Book discussion

Rowland, Jennifer A B jennifer.rowland at ic.ac.uk
Wed Nov 27 06:15:28 EST 2002


Robyn wrote:
> I thought this might be something to think about as a way in to 
> a discussion about whether Spellcoats is in any way medieval/ist. Some 
> people I know have said they think it is pre-historic, but what does that
mean, 
> specifically. I also, of course, am interested in whether 
> people think there are literary resonances in the book. I can't decide - I

> know DWJ is informed enough to mean it when her books suggest medieval
texts.

I think the things that make Spellcoats feel pre-historic to me are: that
tribes are important; that the King and his people don't seem very
"courtly"- in fact the whole thing doesn't have the flavour of courtesy or
the particular sort of faerie/fantastic feel that the magic in the few
mediaeval things I've read do; and that the coats have to be deciphered, and
the prologue says that they have new knowledge, nobody had known there was a
king before Kern Adon- mediaeval texts have generally come down to us as
mss, we have known about them and been able to read them, but things that
are dug up by archaologists and translated afterwards seem older. 
I know the people seem very settled and quite "advanced", with farming and
weaving and whatnot, but I suppose (as far as I've ever thought about it at
all) I'm thinking of it as sort of analogous to the Bronze Age, which was
civilised, but mostly what we knew about it was from a few myths until
archaeology of the last 100 or so years.
OTOH I didn't really think about it much until I was actually composing this
post, so it's very possible I missed things as I read them- like literary
resonances. What might make it mediaeval?
(I'll read it tomorrow and be able to discuss it properly, not from memory).
Jennifer
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