Posted on July 23, 2018 at 3:00 PM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

History and linguistics geeks can join classic-lit lovers in appreciating a new retelling of Beowulf.

Novelist Maria Dahvana Headley was drawn to a particular word in the Old English text that is used to describe Beowulf and his three antagonists — yet each time is translated differently and, in Headley’s opinion, imprecisely.

In an interview to promote her novel The Mere Wife, she explained to Weekend Edition’s Korva Coleman that she believes the word does not mean ‘wretch of a woman’ or ‘hag,’ as it’s often translated to in reference to Grendel’s mother.

Rather, she thinks it means “formidable” or “awe-inspiring.”

Listen to her interview below or read the transcript at NPR’s website.

Categories: Author Interview

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