. If we read only with an eye for the arc of the story, we miss the subtleties that make the poem great. The poem's subtle arrangement is like a b raid: John Leyerle compares the structure of B owulf to the interlace design common in Anglo Saxon times (see app. I ) The line of a 1 "Beowulf" earned 197 million in 2007. The two hour animated feature by Paramount Pictures was directed by Robert Zemeckis, screenplay by Neil Gaiman.

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7 design curves around and moves forward only to fold back on itself and weave through other strands. Although the whole of an interlace design may create a line or a letter or an animal, the details of the design are not li near and seem difficult to follow Likewise within the structure of B owulf and other Anglo Saxon texts: Interlace appears so regularly on sculpture, je wellery, weapons, and in manuscript illuminations that it is the dominant characteristic of this art. There is clear evidence that a parallel technique of word weaving was used as a stylistic device in both Latin and O ld English poems of the period. (Leye r le 163) This "word weaving" is particularly noticeable in B owulf Historical events, stories, and themes will pop up in one place and then submerge back into the interlace of the poem only to reemerge later on, and close examination of each "strand" reveals relevance to the whole of the poem. Each strand strengthens the interlace of the poem. Some strands are often called digressions, but the term is inaccurate because al though the stories and histories interwoven into poem do not affect the main action, they place the story in a larger context, and in doing so the poem becomes more significant that a mere adventure story; it becomes a commentary on culture and the human e xperience. Comparisons, explanations, and allusions create a larger space in the poem than merely Hr!"g#r 's hall and B owulf's homeland; readers can place the poem in the continuum of a complete world and

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8 so individual events in the poem have more res onance. B!owulf is called an epic poem because it is about an entire culture. 1 One such strand that has be en recklessly dismissed is that of the female characters. There are only eleven women in the poem, and only five of those have names, all queens. Only two women have agency in the main action of th e poem, and we only hear Wealh! eow speak. The one female character who directly affects the action in the poem is Grendel's mother, but she is often interpreted as more monster than female. It is easy t o assume that since women were valued less than men historically, they also have little value in the poem; indeed, before 1970 the female characters were often mere footnotes in literary analysis of the poem. A closer examination of the position of women in the culture of the story of B owulf counters this assumption. The female characters are complex and multidimensional. As women they have a subtlety necessary in a culture in which only men are active, and the B owulf poet uses them as necessary devices to the poem's elaborate structure. If we were to take this strand out of the interlace, the poem would be weakened significantly as it was in many early scholarly translations 1 J.R.R. Tolkien in his essay "The Monsters and the Critics" suggested that "It may turn out to be no epic at all" (254). The point is debated by B!owulf scholars.

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9 The female characters prove to be quite sophisticated and multi face ted. They serve both as rich characters unto themselves and also as symbols of larger issues and themes. Stacy Klein asserts that : Anglo Saxon writers positioned legendary royal women in the midst of texts that were designed to express their authors' views on the most difficult and contentious issue of Anglo Saxon society. And they did so, I would argue, because these authors saw wom en as deeply affected by and able to affect those issues. ( 195) As participants in and often victims of complicated social issues of the culture, female characters shed light on causes and ramifications of social norms. The female characters signify mu ch more than characters that bring the mead to the men A lthough past scholarship has ignorantly marginalized them as secondary characters t he queens in B!owulf are indeed important to the poem in many ways The queens are mentioned throughout each s ection of the poem: "women are not excluded from the world of B owulf They play important roles that are public and active rather than merely private and passive" (Olsen 3 14). Characters such as Wealh! eow may not pick up a sword and chop off Grendel's head, but her contribution to both the society of Heorot and to the poem's meaning cannot be dismissed They are both a powerful women with agency and a representation of larger ideas, such as heroism and gender politics

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10 Germanic Women vs. Medieval Women In 1805 Sharon Turner wrote in her book The History of Manners, Landed Property, Governments, Laws, Poetry, Literature, Religion, and Language of the Anglo Saxons about the position of women in that society: It is well known that the female sex were much more highly valued and more respectfully treated by the barbarous Gothic nations than by the more polished states of the East. Among the Anglo Saxons they occupied the same important and independent rank in s ociety which they now enjoy. (108) Turner goes on to explain the legal rights and social r espect Anglo Saxon women possessed; she equated these women with women of her own age At the time of her writing, B!owulf had yet to be translated into Mod ern Eng lish, but the knowledge of women's place in that historical time was at hand to help guide any translator Although today we read the poem with our modern day culture a medieval audience and a Germanic audience would have read or heard the poem with a Ge rmanic ideal of women. Women in the Germanic tradition had even more status and held stronger positions in society than their late medieval counterparts ; the Germanic tradition of a woman's role was slowly dissolving in Anglo Saxon England As Pat Belano ff of State University of New York notes, the women in B owulf compare to other characters from Germanic literature:

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11 The long tradition lying behind the Anglo Saxon female portrait becomes evident when one looks at the women of Old Norse literature, whic h preserves the earliest extant written versions of many stories common to Germanic culture. These women a re both in telligent and shining. (823 ) The queens in B owulf are indeed both wis e and shining with gold Wealh! eow is usually described as shining in her gold (614, 640, 1163) and she is a wise counsel to Hr!"g#r (169) Although the queens in B owulf were subject to arranged marriages with distant tribes in order to forge bonds as peace weavers, the role was neither passive nor simple According to Carol Parrish Jamison, "Early Germanic women had, in fact, a number of possible responses to marital exchanges and could find ways to move well beyond the role of object, asserting their influence as mothers and diplomats by king making, or ki ng breaking, in the ir new husbands' homes" (30 ). Their mere presence was not the bond of peace: the queens had to actively negotiate the complex social fabric of dynasty and warring nations within a new tribe. The ir influence was great. Wealh! eow demand s Hr!"g#r remember his own sons in succession, and Hygd offers the kingship to B! owulf instead of her sons: "It is difficult to perceive Wealh! eow as an object: she has established a new identity in her husband's hall, occupying a position that enables her to participate in king

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12 making decisions" (Jamison). The queen is more of a political figure with her own power than the hostess of Hr!"g#r It is only later in history, after B owulf was written, that women began to be marginalized by western Chri stian ity. Belanoff reminds us that Undoubtedly medieval Christianity drastically altered Anglo Saxon society, but its influence on the status of women was not immediately negative. Such evidence as is available suggests that the full impact of the churc h's antifeminist attitudes was not felt u ntil after the Norman Conquest. ( 827 ) If the original audience of B owulf viewed the queens as characters worth consideration beyond that of objects, it is disingenuous for any translator to instead recreate the characters of the queens as passive and simple. Reading or translating the poem with the assumption that women are sublimated and insignificant characters, one can dismiss the female characters as secondary to the heroic tale; reading or translating with the Germanic assumption that women hold a valued and complicated position in society, it becomes easy to see how essential the queens are in the interlace of the epic. Peaceweavers Just as the B owulf poet is a weaver of words and themes, the queens are weavers of social relationships. Queens in the world of B owulf had the difficult position of

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13 peace weavers. In a time when tribes warred with each other to gain lands and riches, the marriage of the daughter of a leader into another tribe could create strong bonds; by becoming family, treaties between tribes were strengthened. At least this was the idea. As evidenced by Hildeburh and Hr!"g#r 's daughter Freawaru, marriage was no guarantee of peace. Gillian Overing in her book Language, Sign, and Gender in Beowulf notes, "Peace weavers are assi gned the role of creating peace in a culture where war and death are privileged values. Female failure is built into this system" (82). If honor and braver y and booty are the primary values of a culture, battle is inevitable because it is the only way to gain them. Thus queens in this cult ure are innately tragic figures because they are destined to fail. They can never fulfill their basic function within a tribe. Wealh! eow is the model peace weaver. As Hr!"g#r 's queen, her place is both domestic and public at the same time. She must confirm her husband's elevated status and work for the stability of the whole tribe, not just her dynasty. It is not a role for weak or insig nificant women, as Klein states: "Peaceweaving proceeds according to a logic that demands that one redefine the place traditionally allotted to the domestic within a heroic ethosand recognize women as central forces, rather than marg inal supports, in the production of soc ial order" (104). Wealh! eow negotiates peace not only between her tribe

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14 o f origin and her tribe by marriage, but she must keep the peace within the hall itself. Queens had to keep the social fabric of the tribes fro m rending in a culture bent on violence, yet they could not wield their power directly and openly like a king. Subtlety and indirect action we re necessary to keep the peace: Her ways of achieving this goal within the tribe were several: she might serve a s wise counselor, all the time being close mouthed about the counsel; she might be "rum hearted" with horses and treasures in rewarding the valiant men of the tribe; and finally, she might distinguish among the men of the tribe by first presenting the lord with mead and then passing the cup to the ranking members of the duguth, or old retainers, and the geoguth, or young retainers, as does Wealhtheow. (Chance 4) Social protocol was the domain of the queens, and Wealh! eow is a crafty and graceful wielder of the power of her position as we will see in chapter VI In a culture in which violence and battle are so highly valued as in the heroic culture of B owulf though, peaceweavers are ironically destined to fail. Klein notes the difficulty of the position of the queens: In a society in which peace is only effected through war and war is defined as the rightful domain of men, weaving peace through female bodies would seem to be theoretically impossible. Within such a culture, the female pe a ceweaver can only symbolize peace that has been effected through the actions of men, whic h may partly explain whyWealh! eow always appears after a battle has been concluded. ( 100)

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15 Wealh! eow cannot create peace through direct action, but she can only try to head off battle or manage the aftermath. Freawaru and Hildeburh are examples of peaceweavers in B owulf who could not succeed no matter how great their efforts Hildeburh could not prevent a battle between her original tribe and her husband's tribe, and so all the men closest to her died. B! owulf predicts Freawaru's failure as a peaceweaver in her engageme nt to the head of another tribe because he says men will not forget a perceived slight and will want revenge when the ho neymoon is over. We see W ealh eow as a successful queen, but we know from the historical interludes in the interlace of the story that most queens hold a precarious position and may be doomed to failure no matter how skillful their weaving. Valkyrie Figures If we view the female characters through a Germanic lens, it is possible that the queens are actually Valkyrie figures, according to Helen Damico in her book Beowulf's Wealhtheow and the Valkyrie Tradition Such characters in Norse mythology decide which soldiers will die in battle, or they are lovers of heroes and daughters of royalty. Damico compares the queens in B owulf to Valkyrie figures in the Germanic traditi on and finds many parallels. Since i t is probable that the story of B owulf originated in a Germanic land

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16 and then was brought to England to be written down in Anglo Saxon after modifications due to culture and Ch ristianity, Valkyrie figures would be not only appropriate but also expected. Reading the queens as Valkyrie figures women with special powers or women who guide men in battle, clearly gives them more power and complexity: "Wealhtheow, rather than being an anomalous figure in the literature, not only is compatible with the female warriors of Anglo Saxon epic, Elene, Judith, and Juliana, but like them is in harmony with the Valkyrie brides of the Eddic lays" (Damico 86). Contemporary audiences and even Anglo Saxon audiences of B owulf might not immediately make the connection, but once the connection is made it becomes impossible to dismiss the queens as extraneous. The parallels are interesting: As drink bearing welcoming figures in environments that are redolent of past and future violence, they evoke the idea of the transience of present merriment and pleasure. In their metallic resplendence, they may be seen as embodiments of the intoxicating beauty of gold and the possible destruction it brings to those who seek it. And as possessors of consummate necklaces with erotic and r eligious potency, they represent two forces of human experience that impel men to action and alter their personalities. (Damico 179 180) Wealh! eow is described as goldhroden arrayed in gold (614, 640) and she is first seen passing mead to the men in the hall in order of precedence (615) She gives B! owulf a

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17 necklace (1216) and exhorts both B! owulf and Hr!"g#r to remember and protect her sons. As Damico points out such similarities, one cannot help but see Wealh! eow and other queens in new light. New Idea of H eroism The queens and the feminine voice could also represent a new ideal of heroism. In the heroic age, heroism of course involved feats of strength and courage. Direct, violent action was rewarded with glory and spoils. Men were successf ul in this culture if they could prove themselves in battle, and a death from battle was considered a good death. In B owulf the men accept this protocol, but the poem does not glorify the heroic culture, according to Klein: queens serve as a means for the B owulf poet to redefine an old and outdated model of heroismthe poem urges readers to focus on the costs rather than the glories of the traditional heroic code of violent action and to adopt the view of those members of society, such as women and ag ed men, who were unable to participate fully in that code. ( 196) The women and even Hr!"g#r are passive and yet still seen as worthy of respect and admiration. Both Hr!"g#r and Wealh! eow are equally unable to save their hall yet we do not fault the m for it In addition the B!owulf poet shows Wealh! eow doing more and taking more direct action with her words and gifts among the men than Hr!"g#r does

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18 Wealh! eow provides an alternative example of success to that of violent battle, representing the Christian version of heroism: turn the other cheek and live a good life, and salvation will be the reward instead of gold. Since B owulf is a Christian retelling of a Norse tale, it makes sense that the poet would superimpose a different set of cultural values on the Germanic story in a way that does not change the storyline, and the feminine characters easily provide a new, Christian ideal of heroism. The poem is not a battle of man against man, but of culture against monsters. To act in a correct manner and support the tribe bec ome much more important than a might makes right mentality, and the feminine characters are perfect examples of this new ideal of heroic success: To move a figure, image, or idea into a new textual arena is necessarily to transform it. As the Beowulf poe t mobilizes feminine voices to prescribe a new model of heroism premised on turning the violent energies of heroic self assertion inward and waging battles against one's inner vices rather than against human foes, the very nature of such entrenched heroic ideas as "battle," "enemy," and "hero" undergo significant shifts to the point where "heroic," as either generic category or cultural code, becomes almost unrecognizable. (Klein 89) The poem is not merely a gory tale of a bloody battle; there are conseque nces to be had from battle for which no amount of gold can compensate. A man against man conflict,

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19 such as the ones described in the history and stories within the tale, is tragic; man against monster, B!owulf against Grendel, is adventurous and romantic The poet or scribe composed a cautionary tale for his medieval Christian audience: "What the feminine voices of the poem do is gesture toward the possibility of a new model of heroism that redefines, and incorporates the energies of, preconversion Germa nic heroism so as to being it more closely in line with the Christian worldview of the poem's readers" (Klein 88 89). The queens weave peace even in the face of impending battle between tribes, and it is their attempt to preserve culture that makes them h eroic, as opposed to success in battle that is destructive to culture. Archetypes: Eve, Mary, Dual Mother The queens in B owulf were molded by the B owulf poet or by the medieval scribes from classic archetypes, making them more than characters in a story they work as examples of ideals of women in medieval culture. Queens either follow the arche type of Mary or Eve from the Bible, or, like Grendel's mother, become a parody as the inversi on of Mary, according to Jane Chance. Because of the plight of peace weaver as discussed previously, women in medieval tales often are seen as a mournful woman archetype, discussed by Joyce Hil l. Grendel's mother and Wealh! eow together can be seen as Jun g's

