Stretching myself


Credit: Wikipedia Commons

Leaf from the oldest existing Beowulf poem. Credit: Wikipedia Commons

I started reading Beowulf translated by Seamus Heaney. Let me rephrase that: I started reading the Introduction to Beowulf by Seamus Heaney. My notes comprise three pages of characters, settings, simple plot information and then the page and a half of vocabulary words that I had to look up in order to understand said Introduction. Since I love words, it was pure pleasure this morning.

I was introduced to Beowulf scholars such as W.P. Ker and J.R.R. Tolkien (oh, I already knew Tolkien because I am a frequent visitor to Middle Earth), Michael Drout, who wrote about these other scholars of Beowulf. He described Tolkien’s responsibility for its ascension to true literature in the eyes of philologists and scholars.

Then I read what Heaney endured during his translation project. You know, English scholars must do what they do out of love for the language. There is no way he made enough money selling copies of his translation to ever pay him back for the hours he invested in that work. Just saying.

Now I’m off to stretch myself a bit more: a friend has offered to help me design a custom Aran shawl pattern this morning. I see a theme emerging here.

Happy Monday from very, very cold New England.


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