10 January 2012

Beowulf Translation Project (Lesson Plan)

Some teachers are bolder than others! Despite my interest in translating Beowulf, I wouldn't have dared try a Beowulf Translation Project, for high school students, at least. I found the lesson plan in Microsoft Word (doc) format here: http://users.bergen.org/rautor/Translation%20Project.doc. However, internet resources being as transitory as they are, I hope that no-one minds me putting the lesson plan here, too. No author is attributed.

In this project you will work with a group of 3-4 peers to “translate” and edit a short excerpt of Beowulf. You are to consider the excerpts provided to your group and assess them for their accuracy, poetic beauty, and literary merit.


Compare & Contrast of two passages

In a 2 page response compare and contrast two of the passages provided and give an account of their major differences and similarities. You should focus on a critical read of the text.

Avoid simplistic comparisons like “good” and “bad” and make more specific judgments about the translations. Focus on particular words or phrases and consider their implications in the text.

Create a third “original” Hypertext Edition & 2 page “Introduction”

Create an original translated edition of your assigned lines. You may use the other translations as references. Your original translation should demonstrate reflection on the text and some consideration of your audience. Essentially, you will be creating a Beowulf  ”book”. Your edition should include a one page introduction to your edition explaining your choices and giving appropriate background on the passage of the selected text.

Your translated edition is to be posted online as a web page.

Consider the following questions to guide your work:
Who is your audience? Are you aiming your text at the casual reader? Are you aiming your text at the hardcore enthusiast or scholars?

How much of the original format and traits of Anglo-Saxon poetry do you keep?
Do you have extensive editorial and scholarly notes to aid the novice reader? Or do you let the text speak for itself?

Do you include supplemental information on history, armor, and the Anglo-Saxon period?

Do you include artwork? What would the cover look like?

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