EPIC CONTINENT: Adventures in the Great Stories of Europe

Book number: 92659 Product format: Hardback Author: NICHOLAS JUBBER

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Bibliophile price £3.50
Published price £20

On a journey through Europe from Turkey to Iceland, here prizewinning travel author Nicholas Jubber also takes a literary journey through our continent's most enduring epic poems, to learn how they were created and shaped by their times and how they have since shaped us. These monumental works were themselves created out of moments of seismic social, military and political change. The Odyssey tells of the aftermath of the Trojan War in 1188BC, a conflict from which much of European civilisation was spawned, although poem itself was not written until some 400 years later. The Nibelungenlied tracks the collapse of the Burgundian Kingdom on the edge of the Roman Empire in the mid-5th century but was not penned for another 800 years. The French Song of Roland and the Serbian Kosovo Cycle emerged from devastating conflicts between Christian and Muslim powers, and Beowulf, the only surviving Old English epic, and the great Icelandic Saga of Burnt Njal reflect other times of immense religious struggle, the shift from paganism to Christianity. Reaching far back into the ancient and medieval times that spawned these defining works the book explores how issues such as honour, fundamentalism, fate, nationhood, religion, sex, class and politics have always preoccupied the people of Europe. These tales, soaked as they are in blood, fire, violence and passion, show how the dragons, gods, emperors, knights and princesses that people them helped forge a European identity, and still resonate today. In his travels Jubber visits sites that feature in the poems and talks to a great number of the people living there about anything and everything, noting how, whether it is a conscious act or not, people continue to be influenced by these works and the subjects with which they wrestle. 322pp.

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ISBN 9781473665729

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