Alas! dear readers and followers of A Tolkienist’s Perspective. I feel a long apology is due to redress my absence during these last few months. However, a short note must suffice at this stage. Although I’ve been actively replying to comments that still flow through on a weekly basis on this blog (thank you!), one of the reasons for my inactivity was precisely this Lay of Leofwin project, which I delve into a bit more in this post.
Hence, read on dear reader, read on …
It soon becomes apparent to readers delving into Tolkien’s writings, that the aforementioned author was fascinated by the Anglo-Saxon world that thrived in England between c.450AD and 1066 — the latter, an infamous year in history when the Battle of Hastings took place.
The conflict brought about the Norman Invasion and, with it, the Anglo-Saxon nobility, with all its history, traditions and culture, was virtually erased — leaving only fragments of manuscripts and snatches of texts that hark back to the obscure, rich, varied and intriguing qualities of pre-Norman England.
“Norman Invaders […] had such a devastating effect on English language, traditions, and literature.” — The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide
Tolkien seems to have bemoaned this almost cataclysmic event and, quite naturally, led him to reintroduce the idea of the Anglo-Saxons into his own writings. Evidence of this is the creation of the Rohirrim and the land of Rohan.
Teeming with references to the Old English language, heroic characteristics that define the northern epics and sagas, and a detailed look at a fictional people heavily influenced by historical sources, all seem to point towards a writer who is reintroducing new audiences to a lost world.
“Tolkien’s antagonism to *France, the French, and the French language was due in part to his regret that English culture was dislocated and nearly destroyed following the conquest of England” — The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide
And this brings me to the main subject of this post …
A few months back, I announced in this post the #LayofLeofwin project — a long narrative, epic poem with historical and fantastical elements.
This should come as no surprise, therefore, that the subject matter of this poem will in fact deal with the events before and during the battle of Hastings. The poem attempts to look more closely at some of the overlooked characters, and are here brought to the fore, whilst the sprawling events taking place in September and October of 1066 lurk ominously in the background.
All formatting and editing tasks have been done, and the book is almost ready to go. Hopefully, in a few months time, we will see its release. But for now, I’ll save a few more details for a future post (to be published soon!).
Till next time …