Friday, December 31, 2010

New Scholarship on Beowulf Comics

The first volume of D. S. Brewer's new Medievalism series includes two articles that discuss Beowulf comics. There is also some comments on comments in the editors' introduction. Details on the complete collection follows below.

Anglo-Saxon Culture and the Modern Imagination 
Edited by David Clark and Nicholas Perkins

First Published: 21 Oct 2010
13 Digit ISBN: 9781843842514
Pages: 302
Size: 23.4 x 15.6
Binding: Hardback
Imprint: D.S.Brewer
Series: Medievalism
Subject: Medieval Literature

Britain's pre-Conquest past and its culture continues to fascinate modern writers and artists. From Henry Sweet's Anglo-Saxon Reader to Seamus Heaney's Beowulf, and from high modernism to the musclebound heroes of comic book and Hollywood, Anglo-Saxon England has been a powerful and often unexpected source of inspiration, antagonism, and reflection. The essays here engage with the ways in which the Anglo-Saxons and their literature have been received, confronted, and re-envisioned in the modern imagination. They offer fresh insights on established figures, such as W.H. Auden, J.R.R. Tolkien, and David Jones, and on contemporary writers such as Geoffrey Hill, Peter Reading, P.D. James, and Heaney. They explore the interaction between text, image and landscape in medieval and modern books, the recasting of mythic figures such as Wayland Smith, and the metamorphosis of Beowulf into Grendel - as a novel and as grand opera. The early medieval emerges not simply as a site of nostalgia or anxiety in modern revisions, but instead provides a vital arena for creativity, pleasure, and artistic experiment.

Contents (from WorldCAT):

Introduction / Nicholas Perkins and David Clark --
From Heorot to Hollywood : Beowulf in its third millennium / Chris Jones --
Priming the poets : the making of Henry Sweet's Anglo-Saxon reader / Mark Atherton --
Owed to both sides : W.H. Auden's double debt to the literature of the North / Heather O'Donoghue --
Writing for an Anglo-Saxon audience in the twentieth century : J.R.R. Tolkien's Old English chronicles / Maria Artamonova --
Wounded men and wounded trees : David Jones and the Anglo-Saxon culture tangle / Anna Johnson --
Basil Bunting, Briggflatts, Lindisfarne, and Anglo-Saxon interlace / Clare A. Lees --
Boom : seeing Beowulf in pictures and print / Siân Echard -- [comments and images (in full color) from Gareth Hinds's Beowulf]
Window in the wall : looking for grand opera in John Gardner's Grendel / Allen J. Frantzen --
Re-placing masculinity : the DC Comics Beowulf series and its context, 1975-6 / Catherine A.M. Clarke --
P.D. James reads Beowulf / John Halbrooks --
Ban Welondes : Wayland Smith in popular culture / Maria Sachiko Cecire --
Overlord of the M5 : the superlative structure of sovereignty in Geoffrey Hill's Mercian Hymns / Hannah J. Crawforth --
The absent Anglo-Saxon past in Ted Hughes's Elmet / Joshua Davies --
Resurrecting Saxon things : Peter Reading, "species decline", and Old English poetry / Rebecca Anne Barr.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Thor: Myth to Marvel--Coming Soon from Continuum

Thor: Myth to Marvel
by Martin Arnold

Imprint: Continuum
Pub. date: 21 Jul 2011
ISBN: 9781441135421
256 Pages, paperback
World rights
Translation Rights Available

An exploration of how the legend of Thor has been adopted, adapted and transformed through history.


The myths of the Norse god Thor were preserved in the Icelandic Eddas, set down in the early Middle Ages. The bane of giants and trolls, Thor was worshipped as the last line of defence against all that threatened early Nordic society.

Thor’s significance persisted long after the Christian conversion and, in the mid-eighteenth century, Thor resumed a symbolic prominence among northern countries. Admired and adopted in Scandinavia and Germany, he became central to the rhetoric of national romanticism and to more belligerent assertions of nationalism.

Resurrected in the latter part of the twentieth century in Marvel Magazine, Thor was further transformed into an articulation both of an anxious male sexuality and of a parallel nervousness regarding American foreign policy.

Martin Arnold explores the extraordinary regard in which Thor has been held since medieval times and considers why and how his myth has been adopted, adapted and transformed.
Table of Contents

Introduction:Reverberations throughout History \ 1. The Giant Killer: Thor in Old Norse Mythology \ 2. Damnation and Resurrection: Thor from the Christian Conversion to the Enlightenment \ 3. The Romancing of Thor \ 4. Distant Thunder: Thor and the Nationalists \ 5. The God of War: Thor and the Fascists \ 6. Marvellous Thor \ Appendix \ Bibliography \ Index


Martin Arnold is Professor of Scandinavian Literature at Hull University. He is the author of The Vikings (Continuum, 2006).

Thor Movie Trailer

Marvel has recently released the official trailer for the Thor feature film:

Vikings Comics on Film Coming Soon from McFarland

The Vikings on Film: Essays on Depictions of the Nordic Middle Ages 
Edited by Kevin J. Harty
ISBN 978-0-7864-6044-1
illustrations, filmography, bibliography, index
softcover (7 x 10) 2011
Price: $38.00

Not Yet Published, Available Spring/Summer 2011

Factual and fanciful tales of the Nordic warriors known as Vikings have proven irresistible to filmmakers for nearly a century. Diverse, prominent actors from Kirk Douglas, Richard Widmark and Sidney Poitier to Tim Robbins and John Cleese, and noted directors, including Richard Fleischer, Clive Donner and Terry Jones, have all lent their talents to Viking-related films. These fourteen essays on films dealing with the Viking era discuss American, British and European productions. Analyzed in detail are such films as The Vikings (1958), The Long Ships (1964), Alfred the Great (1969), Erik the Viking (1989) and Outlander (2008), as well as a pair of comic-strip adaptations, the live-action Prince Valiant (1997) and the animated Asterix and the Vikings (2006). A comprehensive filmography is also included.

About the Author
Kevin J. Harty is professor and chair of English at La Salle University in Philadelphia and associate editor of Arthuriana, the official journal of the North American Branch of the International Arthurian Society, of which he is the vice president. He is the author or editor of eleven books on film and medieval studies.