Friday Friyay: 'Beowulf: A New Translation' by Maria Dahvana Headley
Happy Friday everyone! Quick note at the top, I just posted a Spotlight post spotlighting the debut novel of a friend of mine who I met working in China! He turned his experiences into a book so I'd love it if you had the time to pop over and take a look: The Treaty of I: The Genesis by Takeem Ragland!
A new, feminist translation of Beowulf by the author of The Mere Wife.
Nearly twenty years after Seamus Heaney’s translation of Beowulf — and fifty years after the translation that continues to torment high-school students around the world — there is a radical new verse translation of the epic poem by Maria Dahvana Headley, which brings to light elements never before translated into English.
A man seeks to prove himself as a hero. A monster seeks silence in his territory. A warrior seeks to avenge her murdered son. A dragon ends it all. These familiar components of the epic poem are seen with a novelist’s eye toward gender, genre, and history. Beowulf has always been a tale of entitlement and encroachment — of powerful men seeking to become more powerful and one woman seeking justice for her child — but this version brings new context to an old story. While crafting her contemporary adaptation, Headley unearthed significant shifts lost over centuries of translation; her Beowulf is one for the twenty-first century.
Book Beginnings is at home on Rose City Reader, hosted by Gilion Dumas, and Friday 56 at Freda's Voice, hosted by Freda. I'll also be joining the Book Blogger Hop, hosted by Billy over at Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer.
'Bro! Tell me we still know how to speak of kings! In old
everyone knew what men were: brave, bold, glory-bound. Only
stories now, but I'll sound the Spear-Danes' song, hoarded for
hungry times.' p.3
I love this opening! Usually the Old English 'hwaet' is translated as an archaic 'Lo!' or 'Hear!', but we all know a great story is coming if someone comes up and says 'Bro, I've got something to tell you'.
counting sworded seconds until the latest hour,
her heart full of hatred. Grendel's mother,
warrior-woman, outlaw, meditated on misery.' p.56
How perfect that at the very start of page 56 we meet my favourite character from Beowulf, Grendel's Mother, who is about to cause some serious trouble. I do love how, while modernising the tone, Headley keeps elements like the alliteration, with the w's and the m's in the final line.
Today's question was submitted by the lovely Elizabeth over at Silver's Reviews:
Do you use Goodreads as the main website to keep track of what you have read? If not, please share what you use?
That's it for me! Again, drop by the spotlight for Takeem's book if you have the chance and have a lovely weekend!