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20 idea of the archetype of the dual mother, according to Jeffrey Helterman. Enough scholars have studied female medieval characters as archetypes that it is clear the function of the queens in B owulf is culturally significant. The precarious and trag ic position of peaceweavers is an important example of an archetype of medieval literature: the grieving woman. Joyce Hill explains, "In heroic poetry the dominant stereotype is that of the geomuru ides [sad or mournful woman]" ( 154). Hildeburh and the woman who mourns at B! owulf's funeral are examples, and we know from digressions that other queens will soon become mournful because of their situations. Women in cultures of violence and battle are usually victims, no matter how much indirect power they have: "the female (is) a figure of inaction and isolation, a victim of the destructive forces of "heroism," and a witness to the degradation of treasure and of human (female) life to the level of mere plunder" (Hill 161). Women survive the battle but mou rn for their loved ones, women are stolen and given and traded without their consent, and women are subject to the male centric culture of the heroic age, but this does not mean that female character s should be likewise sublimated because their tragic stor ies make them essent ial to the literary unity of the poem. Removing the female characters would result in a loss of tragic stories that are juxtaposed to the adventure story of

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21 monsters and a dragon; a human vs. monster story is put into perspective when compared to the human vs. human conflicts that occur on the edges of the poem. The mournful queens have heartbreaking stories that shed light on heroic culture; as survivors, they are harbingers of cautionary tales: The heroic code puts a premium on actio n and physical aggression and takes as indicators of power success in war and the acquisition of treasure, often by brutal means. But in the Old English tradition the consequences of such a code also stand revealed and it is partly through the female figu res that this revelation is achievedthe sophistication of certain Anglo Saxon poets' responses to that legendary material give woman a position of ethical and imaginative importance. (Hill 166) It is because the women have reason to be mournful that they are complex and interesting figures. Their stories reveal complications and issues of the heroic culture, making them essential literary figures. The queens' sad stories give them depth of character. Of course, in the Christian world of medieval Englan d, there are no more important women than Mary and Eve. All women would strive to emulate the Madonna and not Eve woman as instigator of original sin would serve as a cautionary tale. The queens in B owulf likewise follow these common archetypes, explai ns Chance: "Anglo Saxon woman's ideal secular role as peace weaver or peace pledge was analogous to the Virgin's role as intermediary between man and God; in addition, the Virgin perfected all the secular roles

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22 available to women maiden, wife, mothe r, vira go" (65). Wealh! eow gracefully and gently intervenes to keep peace in the hall, much like Mary, who can keep peace between man and god. Freawaru, Hygd, and Hildeburh are also Mary like b ecause of their gentle demeanor; passive, obedient stance; and their support of the culture of the hall as positions as peace pledg es. The opposite example is Mod ry o, who instead of keeping the peace causes chaos, much like Eve: "For queens who did not remain chaste and acquiescent, there was a different model, one also found in th e Bible Eve" (Chance 65). Mod! ry o was anything but acquiescent in the beginning of her digression, but eventually becomes more Madonna like after marriage to Offa once she has a lord husband (1952) The situation is parallel to man's reconci liation to god through Jesus. An Anglo Saxon audience would be familiar with both types of women and know how to consider each queen in the story by her archetype. An interesting archetypal example in B owulf is Grendel's mother because she is actually the inversion of the Mary archetype. Although her status as a woman is sure because she i s a mother and is described as ides or royal woman, she is also described as a monster. Chance explains why: "Such a woman might be wretched or monstrous to an Anglo Saxon audience because she blurs the sexual and social categories of roles. For

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23 example she abrogates to herself the mascul ine role of the warrior or lord" ( 97). Since Grendel's mother exacts revenge on her son and fights Beowulf, both the actions of male warriors, she is an unnatural queen ; she does not conform to the cultural standards and protocols of women and queens Gr end el's mother is a foil to Wealh! eow, who is the perfect queen based on a Mary character: "Grendel's motheris used as a parodic inversion of both the Anglo Saxon queen and mother, the ideal of which was embodies in the Virgin Mary" (Chance 97). The B owulf poet examines what it means to be a woman and a queen through the character of Grendel's mother; to be Madonna like is admirable, and to be the opposite is monstrous and evil. The queens represent the ideal of womanhood in medieval culture, and the anti queen is the antithesis of womanhood. An other way of considering Wealh! eow and Grendel's mother is as Jung's idea of the dual mother" since they are clear foils. Jeffrey H elterman explains that "Wealh! eow and Grendel's mother together form what Ju ng calls the dual mother" (13). The dual mother has two sides that together comprise a universal power, the nurturing, life affirming side and the destructive, devouring side: "Wealhtheow represents woman in her ideal role as freothowebbe (peaceweaver) Gr endel's mother symbolizes the feud aspect of the web of peace" (Helterman 14). Wealh! eow is so nurturing and Grendel's mother is so

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24 destructive that together they represent the spectrum of motherly existence. Wealh! eow makes everyone welcome in her hall and Grendel's mother atta cks B! owulf in her hall; With her words, Wealh! eow makes sure her sons are taken care of after Hr!"g#r dies and Grendel's mother gains revenge for her son's death with her claws and strength. Both have important identities as mothers, but they go about their mothering i n opposite manners that exemplify Jung's idea of the dual mother. Each of the archetypes can be seen clearly in the queens of B owulf and because of this we know that the queens function as more than individ ual c haracters who support the men; t hey serve as cultural indicators in the medieval age, and they raise important questions as to what the role of queens is and should be in the heroic age. Gender Construction The B owulf poet cons tructed the female characters in a way that raises questions about the nature of the femi nine and the masculine. Wealh! eow, Hildeburh, and Freawaru are examples of w omen who are feminine, but Mod! ry o and Grendel's mother are examples of masculine women, suggesting that sex and gender are not necessarily linked. Although Grendel's mother is a foe to Heorot and Mod! ry o is discussed as a royal woman who behaved inappropriately, both characters are worthy of respect and awe because of their

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25 power. Hr!"g#r an elderly lord, is distinctly feminine; he cannot challenge Grendel himself, but allows Beowulf to fight his battle while he stays safe in his hall with the women Characters either fight or influence: to be masculine is to take direct action and to be feminine is to be passive in this heroic age, but the B owulf poet does not necessarily link these gender characteristics to biological sex. Mod! ry o is a prime ex ample of a masculine woman. Mary Dockray Miller notes that Mod ry o takes control of her life in a world wh ere women have little control: ( Modthrytho ) cannot merely be dismissed as an evil queen who becomes good after marrying the right manher character both confirms and denies a masculine economy that depends on women as commoditiesModthrytho's masculine pe rformance manages to subvert the usual use of women as o bjects in exchan ges between men. ("Women" ) She is not punished for her masculine actions of killing men who look at her; although she is not an ideal queen because of her peace rending instead of p eace weaving, Mod! ry o is given a chance to become a good wife and proper queen, which she accepts. Dockray Miller points out, though, that the diction the poet uses for Mod! ry o's position as a queen is still active instead of pass ive ("Women"). Grendel 's mother is perhaps more complex than the other queens because she is described as both a woman and a monster. She is a grieving mother who has lost her son;

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26 although she takes revenge, which is a masculine role, her mother's grief is a woman's grief. As noted before, she is constructed as the inverse of a proper queen: she takes revenge instead of peace weaving, she is active instead of passive. By not acting as a queen should in almost every action, Grendel's mother raises questions as to what a woman should be: is a woman with masculine characteristics monstrous or sympathetic ? Although all these specific points in feminist criticism of B!owulf can be debated, the point is that these female characters all have the potential for analysis. Two dimensional characters do not. The queens were written and developed to have complex characters that resonate for an original or modern readership, and to translate them as insignifica nt characters because they are not involved in the adventure aspects of the story is unreasonable.

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27 CHAPTER III KLAEBER'S "KIND" WEALH!EOW Since most readers of B owulf come to the story through a translator, readers accept the translator's attitudes towards the female characters as presented in subtleties of diction, syntax, and poetic device. A translator's own culture can have significant influence over his or her tr anslation. Josephine Bloomf ield of Ohio Univer sity analyses Frederick Klaeber's translation of Wealh! eow and finds that his own cultural biases toward women color ed his interpretation. Klaeber was considered one of the world's leading experts on B owulf and his translations completed in the early 1900s were considered the most important and accurate. His translation was very influential to scholars and students. Yet, as Bloomfield notes, his versi on gives short shrift to Wealh! eow because he translate s most adj ectives describing her as "kind:" we see Wealhtheow's motivations regulated and her role transformed from peace weaver and power broker to tender maternal care giver: her messages lost political significance and her deep understanding of tribal ritual becomes muted as her relationship with her husband and sons is altered b y this series of uniform glosses to emphasize personal affection over tribal necessity (184)

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28 Through the choice of a single word, Wealh! eow's character is marginalized and the position of a queen is minimized. Klaeber's mistranslation changes the interlace of the storyline to mirror gender roles of "nineteenth century German bourgeois culture" (203); Klaeber "seems to have imposed concepts and relationships on the text particu larly in the areas of kingship, family, and gender roles that cannot be found in the source text or the source culture" (184). The story of B owulf may be part Anglo Saxon and part Germanic but it is not modern German, and to change characterization to fit the reader's own culture is unfortunate. Characters' identities should withstand any trans lation. Klaeber may have done this inadvertently, but the effect of his misreading changes the storyline and meaning significantly. The power of the translat or is this great, that a single word mistranslated can have such an effect. Translators must walk a fine line between making a text accessible for a modern receptor audience and staying true to the author's intent, and every choice a translator makes for a text as old as B owulf veers one way or the other. Sometimes choices marginalize the female characters, but in more recent times translators have deliberately made choices that might not adhere to the Anglo Saxon grammar or syntax, but that definitely characterize the queens as they were written in Anglo Saxon

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29 Klaeber is not alone in his tendency to recreate characters in translation according to his own cultural beliefs. He changed adjectives so Wealh!eow would represent women of his own time: kind and maternal. Other translators refused to change anything, resulting in a literal translation that cannot represent the artistry in a poem. A literal translation of a poem so rich in figurative language cannot fully express the multi layered meanings t hat make the poem great.

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30 CHAPTER IV TRANSLATION METHOLODOLOGIES An old adage concerning translation goes : translations are like women; they are either beautiful or faithful. Sexism aside, the sentiment expresses the translator's dilemma, especially the translator of poetry; should the translator aim for the precision of a line by line translation, or should the translator sacrifice exact content for the overall sense of the poem? Is content more important than aesthetics, form and poetic device? A poem's meaning is inextricably linked to its form and poetic device, and B owulf is no exception. Since languages differ not only in vocabu lary but also in grammatical structure and syntax, not to mention cultural innuendo and cultural assumptions in background knowledge, no translation will ever achieve perfection. As Eugene Nida, an expert in the field of translation studies, notes, "The t otal impact of a translation may be reasonably close to the original, but there can b e no identity in detail" ( 153). Something will always be lost, and the translator's main task is to decide what can be sacrificed and what is essential to the poem's tran smission to another culture. J.R.R. Tolkien argues that any translation of B!owulf could not match the beauty of the original, could not be transmitted to Modern English, and he makes a good point. The

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31 form, story, and language of the poem work together in Anglo Saxon in a way that cannot be exactly reproduced in Modern English. Tolkien notes: No translation that aims at being readable in itself can, without elaborate annotation, proper to an edition of the original, indicate all the possibilities or hi nts afforded by the text. It is not possible, for instance, in translation always to represent a recurring work in the original by one given modern work. Yet the recurrence may be important. ( "On Translating" ) Since no translation could do th e poem just ice, Tolkien believes the only acceptable pretext for translating would be "to provide an aid to study Otherwise, a translator is rewriti ng the poem, not translating it. 1 Yet Tolkien wanted readers to learn Anglo Saxon to fully appreciate B!owulf Access to the poem therefore would be limited to scholars, and the text would remain almost as arcane as it was when discovered. Tolkien's assumptions are not practical today. Tolkien appreciated the beauty of B!owulf as a work of literature, one that c ould not be rendered into another language because it is a work of art. He respected the poetry: And therein lies the unrecapturable magic of ancient English verse for those who have ears to hear: profound feeling, and poignant vision, filled with the bea uty and mortality of the world, are aroused by brief phrases, light 1 Tolkie n, instead of translating the text he adored, instead used B!owulf as the inspiration for his own fantastical tale, The Lord of the Rings. The character Gollum resembles Grendel, and, of course, there is the dragon with his hoard in each text.

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32 touches, short words resounding like harp strings sharply plucked. ("O n Translating ) The poem's language is indeed condensed and symbolic and resonant, and few people in Tolkien's time a ppreciated its beauty. In his article "The Monsters and the Critics," Tolkien lambasts previous critics for only considering B!owulf important as a historical document and rejectin g any notion of the poem as art since t he critics did not hear the music o f Tolkien's harp string, and so he subtly equated the critics with monsters in the title of his article. Tolkien did not like the way scholars treated the poem, b oth in study and in translation because no version at that time addressed the artistic beauty of B!owulf as a piece of art. T olkien mentioned in as late as 1936 that B!owulf was only a curiosity for scholars : Beowulf has been used as a quarry of fact and fancy more assiduously than it has been studied as a work of artit is as an historical document that it has mainly been examined and dissected" (246). Tolkien lists the criticisms of many decades, including calling the poem "primitive," "feeble," "a wild folk tale," "rude and rough," "weak in construction," "thin and cheap," "a burden to English syllabuses," and "the confused product of a committee of muddle headed and probably beer bemused Anglo Saxons" (249). Alth ough

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33 the poem had some admirers, it was not considered the masterpiece of literature it is today. B!owulf was widely misunderstood, misread, and abused in translation. The beauty of B!owulf can only be realized by those knowledgeable about medieval cul ture, otherwise it would indeed seem primitive. But t he translator of any dead language such as Anglo Saxon has a dilemma that is compounded by limited knowledge of the ancient culture. We have a few texts from Medieval England in Latin or Anglo Saxon an d can therefore hypothesize about the culture of that time, but our knowledge is limited, and the average reader does not know much about this time period that is so different from our own. For example, t he Anglo Saxon word we would use for boast r "! word has no exact equivalence in English; ry word in the Bosworth Toller Dictionary means "brave or noble speech," but translators often translate it as "boast." T o boast, in 21 st Century America, is obnoxious. Germanic warriors didn't boast in our modern day sense of the word. Having pride in our accomplishments and exuding confidence is acceptable, but we consider bold proclamations of our greatness to be immature and vulgar. In the Heroic Age, however, warri ors were expected to extol great achievement, or otherwise they would seem weak. T o simply insert the word "boast" in a translation gives the wrong idea to a contemporary audience, but there is not one word that encompasse s the Anglo Saxon idea.

