Thursday, June 8, 2017

Read Harder Challenge #23-- A Book of Poetry in Translation on a Theme Other Than Love

I read this book as part of the Book Riot Read Harder 2017 Challenge. This challenge was to read a book of poetry in translation on a theme other than love. Super specific.

Pearl is a translation of a medieval work written ca 1390s and tells the story of a grieving man who has lost his "Perle." We come to understand that Perle is his deceased daughter. As the grieving father goes to visit the place where she died, he falls into a trance and envisions her in an ethereally beautiful dress, and speaking to him from the other side of a river he cannot cross. She tells him that she has risen to an important place by God's side and, after questioning and arguing with her, he comes to accept that she is gone and goes to follow her to the next life but is jolted awake just before he can make it there. 

Written in old English, this translation comes from Armitage, a translator who specializes in medieval writings and it reads like a modern text in his hands. This version has the original text on the pages that face the translation and, as unintelligible as old English is to me, I enjoyed comparing the two, marveling each time how Artmitage has preserved the rhythm and alliteration of the original and made it palatable to modern readers. 

For those curious, the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge is as follows:

1. Read a book about sports.
2. Read a debut novel.
3. Read a book about books.
4. Read a book set in Central or South America, written by a Central or South American author.
5. Read a book by an immigrant or with a central immigration narrative.
6. Read an all-ages comic.
7. Read a book published between 1900 and 1950.
8. Read a travel memoir.
9. Read a book you’ve read before.
10. Read a book that is set within 100 miles of your location.
11. Read a book that is set more than 5000 miles from your location.
12. Read a fantasy novel.
13. Read a nonfiction book about technology.
14. Read a book about war.
15. Read a YA or middle grade novel by an author who identifies as LGBTQ+.
16. Read a book that has been banned or frequently challenged in your country.
17. Read a classic by an author of color.
18. Read a superhero comic with a female lead.
19. Read an LGBTQ+ romance novel.
20. Read a book in which a character of color goes on a spiritual journey
21. Read a book published by a micropress.
22. Read a collection of stories by a woman.
23. Read a collection of poetry in translation on a theme other than love.

24. Read a book wherein all point-of-view characters are people of color.

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