Beowulf and Beyond

“An original work exists not in order to be perfect but in order to engender itself repeatedly in new translations.”

– Seamus Heaney

While commercial translators may not be known for our poetry, I think the sentiment above can apply to our endeavours. First, there isn’t one translation. And we should let the text inspire us to create something unique that, while honest to the source, stands on its own merits.

The above quote comes from an excellent review of the book “The Translations of Seamus Heaney,” in the New York Times (June 19, 2023).