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34 The trans lator can either include a lengthy footnote or change the structure of the poem to better represent the sense of the idea. Such decisions are almost impossible: The translator has to steer between extremes, between staying so close to the source that the new readership is alienated by unfamiliar concepts, forms or language, in short by that which is perceived to be Other and, at the opposite extreme, leaving the source so far behind in an attempt to satisfy the needs of that new readership that he or sh e may be accused of betrayal. (Bassnett) A translator will always be accused of some kind of betrayal either of the text or of a readership Beautiful or faithful, never both. Formal vs Dynamic E quivalence Eugene Nida defines this dilemma as the majo r issue in translation studies. He contrasts "formal equivalence," the faithfulness to the original language in terms of diction and grammar, and "dynamic equivalence," faithfulness to the spirit or sense of the poem. B owulf translators who prefer formal equivalence favor line by line, almost word by word translations with copious footnotes to explain cultural connotation, complicated passages, or historical implication. Although such translations are handy for the student o f Anglo Saxon, they are little more than utilitarian : "it seems to be increasingly recognized that

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35 adherence to the letter may indeed kill the spirit" ( 158). Some past formal equivalence translations of B owulf are inscrutable because of the "adherence t o the letter," such as the 1895 translation by William Morris and Alfred Wyatt, long rid iculed by Beowulf scholars. Dynamic equivalence translators value the unity of the poem over the syntax and grammatical structure. Unity, for our purposes, is the com bination of diction, poetic device, form, sound, and story working together to create an experience. In a dynamic equivalence translation, a translator may take liberties with t he original language to increase the readability for modern readers In dynam ic equivalence, "the relationship between receptor and message should be substantially the same as that which existed between the original receptors and the message" (Nida 156). The experience of the poem should be as close to the same for a contemporary reader as it was for the medieval reader as possible. The translator might replace "boast" with "confident in his accomplishments for good reason;" although longer and of a different grammatical structure, the reader understands the character as he was me ant to be. There is no negative connotation. Since an average reader has little background in Anglo Saxon culture, translation must involve transmission of culture, to some degree: "If his intended audience is not the Old English scholar, the translator of Beowulf can count on virtually no collaboration with his reader's memory"

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36 (Hudson 117). Formal equivalence places context in the footnotes, while dynamic equivalence blends context into the lines for a smoother reading experience. When a reader must c onstantly interrupt his or her reading to look at a footnote for comprehension, the story loses some of its interest. And publishers are ultimately concerned with the readers because readers buy books. 1 The tendency currently is toward dynamic equivalenc e, to varyin g degrees. Seamus Heaney's 2000 translation takes many liberties with the language, to some critics' delight and to others' dismay. The translation sold many copies and the Norton Critical Edition replaced E. Talbot Donaldson's formal equiva lence translation with Heaney's dynamic equivalence translation in 2004. Heaney's intent is to give us the experience of B owulf not break down the component parts. Since a poem's essence is more than the sum of its parts, plot and form and poetic device, translators who focus on only the parts stifle the poem; translators who 1 From the LA Times, April 25, 2000, an article by Martin Miller about the sales of Heaney's Beowulf : "This is beyond anybody's expectations. It's just amazing," said Ann e Coyle, a spokeswoman for Farrar, Straus and Giroux, known for its highbrow literature and poe try."

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37 focus on the unity or essence of the poem might sacrifice an adjective or syntax but ultimately show more respect for the poem as a whole. Translation and T ransformation Because of the obstacles any translator of Beowulf must face, the text can considered transformed more than it is translated. Grammar, diction, syntax, connotation, implication, poetic structure an d pacing cannot all smoothly and accurately be converted into modern English. Something must give: "Translators must constantly make decisions about the cultural meanings which language carriesIn fact the process of meaning transfer often has less to do with finding the cultural inscription of a term than in reconstructing its value" (Simon 138). Culture does not come through in a formal equivalence translation; it must be "reconstructed" through dynamic equivalence. The translation, then, cannot be see n as an exact replica of a text it works together with the original, not as a replacement but as an addition: As regards the meaning, the language of a translation can in fact must let itself go, so that it gives voice to the intentio of the original not as reproduction but as harmony, as a supplement to the language in which it expresses itself, as its own kind of intentio Therefore it is not the highest praise of a translation, particularly in the age of its origin, to say that it reads as if it had or iginally been written in that language (Benjamin 81)

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38 Although we may not know the exact experience of an original audience, we do know that the female characters had agency. Formal equivalence translations will always fail to transmit the spirit of the poem; transformations can preserve the unity of B owulf for contemporary readers. Because most humanist ic qualities of a strong poem cross language/cultural/time boundaries. Only the details can seem foreign. Translation superimposes domestic significance to a foreign text to make it seem less foreign. Lawrence Venuti states that "the translator negotiates the linguistic and cultural differences of the foreign text by reduc ing them and supplying another set of differences, basically domestic, drawn from the receiving language and culture to enable the foreign to be recei ved there" ( "Translation" 482). In order for a text to be relevant and understandable in Modern English, some foreign elements must be replaced with familiar domestic" ones. The idea of an acceptable "boast" seems foreign in a respected hero, but confidence in a hero is familiar, so to really understand the hero B! owulf, the term must be modified. Then w e admire him which is the experience of the original audience. Construction of a tra nslation is akin to an art form because the translator's modification of an original text comes from his or her skill, experience and character.

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39 The translator, like any artist, cannot help but instill his or her own personality in the translation : "some stamp of the translator's own mind and style upon the text is bound to be a part of the process of rewriting a literary work into a language other than its native one, an d a firm stamp is sometimes preferable to a timid one" (Niles 859). The decision making process stems from a person's character, education, skill, and experience, and immersing oneself in a text necessitates interpretation. Translation can never be objec tive, must always be subjective: "translation ceases to be a passive linguistic transfer from one language to another and becomes an active process influenced by the translator's identity, views of the world and environment" (Andone 149). Someone does not undertake the translation of B owulf without loving the poem, and the contribution of a new translation to the long list of versions of B owulf involves bridging two cultures through one's own character : "The translator today is increasingly represente d as negotiator, as inter cultural mediator, as interpreterTranslation involves taking responsibility, for the translator is the person through whom a text passes on its journey from one context to another" (Bassnett). How a translator superimposes domes tic familiarity onto the original text involves the hundreds of little decisions about language as any author o r poet makes in composing literature

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40 Making effective decisions in the translation of B owulf demands a vast knowledge of both languages and cultures, ancient and modern. The translator must know the Anglo Saxon culture well to negotiate it for the reader. "The work of the translator is as much to understand this extraliterary frame, the mythos o f the tribe and its signa sacra as it is to work through the poem word by wordhe must steep himself in whatever has an Anglo Saxon, or even northern medieval, smell to it" (Hudson 118). For although a translator must transform a text so it has domestic familiarity, he or she cannot lose sight of the fact that B owulf is a medieval poem. Especially for B owulf translators must understand the medieval world well enough to know how bridge the gap between the middle ages and the modern; transformation ne cessitates knowledge of culture so that it doesn't step over the line and become adaptation, bearing little resemblance to the original. The essence of the poem must remain medieval, and any tweaking of diction or form must take this into account. So change to the original text is inevitable, and there can be no true formal equivalence: "Transformation, as well as loss, is inevitablethe translator must become a dealer in equivalences rather than exactitudes" (Hudson 111). A translator, armed with the knowledge of both ancient and modern culture and languages, may even go so far as to

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41 enhance the original text for a better reading experience: "the translator illumines, clarifies, even fulfills meanings latent in the original; in certain instances, h e may surpass the original" (Hudson 115). Transmission of a poem from one culture to another is a delicate process and if a translator is skilled enough, he or she can modify the original text in a way that retains the medieval feel of the poem while mak ing it accessible and beautiful for modern readers. The Political A genda of Translation Any text has an agenda, and translations do even more so than most. Why does a translator choose a particular text? Why do they make the decisions they do in the pro cess of translation? Why would a translator choose formal equivalence or dynamic equivalence? Most importantly, how domestic should a translation become, or how foreign should a translation remain? The latter ques tion has ethical implications: translat ion has moved theorists toward an ethical reflection wherein remedies are formulated to restore or preserve the foreignness of the foreign textThis ethical attitude is therefore simultaneous with a political agenda: the domestic terms of inscription becom e the focus of rewriti ng in the translation. (Venuti 483) A translator's purpose in translation of a specific text determines what the original text will become. A formal equivalence translator may focus on the plot or history in B owulf, while

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42 a dynami c equivalence translator may be concerned with the sound and sense of the poem. Each considers his or her translation to be ethically appropriate because of the purpose of translation. A translation's readership decides if that translation is relevant or worthwhile. The translation has to be imp ortant to a reading audience: A translation aims to produce a new text that matters to one community the way another text matters to another: b ut it is part of our understanding of why texts matter that this is not a question that convention settles; indeed, it is part of our understanding of literary judgment, that there can always be new readings, new things that matter about a text, new reason s for caring about new properties. (Appiah 397) A translator of B owulf takes an ancient text and makes it new for an audience, and that audience in a different time period and culture may react to the text in new and unexpected ways. Just as there is always new scholarship on Shakespeare, new ways to perceive and analyze his plays, there will always be new ways of looking at B owulf because the poem is rich and resonates with questions of human existence. The way the poem is translated plays a crucia l part in a new audience's take on the poem.

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43 Cultural Turn and Feminist T ranslation An important modern method of interpretation is feminist criticism, and B owulf is ripe for such interpretation because of its complex characters and rich world built b y the original poet I would argue that any modern day translator is a feminist translator because he or she would not dismiss the female characters as extraneous even if the female characters weren't given agency; they are clearly essential to the poem's meaning and they are interesting in and of themselves. The women's movement of the 1960's and 1970's changed the way our western culture perceives the position of women in society. The gender divide is no longer an issue any scholar can ignore according to Oana Helena Andone : "feminist ideology acknowledges the tensions between masculine and feminine identities and strives to make feminine identity visible in language" ( 136). Wealh! eow is more than just Hr!"g#r 's wife, and her identity and w orth as an individual is clear in the original Anglo Saxon. Whether or not it is clear in a modern translation depends on the sensitivity of the translator. A feminist translator is sensitive to the effect of language in the creation of an individual cha racter both in the original and modern language: "In feminist translation theory, language interferes actively in the creation of meaning. Language does not only mirror reality but contributes to its creation" (Andone 143). A

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44 transla tor can create a comp lex Wealh! eow or an insignificant wife, and through language choices, the reality of the character is set. Translation of B owulf utilizing feminist theory is a relatively new undertaking. Feminism was not applied to translation studies until t he early 1990s: The cultural turn' in Translation Studies designates the move towards the analysis of translation from the perspective of cultural studiesthe understanding of translation has changed, and it is seen as an activity which may create or destabilize cultural identities and thus become a new mode of cultural creation. ( Andone 135) Translators now would not think of ignoring the implications of culture in the process of translation. The position of women in the world of B owulf and the position of women in modern day culture must be considered otherwise, a translation with shallow, two dimensional female characters will result, since in our patriarchal society women traditionally have been seen as secondary The process of translation has necessari ly change d because of the "cultural turn as defined by Andone. We can no longer impose our own assumptions of patriarchy on every text regardless of original culture: "the process of reclaiming the past for women(reevaluating) an uncontested vision of the world, past and present, as dominated by great menis mirrored in the revisions to the history of translation practice and in a

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45 reevaluation of what translation means" (Bassnett). To translate a female character from medieval culture into modern day c ulture must involve analysis of the position of women in both cultures, and only then can informed and sensitive translation choices be made that respe ct the worth of the character in the text We cannot assume that Wealh! eow was a passive queen figure. To translate in modern times means to negotiate cultural assumptions and implications. Such negotiation is an intricate and personal process. A translator cannot remove himself or herself from the translation because as noted before, the decisions a tra nslator makes stem from his or her experience and character and even gender: "Gender awareness in translation has brought about a revision of another concept the so called invisibility of the translatorThey can no longer accept to function as the transpar ent channel which does not leave any mark on the target text" (Andone 147). The identity of a translator will bleed through in their translation. A male translator may make very different choices than a female translator, and an expert in Anglo Saxon hi story may make different choices than a poet. How medieval female c haracters are reconstructed in M odern English depends on the identity of the translator, their knowledge, assumptions, and agenda as we saw with

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46 Klaeber The translator will never be abl e to remove himself or herself from the translation. The "cultural turn" changed the entire way we view the translation of a text. What it is to be "faithful and "beautiful" has changed: Whereas fidelity has traditionally been analyzed in terms of word for word vs. sense for sense translation, feminist theory views fidelity as directed toward neither the author not the reader b ut toward the "writing project". The project involves both the author and the translator. The translation project is not a carrying across, but a reworking of the meaning. (Andone 144) Translation is not just about the text, but about the original author and the translator, also. H ow al l three work together determine the "faithfulness" and the "beauty." Differing Philosophies of T ranslators Formal equivalence and dynamic equivalence translators have opposing translation methodologies. The agenda of a formal equivalence translat or is t o convey Anglo Saxon history and language; such translators have immersed themselves in the details of medi eval life and the grammar of Anglo Saxon. Dynamic equivalence translat ors tend to remake the

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47 lines and add context for Anglo Saxon passages t hat are difficult enough to demand hard choices and which c annot be transmitted smoothly: here the translator imitator may find justification for his liberties. But, obviously, to travel on this path with any success the translator must be a good poet in his own right(Ezra) Pound and many others have revealed that fidelity can sometimes be achieved through what some wo uld consider licentious freedom. (Hudson 113) So a dynamic equivalence translator's freedom and creativity with language in translating B owulf might actually turn o ut more faithful th an a precise and exact formal equivalence version Donaldson, whose version was used in the Norton edition for decades, chose precision over beauty: "Donaldson steadfastly declines to resolve these questions creatively. His method is so literal as to seem artless" (Niles 868). How ironic: to be faithful and respectful to the poem, sometimes one has to deviate from exacting precision But this is the nature of poetry the balance of beauty and meani ng. To completely sacrifice the beauty and the rhythm of the poem for the sake of word for word precision is to fail to see the forest for the trees. It is not unscrupulous to veer away from a strict and literal interpretation of a section of the poem if doing so preserves the beauty or the reading experience or the overall sen se:

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48 The argument that a domesticating translation strategy is somehow unethical, because it elides signs of foreignness in the text becomes untenable once we start to look at trans lation as processa translator who reveres the source so much that the needs of readers are secondary, is unlikel y to find a responsive audience. (Bassnett) The reader should be of foremost concern to a translator. B owulf is more than the sum of its p arts, grammar and vocabulary and plot, and the most important element in the transmission of the text from Anglo Saxon to modern English must be the reader. A translator needs to remember that he or she is translating and publishing for an audience, not a s an academic exercise. Why else bother to translate?

