Monday, November 3, 2014

A Choice Of Anglo-Saxon Verse - Ed. Richard Hammer

A Choice of Anglo-Saxon Verse - Trans. Richard Hammer
A Choice of Anglo-Saxon Verse
Ed. Richard Hammer
Faber and Faber Limited
Copyright: 1970

The product description:
 This new edition contains the Old English texts of all the major short poems, such as "The Battle of Maldon", "The Dream of the Rood", "The Wanderer" and "The Seafarer", as well as a generous representation of the many important fragments, riddles and gnomic verses that survive from the 7th to the 12th centuries, with facing-page verse translations. These poems are the wellspring of the English poetic tradition, and this anthology provides a unique window into the mind and culture of the Anglo-Saxons.
I bought this a number of years ago, just after I finished taking an introductory Old English course at university, but only just got around to reading it over the last month and a bit. Of course, after the number of years it's been, I've completely forgotten everything about Old English that I learned at the time.

That said, this is a facing page translation edition, so you don't need to know any Old English to read it. Even without that knowledge it's interesting reading.

Each poem has a short introduction where the editor/translator talks a little about the poem, scholarship, translation issues etc, giving some context for the reader. There's also a short bibliography for each poem as well - usually one to three items.

I do have one minor quibble that I hadn't realized about until I started reading A Choice of Anglo Saxon Verse: this edition is actually from 1970, not the 2006 that Amazon gives. That surprised me, and leaves me wondering if scholarly opinions and translations have changed any over the last 40 or so years.

A Choice Of Anglo-Saxon Verse was read for two separate challenges: my own Pre-Printing Press Challenge and for the Mount TBR Challenge.

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