This Earthly Realm is Fraught: Eall is Earfoðlich

Student Author(s)

Anna Goodling

Faculty Mentor(s)

Professor Steven Iannacone and Dr. Curtis Gruenler

Document Type


Event Date



The Old English poem “The Wanderer” tells the story of a lonely poet who clings to the hope of Heaven to sustain himself. However, due to the language it is written in, this great work is unreadable in its original form for those who have not studied Old English. This research project provides an alternate, visual translation of the Old English text, in order to gain a wider audience for the poem. Also, this research strives to stimulate curiosity and interest in a genre of literature which is often passed off as unintelligible by those who have never studied it. This project stands as an attempt to bring the areas of Academia and the Arts into dialogue, and to demonstrate that these two areas can affect and aid one another. Academia and the Arts seem to have little to no connection in the eyes of scholars and artists today—a troubling rift. This research brings up questions about the relationship between scholarship and artistic creation: How do the poem’s words and meaning inform movement choices? What is the best way to teach dancers to unite their understanding of the written text and the danced vocabulary? Can artistic, choreographic work add to the conversation of academic scholarship on the “Wanderer” poem? Ultimately, this research endeavors to integrate dance and literature as both academic and creative subjects of study. It strives to contribute through dance to the conversation about Anglo-Saxon literary scholarship and to demonstrate the legitimacy and complexity of the study of medieval literature to an audience more familiar with the proscenium stage than the mead hall.

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