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49 CHAPTER V HISTORY OF TRANSLATIONS OF B OWULF There are hundreds of translations of B owulf : complete translations, fragments, digressions, in German, English, Spanish, and other languages. We have been fascinated by this Anglo Saxon text hidden away for centuries and then almost accidentally burned up in a fire Since there is only one copy of the text and since the author and provenance are unknown, we can only speculate about many facets of t he text and the history behind the text. As mentioned before, J.R.R. Tolkein's famous essay "The Critics and the Monsters" admonished the scholars who considered the epic poem of more historical significance than literary, defending the integrity of the p oem as a complex and masterful work of literature. As a historic al artifact the poem provides information of a previous culture but as a poem B owulf is enjoyable and enlightening Although o lder translations are more interested in the history and gram mar of the text, more modern translators clearly take joy in the artful language and the story of the poem. John M. Kemble was the first to translate the whole of B owulf into English. He was a scholar and historian at Cambridge University in England, and his complete translation was first published in 1833. Since he was the first he had no models for

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50 comparison, he was not influenced by any predecessors, and his purpose was to give the basic sense of the poem: The translation is a literal one; I was bound to give word for word, the original in all its roughness: I might have made it smoother, but I purposely avoided doing so, because had the Saxon poet thought as we thi nk, and expressed his thoughts as we express our thoughts, I might have spared myself the trouble of edi ting or translating his poem. (i ) He wanted to maintain the sense of foreignness in the poem, not turn it into a modern equivalent. Kemble's version was in prose because he was more concerned with the story and how it was told than the poetry. His aim was historical and academic to make the text accessible to students. He made huge strides in contributing to the study of the Anglo Saxon language: "T he Glossary, I hope, will be found to contain every word which occurs in the poem, and it contains many which are not found there, because I thought that it might some day serve as a foundation for a Dictionary of the Saxon Poetic language" (ii). Kemble f ulfilled his purpose; he created a rough yet grammatically accurate translation of a poem that had not been read in Modern English before as an academic historical exercise. Kemble began a long tradition of translating B!owulf Many other complete translations followed, both in prose and in verse. William Morris and Alfred John Wyatt created a translation in verse using archaic language; their version is confusing and

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51 awkward, sounding more humorous than heroic because of the form, and it was ridiculed by most Anglo Saxon scholars. 1 Early t ranslators of B!owulf were necessarily academics because Anglo Saxon, as a dead language, was studied in universities in history departments. Their aim was the study of the poem, not recre ational reading. Tolkein's essa y was indeed aimed at such scholars. Chickering Another influential scholar who translated B owulf is Howell Chickering, a professor at Amherst. His aim was to be true to the grammatical language: My translation takes a f ew liberties from time to time, but for the most part it gives the plain sense of the original or, when a literal translation would be unclear, the intended meaning as I see it. By not trying to imitate the alliteration and other audible features of the f acing original, I was able to concentrate on reproducing the poetic ordering of parts, sentence by sentence. (x) By ignoring poetic devices, Chickering could focus fully on keeping the syntax and structure parallel to the original; in fact, in Chickering' s version the Anglo Saxon is on the left and his translation is on the right, directly across the pages from each other. The 1 An example of Morris and Wyatt translation, when Wealh!eow speaks to Hro" gar: "I ween that good will yet this man will be yielding / To our offspring that be after us, if he mind him / of all that which we two, for good will and for worship, / Unto him erst a child yet have framed of kindness."

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52 translation, due to this arrangement, is supported by the original text. The book is helpful for students of B owulf because of the closeness of original and translation. His dedication to individual lines and words, though, makes the text somewhat inaccessible to casual readers; the tight terseness of Anglo Saxon poetry is not elegant in modern English. Chickering ma de the deliberate decision to focus on language over meaning: "I felt I could leave the more complex connotations for the commentary as long as the translation did not sound overblownI know only too well how annotation can deaden the very things it was m eant to illuminate" (xii). He sacrificed the sense of the poem for "correctness;" teaching students to translate Anglo Saxon involves more rote skill than creativity, as does this version of the poem. In addition to translating the poem himself, Chickeri ng reviewed many other translations, including E. Talbot Donaldson and Seamus Heaney, translators to be discussed later. From his critiques we can see his own formal equivalence tendencies. Chickering comments that "A poetic formmust be an improvement o ver prose" ("Donaldson's" 779), criticizing Donaldson's choice of prose over poetry; Chickering's own version is in verse. Overall Chickering admires Donaldson's version, though. Of Donaldson's very literal translation he says:

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53 In choosing to be literal, and choosing prose, Donaldson shows a humility which is not only downright attractive by contrast, but, more importantly, comes from being a finely perceptive reader of the Anglo Saxon. ( "Donaldson's" 775) Chickering believes that a literal, word for w ord and line by line translation shows "humility" because Donaldson could have used his skills to deviate from the original syntax. I am not sure how adhering to a medieval grammatical structure instead of to the poetry and unity if the poem shows humilit y it is a conscious choice made by a transla tor, sacrificing one aspect for another I also am not sure how replacing M odern English words for Anglo Saxon words for the sake of literalness makes Donaldson a "perceptive reader," but Chickering also admires Donaldson's formal equivalence translation methods, which are very similar to his own. Donaldson E. Talbot Donaldson was a scholar translator very much like Chickering A professor at Yale, he received many honors as an American Medievalist. He was con sidered such an expert that Norton adopted his translation for their critical edition in 1975. Like Chickering, Donaldson focused his efforts on diction and grammar over sense: it has seems best to translate as literally as possible, confining oneself to the linguistic and intellectual structure of the original. It is perfectly true that a

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54 literal translation such as this is bound to result in a style of modern English prose that was never seen before on land or sea and is not apt to be again (xi ) Dona ldson admits that his translation is awkward and inelegant due to his strict adherence to the "linguistic and intellectual structure o f the original." His aim as a m edievalist is to present the information in the text in as close a form to the original as possible, and provide copious footnotes for clarification. The style and beauty of the poem are of secondary concern; Donaldson's aim is to provide a literal version for study in a classroom leaving context and figurative language as the responsibility of the student He knew the consequences of choosing a literal prose translation: If a verse translation does not try to be a poem in its own right, then it can only be versification, a literal rendering constantly distracted from literalism by the need to versify, as a more creative translation is constantly distracted from literalism by the translator's creativity. Rather than try to create a new and lesser poem for the reader, it seems better to offer him in prose the literal materials from which he c an re create the poem. (xiii) Donaldson's assumption that any translation in verse would be a "lesser poem" is telling; that a translator would weaken the poem with "creativity" belies his bias toward information over art. The consummate scholar Donalds on wanted to publish a version of B owulf for study instead of for pleasure reading.

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55 In the mid twentieth century, however, a different population began t o take notice of the poem This interest may have come about because the poem gained respect for its soph i stication along with its historical import; Tolkein's message of the importance of the poem as an artistic creation finally got through. The new translators efforts with An glo Saxon poetry changed the way the poem was perceived. It became a text to read for pleasure as much as a text f or study in a university. Dynamic equivalence translators had a different focus: poetic style and reader reception, as opposed to historical and grammatical "accuracy." Morgan Edwin Morgan was such a translator His 1952 translation of B owulf is quite different from previous translations by academics, which Morgan disliked: not one of these has succeeded in establishing itself as a notab le presentation, even for its own period, of a great originalNothing has been found, therefore, in these Beowulf translations to interest either the practicing poet or the cultivated reader of poetry, unless his aim is simply to find out what the poem dea ls with, and that would be more safely and easily got from a prose version (vii) Morgan's theory of translating B owulf is not that of a historian He was concerned with the reader more than with historical accuracy, with the language and beauty of the poetry

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56 more than a "dry, torpid" retelling of the story. Because of this he embraced dynamic equivalence rather than formal equivalence, giving him more power to mold words into a beautiful and energetic poem: "The lines mu st be able to contract to terseness, and expand to splendor" (xvi). Even Morgan's description of his translation has beauty. Morgan eschewed archaisms but kept the four stress meter, giving the poem the sense and texture of the original but not reminding the reader that the poem is ancient instead of present and relevant. A reader needs no footnotes or dictionary or knowledge of Anglo Saxon to read and understand the epic because Morgan blended such information into the poem itself Hudson Poet Marc Hud son is similarly concerned with poetic elements in his 1990 translation. Reminiscent of Tolkein's insistence that B owulf is first and foremost a work of literature, Hudson states, "to ignore the rhythm and the aural patterning of the verses is to betray Beowulf's artistry" (122). Hudson has an ear for the poetry of the epic and so embraces dynamic equivalence in order to maintain the poetic elements and create a sense of the poem that might not be as "accurate" as a word for word rendering but has the same feel and texture of the original. Hudson adds words and makes changes in his translation to develop "more accurate music of the lineFor the spirit and not the literal, inanimate

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57 letterThe outcome of the whole game depends, finally, on the tact and accuracy of the translator's intuitions" (167). Both Hudson 's and Morgan 's dynamic equivalence translation methodologies allow the reader a greater sense of what the experience of the original was for the original audience. Hudson comments on his proces s: The four stress line, the diction of a higher tone, the resolution of kennings into phrases, the fidelity to the rhetorical figures and to the contemplative character of the poem these represent controlling biases that informed my choices, providing the work as a whole with a unity it would not have otherwise possessed. (159) The "unity" Hudson refers to incorporates poetic elements and story details to create an overall sense of the original, which was not just a story but a creation of a world not just information about a situation but an experience for the reader. The four stress line of the poem is an essential part of the sound of the lines The B owulf poet deliberately chose this form to provide flow to the story and to remove it from a translation would be like rewriting Shakespeare's sonnets without iambic pentameter. The terse, condensed lines are part of the experience of reading this poem, and to translate without using this form implies that the information and historical signifi cance is more important than the

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58 exquisite artistry of B owulf The same can be said of the kennings and rhetorical figures Hudson insists are necessary for the "unity" of the translation. Heaney The most famous contemporary translation of B owulf is by the Irish poet Seamus Heaney. He strongly believes that B owulf is of cultural importance not because of historical aspects but because the poem's relevance to us today as great literature: "Its narrative elements may belong to a previous age but as a work of art it lives in its own continuous present, equal to our knowledge of reality the present time" (ix). The poem is relevant and the narrative resonates for a modern day reader, according to Heaney. He translated for the contemporary reader, not for an Anglo Saxon scholar. His book was first published in 2000 to great acclaim 1 and was adopted by Norton to replace Donaldson in the Norton Critical Edition of B owulf This shift in the Norton Critical Edition is indicative of the recent trend in translation of the epic; in order to keep the text alive, poet translators have taken up the challenge and have translated with a contemporary audience in mind. Heaney purported to recreate the experience of the poem for readers today, and to do so, he fe lt free to make certain changes: 1 Seamus Heaney's translation won the Whitbread Book of the Year Award in 2000.

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59 I have not followed the strict metrical rules that bound the Anglo Saxon scop. I have been guided by the fundamental pattern of four stresses to the line, but I allow myself several transgressions. For example, I don't al ways employ alliteration, and sometimes I alliterate only in one half of one line. When these breeches occur, it is because I prefer to let the natural "sound of sense" prevail over the demands of the convention. I have been reluctant to force an artific ial shape or unusual word choice just for the sake of correctness. (xxix) Like Marc Hudson, Heaney translate d in a manner that respects the artistry and ignores "convention" to that end. He makes decisions to create a naturalness in the poem for his read ers creating an easy flow in the storyline with few arcane references, instead of distracting readers with a sense of foreignness An example Heaney uses to explain his translation method is the first word of the poem, "Hwt." Literally the word in Ang lo Saxon means "what." But the idea of beginning a tale with "what" doesn't work in modern English: Conventional renderings of hwaet, the first word of the poem, tend towards the archaic literary, with "lo" and "hark" and "behold" and "attend" and more co lloquially "listen" being some of the solutions offered previously. But in Hiberno English Scullionspeak, the particle "so" came naturally to the rescue, because in that idiom "so" operates as an expression which obliterates all previous discourse and nar rative, and at the same time functions as an exclamation calling for immediate attention. (xxvii)

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60 Heaney could have used the direct translation of "what" and then included a long footnote to explain the etymology of the word and how we culturally have acc epted a different idiom to gather attention and begin a story apropos of nothing, but the pleasure reader doesn't care. The reader knows what the word "So" represents and can continue on with the poem with interest instead of tedium. "So" is direct and t o the point, and fits easily into the sound or music of the Anglo Saxon poetry: "What I was after first and foremost was a narrative line that sounded as if it meant business, and I was prepared to sacrifice other things in pursuit of this directness of ut terance" (xxix). The sacrifice of the etymology of "what" is not a great loss. Howell Chickering's review of Heaney's translation was not flattering. Chickering admits that "For fidelity to both the letter and spirit of the original, it is a resounding but mixed success, with some awkward missteps" ("Heaneywulf" 162); his acknowledgement of Heaney's success is heavily qualified. Chickering calls Heaney's freedom in verse translation full of "overcooked imagery and bumping alliteration" ("Heaneywulf" 168 ). He also does not like the fact that Heaney used 12 words of Ulster origin because Chickering thought Heaney was writing for himself and not for a non Ulster audience, calling it "bad cultural and linguistic history" ("Heaneywulf" 173). Here we see Chi ckering's bias: linguistics As

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61 for Heaney's readers, 12 words will not confuse the text's meaning, and they provide a sense of texture in the poetic language of B!owulf which is not supposed to be ordinary language As a formal equivalence translator, Chickering is suspect of Heaney's dynamic equivalence version and the new model of making the original text new again. Chickering was not the only translator to criticize his colleagues. Each translator I examined, from Kemble to Heaney, commented on his translation philosoph i es and why his was best in a forward or introduction The trend toward dynamic equivalency was resisted by many translators at first but now seems to be the default method of translation of B!owulf. A close look at the original An glo Saxon lines reveals why Donaldson's version is no longer relevant and why Heaney's version is this generation's accepted translation.

