University of Oxford
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Translation of 'The Ruin'

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posted on 2022-12-14, 12:39 authored by Woruldhord Project Team

This text is an adaptation from the Old English poem 'The Ruin', which is preserved in the tenth-century Codex known as The Exeter Book. The Old English 'Ruin' describes a fallen and decaying city, and has sometimes been seen as an Anglo-Saxon portrait of the ruins of Roman Bath, although there is no scholarly consensus on this view of the poem. Over time, the text itself became something of a ruin, as the Exeter Book suffered fire damage and other mistreatment, so that letters, words and even whole lines in the poem are rendered illegible. In this way the poem has acted out its own them in its material condition. I wanted to create a version of the poem that would replicate some of this material fragmentation - a translation free in some respects and strict in others - and which would recall ruined cities and dwellings perhaps more familiar in the twenty-first century than Roman Bath. 'Ruin (after the Anglo-Saxon)' was published in The Reader, 28 (2007).


Date Created



Late tenth century (Exeter Book codex)

Temporal Coverage



Chris Jones


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