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Friday, 6 January 2012

On a lighter note...

Alfred: You can get 2 more years of cover
    for just £49.99 extra
Guthrum: Er, no. I'll be OK I think, thanks.

After yesterday's heavy seriousness, here's a little trip down Nostalgia Lane.  In Leamington Spa Oxfam Bookshop I came across this gem.  I've been searching for it in second-hand shops for years.  It was one of the first two books on 'Dark Age' history I ever owned - although mine was a very old edition with separate dust-jacket - but I lost it long ago.  Now, for the princely sum of £3.49 (a 2,629% increase, no less, on its marked price of 12 1/2 p or 2 shillings and sixpence) I own a copy again.

I love L. Du Garde Peach's 'Adventures from History' volumes (especially when, as here, illustrated by John Kenney); certainly they played a huge part in making me a historian.  This had a role in drawing me towards what I later found out was called early medieval history.  Du Garde Peach had a PhD and a DLitt.  I wonder what it was in. [Update: apparently it was in the relations between English, French and Spanish Drama in the 17th century.  He began his career as a humorist for radio, it seems.  Thanks to Dave Petts and Katherine Lewis for this info.!]

Here are the closing words (written in 1956, only a decade or so after the end of the war, which I think goes some way towards explaining the tone!):
'So England became a free country and we should always remember that it might have been very much less free if Alfred the Great had not lived and ruled, a thousand years ago.'

Hurrah!  It's enough to bring a tear of pride to the eye of any member of ASNAC!  Well, maybe not the ones who work on Norse, I suppose.

1 comment:

  1. I note that both Professor Simon Keynes and Professor Dame Janet Nelson have referred (? in print) to this Ladybird book.
    As tio ASNAC, in the days when letters were addressed by typewriter (shortly before the end of the Dark Ages) it was once, or so legend affirms, rebaptised the department of Anglo-Saxon, Celtic and Old Horse.


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