Llama headphones

Sorry the blog has been a bit quiet but I am wading my way through the C16th glosses on my C15th chronicle. It’s a time-consuming business that leaves little time for any other photography or writing news.

I am hoping to share some new photos and story news very soon. So until then look what you can buy on Zazzle now:


Medieval Storytelling

Last year I participated in an AHRC workshop on medieval storytelling. The workshop was not what I expected, but It was an interesting experience. Although not all of the stated aims were met, but again from my experience that is not unusual.

The focus of the workshop was on storytelling for children in general rather than on the retelling of medieval stories for a modern audience at keystage 2. There was some discussion of adaptation in terms of what needed to be removed from the ‘original’ medieval tale, but not much about what needed to be retained in order to keep a sense of the medieval world.

For me the modern adaptation of stories created and told within the medieval period depends a great deal on the reason why these stories are being adapted for a modern audience. If the purpose is to give keystage 2 children a sense of life in the medieval world then much of the ‘original’ story would have to be kept.

Adaptations of these stories should be recast in language accessible to children and yes they would on occasion have to be rendered less sexually explicit, but on the other hand removing all religious references and recasting gender roles would mean that the modern retelling no longer reflects the medieval culture within which these stories were told. Such heavy recasting is of course perfectly acceptable if you are simply telling a story without placing any educational constraints on it.

Adaptation, retelling, recasting – however you want to think about it has a long and well accepted tradition. What matters is why you are telling the story in the first place.

What do you think?

Old English – widow

I’m busy working away on the first stage of my analysis for my supervisor which is due at the end of this week. It’s an undertaking which is opening up a myriad of interesting avenues that I need to keep well under control.

One of these is due to the fact I am working with Old English again – a language which I love to hear spoken when academics and enthusiasts get together to discuss their latest ideas.

It is difficult to access the mind-set of past times and some would say impossible. But I believe that examining language is one way of at least attempting to understand older societies.

That is not just to translate, but to examine the range of meanings associated with a particular word and to attempt to apply that broader understanding my ideas of cultural context.

So for today here is a word for you to think about:

láf  – meaning widow

The other meanings of this word include – remnant, relict, remains, remainder, survivors of battle.

What does this suggest to you about the way widows were considered within the Anglo-Saxon world?