Beowulf: Translation and Commentary
By Tom Shippey & Leonard Neidorf
Beowulf, composed around 700 A.D., is the first great epic poem in the English language. It tells the timeless story of a hero’s fight against monsters and sets it against a complex background of political intrigue and tribal warfare. Situated in sixth-century Scandinavia, the poem brings to life a magnificent world that fuses history with fantasy. Tom Shippey’s new translation of Beowulf, reflecting a lifetime of engagement with the poem, makes its story clearer and more compelling than it has ever been. The original Old English text of Beowulf is included along with an extensive and innovative commentary, which guides the reader passage-by-passage through the poem and its criticism.
The Bhagavad Gita: Lord Krishna’s Sacred Teachings on the Battlefield-of-Life
By Tassanee Sinsakul & William S. Whorton
The Bhagavad Gita, a philosophical dialogue between Lord Krishna and Prince Arjuna, is one of the world’s most translated sacred texts. Devotees of the Gita number in the hundreds of millions. Why? The essence of its teaching is that for humans, we, each of us, at every moment, live (physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually) in combat on a battlefield (our physical body). “Desire” is our mortal and immortal enemy. In the realm of spiritual thinking, at the first moment after birth “lack” is born. At the second moment after birth “desire” is born. Our lives are a perpetual pursuit of desire striving to fill lack. Our karmic attachments are the fruits of our desires. These karmic attachments form the “prison” in which we (usually unconsciously) abide. Delusion and suffering are our human condition. Liberation realized through meditation, devotion, knowledge, and action is our only path out of “prison”; this is our purpose and battle.
By H. Rider Haggard (Author) & Tom Shippey (Editor)
Eric Brighteyes, published in 1891, represented a new departure for Rider Haggard, best-known at the time for his novels set in nineteenth-century Africa, such as King Solomon’s Mines (1885) and She (1887). Set for the most part in tenth-century Iceland, it was praised by Tolkien for its heroic quality, and remains the best example of what was once a large and popular genre, the Victorian Viking novel. Unlike other works of this kind, however, though not unusually for Haggard, it is driven by female characters, and combines scholarly authenticity with Haggard’s own unique flair for the strange and supernatural. In this new edition, Tom Shippey supplies Eric Brighteyes with extensive explanatory notes and an introduction discussing Tolkien’s admiration for Haggard and the Victorian fascination with Vikings.
Woden: A Historical Companion
By Stephen Pollington
All-father, warlord, runemaster, kingmaker, healer—manifold aspects, numerous stories. This book brings together the written and physical evidence for the god called Woden or Óðinn (Odin) in his many guises spanning more than a thousand years. Drawing on the latest interpretations of literary evidence and recent archaeological discoveries, Pollington assembles an impressive array of data to cast a fresh light on the origins and later history of the enigmatic god of war, magic, death, and secret wisdom.
Sources discussed range from Greco-Roman works to early runic inscriptions, Lombard origin tales to conversion narratives, genealogies to charms to Eddic poems, runestones and picture stones to armor and funerary furniture. With source texts provided in their original languages and in English translations, this book serves as an invaluable guide to a dynamic religious tradition practiced across large parts of northern Europe in the Iron Age and for centuries after.
Easter: A Pagan Goddess, A Christian Holiday, and their Contested History
By Richard Shaw Sermon
As the Easter season approaches each year, commonly heard questions ask: why does the festival not fall on the same date each year, and how do its name and symbols (notably eggs and bunnies) relate to the Christian story of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection? A simple search of the internet will provide a bewildering volume of information and misinformation that claims to answer these questions. The issue has become something of culture war between traditional Christian interpretations and the views of people following alternative forms of spirituality and neopaganism. An often heard argument is that Easter was originally named after a spring or dawn goddess, who was symbolised by the hare and the egg, and whose name, festival and symbols were later appropriated by the Christians. The purpose of this book is to explore the principal claims and counter-claims that now surround the goddess Eostre (recorded once by the Venerable Bede in 725 AD) and the origins of the Christian paschal festival. It critically examines the substance and history of these ideas from their earliest sources to the present day.
The Historical King Arthur: Fact and Fiction
By Andrew Breeze
The Historical King Arthur: Fact and Fiction is a book that revolutionizes our understanding of Britain’s history and early literature. It begins with a compelling demonstration of ‘King’ Arthur as no figure of legend, but a flesh-and-blood warrior of the sixth century. He was not a ruler, but a North British champion fighting other North Britons during the terrible ‘volcanic winter’ of 536-7, and dying a soldier’s death in the latter year at (as long accepted by scholars) Camlan or Castlesteads on Hadrian’s Wall. Arguments for this are followed by chapters on Arthur in the literatures of medieval Britain. They include dramatic proof on the Arthurian romance Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, using evidence set out by the US scholar Ann Astell to identify its author as the Cheshire magnate Sir John Stanley (d. 1414), who will have written it in late 1387 for Christmas revels that year at Chester Castle. Solving problems which have baffled scholars for centuries, The Historical King Arthur: Fact and Fiction is a volume that will for all time change our views of Britain’s past.
Northern Lore: A Thematic Guide to the Proverbs of Medieval England, Germany, and Scandinavia
By Susan E. Deskis
In the Middle Ages, proverbs were an important mode of preserving and transmitting wisdom and cultural values. This book collects and analyzes medieval proverbs from northern Europe on a variety of topics: family, friends, battle, home, religion, etc. These proverbs are found in a wide range of sources in both vernacular and Latin texts. Readers will discover the content and contexts of these statements of common wisdom along with the methodology and sources for engaging in the study of proverbs.
The Syntax of Beowulf: Word Order, Poetic Meter, and Formulaic Technique in the Old English Verse Clause
By Geoffrey Russom
This study integrates important discoveries about syntax, meter, and oral-formulaic composition to interpret striking differences between Old English poetry and prose, including many differences that have previously evaded detection. The prehistory of English word order is traced from about 300 BCE, when alliterative meter was born, to the era of Beowulf (about 700 CE). Evolution of poetic word order is then explained as a response to syntactic evolution –– a response significantly delayed by formulaic poets who valued their ancient technique. An analysis is provided for every clause in Beowulf, with each concrete example accompanied by verse numbers for all similar examples. Russom’s integrated approach brings to light general principles of verse structure and formulaic composition that apply in other languages and other poetic traditions. An important feature of the work is its abandonment of Hans Kuhn’s controversial definition of the verse clause in favor of a straightforward linguistic definition. A simplified approach to punctuation provides more accurate representations of poetic syntax that turn out to be more readable as well.
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