[Kiernan] ... points out (alleges?) that in the MS, the four occurrences of
the name have it *always spelled (once with a capital) "Hunferth", but it
alliterates on a vowel.
Hunferth in the MS, as far as I'm aware. The emendation to Unferth is, I
think, Axel Olrik's at the turn of the last century.
One of the problems besetting Beowulf scholarship is that of finding dragons
on the moon. So Hunferth is *proof* of one sort of alliteration (the _only_
example in Beowulf) whereas 'Hwæt we Gar-Dena in gear-dagum' is *proof* of
something else. So Hunferth = Unferth = (assuming metathesis) = Unfrith =
UnPeace accentuates a supposedly *Christian* reading.
I distrust Kiernan's desire to see the two Beowulf scribes as *authors* of
the text, for similar reasons. Why multiply all these suppositions beyond
But is Unferth really Hunferth? Absolutely.
Dozens have gone missing, the decision taken is Elsewhere.
but yes, yes we remain as poetry, pure immateriality.
in the name of the 'current state of things' they murmur to us:
"we went for a stroll, now it's a question of marching!" But this
stroll of ours has brought us a long way off, and now
the horizon is behind us.
(from *Materiali*, Indiani Metropolitani 1977)