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Walter’s Ancient Book in the British Tongue February 25, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
Walter's Ancient Book in the British Tongue

Geoffrey of Monmouth’s History of the Kings of Britain was not only one of the most popular books of the Middle Ages. It was also one of the most mysterious and controversial. In c.1136 Geoffrey offered to the world and to his patron Robert of Gloucester this epic relating to the ancient and early medieval history of […]

Plato’s Atlantis Before Plato December 5, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
Plato's Atlantis Before Plato

Ah Atlantis… Say the word to a marine biologist, whose marriage has just ended, or a billionaire at a loose end and the chances are that they will go running off and find Plato’s mysterious continent in Bolivia or Ireland… Indeed, almost every region, island and country in the western hemisphere – including Bolivia and Ireland… […]

Tennyson Loses Poland November 12, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Tennyson Loses Poland

In the encylopedia of burning libraries Alfred Tennyson’s lost long poem Poland is a minor entry, but it is still one that deserves to be written and perhaps even to be read about. It also brings together three of Beachcombing’s favourite themes: Poland and Tennyson – obviously - but also the incomparable William Allingham whose diary is the […]

Rant: Lost Works, Mary Beard and ‘the Survival of the Fittest’ November 3, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Medieval
Rant: Lost Works, Mary Beard and 'the Survival of the Fittest'

‘Mary Beard’, ‘Mary Beard’..: even now, twenty years on from the beginning of Beachcombing’s infatuation (naturally unfulfilled), the words are enough to send a lightening bolt into that blogger’s overstrained central cortex. Beachcombing still remembers seeing Mary’s swan-like body for the first time, in the reading room at the UL: indeed, Beachcombing trembled as Britain’s most beautiful […]

In Search of Aristotle’s ‘On Comedy’ August 29, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
In Search of Aristotle's 'On Comedy'

            In 1928 that old grumpystiltskins K.K. Smith wrote that ‘Like many another Lost Atlantis the chapter on comedy which Aristotle may have written to conclude his analysis of Poetics has lured many a searcher into waters beyond his depths.’ And, mindful of the warning, Beachcombing straps on his Little […]

Madog: The Missing Trans-Atlantic Poem August 26, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
Madog: The Missing Trans-Atlantic Poem

  Universal mourning in the Beachcombing household as (i) twelve hours on trains and in hospital beckons and, more importantly, (ii) the beloved Beachcombing babysitter has announced her intention to go to South Africa. Beachcombing spent several hours trying to convince the local South African consul that said babysitter was actually a terrorist threat but to […]

Shakespeare’s Lost Letters July 29, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Shakespeare's Lost Letters

                    There are several of Shakespeare’s works that are lost. For example, his plays Cardenio (written with Fletcher) and Love’s Labour Won both appear to have disappeared down the plug hole of time. And to these we should perhaps add a collection of Shakespearean letters that perhaps made […]

Invisible Libraries: a Victorian Contribution July 17, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Invisible Libraries: a Victorian Contribution

                    There is a respectable literary tradition dating back to the end of the Middle Ages of scholars, writers and fantasists creating libraries of books that might or that should have once existed. To the best of Beachcombing’s knowledge this tradition begins – where else? – […]

The Karma Sutra of the Ancient Mediterranean July 8, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
The Karma Sutra of the Ancient Mediterranean

                If there is a heaven then Beachcombing hopes that, past the brass-band podium and the daisy strewn park, there will be a public Library of Lost Books, stocked with the works of antiquity and the middle ages that inconsiderate ancestors forgot to hand down to us. And, […]

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