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62 CHAPTER VI THE QUEENS: TEXT ANALYSIS The formal equivalence translators and dynamic equivalence translators have different purposes, the former to preserve information and the latter to provide an authentic reading experience, but they are both translating for a reading audience. A closer examination of Donaldson 's and Heaney 's words serves as a useful gauge ; they can represent each group of translators (formal and dynamic ) they are each acclaimed for their translations, and each was adopted by the Norton Critical Edition A close textual analysis of how each translator approached the female characters throug h use of diction, poetic device, and elaboration reveals the difference in their methods; female characters are marginalized in the formal equivalency of the scholars, and they are rightfully given agency in the dynamic equivalency of the poets. Donaldson specifically chose to write his translation in prose so that a reader wouldn't be distracted from the information of the poem by the form of a "lesser poem." He divides his translation into sections with descriptive headers that explain what will happen. Donaldson uses modern paragraphing but within each sentence he uses many commas that mirror the phrasing of the original lines. He tries to keep the syntax as close

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63 to the original as possible. The result is an awkward and rambling sentence structu re t hat becomes tedious to read, as well as vague or confusing as we will see It is not representative of the artistry of the original. Seamus Heaney does just the opposite He is concerned not only with the storyline but with how the form and device s in the poetry support the epic. To show the original form, Heaney places the original text opposite the translation in his book. He does this so that the reader never forgets it is a translation of an medieval and Germanic epic a foreign text The ju xtaposition also allows the translation to lean on the strength of the Anglo Saxon original, which tempers the liberalness of his translation: although the words in each line might not be parallel, readers can see the tempo and structure of the source text Even though the reader might not know Anglo Saxon, he or she knows the feel of the poem just by viewing the lines. Heaney's translation brings the epic into the modern age for smooth readability, but the parallel text roots it firmly in the medieval ag e. Wealh"eow Wealh!eow is always present before and after B"owulf's battles as a representative of her people. She comments on the situation and offers encouragement and warnings. We see her wielding power with words instead of swords. As Hr!"g#r 's queen she has an

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64 exalted and influential position in the hall, and as she warns B!owulf, the men of the hall will gladly do her bidding. Yet Donaldson's strict attention to word and line in his translation make Wealh!eow seem two dimensional and weake r than she is, though her strong character and power do not survive a formal equivalence translation. Heaney's words do allow Wealh!eow the power and character of her queenship. Instead of limiting himself to the precise diction and syntax, Heaney uses h is poetic skills to work with the original text and represent its sense and ideas to a modern audience. Donaldson's translation is meant to be studied; Heaney's is meant to be savored. We first meet Wealh!eow when B"owulf comes to offer his services t o Hr!"g#r (see app. A1 3) She enters the hall after the feast has begun and completes her duties as a queen. Donaldson's translation makes her duties seem that of a hostess, merely Hr!"g#r 's servant, while Heaney's translation allows her the potency and ability befitting her station. Gold, to the people of this heroic age, is representative of much more than wealth it is a status symbol, a symbol of courage and heroism, and implies power and authority. A person obtains gold by violence or by the favor of a rich leader. The B!owulf poet used the metal to signify much more than treasure, especially as concerns the queens. The most telling phrase is goldhroden in line 614 and 640 used to describe Wealh!eow

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65 when she enters the hall. This term is u sed four times in the epic to describe Wealh!eow, Freawaru, and Modthrith, all royal women. The Bosworth and Toller Anglo Saxon Dictionary 1 defines goldhroden a s "gold adorned," an adjective. Precise to a fault, Donaldson uses this definition in his tra nslation. The word hroden means laden or ornamented, an adjective describing a passive object that has been embellished. The connotation of hroden makes Wealh!eow into an object to be displayed in the hall, an extension of Hr!"g#r 's wealth and status. It negates Wealh!eow's status. However, as discussed previously, Germanic queens held positions of status that made them politically astute, and in the role of peace weaver a queen played subtle politics in order to keep the peace in the hall and among t ribes. Since Wealh!eow is both, she is clearly not a mannequin used to display Hr!"g#r 's gold the gold actually represents her own power and stature. Heaney's translation of goldhroden as "adorned in her gold" in line 614 makes much more sense for toda y's reader. T he possessive pronoun "her" changes Wealh!eow's position and character drastically. Then, when we come to line 640, the term "arrayed with gold" follows the description "regal," reinforcing the idea that Wealh!eow is queen with a queen's pow er, represented by her riches. 1 All definitions from this point forward will be from The Bosworth and Toller Anglo Saxon Dictionary.

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66 Gold again is an issue when Wealh!eow speaks to Hr!"g#r after the first battle in line 1162 (see app. B1 3) ; Wealh!eow walks into the hall under gyldnum beage A beage is a crown or ring, and Donaldson translates t he phrase as "under gold crown." The ownership of the crown is vague; it could be any crown or piece of jewelry. However, Wealh!eow is about to speak firmly to Hr!"g#r and ensure the succession of the tribe, so Heaney's translation "in her gold cro wn" is more suitable, because the possessive pronoun reminds the reader of her position and power; she can and will influence Hr!"g#r and B!owulf. She owns the queenship instead of the queenship owning her, and her gold crown is representative of her autho rity in the hall. Heaney looks past the literal words to see symbolism and implication that Donaldson misses. The way Wealh!eow is described by the narrator is another matter that clearly reveals the difference in Heaney's and Donaldson's translations. When Wealh!eow first acknowledges the men in the hall she is acting as a proper queen; the Anglo Saxon word grette (line 614) has a number of definitions in Bosworth and Toller including speak, call upon, hail, greet, welcome, salute, and bid farewell. Donaldson chose the definition that sound s similar: "greeted." To greet is to simply say hello, a pedestrian action made everyday in all walks of life. Heaney chose the d efinition "saluted," which is a wholly

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67 different gesture; "saluted" has military con notations, which would befit the leader of a group of warriors. It is also a gesture of respect, buttressing the bonds between a close tribe and a leader. Later in the poem the suggestion that the men will fight for their queen (1230) supports the positi on of queen as commander. A further description of Wealh!eow in this section is that of wisfst wordum ; wisfst is defined as wise, discreet, or judicious, and the dictionary entry makes a note that in the case of line 626 in B!owulf it applies to peop le (see app. A1 3) Wordum means of words, so the description of Wealh!eow is a woman who speaks wisely and judiciously, a consummate politician. Donaldson's translation is "sure of speech" and Heaney's is "With measured words ," two different ideas; "sur e of speech" implies confidence, but leaves out any idea of wisdom or skill. "With measured words" implies thought and caution, very appropriate for a situation in which an unknown warrior shows up with his band of warriors. Heaney is describing a politi cian; Donaldson is describing a figurehead. Wealh!eow's speech to Hr!"g#r beginning in line 1168 is introduced with Sprc # a ides Scyldinga : ( see app. B1 3 ). Donaldson translated this literally to mean "Then the woman of the Scyldings spoke ." Yet the word ides complicates this line; Bosworth and Toller note that the noun is used mainly in poetry. Ides does not mean any woman, but is

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68 used for women of high standing as Joyce Hill explains in her article "#t Ws Geomuru Ides!" Donaldson's tr anslation gives ownership of Wealh!eow to the Scyldings, but a woman of high standing would not have t his sense of being an object that is owned; rather, she is one of their leaders. Donaldson's gramma tically faithful sentence does not reveal Wealh!eow's c haracter Heaney translates this line simply: "The queen spoke ." The reader immediately remembers that this is a woman of authority, and so her words gain weight and significance. Hr!"g#r will listen to her, because she is not any woman, she is his qu een. Also interesting is that the poet did not use the work ma elode but sprc : the verb ma elode meaning "said," is commonly used to introduce dialogue or monologue. Sprc "spoke," is much more formal and commanding in Modern English emphasizing the formality and significance of Wealh!eow's speech. Wealh!eow's final public speech, given when Beowulf leaves to sail home, is to thank him, wish him luck, and give him valuable gifts (see app. C1 3) As a queen she has the power to give the gifts of a go ld ring and a mail shirt from the tribe's hoard. The word ma elode from line 1215 is translated by Donalsdon as "spoke" and by Heaney as "pronounced," two very different verbs. To speak is merely to talk, but to pronounce is to make a truth known to a la rge group of people. As queen, Wealh!eow is in a position to

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69 act in such a formal and ritual way: the gifts and wishes come from the entire tribe instead of from just herself. After her pronouncement, Wealh!eow leaves the center of the stage Eode a to setle (1232) The simple action of walking back to Hr!"g#r has dissimilar connotation in the different way it is translated: Donaldson's version is "The n she walked to her seat" and Heaney's is "She moved then to her place." Setle does mean seat, but it is too general a definition in this specific line. Again, everyone in the hall has a seat, but only a queen or king has a "place." A queen's place is next to the king in a representative position of power, possibly a head table higher than the rest. Wealh!eow gains gravitas when we are reminded of her power and authority in this way it is indeed her place to speak to Beowulf on behalf of all the people. Wealh!eow's own words are translated to present her either as a weak woman or a queen with agency. When Wealh!eow admonishes Hr!"g#r to remember his sons after he suggests giving B!owulf an inherita nce in line 1168 (see app. B1 3) she must be an effective peaceweaver because to give the leadership of a tribe to an outsider would cause conflict and bloodshed. Additionally, she wants to make sure her kin, and through them,

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70 herself, retains control. She must speak carefully and diplomatically. A simple conjunction in this speech changes Wealh!eow's character. In her admonition to Hr!"g#r she says, bruc "enden "u mote manigra medo, ond "inum magum lf folc ond rice Donaldson translates: "Enjoy while you may many rewards, and leave your kinsmen folk and kingdom ." The ond does mean "and," but Heaney liberally translates it as "but:" Relish their company, bu t recollect as well all of the boons that have been bestowed on you The slight shift of conjunction gives Wealh!eow's words an ominous feeling; Donaldson's transl ation focuses on the word "Enjoy," a positive and happy word, while Heaney's lines focus on the word "recollect" as a threat since the conjunction "but" show s contrast instead of similarity. Donaldson's Wealh!eow is polite and soft Heaney's Wealh!eow is b old and firm. Heaney also gives Wealh!eow's words a sense of drama through his use of anaphora in lines 1180 83 (see app. B1 3) Although not a device used in B!owulf anaphora is used in modern English poetry to create a heightened feeling of tension the repetition

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71 emphasizes specific lines and sets them apart from the rest. Wealh!eow is making a case for keeping the tribe's power in the family: I am certain of Hrothulf. He is noble and will use the young ones well. He will not let you down. Sh ould you die before him, He will treat our children truly and fairly. He will honou r, I am sure, our two sons The repetition of "He highlights the idea that Hro! ulf, not B! owulf, will do what is best for the hall. Heaney shows Wealh!eow as a queen ca pable of wielding words to control a difficult situation; Hr!"g#r has made a poor suggestion, and his queen lets him know it. Heaney continues to allow Wealh!eow strength in the phrase "I am sure" from above. Donaldson translates the words Ic minne can as "I think" instead. Can means "I know." The connotation of "I think" is uncertainty and indecisiveness, words used to soften a statement. "I am sure" is bold and strong. Wealh!eow's character is colored by these many small distinctions that add up t o create either a soft hostess or a strong political player.

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72 Freawaru Freawaru's character is likewise made different through a number of small translation choices. We don't see much of Wealh!eow and Hr!"g#r 's daughter, but Beowulf explains her situa tion to Hygelac when he returns to his lord and reports of the Scyldings (see app. D1 3) The term goldhroden (line 2025) is again translated by D onaldson as "gold adorned" and by Heaney as "in her gold trimmed attire ," in the first instance making Freawa ru into an object and in the possessive pronoun in the second giving her enough clout as a royal princess to own gold. Such characterization is clear in the translation of lines 2029 2031: Oft seldan hwr fter leodhryre lytle hwile bongar buge#, "eah seo bryd duge! B owulf predicts that Freawaru's marriage in to a hostile tribe as a peace weaver will end in tragedy because of past hostilities. Donadson's version reads: "Yet most often after the fall of any prince in any nation the deadly spear r ests but a little while, even though the bride be good ." Good is about as vague as an adjective can be: horses are good, and gold, and ships. Anything is good that is not bad. Freawaru is characterized as more of an object

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73 that a human being. Duge does mean to do or be good, but Heaney looks beyond the literal meaning: But generally the spear is prompt to retaliate when a prince is killed, no matter how a dmirable the bride may be. Heaney chooses "admirable" instead of "good," a much more specific adjective. People are admirable for their deeds and character, so it is a compliment to Freawaru ; it shows her character She is a princess in a difficult situation; as discussed before, royal women in this culture had the impossible job of crea ting peace among people who value war. This necessary function of queens is emphasized by Heaney; Freawaru is probably admirable for her ability to weave peace, but even this skill cannot compete with the instinct for revenge. If she is indeed admirable, her situation becomes more tragic, because she will try, and fail, and not deserve her fate. Hildebur h Hildeburh is another archetypal medieval character that has a tragic fate she cannot escape (see app. E1 3). As the poem states in line 1075 "t ws geomuru ides The lines are juxtaposed to the lines early on in the poem about Scyld Scefing, "t ws god cyning! Hildeburh is juxtaposed to the famous king, giving her a status similar to a king's. This

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74 idea is not clear in a formal equivalence translat ion. Word for word, Donaldson translates this half line as, "That was a mournful woman ." This statement of fact is impersonal and could apply to many a woman, and it reveals little about Hildeburh herself. Heaney's translation of this section is difficult to line up with the original text, but he is much more descriptive about Hildeburh's horrible position: She, the woman in shock, waylaid by grief, Hoc's daughter "Mournful" is less specific and le ss dramatic than "shocked" and "waylaid by grief." Even the fact that Heaney arranges these lines of the scop's tale in italics and spaces the half lines out as he does creates a greater sense of drama in her t ale. The alliteration in these original line s -both, battlefield, bereft, blameless -makes Hildeburh's grief stand out in relief. Hildeburh's pathetic plight is very dramatic in Heaney's translation as it should be for his readers Mod ry # Mod!ry" is a complicated character in that she undergoes a complete character change almost inexplicably (see app. F1 3) Her evil nature is contrasted with Hygd's

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75 generous character in a story told by the narrator when B!owulf returns home in line s 1931 2 : Mod "ry#o wg, Fremu fo lces cwen, firen ondrysne. Heaney changes the syntax and parts of speech : Great Queen Modthryth perpetrated terrible wron gs Donaldson's wo rds are very similar: "Modthry" good folk queen, did dreadful deeds [in her youth ]." Donaldson must insert information in brackets for his translation to make sense. Heaney makes the word fremu into a title, movi ng the adjective to modify Mod!ry" 's name, and the result is that the reader knows Mod!ry" has power and status. Donaldson's "g ood folk queen" is much weaker; not only is "good" weaker than "Great," it follows the proper noun, weakening the adjective's status in the sentence. L ikewise with "Queen" and "queen; although the capitalization can be attributed to grammar, the capital Q gives a greater sense of significance.

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76 Hygd Hygd is a queen very much like Wealh!eow in that she has a position of authority and is admired by her people (see app. F1 3) When B!owulf returns to his homeland, the narrator describes Hygd in line 1 929 31: Hre es dohtor; ns hio hnah swa "eah, ne to gnea# gifa Geata leodum, ma"mgestreona. She is Hre!'s daughter, meaning she was born into a powerful family, giving her clout. Donaldson follows the litotes of the original poem: "For she was not niggardly, not too sparing of gifts to the men of the Geats, of treasures." Defining someone by w hat they are not in modern English is complicated. If a person is "not niggardly" the double negative suggests that the person could actually be stingy but not as extreme as niggardly. The meaning becomes vague without a clear sense of tone. Litotes can also be used for understatement, as is the case in the original Anglo Saxon lines. Heaney avoids the ambiguity of litotes altogether: Hareth's daughter behaved generously and stinted nothing when she distributed bounty to the Geats.

