Best of the Web
The modernist poet Ezra Pound wrote a famous, if a little loose, translation of the first 99 lines of "The Seafarer," which he published in 1911 in New Age.
Here's a poetic but still fairly faithful translation of "The Seafarer" by Jonathan Glenn. Trust him – he's a professor.
Check out Professor Glenn's notes on the poem, including a section-by-section outline with commentary on important features. Who knew there was so much to learn about "The Seafarer"?
This one's very poetic, but not very faithful. Professor Wallace has taken an awful lot of liberties with the original text, all in the name of poetic effect.
As if putting England at this time in a nutshell were even possible! Still, the folks over at anglo-saxons.net have given it a good try. Here, you can find links to information about the history, culture, and famous figures, plus side-by-side translations of four old Germanic poems, "Deor," "The Seafarer," "The Wanderer"and the Old Norse "Havamál."
Have fun poking through the British museum's collection of Anglo-Saxon artifacts, from a spooky-looking knight's helm to beautiful, ornate twisted-gold jewelry.
Wait. The what? Discovered just two years ago, the Staffordshire hoard excited Anglo-Saxonists because it was the largest Anglo Saxon gold-hoard ever to be unearthed. Just imagine being the dude with the metal detector who stumbled upon it. Can you say finder's fee?
No, we're not talking about a Dr. Seuss character. The Sutton Hoo burial site was the largest source of Anglo-Saxon artifacts (that is, before the Staffordshire Hoard came along). The Sutton Hoo society's website provides images of the site and the artifacts as well as its own, extremely comprehensive "best of the web"-like page for Anglo-Saxon literature, history, and archaeology. It's totally worth a look.
Poet Ezra Pound reads his translation, complete with terrifying drumbeats.
Hear the poem in its original language. Keep your ears open for that alliteration!
Playwright Conor McPherson wrote a play called The Seafarer in 2006. While we can't say for sure that it's based on the poem, we think this monologue, performed by an Irish actor, shows that the play addresses many of the same themes. It's gripping stuff.
Although we weren't able to find a picture of "The Seafarer" in its original manuscript form, you can view other similar poems from The Exeter Book, including "The Wanderer."
Here's a history of Anglo-Saxon England as written by the ultimate experts – Anglo-Saxons themselves.
Of course, if you're Anglo-Saxon is a little rusty, you can read a translation of the chronicle on Britannia History.
If you're into "The Seafarer," you just might want to get yourself a copy of this book, whose translations are probably the most faithful to the originals that we've seen in terms of word choice and syntax.
This book contains totally awesome and very accessible translations of Anglo-Saxon literature by young-adult fiction author Kevin Crossley-Holland. They're not exactly faithful translations, but they're a ton of fun.
Movies and TV
No one's made a movie version of "The Seafarer" just yet (wouldn't it be awesome if they did?), but for now you can check out this film adaptation of Beowulf, another super famous Anglo-Saxon poem.