Session Title

Lost in Translation: Women and Beowulf (A Roundtable)

Sponsoring Organization(s)

Special Session

Organizer Name

Emily McLemore

Organizer Affiliation

Univ. of Notre Dame

Presider Name

Emily McLemore

Paper Title 1

Remembering Our Mothers: Translators, Translation, and the Women of Beowulf

Presenter 1 Name

Erin E. Mullally

Presenter 1 Affiliation

Le Moyne College

Paper Title 2

Monster, Mother, Warrior: The Changing Nature of Grendel's Ma

Presenter 2 Name

Jan Blaschak

Presenter 2 Affiliation

Wayne State Univ./Adrian College

Paper Title 3

Grendel's Mom Has Got It Going On: How Grendel's Mother is Adapted for Modern Audiences

Presenter 3 Name

Spenser Santos

Presenter 3 Affiliation

Univ. of Iowa

Paper Title 4

Beowulf and the Power of Women's Anger

Presenter 4 Name

Natalie M. Whitaker

Presenter 4 Affiliation

St. Louis Univ.

Paper Title 5

The Colonial Legacy of Grendel's Mother in Translation

Presenter 5 Name

Shela Raman McCabe

Presenter 5 Affiliation

Univ. of Notre Dame

Paper Title 6

Practically Perfect: Female Practicality in the Beowulfian World of Overwhelming Masculinity

Presenter 6 Name

Jessica E. Troy

Presenter 6 Affiliation

Univ. of New Mexico

Paper Title 7

On Reading Beowulf among Women

Presenter 7 Name

Renée R. Trilling

Presenter 7 Affiliation

Univ. of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign

Start Date

8-5-2020 10:00 AM

Session Location

Schneider 1360

Description

The significance of Beowulf’s female characters has largely been overlooked by scholars (the vast majority of whom are white men) in favor of focusing on the text as a site of male agency, action, and interests. Most urgently, this tradition risks corroborating and replicating narratives produced by the alt-right, who falsely ground the text in white supremacy and misogyny. Further complicating matters, many modern translations, Seamus Heaney’s included, misrepresent and/or erase female characters who are integral not only to the epic’s plot but also to critical analysis of the narrative. The goal of this roundtable is to interrogate how such translations manipulate our understanding of women in Beowulf and/or the text of Beowulf in a larger sense. This session encourages discussion regarding how the original text is manipulated by translators to the detriment of female characters and, in effect, modern audiences. It is intended to foster scholarly interest and discourse about women’s presence and agency in the text, as well as medieval society, in an effort to rectify the gendered disparity of Beowulf scholarship and actively admonish claims to the text by alt-right groups. The session is poised to consider the implications of female characters’ negation and erasure with regard to both women’s representation and our understanding of the text holistically in the hope of generating nuanced interpretations of and approaches to women in/and Beowulf.

Signed, Emily McLemore

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May 8th, 10:00 AM

Lost in Translation: Women and Beowulf (A Roundtable)

Schneider 1360

The significance of Beowulf’s female characters has largely been overlooked by scholars (the vast majority of whom are white men) in favor of focusing on the text as a site of male agency, action, and interests. Most urgently, this tradition risks corroborating and replicating narratives produced by the alt-right, who falsely ground the text in white supremacy and misogyny. Further complicating matters, many modern translations, Seamus Heaney’s included, misrepresent and/or erase female characters who are integral not only to the epic’s plot but also to critical analysis of the narrative. The goal of this roundtable is to interrogate how such translations manipulate our understanding of women in Beowulf and/or the text of Beowulf in a larger sense. This session encourages discussion regarding how the original text is manipulated by translators to the detriment of female characters and, in effect, modern audiences. It is intended to foster scholarly interest and discourse about women’s presence and agency in the text, as well as medieval society, in an effort to rectify the gendered disparity of Beowulf scholarship and actively admonish claims to the text by alt-right groups. The session is poised to consider the implications of female characters’ negation and erasure with regard to both women’s representation and our understanding of the text holistically in the hope of generating nuanced interpretations of and approaches to women in/and Beowulf.

Signed, Emily McLemore