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77 Heaney's eloquent li nes refer to Hygd as "generous," an admirable quality, instead of "not niggardly," which is awkward and implies that Hygd gives what she should, not more. Heaney's translation does not follow the syntax of the original, but reorganizes grammatical element s for a smoother flow. The reader does not have to slow down to grapple with a choppy sentence like Donaldson's, and can focus instead on Queen Hygd 's character Hygd's power is most apparent after her husband Hygelac dies and she offers leaders hip to B owulf (see app. G1 3) : r him Hygd gebead hord ond rice, beagas ond bregostol, bearne ne truwode "t he wi# lfylcum e elstolas healdan cu # e, #a ws Hygelac dead. These lines prove without a doubt the power and savvy of a queen: Hygd has the power to choose the next leader and can even break the family dynasty, and she is intelligent enough to put the needs of the tribe before her own son's position. Donaldson's ve rsion reads: "There Hygd offered him hoard and kingdom, rings and a prince's throne. She had no trust in her son, that he could hold his native throne against foreigners now that Hygelac was dead." Hygd is characterized as powerful in this version, but i t is not as strong as Heaney's:

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78 There Hygd offered him throne and authority as lord of the ring hoard: with Hygelac dead, she had no belief in her son's ability to defend their homeland against foreign invaders. In Donaldson's version, Hygd offered B!owul f four objects: hoard, kingdom, rings, and throne. Heaney more explicitly indicates that B!owulf will have power, which is only implies in Donaldson's lines: Hygd offers him "authority." That she can give him power shows more strength of position than o ffering him objects, however large. Heaney's translation also makes the political climate seem dire, and thus Hygd's offer more significant: instead of "hold his native throne against foreigners," Heaney uses the words "defend their homeland against forei gn invaders." To "defend" is a stronger verb than to "hold," and "homeland" is more important than a person's "throne" since it affects more people, and "foreigners" are less threatening than "foreign invaders." In Donaldson's version it seems that there might be some trouble, but in Heaney's version, war is imminent. That Hygd would recognize the d anger of war and act as a peace weaver by giving power to B!owulf proves her to be astute, strong, and authoritative.

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79 Grendel's Mother Grendel' s mother is not a typical female character : she can be considered a woman or a monster, sympathetic or horrific, or all at the same time. For my purposes, I equate Grendel's mother with the queens, for a few reasons: like the other queens, she is a mother and advocat es for her son, she is in a position of authority in her hall, she was forced into a tragic life (s he is an outcast because she is a descendant of Cain) and she must be stealthy and cautious instead of acting aggressively to gain what she needs (revenge a nd Grendel's arm). Grendel's mother is a bo rder walker; she walks the line between human and monster, she lives on the outskirts if society, and she is female with the disposition of a male. The description of her using many hyphens, such as monster wife shows this idea she walks the line between the two incongruous nouns. T here is a strong sense of underlying sympathy for this character that is in between We are given the justification for her actions, no matter how destructive she may be. Her chara cter has many somewhat contradictory facets. When we first meet Grendel's mother (see app. H1 3) she is described in line 1258 as: Grendles modor,

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80 i des, aglcwif, yrm"e gemunde As discussed before, ides means woman, but is most often used to describe an unusual woman who has some special quality. It is a word usually used in poetry, so it is not a common word for a common woman. In this passage ides may be used ironically. Donaldson follows word for wo rd: "Grendel's mother, woman, monster wife, was mindful of her misery." In this translation ides is not ironic, nor do we get the sense that there is anything special or unusual about this woman. "Monster wife" refers to Grendel's mother's descent from C ain; by not clarifying this point, she seems more evil than tragic and cast out after all, Cain committed the crime, not Grendel's mother. "Mindful of her mi sery" emphasizes thinking about her sad circumstances, but does not identify the cause of them H eaney's lines read: Grendel's mother, monstrous hell bride, brooded over her wrongs. Here Grendel's mother is described as more of a monster than a woman also, but she has been wronged by an outside party, as opposed to being sad. Of course she is b rooding she has reason, her son is dead. Heaney, like Donaldson, does not explain the significance of

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81 "hell bride," a choice that pushes Grendel's mother in to the realm of evil, which seem s counter to his usual tendency. Heaney's translation does make Grendel's mother seem more of a wronged woman than Donaldson's. In Donaldson's version, she "had to dwell in the terrible water," but we don't know why. Did she choose her dwelling place herself? Heaney uses the words "forced down into fearful waters," which is much more dramatic. Someone, probably god, used violent means to push Grendel's mother out of society into a terrible place. She is the passive, wronged party in this scenario. In describing her need for revenge Heaney's mother is also sympathe tic and pathetic; she is "grief racked and ravenous, desperate for revenge." This is a woman who is suffering because of the loss of her son, something to which any mother could relate. Desperation and grief make her more human, not more monstrous. Dona ldson would have her be a monster, though; she is "greedy and gallows grim, (she) would go on a sorrowful adventure, avenge her son's death." The words "greedy," "gallows," "grim," and "sorrowful" all support the notion that Grendel's mother is an evil, v iolent beast instead of a sympathetic albeit mentally unstable mother. The most telling passage of Grendel's mother's characterization is in the description of her strength. The narrator makes an interesting gender comparison in line 1282 :

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82 Ws se gryre lssa e fne swa micle swa bi# mg"a crft, w iggryre wifes, be wpnedmen, onne heoru bunden, hamere ge"uren, s weord swate fah swin ofer helme e cgum dyhttig andweard scire#. A woman inciting battle is not normal in this culture, so we are give n this analysis of just how powerful Grendel's mother is. Donaldson follows the words carefully: "The attack was the less terrible by just so much as is the strength of women, the war terror of a wife, less than an armed man's when a hard blade, forge ham mered, a sword shining with blood, good of its edges, cuts the stout boar on a helmet opposite." The logic is hard to follow, the sentence is awkward, and we are not sure how deadly the "war terror of a wife" actually is. Heaney unravels this mess: He r onslaught was less only by as much as an amazon warrior's strength is less than an armed man's when the hefted sword, its hammered edge and gleaming blade slathered in blood, razes the sturdy boar ridge off a helmet. Heaney changes the "war terror of a wife" into the "amazon warrior's strength," making the reference clear and also making Grendel's mother's actions admirable. The reference to an amazon, a renowned woman warrior, has more heft that a wife a woman who is defined by

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83 her husband. Although the reference is not historical we understand instantly the sense of the lines. Heaney's mother is a strong warrior; Donaldson's, on c e a reader can make sense of his sentence, is a wife who may be forced into battle. The mention of a wife also remind s the reader that Grendel's mother is a descendent of Cain reestablishing her destructive nature. When Grendel's mother is found in the hall, her egress is dramatic. She cannot fight all of the men in the hall. Donaldson's translation is informative bu t removed from the situation: "She was in haste, would be gone out from there, protect her life after she was discovered." Heaney's translation is much more dramatic, making the reader feel her fright and heightening the action: The hell dam was in panic desperate to get out, In mortal terror the moment she was found. "Panic," desperation, and "mortal terror" create a sense of tension in which we become sympathetic for Grendel's mother's position. She is characterized by Heaney as a woman with feelings even though he continues to call her a "hell dam" in order to preserve her role as an opponent to B!owulf.

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84 Grendel's mother must be fantastical in some way as one of B!owulf's three non human opponents, but it is clear that Grendel's mother is also th e tragic woman archetype of medieval times. We cannot dismiss her as a non female character. We fee l a sympathy for her that we do not feel for either Grendel or the dragon. A translator must walk the difficult line of keeping her a monster while at the same time providing a sense of sympathy for the reader.

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85 CHAPTER VII BLOOM Seamus Heaney's dynamic equival ence translation of B!owulf is full of figurative language and connotation that hints at possibilities of meaning a literal translation overlooks. A poem is the condensation of wisdom and truths that need to be unpac ked; a poem is never literal; an intui tive sense of language is more valuable to this task than a historian's catalogue of facts and analysis. Harold Bloom's theory of poets development in The Anxiety of Influence therefore applies to the translations of a poem as well as to original poetry. Bloom posits that poets undergo a kind of psychological transformation due to a misreading of and rejection of the influence of previous poets: Poetic influence when it involves two strong, authentic poets always proceeds by a misreading of the prior poet, an act of creative correction that is actually and necessarily a misinterpretation. The history of fruitful poetic influence, which is to say the main tradition of Western poetry since the Renaissance, is a history of anxiety and self saving caricat ure, of distortion, of perverse, willful revisionism without which modern poetry as such could not exist. (30) The "willful revisionism" of a previous poet is akin to Freud's Oedipus conflict: it is a struggle to transume or, in Oedipal terms, kill a prev ious poet. Bloom uses the term

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86 "misprision" to describe a defensive misinterpretation of an older poet, also called "clinamen," a resulting "swerving away" due to a revisionary misreading of the predecessor A poet creatively misreads the poetry of a pre decessor and wants to avoid the influence of this poetry, so he or she "swerves away" from it, moving against the pressure of the past. Thus, any work of poetry cannot be seen as wholly original or independent; all poetry is connect ed to other poetry, eve n if it is reactionary Bloom's theory actually may apply better to translators of B!owulf than it does to poets. Translators engage in creative recreation and their work can be considered a form of art. In the case of B!owulf there have been so many translations that no one can work in a vacuum; each translator reacts to or against previous translators. Since they speak copiously about their process and philosophy, we know who and what they are reacting against from whom or wh at they are "swerving a way As previously noted in Chapter IV translators always justify their work. They explain why they are taking a different path than others and why their choices best suit B!owulf What is more complicated about tran slators than poets is that sometim es there is misreading of previous translatio n s, and sometimes there is misreading of the original text, or both.

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87 So Bloom's theory applies seamlessly to the multitude of translations of B!owulf. 1 The first translators of the poem were historians in uni versities, because they were the only ones with the access and impetus to work with this one arcane manuscript accidentally found in a private library, bound together with other Anglo Saxon texts. John M. Kemble had no model for translation and his purpos e was to literally reproduce the poem's diction, syntax, and storyline into modern English in prose. So focused was he on the correct diction that he began a cursory dictionary. His became the prototype translation and other historians followed suit. It is important to remember that English and literature as an academic discipline was just coming into existence: at Cambridge, where Kemble was a historian, English Literature as an academic discipline was not accepted until the early 20 th century; literatu re was for women and the lower classes, not for educated men (Eagleton 27). B!owulf would not have been studied in any other discipline in Kemble's time, and without the historians, the text would probably still be in some dusty archive. The formal equi valence translations are indeed a "misprision," a willful misreading, because the interest and purpose of the translators did not include literary studies. Kemble and the historian translators that followed him read B!owulf for historical elements that 1 Harold Bloom edited hun dreds of anthologies, including one on B!owulf.

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88 w ould give insight into the medieval age and the Germanic peoples. They misread the word goldhroden by simplifying it to mean merely gold adorned, when clearly the word implies the authority and power of a queen as represented by the gold she owned and dis played on her person. Hildeburh was described as an ides geomuru a mournful woman, but the phrase is clearly an understatement to emphasize the horrors of a woman in the position of a peace weaver, and she was not just any woman bu t a famous queen. The formal equivalence translators undervalued and underestimated the text as literature, seeking to pinpoint facts about Hygelac's life and disregarding the rest. They swerved away from the poem as a work of art and made it into a text to be studied and tran slated as an exercise. When new translators began to take an interest in translating B!owulf in the second half of the 20 th century, they in turn "swerved away" from the formal equivalence translation of the academics in favor of the freedom of dynamic equivalence translation. They needed the space to address goldhroden as a concept and not just a word, which could only happen by eschewing word for word and line by line translating. Edwin Morgan and Seamus Heaney brought the poem to life in a way that might have delighted Tolkien. In "swerving away" from the more academic transl ations of previous decades, dynamic

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89 equivalence translators have recre ated B!owulf as a work of literary art that is enjoyable for the modern reader. They recognize that the poem has the beauty and relevance to capture the modern imagination. This second "swerving away" was not due to "misprision," however the new transla tors did not creatively misread previous versions, because there really is no misreading of something so literal and concrete. Instead, dynamic equivalence translators intended to bring to life a mas terful poem for today's readers by loosening the firm gr ip on strict adherence to words and lines. Seamus Heaney's success, the fact that his translation was a bestseller, meaning his book re ached a large audience, is a strong indicator that dynamic equivalence translation works to open up an arcane poem for t he enjoyment of a non scholar audience.

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90 CHAPTER VIII CONCLUSION Bloom's theory of influence was meant for poets, and although it clearly applies to translators as well, it is interesting to note that most dynamic equivalence translators are poets. The formal equivalence translators were necessarily academic historians, since B!owulf could only be read in the original Anglo Saxon by those in academia. Academic focus on the history and the grammar of the story was of paramount importance; th eir audience was others in academia that wished to study the poem, and formal equivalence translations fulfilled this purpose. After a few hundred years, though, formal equivalence translations were nothing new. Technology makes literature more accessibl e for a general audience, and a general audience will not suffer footnotes; a literal B!owulf is dry and unappealing, oftentimes incomprehensible. The purpose of the poets was to work with the language to create translations accessible to a large readership, and they were very successful. The consequence of such dynamic equivalence translations is a reader's experience of the poem that is akin to the original audience; the lines of poetry are beautiful, the rhythm is mesmerizing, and the queens are interesting characters. I would argue that poet translators, because of their experience with the art of creating poetry,

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91 create translations of B!owulf that are not only more ac curate in an experiential sense but also more alive and relevant to today's readership. People have been fascinated by B!owulf for hundreds of years now: the story was an or al tale from a Germanic culture that was repeated and popular enough to travel to England, where it was Christianized and written down by a scribe. The manuscript was considered interesting enough to be bound together with other Anglo Saxon works, and whe n discovered in Robert Bruce Cotton's library, was removed to London for safekeeping. 1 Scholars began to translate passages in German and English, and John Kemble translated it in full in 1833, and people have been reading and translating it ever since. 2 The poem has lasted because it is relevant; the tale explains what it is to be human, what is of import in the human existence, examining bravery and heroism, loyalty, tragedy if losing loved ones, facing fears, and living up to responsibilities in an hon orable way. Such themes are presented in beautiful and powerful language. The historical curiosity of the story and the manuscript itself only add s to B!owulf's mystique. 1 The "safekeeping" wasn't so safe, since the manuscript was singed in a fire. 2 At Oxford University, students are still required to read the poem in the original Anglo Saxon, a curriculum requirement much criticized in recent years. https://www.wwnorton.com/college/english/nael/beowulf/introbeowulf.htm

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92 Although each generation has had its own preferred translation, we will never be satisfied with one authoritative version because our culture, the culture of the receiving readership, is constantly in flux. Norton's choice of translators is the perfect example: Donaldson's dry prose was studied for years, to be supplanted by Heaney's version, since we came to appreciate the literary aspect of the poem more than the scholarly aspect. B!owulf will continue to be translated, as it should be, in order to keep the text alive. Howell Chickering commented: Some few (translators) will alway s have the chutzpah to think they have enough poetic talent to render the original into Modern English verse. And Beowulf will go on being newly translated for the foreseeable future. ("Heaneywulf" 177) The "chutzpah" to continue to work with Anglo Saxon poetry seem to me a positive prospect each generation must make the poem their own in order to keep the conversation going, in order to make the words from a dusty manuscript come alive, in order to keep the word hord unlocked Otherwise, B!owulf dies, and the heroic tale is over.

