Tag Archives: Beowulf

The island at the heart of Tolkien’s imagination

Zealand (Danish: Sjælland) is the largest island of modern Denmark. Back in 1907 the Anglo-Saxon scholar H.M. Chadwick identified Zealand as the center of the ancient fertility cult of Nerthus, a goddess worshipped by a confederacy of Northern tribes that included the Angles (that is, the English). With the recent publication of Tolkien’s Beowulf, Zealand has come into view as the island at the heart of Tolkien’s imagination. Continue reading

Beowulf and UKIP

Two events of the last couple of days have arrested my attention: the much hyped launch of J.R.R. Tolkien’s translation of Beowulf and the astonishing electoral success of the anti-EU British political party, UKIP.

What do these two events have in common? From the more or less (mainly less) interesting media pundits I’ve been reading, nothing at all. But a better awareness regarding the first might have helped stem the tide of the second. Continue reading