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Matthew 11:28

King James Bible : "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."

gifre and grædig gielleð anfloga
heute er, und morgen du !

The message of The Seafarer

The main problem of translation is accurate understanding of the original language.
Translation accuracy is measured by the degree to which its users get the same meaning as the original text.


forged in Sweden

Anhaga kin

Land & Language
of the

Unlike those two self-proclaimed expert practitioners of the translator's vocation, Ezra Pound and Burton Raffel, Vladimir Nabokov not only wrote fluently in more than one language, he mastered them. Few would-be translators from the language of the Anglians fully master their own language, let alone the one they seek to interpret. The following passage may serve as a constructive introduction to the curious flexibility of Nabokov's views on the matter. The accuracy of his understanding of the languages he practised is nevertheless undeniable.

Leigh Kimmel: "Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov was a man of many and varied talents. Aside from his nonliterary talents such as entomology, he was a writer who wrote with equal fluency in both Russian and English. As a translator, he translated many of his own works from one of those languages into the other. And he translated two very famous works by other writers -- Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland and Aleksandr Pushkin's Eugene Onegin. While in the translation of the first he espoused the practices of the more radical proponents of free translation, he completely changed to an extreme of literalism for the translation of the latter."

Nabokov continues: "The other class of blunders in the first category includes a more sophisticated kind of mistake, one which is caused by an attack of linguistic Daltonism suddenly blinding the translator. Whether attracted by the far-fetched when the obvious was at hand, or whether unconsciously basing his rendering on some false meaning which repeated readings have imprinted on his mind, he manages to distort in an unexpected and sometimes quite brilliant way the most honest word or the tamest metaphor."

Above we have precisely what has happened in the case of The Seafarer. A relatively commonplace concept, such as an attacking on-flier, see image heading this page, has been remarkably transformed, by a block-headed combination of ingenuity with insufficient linguistic perception, into a one-flier ! But what on earth is a one-flier ? Answer invited on a postcard.

So much for Language.

Where Land is concerned, there is, or has been, in my opinion, and increasingly in the opinion of others, a highly erroneous belief regarding the geographic origin of the occupants of the main English province of the Anglians, principally centred on Rendlesham. To the left is a map, shamelessly modified from a book concerning Beowulf, as indicated. The alterations include the replacement of "Jutes" by "Geats" (same people), and the relocation of the Angles in what is now southern Sweden. It is noteworthy that "Saxons" are not located anywhere on the original map. An extract from David Burns's admirable researches is appended below, as strikingly relevant.

David Burns 1      David Burns 2
Place-names in Sweden

commentaries: one, two, three [more than 60 other versions], four, five, six
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"It is dangerous to be right when authority is wrong". Voltaire

I have been given the impression that I was considered insulting
for having wished to discuss the meaning of The Seafarer.
Does this debate, like others, become increasingly bitter because its issue is so trivial ?

"Ignoring pertinent information makes one an idiot". Ethan Indigo Smith, 2014,
The Complete Patriot's Guide, p 41.
"Condemnation without investigation is the height of ignorance". Albert Einstein
The Complete Patriot's Guide, p 219.

Truth treads on toes.
In 1992 the Vatican conceded that Galileo had been right in 1633.

Wahllos schlägt das Schicksal zu
Heute er und morgen du !
Ich hör' von fern die Krähen schrei'n
Im Morgenrot, warum muss das sein ?

"no one to keen him but the black hags that do be flying on the sea"

David Burns has noted: "historians seem to dismiss, or not wish to pursue"
the link between Swedish and Anglo-Saxon.

I wonder if anyone reads this flummery ? They might give me a billet.

© Charles Harrison-Wallace 2018
All Rights Reserved


forged in Sweden

"..... basing his rendering on some false meaning which repeated readings have imprinted on his mind, he distorts in an unexpected and sometimes quite brilliant way the most honest word or the tamest metaphor." Greedily ? GREEDILY ???

Anfloga kin