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93 BIBLIOGRAPHY Andone, Oana Helena. "Gender Issues in Translation." Perspectives: Studies in Translatology 10:2 (28 April 2010): 135 150. Tandfonline Web. 6 September 2012. Bamm sberger, Alfred. Wealhtheow's Address to Beowulf ( Beowulf Lines 1226b 7)." Notes and Queries 57 (2010): 455 457. Academic OneFile. Web. 15 January 2012. Bassnett, Susan. "Translation, Gender and Otherness." Perspectives: Studies in Translatology 13:2 (5 January 2009): 83 90. Tandfonlin e. Web. 6 September 2012. Belanoff, Pat. "The Fall of the Old English Female Poetic Image." PMLA 104:5 (October 1989) 822 831. JSTOR Web. 29 October 2012. Beowulf Trans. Howell D. Chickering. New York: Anchor Books, 2006. Print. Beowulf Trans. E. Talbot Donaldson. New York: Norton & Co. 1975. Print. Beowulf Trans. Seamus Heaney. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2000. Print. Beowulf Trans. Marc Hudson. Hertfordshire: Wordsworth Classics, 2007. Print. Beowulf Trans. John M. Kemble. London: William Pickering, 1837. Google Books. Beowulf Bruce Mitchell and Fred C. Robinson eds Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1998. Print. Beowulf Trans. Edwin Morgan. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1966. Print. Beowulf Tra ns. Alfred John Wyatt and William Morris. New York: Longsman, Green and Co., 1898. Reprint by Forgotten Books, 2012.

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94 Bjork, Robert E. and John D. Niles, eds. A Beowulf Handbook Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1997. Print. Bloom, Harold. The Anxiety of Influence New York: Oxford University Press, 1973. Print. Bloom, Harold, ed. Beowulf: Modern Critical Interpretations. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1987. Print. Bloomfield, Josephine. "Diminished by Kindness: Frederick Kla eber's Rewriting of Wealhtheow." The Journal of English and Germanic Philology 93.2 (April 1994): 183. Academic OneFile. Web. 15 January 2012. Chickering, Howell. "Beowulf and Heaneywulf." Kenyon Review 24 (Winter2002): 160. Academic OneFile Web. 15 January 2012. Damico, Helen. Beowulf's Wealhtheow and the Valkyrie Tradition. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1984. Print. Dockray Miller, Mary. "Old English Literature and Feminist Theory: A State of the Field." Literature Compass 5/6 (2008): 1049 1059. JSTOR Web. 15 January 2012. ----"The Masculine Queen of Beowulf ." Women and Language 21.2 (Fall 1998): 31. Expanded Academic ASAP Web. 15 January 2012. Eagleton, Terry. Literary Theory Minneapolis: Univers ity of Minnesota Press, 1983. Print. Fry, Donald K., ed. The Beowulf Poet New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1968. Print. Grigsby, John. Beowulf and Grendel London: Watkins Publishing, 2005. Print.

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95 Helterman, Jeffrey. "The Archetype Enters History." ELH 35:1 (March 1968) 1 20. JSTOR Web. 5 December 2012. Hill, John. "Current Trends is Beowulf Studies." Literature Compass 4/1 (2007): 68 88. JSTOR Web. 15 January 2012. Hill, Joyce. "#ht Ws Geomuru Ides!" Beowulf: A Prose Translation Ed. Nicholas Howe. Ney York: Norton & Co., 1975. 153 166. Print. Jamison, Carol Parrish. "Traffic of Women in Germanic Literature: The Role of the Peace Pledge in Marital Exchanges." Women in German Yearbook 20 (2004) 13 36. JSTOR Web. 29 Octob er 2012. Kiernan, Kevin S. Beowulf and the Beowulf Manuscript Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1996. Print. Klein, Stacey S. Ruling Women: Queenship and Gender in Angle Saxon Literature. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2006. Print. Leyerle, John. "The Interlace Structure in Beowulf." University of Toronto Quarterly XXXVI:1 (October 1967): 1 17. JSTOR Web. 29 October 2012. Newton, Sam. The Origins of Beowulf and the Pre Viking Kingdom of East Anglia. Cambridge: Athenaeum Press, 1993. Print. Nicholson, Lewis e., Ed. An Anthology of Beowulf Criticism Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1971. Print. Nida, Eugene. "Principles of Correspondence." The Translation Studies Reader Ed. Lawrence Venuti. New York: Routledge, 2000. Niles, John D. "Rewriting Beowulf: The Task of Translation." College English 55:8 (December 1993): 858 878. JSTOR Web. 29 October 2012.

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96 Overing Gillian R. Language, Sign, and Gender in Beowulf. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1990. Print. Short, Douglas D. Beowulf Scholarship: An Annotated Bibliography. New York: Garland Publishing, 1980. Print. Smith, Ross. "J.R.R. Tolkien and the Art of Translating English into English." English Today 25.3 (September 2009). JSTOR Web. 13 January 2012. Tichy, Andrej, ed. The Bosworth Toller Anglo Saxon Dictionary Electronic Version. 2012. Web. http://bosworth.ff.cuni.cz Tinker, Chauncey. The Translations of Beowulf: A Critical Bibliography New York: Burt Franklin, 1968. Print. Tolkein, J.R.R. "The Monsters and the Critics." An Anthology of Beowulf Criticism Ed. Lewis E. Nicholson. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press,1964. Print ----"On Translating Beowulf." ebookbrowse.com (5 March 2012). Turner, Sharon. The History of the Manners, Landed Property, Governments, Laws, Poetry, Literature, Religion, and Language of the Anglo Saxons. London: Longman, Hurst, Reese, and Orme, Paternoster Row, 1805. Google Books. Venuti, Lawrence The Translator's Invisibility: A History of Translation New York: Routledge, 1995. Print. ----"Translation, Community, Utopia ." The Translation Studies Reader. Ed. Lawrence Venuti. New York: Routledge, 2000.

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97 Wodzak, Victoria. "Of Weavers and Warriors: Peace and Destruction in the Epic Tradition." The Midwest Quarterly 39.3 (Spring 1998) 253. Academic OneFile Web. 7 September 2012.

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98 APPENDIX A .1. B! OWULF LINES 612 641 Eode Wealh!eow for" cwen Hro" gares, cynna gemyndig, grette goldhroden guman on healle, 615 ond !a freolic wif ful gesealde rest Eastdena e elwearde, bd hine bli" ne t re beor ege, leodum leofne. He on lust ge!eah symbel ond seleful, sigerof kyning. 620 Ymbeode !a ides Helminga dugu!e ond geogo!e dl ghwylcne, sincfato sealde, o !! t sl alamp t hi o Beowulfe, beaghroden cwen mode ge!ungen, medoful tbr; 625 grette Geata leod, gode !ancode wisfst wordum !s e hire se willa gelamp !t heo on nigne eorl gelyfde fyrena frofre. He !t ful ge!eah, wlreow wiga, t Wealh!eon, 630 ond !a gyddode gu!e gefysed; Beowulf ma!elode, bearn Ecg!eowes: "Ic t hogode, !a ic on holm gestah, sbat gest mid minra secga gedriht, !t ic anunga eowra leoda 635 willan geworhte o!"e on wl crunge, feondgrapum fst. Ic gefremman sceal

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99 eorlic ellen, o!"e endedg on !isse meoduhealle minne gebidan." am wife !a word wel licodon, 640 gilpcwide Geates; eode goldhrode n freolicu folccwen to hire frean sittan.

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100 APPENDIX A.2. B! OWULF LINES 612 641 E. TALBOT DONALDSON TRANSLATION p. 12 13 Wealhtheow came forth, Hr!"g#r 's queen, mindful of custom, gold adorned, greeted the men in the hall; and the noble wo man offered the cup first to the keeper of the land of the East Danes, bade him be glad at the beer drinking, beloved of the people. In joy he partook of feast and hall cup, king famous for victories. Then the woman of the Helmings went about to each one of the retainers, young and old, offered to them the costly cup, until the time came that she brought the mead bowl to Beowulf, the ring adorned queen, mature of mind. Sure of speech she greeted the man of the Geats, thanked God that her wish was fulfill ed, that she might trust in some man for help against deadly deeds(Bewoulf speaks)These words were well pleasing to the woman, the boast of the Geat. Gold adorned, the noble folk queen went to sit by her lord.

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101 APPENDIX A.3. B! OWULF LINES 612 641 SEA MUS HEANEY TRANSLATION p. 41 42 and the crowd was happy. Wealhtheow came in, Hr!"g#r 's queen, observing the courtesies. adorned in her gold, she graciously saluted the men in hall, then handed the cup first to Hr!"g#r their homeland's guardian, urging him to drink deep and enjoy it because he was dear to them. And he drank it down like the warlord he was, with festive cheer. so the Helmings woman went on her rounds, queenly and dignified, decked out in rings, offering the goblet to all ranks, tr eating the household and the assembled troop until it was Beowulf's turn to take t from her hand. With measured words she welcomed the Geat and thanked God for granting her wish that a deliverer she could believe in would arrive to ease their afflictions. He accepted the cup This formal boast by Beowulf the Geat pleased the lady well and she went to sit by Hr!"g#r regal and arrayed with gold.

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102 APPENDIX B.1. B OWULF LINES 1162 1191 byrelas sealdon win of wunderfatum. !a cwom Wealh!eo for" gan under gyldnum beage, !r !a godan twegen ston suhtergefderan; a gyt ws hiera sib tgdere, 1165 ghwylc o" rum trywe. Swylce r Unfer" yle t fotum st frean Scyldinga; gehwylc hiora his ferh e treowde, t he h fde mod micel, !eah !e he his magum nre arfst t ecga gelacum. Sprc a ides Scyldinga: "Onfoh !issum fulle, freodrihten min, 1170 sinces brytta! !u on slum wes, goldwine gumena, ond to Geatum sprc mildum w ordum, swa sceal man don. Beo wi" Geatas gld, geofena gemyndig, nean ond feorran !u nu hafast. 1175 Me man sgde !t !u e for sunu wolde hererinc habban. Heorot is geflsod, beahsele beorhta; bruc !end en !u mote manigra medo, ond !inum magum lf folc ond rice, !onne u for" scyle 1180 metodsceaft seon. Ic minne can gldne Hro!ulf, !t he !a geogo" e wile arum healdan, gyf u r onne he, wine Scildinga, worold ofltest; wene ic !t he mid gode gyldan wille 1185 uncran eaferan, gif he !t eal gemon,

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103 hwt wit to willan ond to wor" myndum umborwesendum r arna gefremedon." Hwearf !a bi bence !r hyre byre wron, Hre" ric ond Hro" mund, ond hle!a bearn, 1190 giogo" tgdere; r se goda st, Beowulf Geata, be !m gebro" rum twm.

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104 APPENDIX B.2. B! OWULF LINES 1162 1191 E.TALBOT DONALDSON TRANSLATION P. 21 Then Wealhtheow came forth to walk under gold crown to where the good men sat, nephew and uncle: their friendship was then still unbroken, each true to the other Then the woman of the Scyldings spoke: "Take this cup my noble lord, gi ver of treasure. Be glad, gold friend of warriors, and speak to the Geats with mild words, as a man ought to do. Be gracious to the Geats, mindful of gifts [which] you now have from near and far. They have told me that you would have the warrior for you r son. Heorot is purged, the bright ring hall. Enjoy while you may many rewards, and leave your kinsmen folk and kingdom when you must go forth to look on the Ruler's decree. I know my gracious Hrothulf, that he will hold the young warriors in honor if you, friend of the Scyldings, leave the world before him. I think he will repay our son with good if he remembers all the favors we did to his pleasure and honor when he was a child." Then she turned to the bench where her sons were, Hrethic and Hrothmun d, and the sons of the warriors, young men together. There sat the good man Beowulf of the Geats beside the two brothers. The cup was borne to him and welcome offered in friendly words to him,

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105 APPENDIX B.3. B! OWULF LINES 1162 1191 SEAMUS HEANEY TRANS LATION P. 83 85 with wine in splendid jugs, and Wealhtheow came to sit in her gold crown between two good men, uncle and nephew, each one of whom still trusted the other; and the forthright Unferth, admired by all for his mind and courage although under a cloud for killing his brothers, reclined near the kind. The queen spoke: "Enjoy this drink, my most generous lord; raise up your goblet, entertain the Geats duly and gently, discourse with them, be open handed, happy and fond. Relish their comp any, but recollect as well Of all the boons that have been bestowed on you. The bright court of Heorot has been cleansed And now the word is you want to adopt This warrior as a son. So, while you may, Bask in your fortune, and then bequeath Kingdom and na tion to your kith and kin, Before your decease. I am certain of Hrothulf. He is noble and will use the young ones well. He will not let you down. Should you die before him, He will treat our children truly and fairly. He will honour, I am sure, our two s ons, Repay them in kind when he recollects All the good things we gave him once, The favour and respect he found in his childhood." She turned then to the bench where her boys sat,

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106 Hrethic and Hrothmund, with other nobles' sons, All the youth together; and that good man, Beowulf the Geat, sat between the brothers. The cup was carried to him, kind words

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107 APPENDIX C.1. B! OWULF LINES 1215 1232 Wealh" eo ma!elode, heo fore !m werede sprc: "Bruc isses beages, Beowulf leofa, hyse, mid h le, ond !isses hrgles neot, eodgestreona, ond ge!eoh tela, cen !ec mid crfte ond !yssum cnyhtum wes 1220 lara li" e; ic !e !s lean geman. Hafast !u gefered !t e feor ond neah ealne wideferh! weras ehtiga" efne swa side swa s bebuge" windgeard, weallas. Wes !enden !u lifige, 1225 !eling, eadig. Ic !e an tela sincgestreona. Beo !u suna minum ddum gedefe, dreamhealdende. Her is ghwylc eorl o r um getrywe, modes milde, mandrihtne hold; 1230 !egnas syndon ge!wre, eod ealgearo, druncne dryhtguman do" swa ic bidde." Eode !a to setle.

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108 APPENDIX C.2. B! OWULF LINES 1215 1232 E. TALBOT DONALDSON TRANSLATION P. 22 Wealhtheow spoke, before the company she said to him: "Wear this ring, beloved Beowulf, young man, with good luck, and make use of this mail shirt from the people's treasure, and prosper well; make yourself known with your might, and be kind of counsel to these boys: I shall remember to reward you for that. You have brought it about that, far and near, for a long time all men shall praise you, as wide as the sea surrounds the shores, home of the winds. While you live, prince, be prosperous. I wish you w ell of your treasure. Much favored one, be kind of deeds to my son. Here each earl is true to other, mild of heart, loyal to his lord; the thanes are at one, the people obedient, the retainers cheered with drink do as I bid." Then she walked to her seat

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109 APPENDIX C.3. B! OWULF LINES 1215 1232 SEAMUS HEANEY TRANSL ATION P. 85 87 Then Wealhtheow pronounced in the presence of the company: "Take delight in this torque, dear Beowulf, wear it for luck and wear also this mail from our people's armoury: may y ou prosper in them! Be acclaimed for strength, for kindly guidance to these two boys, and your bounty will be sure. You have won renown: you are known to all men far and near, now and forever. Your sway is wide as the wind's home, as the sea around cliffs. And so, my prince, I wish you a lifetime's luck and blessings to enjoy this treasure. Treat my sons with tender care, be strong and kind. Here each comrade is true to the other, loyal to lord, loving in spirit. The thanes have one purpose, the people are ready: having drunk and pledged, the ranks do as I bid." She moved then to her place.

