Forces of Translation II: Blood of Death

The story of Cain killing Abel is found three books earlier in the Vulgate Genesis: the Latin version, given on the right above, is significantly more succinct than the Old English, a fragment from which is given on the left.

The personified Earth drinking the blood of the first murder is only found in the Old English telling of the story, which leans into and elaborates on the act itself and the fallout experienced even before God arrives and calls Cain to account for his brother. Once we arrive at the interrogation point in the story, the words track more directly: in every iteration, Cain’s retort that he is not his brother’s keeper is preserved.

Forces of Translation I: Diluvian Description

This two-part post set will pull out moments in the Old English Genesis where I found translation questions particularly pertinent. First, I will compare some residual effects the most proximate language of translation left on the Modern English versions of the Old English and Vulgate descriptions of the Flood, respectively, how the two poems look at the horror of the destruction. In this moment, the two versions are mostly similar,…