Well, what do you think “Hwaet means in the first line of Beowulf? Maybe not what you think! Getting that first word right could change the connection between storyteller and audience. Not so far fetched.
Dr. George Walkden, a historical linguist, says that the meaning of Beowulf’s first sentence is misunderstood because translators of Beowulf have relied on a faulty interpretation of its first word.
Beowulf’s first line: “Listen! we have heard of the might of the kings” should in fact, says Dr Walkden, be read as “How we have heard of the might of the kings.”
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Stumbled upon Grendel’s Cave, a medieval adventure game, and thought it deserved a mention. The browser-based game is based on Beowulf and Grendel and has elements of Norse mythology, Dark Age, and Viking adventure.
Playing the game is free. If your thane dies, you can create another for free or pay 50 cents to resurrect your thane for one life. Obviously, playing the game creates an account to track your progress, so be aware of that before you click the Quickstart button.
There’s also a Grendel’s Cave Facebook App where you can see some of the graphics and privacy options. The App sees only your Basic info and you can limit who sees posts made by the game on your timeline.
A few days ago the site had a Halloween challenge that was mentioned on a reputable blog elsewhere. That’s how I found it. I can’t review the site from experience. Long ago, I loved Roberta Williams’ King’s Quest and other Sierra adventure games. They were more like puzzles than tests of skill, advanced for their time, and a lot of fun. I think these were the only games I didn’t suck at playing, so I eventually moved on to making websites, which is another adventure altogether.
Seamus Heaney passed away August 30 in Dublin, Ireland. An accomplished and beloved poet, Seamus was awarded the Nobel prize for literature in 1995. Most of us discovered him with his translation of Beowulf (2000), which is widely and universally used in English literature courses. He was known as a man of peace, humor, gentleness, and reconciliation. He will be missed.
Tributes to Seamus Heaney:
Farewell, Seamus Heaney (Washington Post)
Seamus Heaney (Poets.org)
Seamus Heaney Brought Us Together (Colum McCann, Daily Beast)
Text from the beginning of Beowulf flows from one sock to the other in this amazing “Hwaet!” pattern from designer Gryphon Corpus at Ravelry.com. They’re knitted in an aged-Medieval-manuscript-brown color with black letters.
The creator of these socks knitted a pair for Benjamin Bagby, the contemporary bard who performs Beowulf with Anglo-Saxon harp. [...]
What we loosely refer to as the “Beowulf Manuscript” is actually a collection of manuscripts bound together by Sir Robert Cotton and known as Cotton Vitellius A XV because of its location in his library. The British Library has published an excellent description of the Manuscript contents that should clear up some of the confusion [...]
Seamus Heaney’s popular and accessible translation of Beowulf was published years ago and was a best-seller. Now you can hear Heaney read his translation. He has a very pleasant, expressive voice that makes his translation come to life. Whether you count Beowulf among your favorites or are having a hard time getting into it, the [...]
There’s a new Oxford podcast on Beowulf in the University’s Great Writers Inspire series. By Prof. Francis Leneghan of the English Faculty.
This talk is a little over twelve minutes long and focuses on the transition from oral literature retold by the scops, tellers and shapers of tales, to the manuscript that [...]
Kennings are found in Old Norse and Old English poetry. The more you look at them, the more elusive their definition becomes. Kennings aren’t just simple metaphors for this and that. They add layers of meaning to words for things that are well-known to people sharing a way of life or culture.
The word ken [...]
This creative Beowulf (Claymation) video on YouTube will make you laugh. It’s an AP English project that deserves to be seen beyond the classroom. An FandSproduction, the author, director, producer, and writer is Kenny Tyner.
A legendary warrior from Geatland rises up to defeat a seemingly unbeatable adversary. This claymation version is based [...]
Harvard University officially inaugurated the Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library on March 3, 2011, with the Beowulf manuscript, a volume containing two manuscripts of secular Latin poetry, and St. Jerome’s Latin translation of the Pentateuch paired with the 17th century Douay-Reims translation.
The Medieval Library is meant to fill the gap between the Loeb Classical Library [...]