I’ve finally become wholly exasperated by the blank verse translations of my elderly edition of OE poetry. Can anyone recommend a really good collection? Bilingual would be best. I need all the usual suspects–Widsith, The Ruins, Wanderer, Fight at Finnsburgh etc., plus a few riddles–and the more I come to understand of OE, the more I realise what I have really won’t do. In fact, I think it deserves a place in the dustbin…
Seeking OE reader recommendations
Nicola Griffith is an English novelist living in Seattle. Now dual US/UK citizen. Author of Menewood (2023), Spear, Hild, So Lucky, and five other novels, plus a memoir. Two-time winner of the Washington State Book Award; winner of (among others) Nebula, Tiptree, and World Fantasy Awards, the Premio Italia, and six Lambda Literary Award. Runs a personal website, as well as a research blog. Also on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter.
7 thoughts on “Seeking OE reader recommendations”
I don’t know of many good dual-language editions (esp. none that are comprehensive), but I can recommend a few books.>>If you’re looking for the most comprehensive anthology of translated OE poetry, I recommend the Everyman edition titled <>Anglo-Saxon Poetry<> by S. A. J. Bradley (< HREF="http://www.amazon.com/Anglo-Saxon-Poetry-Everymans-Library-Paper/dp/0460875078/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1203647896&sr=8-1" REL="nofollow">here<>).>All of the poems are translated into prose (a possible draw-back), but he does a good job with literal translations–and even his prosidy captures the sense of the OE alliteration and feel. Also, this is the largest number of translations (categorized by manuscript placement), and the poems that aren’t actually translated are at least summarized.>>If you want poetic translations, the Oxford edition titled <>The Anglo-Saxon World<> by Kevin Crossley-Holland (< HREF="http://www.amazon.com/Anglo-Saxon-World-Anthology-Oxford-Classics/dp/0192835475/ref=pd_bbs_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1203648188&sr=1-2" REL="nofollow">here<>) is a good version. Another good translation into modern poetic form is Burton Raffel’s <>Poems and Prose from the Old English<> (< HREF="http://www.amazon.com/Poems-Prose-English-Alexandra-Olsen/dp/0300069952/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1203648398&sr=1-1" REL="nofollow">here<>).>While they do both translate the OE into poetic form, they also both tend to be less literal and more free with the language. Another draw-back is that neither is as wide-reaching as Bradley’s volume.>>Although none of these are dual-language, the complete OE poetic corpus is online for comparison (< HREF="http://homepages.ucalgary.ca/~mmcgilli/OEPoetry/" REL="nofollow">here<>).>>If you’re looking for good dual-language editions of Widsith, Deor, Waldere, the Battle of Finnesburh, and Maxims I, they can all be found (with the OE poems and prose translations) in <>Beowulf: An Edition<> by Bruce Mitchell and Fred Robinson (< HREF="http://www.amazon.com/Beowulf-Bruce-Mitchell/dp/0631172262/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1203648817&sr=8-1" REL="nofollow">here<>).>>Hope that helps!
Wow, Brandon, thanks for doing so much work. The Bradley and the Crossly-Holland look very useful (bonus points: they’re affordable!). The online texts will be great, too.>>Also, I’ve been enjoying Point of Know Return (FYI, I just read the article about the possible Druid’s burial in Brit. Arch. yesterday).
ISAS, the International Society for Anglo-Saxonists, may be a good source of background.>I am a member can can guide, etc.
Glad to help with this OE stuff. After all, I do plan to teach this stuff to students for the rest of my career.>>Also, it’s great that you’re enjoying PoKR. I’d love to get your feedback in the comments anytime.
Okay, comments r us 🙂 Meanwhile, am expecting the Bradley and Crossley-Holland in the mail today. I’m looking forward to them extremely.
Nicola, thanks for this blog, and thanks also to those who have commented here– I too am researching the AS period, in my case for a number of diverse works having to do with Saint Cuthbert. I’ll be stopping back again!
Welcome. You’re researcing Cuthbert? Excellent. I’ll look forward to seeing what you do with that.>>BTW, I see from your blogger profile that you’ve published in Realms of Fantasy, the same mag that printed my one and only medieval tale, “A Troll Story.”