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Reading La3amon’s <i>Brut</i>

Approaches and Explorations

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For La3amon, or Lawman (both forms are used), a parish priest living on the Welsh March c.1200, the criteria of language, race and territory all provided ways of defining the nation state, which is why his <I>Brut</I> commands a diverse readership to-day. The range of view-points in this book reflects the breadth and complexity of La3amon’s own vision of the way his world is moulded by past conquests and racial tensions. The <I>Brut</I> is an open-ended narrative of Britain, its peoples, and its place-names as they changed under new rulers, and tells, for the first time in English, the rise and fall of Arthur, highlighting his role in the unfolding history of Britain. Beginning with its legendary founder, Brutus, the story is imagined anew, and although it concludes with an Anglo-Saxon kingdom, La3amon’s closing words remind us that changes will come:<I> i-wurðe þet iwurðe: i-wurðe Godes wille. Amen</I>. This book offers detailed discussion and new perspectives. Its contributors explore aspects of behaviour and attitudes, personal and national identity and governance, language, metre, and the reception of La3amon’s Brut in later times. Comparisons are made with Latin writings and with French, Welsh, Spanish and Icelandic, placing La3amon firmly within a European network of readers and redactors. The book will interest those working on medieval chronicles, as well as specialists in medieval law, custom, English language and literature, and comparative literature.

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