Tuesday, 10 November 2009
Golden Ages, then and now
This book means a lot to me. I was given it by Grigor McLelland, a stalwart of the North East, who served in the Friends Ambulance Unit with my father and, many years later, chaired the National Lottery Charities Board in the North region while I had the same job in Yorkshire and the Humber. It is a marvellous, scholarly compendium of articles about the era which we know and love from Bede: Oswy and Eanfled celebrating their different Easters at Bamburgh, the great Celtic saints, the astonishing jewellery and carved stones found across the region (and, most recently, in the 'Staffordshire Hoard'). This is such a big and expensive book (£35) that I imagine most people will borrow it from the library. It would be well worth doing so. I'm particularly grateful to Christopher Grocock's chapter on Bede and the Golden Age of Latin Prose in Northumbria, which compares the range of languages spoken in Bede's Jarrow with the author's contemporary experience of Geordie and Urdu spoken in turn by women working in his local newsagent's in the town.