Thursday, February 18, 2010

Revisting Riddle 30

A little while ago, my post on Riddle 30 invited a comment asking for a more literal, less poetic translation of the Riddle. I'll reproduce three texts below: the original, my first translation, and my edited/poetic translation:

Riddle 30 – Verse Indeterminate Saxon

Ic eom legbysig,__lace mid winde,
bewunden mid wuldre,__wedre gesomnad,
fus forðweges,__fyre gebysgad,
bearu blowende,__byrnende gled.

Ful oft mec gesiþas__sendað æfter hondum,
þæt mec weras ond wif__wlonce cyssað.
þonne ic mec onhæbbe,__ond hi onhnigaþ to me
monige mid miltse,__ þær ic monnum sceal
ycan upcyme__eadignesse.

Riddle 30 – Literal Translation

I am beset by flames,__ sacrifice among wind
wrapped with glory,__storm assembled
eager for departure,__fire troubled
grove blooming,__burning ember.

Very often me companions__send after hand,
that myself husband and wife__ splendid kiss
then I myself exalt__and she bends down to me,
many with mercy,__ there I mankind must
increase up-springing__ of blessedness

Riddle 30 – Creative Translation

I am beset by flames,__sacrifice among wind
wrapped with glory,__storm assembled
eager for departure,__fire-troubled
grove-blooming,__burning ember.

Very often companions__send me after hand
that myself, husband,__and splendid wife kiss
then I exalt myself__and she bends down to me.
Many with mercy,__there I for mankind must
increase up-springing__of blessedness.

The differences between my two translations are not too astronomical; they are mainly shifts in word order to modern English patterns and a bit of re-arranging. Please also note that the "__" indicates a space where the caesura happens; for some reason, Blogger eliminates the tab and makes it a space instead -- hence the "__"

For these translations, and other work I've done in Old English, two texts were my main resources:
A Guide to Old English by Bruce Mitchell and Fred C. Robinson. This is an older text, and the edition I had was organized in a really strange way, but the explanations and glossary are solid.
Introduction to Old English by Peter S. Baker. This book is much more approachable and better for the beginner. It offers clearer grammar details and its organization is much more logical.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I'm Back.

So what could possibly bring me back to this neglected blog? A few things, but mostly a certain exciting announcement by Apple today.

I have been enjoying my tumblr, but it works more as an online scrapbook than actual blog. It feels off to post personal things there instead of photos or quotes, so "Marvelous Things" wins that battle.


Today, Apple announced its latest product, the iPad. All inappropriate jokes about the name aside, it looks relatively intriguing.

1. Very low price point. Even if the cheapest option at $499 has no 3G, it's still pretty impressive.
2. It can run pre-existing iPhone apps AND they don't need to be re-purchased.
3. Accessories available include a full keyboard and stand, which would be essential.

1. Too small and too square. It doesn't even run widescreen video!
2. Unless you're using a stand/dock, it seems really awkward to hold, especially for typing. The angle would be wonky if it was place on a flat surface and typing on your lap, especially while in a car or a train, would be clumsy as well.

Now, the kicker: will this replace the Kindle? It does read books, and very elegantly. The page-turning action is quite nice. Still, it loses in the eBook reader world in one major respect: it's an LCD, not an eink screen. Therefore, it won't work well in the sunlight and it will tire out your eyes after a while. In addition, it looks like the price point for new books will be $12.99-$14.99, versus Amazon's general under-$9.99 price point.

Giles isn't going anywhere. Besides my enjoyment of the device's UI, I've already invested in books from Amazon (though I do get the majority of my books for free, since a lot of them are classics or just public domain). It would take a lot more from Apple to make me switch eReaders. The iPad seems fine for a more casual reader, but it is not a great device for those who intend to do a LOT of electronic reading.

I can't get over how great it is to use the Kindle for both pleasure/free-time reading and assignments for class. Here is its current state, by the way -- I acquired a skin to improve the pasty white border:


and this is the lovely Oberon cover I got for Christmas:


I will be curious to follow the iPad's progress and see how many Apple actually sells. For now, I won't be investing.