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Review of Anglo-Saxon Sagas and Songs   

"Gaed a Wyrd swa hio scel!"

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Anglo-Saxon Sagas and Songs by Christopher Webster is a modern collection in which the author weaves his own tales around existing fragments of classic Anglo-Saxon poetry like Widsith, Deor, Waldere, and the Finnsburg fragment. It was better than I thought it was going to be. The author obviously knows his Anglo-Saxon literary history; and with some of his tales (or songs) he even attempts to emulate the alliterative verse pattern found in classic Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian works such as Beowulf and The Poetic Edda. The contents are as follows:
Skald (a story based on the Finnsburg fragment
Hengest's Last Battle (an epic poem in alliterative verse, based on Layamon's Brut)
Frodo, Dragon Slayer (a story based on an adventure found in Saxo Grammaticus' Gesta Danorum)
The Lay of Beow (an epic poem in alliterative verse, based on a legendary hero known as Beow who was mentioned in Beowulf and Saxo Grammaticus' Gesta Danorum)
Starkath (a story based on the legendary Germanic warrior Starkath, who was written about in Saxo's Gesta Danorum)
The Lay of Ingeld (an epic poem in the alliterative verse styles of fornyrdislag and ljodahattr, used in The Poetic Edda. It's based around the same events of the Starkath story above)
Angles Against Arthur (a story based around King Arthur trying to keep the Angles out of Britain, told from the Angles point of view. The source for the story is Layamon's Brut)
King Alfred Burns the Cakes (a humorous poem in rhyming verse, based on the legend of King Alfred burning the cakes at Butterbusk farm in Conisbrough)
Haldane of Doncaster (a story pieced together from bits of information in The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and The Chronicle of Piers Langtoft)
The Lay of Ellendune (a poem in alliterative verse, based on a fragment from the lost Anglo-Saxon poem Lay of Ellendune)
The Battle of Maldon (a story based on an existing Anglo-Saxon poem of the same name. The author has reconstructed the missing beginning and end of the poem using information from The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle)
Thormod the Skald (a song based on the "Thomas the Rhymer" ballad, where the author has changed the name Thomas to the more Anglo-Saxon Thormod and also changed the verse from rhyming to alliterative)
The Saga of Sigurd (a story based on the events following the historical Battle of Hastings in 1066, which marked the Norman conquest of England and the end of Anglo-Saxon rule)
Epilogue

7/10
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Added by Hexenkult 1 year ago
on 1 July 2012 19:28

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