The Making of England: A New History of the Anglo-Saxon World (Library of Medieval Studies)

January 30, 2021
The Making of England: A New History of the Anglo-Saxon World (Library of Medieval Studies)

During the tenth century England began to emerge as a distinctcountry with an identity that was both part of yet separate from'Christendom'. The reigns of Athelstan, Edgar and Ethelredwitnessed the emergence of many key institutions: the formation oftowns on modern street plans; an efficient administration; and aserviceable system of tax. Mark Atherton here shows how thestories, legends, biographies and chronicles of Anglo-Saxon Englandreflected both this exciting time of innovation as well as themyriad lives, loves and hates of the people who wrote them. Hedemonstrates, too, that this was a nation coming of age, ahead ofits time in its use not of the Book-Latin used elsewhere in Europe,but of a narrative Old English prose devised for law and practicalgovernance of the nation-state, for prayer and preaching, and aboveall for exploring a rich and daring new literature. This prose wasunique, but until now it has been neglected for the poetry.Bringing a volatile age to vivid and muscular life, Atherton arguesthat it was the vernacular of Alfred the Great, as much as Vikingwar, that truly forged the nation.