Meeting the Other in "The Seafarer" and "The Ruin"

Date of Award


Degree Name

M.A. in English


Department of English


Advisor: Miriamne Krummel


This paper reads two Old English poems through an ecocritical lens. Primarily, Iidentify the need to see translation-as literary interpretation-of Other languages and environments as a site of relation to a subject. Throughout this essay the subject "Other" refers to both language and environment built by human and natural agents along the border of their worlds. I read The Seafarer as a space of meeting between the land- dweller and sea-dweller, then focus on The Ruin as a scene of transient human presence. A new space to feel the loss of environment-both human and natural-opens while meeting the Other. In the conclusion, I offer three examples of engagement with ecological loss including both modern and contemporary sources as the beginning of an ecocritique with the terms described in this thesis. Loss ought not place the poet in the posture of defeat, nor avoid translation in transactional terms-that is to say, by putting a price tag on the earth. Rather, I suggest reorientation of the responsibility of the poet toward meeting, speaking, and seeing the Other.


Literature, Environmental Studies, Linguistics

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