Anglo-Saxon poems and post-Reformation ruins

I spent this morning reading about Anglo-Saxon elegiac poetry and the place of ruins in the imagination of the early medieval writers and in the imagination of the post-Reformation writers (they both had to deal with lots of ruins, but had very different attitudes, if anybody is interested…)

It was absolutely fascinating.

It was one of those mornings of reading in which things I didn’t know I didn’t know suddenly opened up before me, and the whole world feels bigger.

I kind of knew that Anglo-Saxons must have seen Roman ruins (I’ve seen enough Time Team episodes to have realised that). I know, because I have written about it, that the people in early 17th c England saw ruins of abbeys in the landscape.

But I’ve seen it differently today. I’d never thought about the emotional and therefore the textual impact of seeing the ruins. So, a new thought, a new way of seeing, a whole new set of ideas to play with.

I like it!



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