First, thank you to all my readers. Sometime Sunday morning I reached 5000 hits on the wordpress counter. I know that others read Heavenfield by google reader or wordpress’s blog surfer, so I know there have been more than 5000 views and I feel like Heavenfield is off to a good start.
In the way of a mini- preview for 2008, I also treated myself to a new book for Christmas… the newish paperback version of Barron and Burgess’s The Voyage of St Brendan: Representative Versions of the Legend in English Translation. This book contains medieval ‘translations’ of the voyage from Latin to Anglo-Norman, Dutch, German, Venetian, Occitan, Catalan, Norse and two English versions (South English Legendary and Caxton’s Golden Legend). These have all been translated into modern English. So lots of material for future posts.
Now medieval translations are not quite what we think of as translations today. A faithful medieval translation tells the same story as the original without adding or subtracting much, but still changes the language considerably. In other words, its never a word-for-word translation. Most medieval translations retell the story in their own way and freely add and subtract material. Sometimes their changes totally redirect story in a new direction or cut out an entire theme. It will be interesting to see what these ‘translations’ do with the spiritual/theological themes found in the Voyage, and if removal or alteration of this material explains why people link Brendan with the discovery of North America.