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‘Eall swylce þu cwæde’: translation and imitation in the Old English Judgement Day II

Healy, T. A. (2021) ‘Eall swylce þu cwæde’: translation and imitation in the Old English Judgement Day II. The Review of English Studies, 72 (304). pp. 238-252. ISSN 1471-6968

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1093/res/hgaa034


This essay posits a new explanation for the placement of a perplexing second-person address in the introduction to the Old English Judgement Day II. I argue that the poet deliberately highlights and problematizes the act of translation from Bede’s De die iudicii, providing the Old English speaker with a poetic identity of his own even as Bede’s authoritative voice is retained. Bede’s second-person address to Acca is therefore echoed with all its original intent, but is simultaneously directed at Bede himself. It is likely that this method finds its roots in an Augustinian mode of conversion narrative which has the polemical advantage of inserting its narrator into a broader Christian tradition. I also demonstrate that the approach to translation in Judgement Day II, while in many ways unique within the known corpus of Old English verse, finds stylistic parallels in Alfredian prose translations in which the translator imposes self-referential meaning upon the existing textual content.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Central Services > Academic and Governance Services > Library
ID Code:90771
Publisher:Oxford University Press


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