November 27, 2022


On the Fall of Fated Men: a review of The Anglo-Saxons. A History of the Beginnings of England: 400-1066 by Marc Morris (Timothy D. Lush, Nov 27, 2022, University Bookman)

A miasmic progressivism choked the life out of academia long ago. Scholars, the great Anglo-Saxonist J.R.R. Tolkien might have observed, are passing into shadow. Rambaran-Olm and Wade have plenty of company. The ponderously named International Society for the Study of Early Medieval England--formerly known as the International Society of Anglo-Saxonists--changed its name in 2019 due to "problematic connotations that are widely associated with the terms 'Anglo-Saxon' and 'Anglo-Saxonist' in public discourse."

As with all organizational statements of this sort, it offers no substance or clarity. If people really were standing around talking about the Anglo-Saxons and connoting problematic things all over the place, well, then, perhaps Rambaran-Olm might have a point. But then I might also be encouraged by the fact that people were talking about something other than Chris Rock getting slapped at the Academy Awards.

Narrative historians are smirking at all this because it will translate into better sales for popular history. Who wants to read a book by the intellectually pompous trying to prove ideological purity? We want good stories told well. Marc Morris's latest book is just that. Ranging over six centuries of invasion, immigration, and royal intrigue, Morris recounts the fascinating tale of that elusive bunch known, quite rightly, as the Anglo-Saxons.

For his part, he will have none of the progressive renaming project. Morris concedes that the Germanic peoples who inhabited Britain from roughly the 5th century onward did not think of themselves as Anglo-Saxons. Rather, they thought of themselves as Angles or Saxons or Jutes.

We Jutes (Judds) are down with that. 

Posted by at November 27, 2022 12:00 AM