Snapped up after work on Saturday after a colleague mentioned a book stall was set up in the nearby shopping centre. Could not resist a look and came away with:
Slaughter Ends a Wedding Feast.
2 days ago
Forget Tom Cruise scaling the Burj Khalifa tower; the hot new super-agent is 14th-century writer Geoffrey Chaucer. Thrill to his daring Middle English rimes! Gasp at his mighty scansion! Here in the pages of Bruce Holsinger’s medieval adventure, that randy old poet finally gets the “Mission Impossible” cameo he deserves.
“The Burnable Book” takes place in 1385, when the walled city of London is still finding its footing after the Peasants’ Revolt four years earlier. As the Hundred Years’ War drags on, young Richard II faces myriad threats inside and outside his country. Who knows when fresh blood may flow between the Earl of Oxford and the king’s uncle, John of Gaunt?
The intrigue opens during a dark night on the Moorfields. A cloaked man is beating a young woman for information. Whatever he wants to know, she won’t tell him. She screams out two lines of an allegorical poem just before he finishes her off with a hammer. This doesn’t say much for the efficacy of poetry as a defense against blunt-force trauma, but it gets the novel off to a rousing start.
Sappho is one of the most elusive and mysterious – as well as best-loved – of ancient Greek poets. Only one of her poems, out of a reputed total of nine volumes' worth, survives absolutely intact. Otherwise, she is known by fragments and shards of lines – and still adored for her delicate outpourings of love, longing and desire.
But now, two hitherto unknown works by the seventh-century lyricist of Lesbos have been discovered. One is a substantially complete work about her brothers; another, an extremely fragmentary piece apparently about unrequited love.
The poems came to light when an anonymous private collector in London showed a piece of papyrus fragment to Dr Dirk Obbink, a papyrologist at Oxford University.
Read Poem Here => http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/jan/30/read-sappho-new-unknown-poem-papyrus-classical
Sappho's poems, which were lost from the manuscript tradition and were not collated and copied by medieval monks as were so many surviving ancient texts, have been preserved by two main means: either through quotation by other authors (often as examples of particular syntactical points by ancient grammarians) or through the discovery of fragments written on ancient papyrus. There is hope yet for more poems to come to light, preserved in the Egyptian sands.
Thomas F. Mayer, 62, died Monday, Jan. 20, 2014, at the Clarissa C. Cook Hospice House in Bettendorf, after a year-and-a half-long struggle with cancer. He was born Sept. 10, 1951, in McLeansboro, Ill.
Tom was professor emeritus of history and an internationally known scholar who taught for most of his life at Augustana College in Rock Island. He received his master's degree in medieval history at Michigan State University and his Ph.D. in Tudor/Stuart history at the University of Minnesota.
As the author of 15 books, he wrote a study of the early 16th century political thinker, Thomas Starkey; a biography of Starkey's patron, Reginald Pole, who missed becoming pope by one vote; and a trilogy on Galileo's trial and the Roman Inquisition. His second volume on the Inquisition was published just before his death, and another book on Galileo's trial will be published posthumously. He also edited five volumes of Pole's correspondence.
Guess what: your copy of the Canterbury Tales may actually be more exciting than you think (sorry, Mr. Chaucer). It’s very possible that your battered, old copy of the book contains some fore-edge painting, which is an illustration or painting that is hidden on the edge of the pages of the book. The technique allegedly dates back to the 1650s and we have no idea why people went through the trouble of painting on their old works of literature, but thanks to Colossal, now we know they are there.