'I have heard it said': towards a new translation of Beowulf

Purvis, Meghan (2012) 'I have heard it said': towards a new translation of Beowulf. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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The fields of translation and creative writing have long been seen as entirely distinct, with many writers drawing a distinction between types based on both the level of syntactic experimentation and the background of the translator. While most theorists would disagree, popular opinion (and the opinion of some poet/translators) seems to be that the two types of writing are differentiated by the amount of academic rigour and creative inspiration that goes into each: translation and creative writing are regarded as not merely different kinds of writing, but as involving different ways of writing. This thesis is an introspective exploration into the nature of translation, via a new translation of the Old English poem Beowulf. By translating Beowulf, reporting on that process, and comparing it with my creative work, this work provides an articulation of the creative process that views translation as a particular way of writing creatively that uses a source text as a narrative constraint.

This work consists of two components: creative and critical. The creative portion is a translation of Beowulf which breaks the source poem up into numerous smaller pieces presented in a variety of voices, registers, and viewpoints. The critical portion is an examination of how that translation came about, and delineates the entire process, from initial preconceptions to final finished work. It explores the issues of how to domesticate or foreignise a poem so removed from modern England both culturally and temporally, what level of knowledge a translator can or should expect of her readers, and where knowledge and authority can be situated in a translation. The methodology of the critical portion is an analysis of Beowulf's history as a source text and as a translation, a study of translation theories, and an experiential analysis of the process of producing a new translation of Beowulf.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Literature and Creative Writing (former - to 2011)
Depositing User: Users 2593 not found.
Date Deposited: 22 Jul 2013 13:37
Last Modified: 22 Jul 2013 14:03
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/43019

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