Monday, September 28, 2009

Tonight on The History Channel: Clash of the Gods -- Beowulf

Tonight we will finally find out how my talking-head performance went. It's time for Clash of the Gods: Beowulf. It airs at 10:00 p.m. Eastern Time on the History Channel.

I haven't seen the episode, but I'm hopeful that my attempt to explain the battle on the ice at Lake Vanern and the relevance of Eadgils (among other things) got picked up.

I didn't do as much for this episode as I did for The Lord of the Rings (next week) and Thor. but I answered a fair number of questions.

So it's not quite as exciting as the Staffordshire Hoard, but tomorrow (actually Tuesday, when the kids get to watch the recording) will be a fun day at the Drout homestead.

//Below I'm pasting in a repeat of a post for the benefit of people who are googling for Clash of the Gods.//

Welcome, History Channel Clash of the Gods Viewers

Thanks for dropping by. It was a real pleasure to work with The History Channel on the series. I contributed to the episodes on Beowulf (Sept. 28), The Lord of the Rings (Oct 5), and Beowulf (Oct. 12). All the shows air at 10 p.m. on Mondays on The History Channel. I myself haven't seen them yet, so I don't know how they'll come out, but the producers asked good questions and listened to my answers, so I'm pretty hopeful that the episodes will be good.

I'm Professor of English at Wheaton College in Massachusetts, where I teach Old English (also called Anglo-Saxon), Middle English (what Chaucer spoke), fantasy, science fiction and courses on J.R.R. Tolkien. This year I am on research leave and trying to finish four different books (on tradition, Tolkien, grammar and philology; in retrospect, I probably should have worked on one at a time), but I am giving some talks away from campus, including at Bowdoin College in Maine (Oct. 1 & 2) and Washington College in Maryland (April). I'll also be participating in one or more Scholarly Sojourns (more info to follow).

While you're here, look around the archives, or check out some things that may be of interest:

If you want to hear Anglo-Saxon, the language of Beowulf (and J.R.R. Tolkien's academic specialization), you can go to Angl0-Saxon Aloud, where I've posted a podcast of every poem in Anglo-Saxon (there are a lot). Some of the favorites are The Wanderer, The Seafarer, The Dream of the Rood, and excerpts from Beowulf.(just ignore the dialogue box; you don't need to give any info). Currently I'm recording and posting the homilies of Wulfstan, who would definitely have had a Sunday morning television show if he were alive today.

If you like Anglo-Saxon Aloud, you can buy the Anglo-Saxon Aloud: Greatest Hits, which is a two-CD set. This includes the most popular poems both in Old English and Modern English as well as introductory discussions of each poem.

Or, if you like both Anglo-Saxon and Beowulf, I also sell Beowulf Aloud, a 3-CD set that includes the entire poem of Beowulf plus an introductory lecture.

If you'd like to learn to read Anglo-Saxon, you can use my on-line grammar book, King Alfred's Grammar. The book is designed to walk you through Old English and does not assume that you already know a lot about grammar.

My edition of J.R.R. Tolkien's Beowulf and the Critics is temporarily out of print, but a new edition is at the publisher, so I'm hopeful that will be available soon. My book How Tradition Works is more technical, but, I think, interesting to those who like Anglo-Saxon literature and theories of cultural evolution.

My latest course on CD, The Anglo-Saxon World, should be out from Recorded Books' Modern Scholar series any day now. Until that comes out, I have a number of other courses available in the series, including those on Chaucer, Fantasy Literature, Science Fiction, The History of the English Language, Writing and Rhetoric, Approaches to Literature, Grammar (this is actually a really fun course) and Understanding Poetry.

Again, thanks for stopping by, and I appreciate any comments, suggestions or criticism. I'm also trying to convince The History Channel that they should do a whole series (or at least a longer show) on Beowulf and/or Anglo-Saxon. If you think that is a good idea, please let them know.


Dr. Richard Scott Nokes said...

It's shocking how much the Staffordshire Hoard has changed things already. As I was listening to the discussion of Sutton Hoo, I found myself chuckling at how quaint it all sounded. I thought, "If only this had aired a week earlier, I'd not have seen any irony here whatsoever."

By the way, good on you for having your own black jacket. Those black turtlenecks made the speakers look like hipster wannabes.

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