Wulf & Eadwacer

an experimental translation of the Anglo-Saxon poem

About the anonymous pre-10th c. Anglo-Saxon Feminist

 

What we know of the poet who composed the Anglo-Saxon text commonly referred to as “Wulf ond Eadwacer” is very limited. Though unnamed in the poem, we can discern from the feminine inflection on the words "rēotugu" and "sēoce" that the speaker is a woman. It is possible, though perhaps implausible, that the poet is male, but even so, because the poem describes and laments a forbidding set of circumstances foisted onto the female speaker by a patriarchal Anglo-Saxon culture, the poet—who may have been Scandinavian or Anglo-Saxon and lived some time before the 10th c.—was undoubtedly a feminist, an outsider, and a radical poet, who mixed forms from both Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian, subverting the literary conventions of each language culture in sophisticated and surprising ways.

Read the translations online:

Six Poems in

Fifteen Poems in

Five Poems in 

Two Poems in 

Read the translations in print:

One Poem in

Four Poems in
Three Poems in

Seven Poems in

Seven Poems in

Five Poems in

STAY TUNED! New translations will be appearing in an upcoming issue of The Cortland Review!

About this translation:

 

Using variation, repetition, redaction, and erasure, Wulf & Eadwacer aims to release the enigmatic Old English poem back into its radical complexity—to restore the lacunae, the indeterminacy, and the strangeness that makes the Anglo-Saxon version of “Wulf ond Eadwacer” so haunting. As can be seen in the poems linked above, Wulf & Eadwacer uses fragments of the original Old English both to re-acquaint the reader with her etymological roots and to make her a bit of a stranger in her own language. Code-switching between the original Old English and Modern English, Wulf & Eadwacer embraces the proto-feminist, disjunctive voice of the original poem so that its enigmatic nature and plurality can fully be explored for the first time.

To learn more about the original poem, and my translation: 

All images are copyrighted by M.L. Martin © 2018 All rights Reserved

FOLLOW