The Beauty of Old English Texts
I have been beguiled by Old English Texts, ever since reading Beowulf in my early 20s. This poetic style calls me back to an older age. A time of myth.
And I don’t mean a myth as something that isn’t true, but as more than true. Myths underpin the values we have. Without them, society, community and even families struggle to stay together. Communal myths tie us to the same value system. We may not understand them, but they are deeply engrained in us. And the decisions we make, are largely informed by them.
I believe a myth is a spiritual story. Manufactured myths, like super hero or sci fi stories, are too are too stuck in the Modern World and don’t carry the same weight. Though, when we hear a true myth, we sense the spirit of the people who retold them, over many generations. It can open a door to how they saw the World. And maybe teach us something too.
I can see Tolkien was very aware of this and tapped into these Old English Texts to develop the Middle Earth mythos. This is why Lord of the Rings has captivated the Anglosphere since it was written in the 1950s. The threads of Anglo-Saxon myths are beautifully woven into the story of Frodo Baggins. We may not realise it, but we sense it.
I am using the translation by Rutgers University and plan to use this newsletter to provide a commentary along with the text. The Anglo-Saxons are not modern people and so have an imminent sense of the spiritual realm. I will draw this out as well as point the reader to the relevant parts of the Bible the poet is using to inspire the text.
This will be an intermittent newsletter as I still will be writing on the Tower of Adam and Agloria Substacks.