Aktualności ze świata miłośników twórczości Tolkiena

It’s about darkness and shadow. And light….

beowulf-1.jpgbeowulf-2.jpgNiesamowity duet – Nicki Raven oraz John Howe, wydają nowa wersje Beowulfa. Ten epicki poemat heroiczny, istniejący w tradycji ustnej prawdopodobnie już ok VIII wieku, został na nowo opowiedziany przez Nicka Ravena. Jonh Howe oczywiście przygotował piękne ilustracje do tej publikacji. Co ciekawe ten znakomity tolkienowski artysta, napisał również wstęp do książki, w którym przybliża czytelnikom swoje „zmagania” z Beowulfem. Natomiast na swojej stronie internetowej dzieli się z nami tymi oto niesamowitymi i pięknymi przemyśleniami:

This October, Templar Publishing will be bringing out a new retelling of Beowulf.
Of course, being an illustrator, I did a few pictures, but also a few words of introduction, which I wanted to share, with the editor’s permission. (The text had to be shortened a little for the book itself.)

Beowulf is a light in the darkness. Beowulf is the lost hero who cannot save himself from his destiny, although he ultimately wins every battle but the last, the battle no one wins.

How many other Beowulfs were never written? How many other Beowulfs fell into silence and obscurity when their telling dwindled, like coals slowly crumbling to ash. The stories lost ever outnumber those
recalled, making the few that have come down through the haphazard gauntlet of time all the more precious.

Like most things in my life, it started not with words but with an image.

My first glimpse of Beowulf was of Grendel actually, when I was in high school. At the local library, I was drawn across three aisles to the cover of the eponymous novel by John Gardener by a black and white rendering of the monster in a slithy crouch that took his silhouette right across the spine and the back cover. Creepy and irresistible. I checked out the book, devoured it in much the same fashion Grendel does his victims, speedily and messily. (And with as little afterthought, I’m sure.)

Many years later I received a copy of The Monsters and the Critics, where JRR Tolkien stands up in stalwart defence of a tale too often dismissed as fancy. I devoured this one much more slowly and thoughtfully, before finally reading a translation of the story itself.

Like so many texts of a like nature, it is a window on a world. Or, rather more appropriately, and arrow slit in a high tower wall, affording a few details but above all the knowledge that the view will forever be tantalizingly inadequate. Sometimes I feel like a willing prisoner in that lofty tower of windows ; a window to a wild western shore, where Cuchulain leaps and does battle, a window to the south, where I can see the Argo far off on a turquoise sea, a smudge of smoke on the far horizon of the Iliad; another gives me glimpses of Ultima Thule when the mists kindly part ; a third opens on Danté’s Florence or on another Dante’s Victorian ideals, still another silhouettes Camelot at bright sunrise and inexorable crepuscule. Modern authors have chipped holes and fashioned wordwindows in this same edifice – Tolkien, Holdstock, Lovecraft, Hobb, and others. These are worlds into which of course I cannot enter, but the view is their gift and I may descend and cultivate my own garden of images gleaned from without. (Of course that tower has a door, but it leads to none of those worlds, but one rather more mundane.)

Beowulf’s world may be remote, but it is brought close by the very distance that separates us from him, stripping away facile and pointless comparisons, and placing archetype before anecdote. His is a world of spangelhelms, long ships, shield bosses and fibulae. These older worlds are worlds of texture and grain, where man’s hand is visible in everything he fashions. Seen from a comfortable world made by machines, such universes hold an especial appeal. I marvel at the smallest objects and if some unassuming kinship to those thousands of anonymous craftsmen were possible, I would gladly take it. Without forge or chisels, the closest I can come is through pencils and brushes, the tools of mytharcheology, to painstakingly uncover a pantheon that is mine and not mine.

Naturally, it’s also all about what I would call Essence and Incident. The Essence is the Story, the doomed hero’s tale, which can be analysed as such : dissected, with parallels drawn and timelines crafted, history tacked on, language explored. Incident is the journey into anecdote – library books, extra reading, sketching out ideas and scenes, and ultimately making one further fiction, the images to tell that story. Incident is the costumes the actors wear this time around and the stage that is set for this telling of the Story.

But it’s about more than that.
It’s about darkness and shadow. And light.

The light we gather around, the light that we share as fellow humans, is a fragile thing, and stormy winds blow to extinguish it. The ill winds from which we must shield that flickering light are not the blustery, rain-filled ones off the sea our ancestors knew. Rather, they are the storms inside, the tides that carry us from one fast fiction to another; the lifestyles we live seem to have no place for an irksome epic written in a language still open to debate. It’s no part of our lives, why should it be ?

But, encounters are always possible, and for me they always begin – and end – with images.

Beowulf is so much more than just a tale of monsters and flashing swords.
Beowulf’s refusal to surrender, first to the rending darkness that reaches into Heorot, and then to creaking old age where the dragon waits, is a beautiful and moving story.

Beowulf may be a tale from the so-called Dark Ages, but would that our own Age of Enlightenment could provide flames as bright.

Pojawia się tam również (na stronie artysty) fragment książki w formacie PDF (tutaj). Ciekawe wydaje się to, że jak zapewne wielu z Was wie, Tolkien tłumaczył Beuwulfa, Galadhorn napisał (forum Elendili)

„Od wielu lat wiemy, że J.R.R. Tolkien opracował własne tłumaczenie anglosaksońskiego poematu pt. Beowulf. Są to właściwie dwa tłumaczenia: poetyckie (fragment poematu na ok. 600 wersów) i prozatorskie (pełne tłumaczenie). Od wielu też lat czekamy na jego wydanie (w opracowaniu dr. Drouta, który niejako „odkrył” je w Bibliotece Bodlejskiej w 1996 r. – choć oczywiście Ch. Tolkien i niektórzy badacze znali te teksty od dawna)…”

Książka dostępna jest już w przedsprzedaży miedzy innymi w księgarni internetowej Amazon.

Kategorie wpisu: Nowości wydawnicze, Pliki do ściągnięcia

2 Komentarzy do wpisu "It’s about darkness and shadow. And light…."

Galadhorn, dnia 02.08.2007 o godzinie 0:10

Wow! Co za dzieło. Grafiki Howe’a rewelacyjne. A znacie grafiki do „Beowulfa” autorstwa Anke Eißmann? Telperionie, więcej takich rewelacyjnych informacji pliz! Pozdrówka (siedzę nad artykułem do Sn).

Telperion, dnia 02.08.2007 o godzinie 0:14

Kiedy zobaczyłem jego rysunki w tym pliku PDF to mnie powaliło, ale to co napisał o Beowulfie na swojej stronie ukazuje dopiero jego potencjał- nie tylko plastyczny….

Zostaw komentarz