Neal Stephenson and Beowulf
Neal Stephenson, one of my favorite authors, was interviewed by Slashdot. Stephenson is best known for his SF, especially for Snowcrash and The Diamond Age. His recent work, including a mammoth trilogyThe Baroque Cycle, has brought him to the attention of people who might not ordinarily read SF. Stephenson has also written In the Beginning was the Command Line, a very readable treatise on the nature of computer interfaces. In the Slashdot interview, Stephenson draws a distinction between two types of modern writers and, in an extended analogy, compares them with Dante, who had wealthy aristocratic patrons, and to the Beowulf poet. Regarding the Beowulf poet Stephenson says: But I…
Tolkien on Beowulf
There’s a SlashDot story that links to a story about the discovery by Professor Michael Drout (yes, he of the Wormtalk blog) having brought to light an unpublished and hitherto unknown translation of Beowulf by Tolkien. Drout has already edited and published Beowulf and the Critics. I can see, from the SlashDot story and other things I’ve seen on and off line about Tolkien and Lord of the Rings, in part because of the films, that I need to write an FAQ about Tolkien and languages, particularly the Celtic ones. Give me a couple of days, and I will.