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Anglo-Saxon England

annis
Bibliomaniac

Postby annis » Tue November 20th, 2012, 4:23 am

Posted by Gabriele
Yes, hate is probably too strong a word. I found it boring and tedious.


I suspect that copies of Binns' book will be found on charity shops all over the world :)

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Shield-of-Dardania
Reader

Postby Shield-of-Dardania » Tue November 20th, 2012, 8:57 am

"annis" wrote:The aim was to stir up a strong, muscular sense of patriotic pride by introducing some original genuine Anglo-Saxon heroes, conveniently forgetting that 19th century Englishmen were as much Norman as Anglo-Saxon, and that Harold, and very likely Hereward, were half-Danish.

I thought the Normans were more like a minority elite aristocracy, and that as a conqueror tribe they became more or less eventually assimilated by the Anglo-Saxon majority whom they conquered.

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Antoine Vanner
Reader
Location: South-East England

Charles Kingsley et al

Postby Antoine Vanner » Tue November 20th, 2012, 12:57 pm

[QUOTE=annis;106225]I don't think so, Antoine. A lot of that late Victorian quasi-medieval heroic stodge is hard going for today's readers. While authors like Kingsley and Bulwer-Lytton (whose Harold the King is equally turgid and full of purple prose) were very popular in their day, we are just not the same people they targeted with their novels- there is too big a cultural gap.

Many of these books are now period pieces and are really only of nostalgia value. They say as much about the Victorians as the Anglo-Saxons.

Hello Annis - you are spot on!

It's interesting to compare writers like Kingsley and Bulwer-Lytton with Rider-Haggard, and Kipling, who came a generation after, and who had first-hand experience of the countries they wrote of (even if Rider-Haggard frequently got carried away, very enjoyably, into fantasy, with novels such as "She"). What's notable about Kipling and Rider-Haggard is the sense of energy and pace that was missing in what you so accurately describe as the "stodge" of the earlier writers.

Strangely however, when I read a biography of Kingsley many years back I was surprised to find that he was a seriously weird individual and different to the idea I had of him as a country parson writing during his leisure. I'm frankly glad I never knew him!

annis
Bibliomaniac

Postby annis » Sat November 24th, 2012, 2:05 am

Posted by Shield-of-Dardania
I thought the Normans were more like a minority elite aristocracy, and that as a conqueror tribe they became more or less eventually assimilated by the Anglo-Saxon majority whom they conquered.


Not wanting to get into a debate about genetics here - the point I was making was less literal, and more that the social and cultural makeup of the 19th century English was as different from the 11th century English (a mix of Celts, Angles, Saxons and Danes/Norsemen) as they themselves were from the Germanic Angle and Saxon tribesmen who originally emigrated to England following the collapse of the Roman Empire in late antiquity.

One major issue with portraying someone like Hereward as an English patriot as Kingsley did (and also Binns, who was clearly influenced by Kingsley) is that the English of the 11th century probably didn't see themselves as "English" - their interests would have been regional and/or those of the particular lord to whom they were affiliated. England and Normandy were not at that point nation-states in the modern sense. It seems most likely from what we read between the lines of the Gesta Herewardii that Hereward's efforts against the Normans were prompted by the loss of his own lands to one of the Norman knights rather than patriotism.
Last edited by annis on Sat November 24th, 2012, 10:29 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Antoine Vanner
Reader
Location: South-East England

Myths of British (and English) Ancestry - Hereward et al

Postby Antoine Vanner » Sun November 25th, 2012, 8:34 pm

Further to the ongoing discussion - and especially as regards the probably correct assumption that people like Hereward never thought of themselves as "English", the following article is well worth reading. I found it very thought-provoking!

http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/magazine/mythsofbritishancestry/

annis
Bibliomaniac

Postby annis » Tue November 27th, 2012, 2:52 am

Interesting article, Antoine. It seems to echo some of Bryan Sykes theories- his book Blood of the Isles is an intriguing read for anyone curious about Britain's genetic makeup.

And back on the subject before anyone tells me off- will add a couple of other novels here for anyone wanting post-Conquest fiction- James Aitcheson's Sworn Sword and Splintered Kingdom. Events as seen from the POV of a young Breton knight , plenty of action and well written. "Writes like Bernard Cornwell" is a bit of publicity puff that gets tossed around all too often, but it is justified in Aitcheson's case - he's probably the closest in style to BC that I've come across.

A reminder too that the army of William the Bastard - er, Conqueror- wasn't by any means all Normans- there were plenty of opportunistic French, Bretons, Flemings, Burgundians and various rag-tag mercenaries in the mix as well. Cecelia Holland's novel Firedrake tells the story of an Irish mercenary who joins William's army.
Last edited by annis on Tue November 27th, 2012, 6:45 pm, edited 3 times in total.

annis
Bibliomaniac

Postby annis » Fri January 18th, 2013, 11:39 pm

There seem to be quite a few readers here keen on tracking down fiction set in the Anglo-Saxon period, so thought I'd add a link here to Sarah J's review of Theresa Tomlinson's A Swarming of Bees, an adult historical mystery set around the Synod of Whitby, a significant event for the Church in England. Those who've read Tomlinson's Wolf Girl will recognize some familiar faces in Abbess Hild and Caedmon the poet/cowherd.

Carla
Compulsive Reader
Contact:

Postby Carla » Sat January 19th, 2013, 6:12 pm

Thanks for the link to Sarah's review. I've just finished reading A Swarming of Bees and enjoyed it very much.
PATHS OF EXILE - love, war, honour and betrayal in Anglo-Saxon Northumbria
Editor's Choice, Historical Novels Review, August 2009
Now available as e-book on Amazon Kindleand in Kindle, Epub (Nook, Sony Reader), Palm and other formats on Smashwords
Website: http://www.carlanayland.org
Blog: http://carlanayland.blogspot.com

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Ariadne
Bibliophile
Location: At the foothills of Mt. Level

Postby Ariadne » Sun January 20th, 2013, 1:43 pm

Thanks for posting the link to my review, Annis. I hope the book does well - it deserves it!

I just finished reading Morgan Llywelyn's After Rome, which may be of interest to readers here as it focuses on Britain just after the Romans left and and on how the native Britons survived amid attacks by Saxons and other Germanic tribes (Hengist and Horsa make an appearance). I read it with the intention of reviewing it sooner rather than later, but as I discovered midway through, it's not out until later in February.,. so I'll be reviewing it toward the end of next month. I'd call it good but quirky :)

Carla
Compulsive Reader
Contact:

Postby Carla » Sat January 26th, 2013, 4:49 pm

Just posted my review of A Swarming of Bees in the review section: http://www.historicalfictiononline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=6130
PATHS OF EXILE - love, war, honour and betrayal in Anglo-Saxon Northumbria

Editor's Choice, Historical Novels Review, August 2009

Now available as e-book on Amazon Kindleand in Kindle, Epub (Nook, Sony Reader), Palm and other formats on Smashwords

Website: http://www.carlanayland.org

Blog: http://carlanayland.blogspot.com


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