history, travel

A Visit to Keldur, Iceland

Anyone familiar with Iceland has likely heard something about turf houses, the iconic grass-roofed houses that grace the countryside, carried over from insulation methods in medieval Norway. I wrote once before about RΓΊtshellir, a famous old cave guarded by a turf-covered barn. But while the cave itself might be the oldest man-made residence in Iceland,… Continue reading A Visit to Keldur, Iceland

history, linguistics, literature

Dragons and Sin in Medieval Germanic Literature

Dragon-like figures feature prominently in folklore from around the world. They often hold---or once held---special significance to their respective cultures. Chinese dragons historically symbolized good luck and imperial power, and were used in iconography surrounding the emperor. The founder of the Han dynasty went so far as to claim that his mother dreamt of a… Continue reading Dragons and Sin in Medieval Germanic Literature

literature

Death of the Author: An Analysis of Wordsworth

Anyone who's studied the English canon has likely been exposed to the famous daffodils in "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud." William Wordsworth was undoubtedly passionate about the natural world in general--it featured prominently in his poetry, and, together with Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Robert Southey, he was grouped rather disparagingly as one of the… Continue reading Death of the Author: An Analysis of Wordsworth

linguistics, literature

Dialects in Literature: A Look at Robert Burns

It's a song commonly played to ring in the New Year, bidding farewell to the old. Across the English-speaking world, it's used for graduations, for funerals, for any major transitional period in one's life. As a result, pretty much everyone is familiar with the tune. But growing up, I never knew anyone who was actually… Continue reading Dialects in Literature: A Look at Robert Burns

history, literature

History through Poems: Examining Beowulf

Epic poems have incredible staying power both as literary achievements and as historical resources. The Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf is one of the foremost examples of this. Despite its mythological themes, the story offers historians a rare insight into Anglo-Saxon ideals of masculinity, heroism, and society. At the same time, it presents literary scholars with a… Continue reading History through Poems: Examining Beowulf

culture, history

A Brief History of Fraktur

𝕻𝖔𝖕 π––π–šπ–Žπ–Ÿ: π–œπ–π–†π–™ π–Žπ–˜ π–™π–π–Š π–“π–†π–’π–Š 𝖔𝖋 π–™π–π–Žπ–˜ 𝖋𝖔𝖓𝖙? At first glance, many folks in the English-speaking world would probably call it "Old English," but that name isn't really accurateβ€”the Old English language predates this style by a few centuries, and the calligraphic hands used to write Old English were entirely different. Its real name… Continue reading A Brief History of Fraktur