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HD: Hwæt you say? 
Posted: 30 March 2014 04:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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He really is not a very good writer.

Now that’s a really powerful argument against a translator and his/her work --- the most powerful, I’d say, of all. Certainly where a translator of poetry is concerned. I have a Muslim friend who reads Persian, and tells me that the original poetry of Omar Khayyam bears very little resemblance to Fitzgerald’s translation.  The fact’s irrelevant, for anyone who reads and loves Omar in English, and doesn’t know Persian.

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Posted: 30 March 2014 03:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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I’ve yet to see a great poetic translation of Beowulf. Seamus Heaney’s is quite good,* but even he fails to capture the rhythm and power of the Old English prosody and diction. I’ve seen some excellent translations of other Old English poems, but not of Beowulf.

*Heaney can be criticized for various interventions he has made in the text, especially those that move it toward the Celtic rather than the Anglo-Saxon tradition, but I’m not talking about those. I’m considering it as a standalone work, and it really doesn’t come close to the original in the effect on the reader.

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Posted: 30 March 2014 10:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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I’ve yet to see a great poetic translation of Beowulf.

You’ll have to wait till a great poet turns up who knows Old English............

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