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110 APPENDIX D.1. B! OWULF LINES 2020 2069 Hwilum for dugu#e dohtor Hro" gares eorlum on ende ealuwge br; a ic Freaware fletsittende nemnan hyrde, r hio ngled sinc hle" um sealde. Sio gehaten is, 2025 geong, goldhroden, gladum suna Frodan; hafa # !s geworden wine Scyldinga, rices hyrde, ond !t rd tala" !t he mid y wife wlfh" a dl, scca gesette. Oft seldan hwr 2030 fter leodhryre lytle hwile bongar buge" eah seo bryd duge! him se o" er !onan losa" lifigende, con him land geare. !onne bio" abrocene on ba healfe a" sweord eorla; sy ## an Ingelde 2065 wealla" wlni" as, ond him wiflufan fter cearwlmum colran weor" a" y ic Hea# obeardna hyldo ne telge, dryhtsibbe dl Denum unfcne, freondscipe fstne.

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111 APPENDIX D.2. B! OWULF LINES 2020 2069 E. TALBOT DONALDSON TRANSLATION P. 34 At times Hrothgar's daughter bore the ale cup to the retainers, to the earls throughout the hall. I heard hall sitters name her Freawaru when she offered the studde d cup to warriors. Young and gold adorned, she is promis ed to the fair son of Froda. That has seemed good to the lord of the Scyldings, the guardian of the kingdom, and he believes of this plan that he may, with this woman, settle their portion o f deadly feuds, of quarrels. Yet most often after the fall of any prince in any nation the deadly spear rests but a little while, even though the bride is good. Then on both sides the oath of the earls will be broken; then deadly hate will well up in Ingeld, and his wife love after the surging of sorrows will become cooler.

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112 APPENDIX D.3. B! OWULF LINES 2020 2069 SEAMUS HEANRY TRANSL ATION p 139 Sometimes Hrothgar's daughter distributed ale to older ranks, in order on the benches: I heard the company call her Freawaru as she made her rounds, presenting men with the gem studded bowl, young bride to be to the gracious Ingeld, in her gold trimmed attire. The friend of the Shieldings favours her betrothal: the guardian of the kingdom sees good in it and hopes this woman will heal old wounds and grievous feuds. But generally the spear is prompt to retaliate when a prince is killed, no matter how admirable the bride may be. Then on both sides the oath bound lords will break the peace, a passionate hate will build up in Ingeld and love for his bride will falter in him as the feud rankles.

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113 APPENDIX E.1. B! OWULF LINES 1069 1094 hle" Healfdena, Hnf Scyldinga, in Freswle feallan scolde. Ne huru Hildeburh herian !orfte Eotena treowe; unsynnum wear" beloren leofum t am lindplegan, bearnum ond bro" rum; hie on gebyrd hruron, 1075 gare wunde. t ws geomuru ides! Nalles holinga Hoces dohtor meotodsceaft bemearn, sy!"an morgen com, a h eo under swegle geseon meahte mor orbealo maga, r heo r mste heold 1080 worolde wynne. Wig ealle fornam Finnes !egnas nemne feaum anum, !t he ne mehte on !m me" elstede wig Hengeste wiht gefeohtan, ne !a wealafe wige for!ringan 1085 !eodnes # egna; ac hig him ge!ingo budon, !t hie him o" er flet eal gerymdon, healle ond heahsetl, t hie healfre geweald wi" Eotena bearn agan moston, ond t feohgyftum Folcwaldan sunu 1090 dogra gehwylce Dene weor!ode, Hengestes heap hringum wenede efne swa swi" e sincgestreonum fttan goldes, swa he Fresena cyn on beorsele byldan wolde.

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114 APPENDIX E.2. B! OWULF LINES 1069 1094 E. TALBOT DONALDSON TRANSLATION p. 20 The hero of the Half Danes, Hnaef of the Scyldings, was fated to fall on the Frisian battlefield. And no need had Hildeburh to praise the good faith of the Jutes: blameless she was deprived of her dear one s at the shield play, of son and brother; wounded by spears they fell to their fate. That was a mournful woman. Not without cause did Hoc's daughter lament the decree of destiny when morning came and she might see, under the sky, the slaughter of kinsmen where before she had the greatest of world's joy The funeral pyre was made ready and gold brought up from the hoardThen Hildeburh bade give her own son to the flames on Hnaef's pyre, burn his blood vessels, put him in the fire at the shoulder of his unc le. The woman mourned, sang her lament. The warrior took his place. Then was the hall reddened from foes' bodies, and thus Finn slain, the king in his company, and the queen taken.They brought the noble woman on the sea journey to the Danes, led her t o her people.

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115 APPENDIX E.3. B! OWULF LINES 1069 1094 SEAMUS HEANEY TRANSL ATION p 71 Hildeburh had little cause to credit the Jutes: son and brother, she lost them both on the battlefield. She, bereft and blameless, they foredoomed, cut down and spear gored. She, the woman in shock, waylaid by grief, Hoc's daughter how could she not lament her fate when morning came and the light broke on her murdered dears? A funeral pyre Was then prepared, effulgent gold

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116 brought out from the hoard Then Hildeburh ordered her own son's body be burnt with Hnaef's, the flesh on his bones to sputter and blaze beside his uncle's. The woman wailed and sang keens, the warrior went up. Finn was cut down, the queen br ought away and everything the Shieldings could fins inside Finn's walls the Frisian king's gold collars and gemstones swept off the ship. Over the sea lanes then back to Daneland the warrior troop bore that lady home.

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117 APPENDIX F.1. B! OWULF LINES 1925 1957 Bold ws betlic, bregorof cyning, heah in healle, Hygd swi" e geong, wis, wel!ungen, !eah e wintra lyt under burhlocan gebiden hbbe, Hre!es dohtor; ns hio hnah swa !eah, 1930 ne to g nea" gifa Geata leodum, ma!mgestreona. Mod !ry" o wg, fremu folces cwen, firen ondrysne. Nnig !t dorste deor gene!an swsra gesi" a, nefne sinfrea, 1935 !t hire an dges eagum starede, ac him wlbende weotode tealde handgewri!ene; hra!e seo!"an ws fter mundgripe mece ge!inged, !t hit sceadenml scyran moste, 1940 cwealmbealu cy" an. Ne bi" swylc cwenlic !eaw idese to efnanne, !eah e hio nlicu sy, !tte freo" uwebbe feores onsce fter ligetorne leofne mannan. Huru !t onhohsnode Hemminges mg; 1945 ealodrincende o" er sdan, t hio leodbealewa ls gefremede, in witni" a, sy"" an rest wear" gyfen goldhroden geongum cempan,

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118 " elum diore, sy"" an hio Offan flet 1950 ofer fealone flod be fder lare si" e gesohte; r hio sy"" an well in gumstole, gode, mre, lifgescea fta lifigende breac, hiold heahlufan wi" hle!a brego, 1955 ealles moncynnes mine gefrge one selestan bi sm tweonum, eormencynnes.

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119 APPENDIX F.2. B! OWULF LINES 1925 1957 E. TALBOT DONALDSON TRANSLATION p 33 The building was splendid, its king most valiant, set high in the hall, Hygd most youthful, wise and well taught, though she had lived within the castle walls few winters, daughter of Haereth. For she was not niggardly, not too sparing of gifts to the men of the Geats, of treasures. Modthryth, good folk queen, did dreadful deeds [in her youth]: no bold one among her retainers dared venture except her great lord to set his eyes on her in daylight, but [if he did] he should reckon deadly bonds prepared for him, arresting hands: that straightway after his seizure the sword awaited him, that the patterned blade must settle it, make known its death evil. Such is no queenly custom for a woman to practice, thought she is peerless that one who weaves peace should tak e away the life of a beloved man after pretended injury. However the kinsman of Hemming stopped that: ale drinkers gave another account, said that she did less harm to the people, fewer injuries, after she was given, gold adorned, to the young warrior, th e beloved noble, when by her father's teaching sought Offa's hall in a voyage over the pale sea. There on the throne she was afterwards famous for generosity, while living made use of her life, held high love toward the lord of warriors, [who was] of all mankind the best, as I have heard, between the seas of the races of men.

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120 APPENDIX F.3. B! OWULF LINES 1925 1957 SEAMUS HEANEY TRANSL ATION p 131 133 The building was magnificent, the king majestic, ensconced in his hall; and although Hygd, his queen, wa s young, a few short years at court, her mind was thoughtful and her manners sure. Hareth's daughter behaved generously and stinted nothing when she distributed bounty to the Geats. Great Queen Modthryth perpetrated terrible wrongs. If any retainer ever made bold to look her in the face, if an eye not her lord's stared at her directly during daylight, the outcome was sealed: he was kept bound in hand tightened shackles, racked, tortured until doom was pronounced death by the sword, slash of blade, blood gush and death qualms in an evil display. Even a queen outstanding in beauty must not overstep like that. A queen should weave peace, not punish the innocent with loss of life for imagined insults. But Hemming's kinsman put a halt to her ways and drinkers round the table has another tale: she was less of a bane to people's lives, less cruel minded, after she was married to the brave Offa, a bride arrayed in her gold finery, given away by a caring father, ferried to her young prince over dim seas. In days to come she would grace the throne and grow famous

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121 for her good deeds and conduct of life, her high devotion to the hero king who was the best king, it has been said, between the two seas or anywhere else on the face of the earth. Offa was honour ed

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122 APPENDIX G.1. B! OWULF LINES 2369 2372 r him Hygd gebead hord ond rice, beagas ond bregostol, bearne ne truwode !t he wi" lfylcum e elstolas healdan cu" e, a ws Hygelac dead.

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123 APPENDIX G.2. B! OWULF LINES 2369 2372 E. TALBOT DONALDSON TRANSLATION p. 40 There Hygd offered him hoard and kingdom, rings and a prince's throne. She had no trust in her son, that he could hold his native throne against foreigners now that Hygelac was dead.

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124 APPENDIX G.3. B OWULF LINES 2369 2372 SEAMUS HEANEY TRANSL ATION p 161 There Hygd offered him throne and authority as lord of the ring hoard: with Hygelac dead, she had no belief in her son's ability to defend their homeland against foreign invaders.

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125 APPENDIX H.1 B !OW ULF LINES 1255 1295 !t gesyne wear!, widcu werum, !tte wrecend !a gyt lifde fter la um, lange !rage, fter gu" ceare. Grendles modor, ides, aglcwif, yrm!e gemunde, 1260 se !e wteregesan wunian scolde, cea lde streamas, si!"an Cain wear" to ecgbanan angan bre!er, fderenmge; he a fag gewat, mor re gemearcod, mandream fleon, 1265 westen warode. !anon woc fela geosceaftgasta; ws !ra Grendel sum, heorowearh hetelic, se t Heorote fand wccendne wer wiges bidan. r him aglca tgrpe wear" ; 1270 hw!re he gemunde mgenes strenge, gimfste gife e him god sealde, ond him to anwaldan are gelyfde, frofre ond fultum; y he !one feond ofercwom, gehngde helle gast. !a he hean gewat, 1275 dreame bedled, dea!wic seon, mancynnes feond, ond his modor !a gyt, gifre ond galgmod, gegan wolde sorhfulne si" sunu dea # wrecan. Com !a to Heorote, r Hringdene 1280

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126 geond !t sld swfun. !a r sona wear" edhwyrft eorlum, si!"an inne fealh Grendles modor. Ws se gryre lssa efne swa micle swa bi" mg!a crft, wiggr yre wifes, be wpnedmen, 1285 !onne heoru bunden, hamere ge!uren, sweord swate fah swin ofer helme ecgum dyhttig andweard scire" !a ws on healle heardecg togen sweord ofer setlum, sidrand manig 1290 hafen handa fst; helm ne gemunde, byrnan side, !a hine se broga angeat. Heo ws on ofste, wolde ut !anon, feore beorgan, !a heo onfunden ws. Hra" e heo !elinga anne hfde 1295 fste befangen, a heo to fenne gang.

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127 APPENDIX H.2 B !OWULF LINES 1255 1295 DONALDSON TRANSLATIO N P. 23 It came to be seen, wide known to men, that after the bitter battle an avenger still lived for an evil space: Grendel's mother, woman, monster wife, was mindful of her mis ery, she who had to dwell in the terrible water, the cold currents, after Cain became sword slayer of his only brother, his own father's son. Then Cain went as an outlaw to flee the cheerful life of men, marked for his murder, held to the wasteland. From him sprang many a devil sent by fate. Grendel was one of them, hateful outcast who at Heorot found a waking man waiting for his warfare. There the monster had laid hold on him, but he was mindful of the great strength, the large gift God had given him, and relied on the Almighty for favor, comfort and help. By that he overcame the foe, subdued the hell spirit. Then he went off wretched, bereft of joy, to seek his dying place, enemy of mankind. And his mother, still greedy and gallows grim, would go on a sorrowful adventure, avenge her son's death. Then she came to Heorot where the Ring Danes slept throughout the hall. Then change came quickly to the earls there, when Grendel's mother made her way in. The attack was the less terrible by just so much as is the strength of women, the war terror of a wife, less than an armed man's when a hard blade, forge hammered, a sword shining with blood, good of its edges, cuts the stout boar on a helmet opposite. Then in the hall was hard edged sword raised from t he seat, many a broad shield lifted firmly in hand: none thought of helmet, of wide mail shirt, when the terror seized him. She was in haste, would be gone out from there, protect her life after she was discovered. Swiftly she had taken fast hold on one of the nobles, then she went to the fen.

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128 APPENDIX H.3 B !OWULF LINES 1255 1295 HEANEY TRANSLATION P 89 death after his crimes. Then it became clear, obvious to everyone once the fight was over, that an avenger lurked and was still alive, grimly biding time. Grendel's mother, monstrous hell bride, brooded over her wrongs. She had been forced down into fearful waters, the cold depths, after Cain had killed his father's son, felled his own brother with a sword. Branded an outlaw, marked by having murdered, he moved into the wilds, shunned company and joy. And from Vain there sprang misbegotten spirits, among the Grendel, the banished and accursed, due to come to grips with that watcher in Heorot waiting to do battle. The monster wrenched and wres tled with him but Beowulf was mindful of his mighty strength, the wondrous gifts God had showered on him: He relied for help on the Lord of them All, on His care and favour. So he overcame the foe, brought down the hell brute. Broken and bowed, outcast f rom all sweetness, the enemy of mankind made for his death den. But now his mother had sallied forth on a savage journey, grief racked and ravenous, desperate for revenge. She came to Heorot. There, inside the hall, Danes lay asleep, earls who would soo n endure a great reversal, once Grendel's mother

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129 attacked and entered. Her onslaught was less only by as much as an amazon warrior's strength is less than an armed man's when the hefted sword, its hammered edge and gleaming blade slathered in blood, razes the sturdy boar ridge off a helmet. Then in the hall, hard honed swords were grabbed from the bench, many a broad shield lifted and braced; there was little thought of helmets or woven mail when they woke in terror. The hell dam was in panic, desper ate to get out, in mortal terror the moment she was found. She had pounced and taken one of the retainers in a tight hold, then headed for the fen.

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130 APPENDIX I MEDIEVAL INTERLACE (WWW.TIMSMITH7.COM)