Beowulf and Judith: Two Heroes

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Richard M. Trask
University Press of America, Jan 1, 1997 - Literary Collections - 240 pages
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The two great epic-theme poems Beowulf and Judith, paired in the Beowulf Manuscript preserved in the British Museum, are here presented in a translation with a unique fidelity that restores the true Anglo-Saxon rhythmical line of five subtypes of four beat stress adhering scrupulously to the alliterative strictures of Anglo-Saxon verse and exploiting its epithetical style. This is a ground breaking piece of work in that it recreates the indispensable stylistic and esthetic effects of the original while attaining a natural modern idiom, something that had been thought impossible to achieve. The key insight in this book is the stated and demonstrated philosophy that alliteration and imagistic compound metaphors are a living, breathing part of our linguistic heritage and practice in Modern English today; but rendering the poems requires an intricate sensibility to Old English style in order to recreate the force that they had. The Old English text is included interlinearly with the translation to facilitate comparison and acquaintance with the original poems. Introductory essays discuss 1) the living tradition of alliteration and epithetical phrasing common to Anglo-Saxon poetry and Modern English idiom, and 2) the literary tradition and merit of the two poems. The book as a whole is a scholarly accomplishment which revivifies these two great works for the entire modern public.

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Preface to the Poems
Beowulf part one

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About the author (1997)

Richard M. Trask is Professor of English at Frostburg State University in Frostburg, Maryland.

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