First line of Beowulf misunderstood for 200 years
2013 11 07
From: Past Horizons
A University of Manchester lecturer has discovered that the famous first line of English language’s oldest epic poem has been misinterpreted, ever since it was popularised almost 200 years ago.
Dr George Walkden, who is a historical linguist, says because translators of the iconic Beowulf have relied on a faulty interpretation of its first word, the meaning of its first sentence must be understood differently.
Captivated poetry lovers since 1815
The poem, in Old English and believed to be written between 1,200 and 1,300 years ago, has captivated poetry lovers ever since it was first published in 1815 by the Scandinavian scholar Grímur Jónsson Thorkelin.
However, according to Dr Walkden in a new paper published this month, the first word hwæt penned by an unknown poet, is not a stand-alone sentence meaning “listen up!” as previously thought. Other interpretations such as ‘What ho!’ (Earle 1892), ‘Hear me!’ (Raffel 1963), ‘Attend!’ (Alexander 1973), ‘Indeed!’ (Jack 1994), and ‘So!’ (Heaney 2000) are all incorrect, he says.
Dr Walkden says the mistake dates back to Jakob Grimm, of Grimm Brothers fame, who wrote in 1837 that hwæt was a ‘pure interjection’.
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’.
A biographical feel
“Though we are just talking about one word, the true meaning of this iconic line of poetry now has a biographical feel, giving us a sense of how the writer attaches importance to his community’s history,” said Dr Walkden.
“The whole sentence becomes an exclamation – rather than just the first word.
“But fascinatingly, there’s no record of the Anglo-Saxons using exclamation marks, or any other form of punctuation, besides the full stop (or ‘point’) and the occasional semicolon.”
Read the full article at: pasthorizonspr.com
“Beowulf” as Original Audiences Would Have Experienced It
Latest News from our Front Page
Exponential growth of Ashkenazi Jews following a Medieval population bottleneck
2014 09 17
A recent paper by Marta Costa et al. found that around 80% of Ashkenazi mitochondrial DNA had a prehistoric European origin (and ruled out the Khazar hypothesis). Combined with previous Y chromosome studies indicating that the male line is Middle Eastern, the results suggested a scenario in which Jewish males married European females after traveling to Europe.
Now another paper, ...
Bankers Rule: City of London vs. Scottish Independence
2014 09 17
Now that the independence referendum is too close to call, the bankers express their worry. The media blitz ramps up to tip the outcome. Scottish independence has finally rattled the City of London has the usual banksters forecasting the dislocations from a currency panic.
Scotland has a long and noteworthy history of banking. Money, savings and investing is entrenched in the ...
French separatists want Scots to say "yes"
2014 09 17
Separatist leaders in Brittany, Corsica and the French Basque Country will watch with interest as Scotland votes on independence next week, but they don’t expect France to follow the UK’s lead any time soon.
Pro-independence activists point to the fact they have their own languages and cultural identities. France, however, remains a deeply centralized country and any talk of a negotiated ...
Devil’s Deal: US-Backed Syrian Rebels Already Signed Pact with ISIS Prior to Haines Beheading
2014 09 17
While Washington considers appropriating half a billion in funds to the Syrian rebels, we now learn that opposition groups the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and al Qaeda affiliate ‘al Nusra Front’, have officially aligned themselves with ISIS…
Despite grand words by US President Obama and British PM David Cameron, here’s what’s really behind their plan to bomb ISIS in Syria…
In a ...
World War III for Dummies
2014 09 16
A Step-by-Step Guide to Understanding the Present World Situation.
1998 - 2000
Powerful elites and influential think tanks forecast a coming period of American aggression. Zbigniew Brzezinski speaks for the Globalist faction of the western PRC (Predatory Ruling Class) in ’The Grand Chessboard’, a book in which he openly advocates for bolder American action in dominating the Eurasian land mass.
During this ...
|More News » |