Thursday, 13 September 2007

Taking monstrous liberties

I'm indebted to The Library Princess for pointing me in the direction of
Got Medieval. As someone who has always thought that history gets REALLY interesting just about when the Romans are packing up to leave, and loses some of its lustre again when the Renaissance comes along (we're talking in relative terms here), it's essential reading.
I'm slightly alarmed to see what's in store in the forthcoming film version of Beowulf (go to the July 17 entry), not to mention disappointed in Neil Gaiman. I don't have high hopes for it, but Hollywood has mangled plenty of other classics of world literature beyond recognition, so why should this be any different?
On the other hand (you knew that was coming, didn't you?), perhaps it will spark an interest in the original in a few people, so who am I to complain? I'm not ashamed to admit that my own interest in early medieval history was kindled entirely by reading the Lord of the Rings. Especially by the Riders of Rohan, with their Anglo-Saxons-on-horseback culture.
Speaking of which, I'm sure I read an article in a Sunday paper a few years back, saying that a translation of Beowulf by Tolkien had been found. It would certainly be a must-buy, given that Tolkien's 1936 lecture on the poem, The Monsters and the Critics, completely revolutionised understanding of it. But I've heard nothing since reading the piece - did I imagine it?

1 comment:

Kirk Wisebeard said... tells you about as much as i know.... it was due to be published in 2003..2004... 2005... etc... best i can do...
and on the subject of the film, i can't help feeling that fans of the poem are going to ultimately prefer The 13th Warrior... which I feel to be a great retelling and reworking of the Beowulf story....