To be honest I thought that the inscription of swords was just something that happened in fantasy books and role-playing games – but it seems not! Most inscriptions were invocations to God to help out the person bearing the sword.
But a certain sword that is currently part of a 1215 Magna Carta exhibit at the British Library has got all the experts stumped, as no-one knows what the following means:
I must say that I certainly don’t – the signs of the cross that top and tail the inscription are standard for medieval spells as well, so maybe its a magical inscription – and perhaps that’s why it is so hard to decipher?
I was thinking about writing heroes the other day. Those writers who inspired a love of reading in me when I was a kid and also, I suppose, have inspired me to write later in life as well. Here are the writers that I would classify as my heroes.
Robert A. Heinlein
W. E. Johns (creator of Biggles)
I also read a few works by the following when I was a kid and loved them more and more as I got older:
I would also have give an honourable mention to comics as well. Particularly 2000 AD and Warlord.
Heroes now? There are a lot of writers I admire nowadays, but I’m not sure I would describe them as heroes in the same way. Perhaps hero-worship is something that is more in keeping with childhood?
I thought it would be cool to compare Christmas wish lists for books, but not wish-lists for actual books that exist. What are the top 5 books you wish were going to be out for Christmas but aren’t because they don’t exist and haven’t been written yet?
Follow-up to Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
A new story featuring Severian the Torturer, courtesy of Gene Wolfe
A new Robert Harris thriller – I’ve read all of them and even sampled one of his non-fiction works!
Lord of the Rings sequel (Sauron fights back) by J. R. R. Tolkien
A decent sequel to Star Wars turned into a decent film as well – i.e. episodes 7 to 9!
Well you’re unlikely to be able to attend this course (if you are then you’re very lucky!), but if you want to read up on what the supernatural meant in the Middle Ages then I would recommend looking over the course notes for Eileen Joy’s The Medieval Supernatural.
In a world which is indeed our world, the one we know . . . . there occurs an event which cannot be explained by the laws of this same familiar world. The person who experiences the event must opt for one of two possible solutions: either he is the victim of an illusion of the senses, of a product of the imagination — and the laws of the world then remain what they are; or else the event has indeed taken place, it is an integral part of reality — but then this reality is controlled by laws unknown to us.
~ from Tzvetan Todorov, The Fantastic: A Structural Approach to a Literary Genre
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