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I'm author of The Snipesville Chronicles. I'm also a published academic historian, but don't hold that against me.Oh, and I'm a Brit. I just happen to live in Georgia.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

New Angles on the Saxons

My homeschooling adventure continues, as Alec and I are working on a unit on Anglo-Saxon England (AKA the Dark Ages.) Yes, I do mean both of us, because I haven't seriously considered the Anglo-Saxons since I took a less than stellar course on medieval England in the early '90s.

One of the great revelations has been Anglo-Saxon literature. We listened to part of the poem The Battle of Maldon in the original and unintelligible Old English, had fun picking out words we still use today from a transcript, and then read in translation. It helped that we sort of know where Maldon is (my brother lives in Essex.)

The Battle of Maldon, fragmentary though it is, whetted our appetite for more, and so I sprung for a translation of Beowulf for kids (see left), even though the fact that the edition about a hundred years old made me skeptical about its appeal.

Boy, was I wrong.

We read two chapters each day, and were enchanted by the imagery, the Saxon-style alliteration, and the simple but compelling narrative of our hero's triumph over Grendel, the Water Witch, and the dragon. We were both pretty sad when we ended this slim volume. I cannot recommend it too highly. As we speak, Alec is working on his own Anglo-Saxon-style story, starring, um, Alecwulf, and his foe, the half-man, half-scorpion Neegrash.

1 comment:

MikePsych said...

Sounds like great fun!