Przepisywanie Beowulfa: J.R.R. Tolkiena meandry przekładu




Tolkien, Beowulf, prose translation, rewriting, refraction, translation commentary


Rewriting Boewulf: J.R.R. Tolkien’s Meandering Translation
J.R.R. Tolkien’s works related to translation include both translations and adaptations in the form of pastiche. All of them have been published as posthumous editions, equipped with detailed critical commentaries and edited by the writer’s son, Christopher Tolkien. Among recent publications in English and Polish, one that deserves particular attention is a 1926 prose translation of the Old English poem Beowulf (2014, Polish ed. 2015). This edition presents Tolkien performing a few roles, acting as a translator, translation critic, editor, commentator, literary scholar, linguist, and creative writer. In fact, “translation” becomes a textual hybrid in which one can observe the work of a translator from the initial phase of close reading of a source text through three variants of prose translation (two from 1926 and one from 1942); alternative fragmentar translations in alliterative verse; a detailed philological and cultural commentary composed of lecture notes; original literary works inspired by Beowulf, which include the short story Sellic Spell (in two English versions and as a back translation into Old English); and two versions of the original poem The Lay of Beowulf. As a result, the 2014 edition of Tolkien’s Beowulf realizes the ideal of a translation once described by Vladimir Nabokov: the text of translation emerges from multilayered commentary, which, in Tolkien’s work, crosses the boundaries of languages and genres.


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How to Cite

Markiewka, T. (2018). Przepisywanie Beowulfa: J.R.R. Tolkiena meandry przekładu. Między Oryginałem a Przekładem, 24(2 (40), 47–63.