Study Guide

The Seafarer What's Up With the Title?

By Anonymous

What's Up With the Title?

As it turns out, "The Seafarer" is not the title of this poem. In fact, the poem doesn't have a title at all. We know we just rocked your world, so let us do a little explaining to ease your mind.

The poem we know today as "The Seafarer" doesn't actually have a title in the manuscript where it was found. "The Seafarer" is the title that editors and translators of the poem gave it at a later date. It makes sense as a title, because the poem is spoken from the point of view of a guy who tells us all about the time he's spent traveling the open ocean, or "seafaring."

But the poem is also about a lot of other things: loss, longing, the passing of time, and trust in God, to name a few. Calling the poem "The Seafarer" focuses our attention on just one aspect of it. So what do you think: is "The Seafarer" a good title for this poem? Do you think it might influence our understanding of the poem just a bit too much? What would you name it if you were the editor in charge?