“Scealcas of sceaðum scirmæled swyrd”: Analysing Judith’s Language and style in translation through a key sample case (161b-166a) and a twin coda (23 & 230)

Jorge Luis Bueno Alonso


Among the extant texts from the Old English poetic corpus that have survived up till now –Beowulf aside–, Judith constitutes a poem in which the poet “wrinkles up” the text outstandingly in order to, as Griffith (1997: 85) stated, show a new purpose for commonplace aspects of Old English poetic style. By considering a key sample case (lines 161b-166a) and a further two specific examples (lines 23 & 230), the aim of this article is to revise and analyze how Judith’s poetic and textual wrinkles –especially those affecting language and style, so important to explain the poem’s singular status– have been dealt with in several translations into English that cover a wide array of translation types: pioneer/philological [Cook 1889, through Barber 2008, and Gordon 1926], classic/academic [Hamer 1970 & Bradley 1982], recent/updated both complete [North, Allard and Gillies 2011 & Treharne 2010] and fragmentary [Constantine 2011]. I will always offer my own solutions to the problems raised by the text as presented in my alliterative verse translation into Spanish (Bueno & Torrado 2012).


Old English poetic; Judith; Translation

DOI: https://doi.org/10.14198/raei.2013.26.15

Copyright (c) 2013 Jorge Luis Bueno Alonso

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