The Battle of Maldonis an Old English poem depicting a bloody skirmish along the banks of the tidal river Blackwater in 991 and poignantly conjures the lore and language of a nation with its collective back to the wall when faced by the depredations of a ruthless and relentless enemy. But, as Mark Atherton reveals, this poem is more than a heroic tale designed to inspire courage and valour: rather, it was a pioneering event which determined wider culture and polity in England.
Using his own vivid translations from Old English, The Battle of Maldon: War and Peace in Tenth Century England evokes the chaotic ebb and flow of the battle while also placing Maldon in the context of its age. Seeking to reconstruct the culture and worldview of the original audience, Atherton examines how and why the poem encouraged readers to relive and experience the battle - from its brutal hand-to-hand fighting to the slaying of Byrthnoth - for themselves in order to impact the destiny of England.
With this study, Mark Atherton provides the authoritative treatment of this iconic text, its history and its legacy. As such, this book will be a vital resource for all scholars of Old English literature, the Anglo-Saxons and early medieval history more generally.
About the Author
Mark Atherton is Lecturer in English Language and Literature at Regent's Park College, University of Oxford, UK. He is the author of The Making of England (2017) and Teach Yourself Old English (2010).