Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Authentic Voices

Conforming to an original so as to reproduce essential features is one meaning of the word authentic.  The authentic voices of England from the time of Julius Caesar to the coronation of Henry II are contained in The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles.  Perhaps it should be the authentic voices of the English language, but the following text translated and collated by Anne Savage is shown below.

Alfred The Great (871 - 899 AD) is the fellow most often credited with getting things started.  The royal capital of Saxon Wessex (Winchester) seems the place where the chronicles first started. [Oldest manuscript which has survived = Corpus Christi College Cambridge MS 173, the Parker Chronicle ]  The church folks here for the first time wrote things down in their own language (Anglo-Saxon) instead of the standard church language Latin.  What in the world were they thinking...starting to write in their own language instead of the usual, widely accepted, language of the known world!  An original idea it seemed to be. 

After the Norman invasion, these records ( dates covered from 60 BC - 1070 AD) were taken to Christchruch, Canterbury where copies were made and the story continued until the coronation of Henry II.   The text above describes:

"From the everyday local dramas that made up the lives of the Anglo-Saxons to the intricacies of government and the reigns of kings, every aspect of life in the England of the Middle Ages is examined in glorious detail." [front cover...inside flap ]

What a deal...the authentic voices of the folks writing in a language that was to become English.  Take a look.

The cover shown above is taken from my copy published Crescent Books, 1995.  It contains illustrated material which gives a broad view of this period in time.  It is an excellent reference to those interested in the authentic voices of the English language.

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