Sunday, June 23, 2019

Charles Williams on the difference between Wace and Layamon.

'The style of the two poets was very different. Wace carried on the culture and medieval splendour of Geoffrey. Layamon wrote under the poetic influence of the older poets, of the Anglo-Saxons. Wace is busy with courts and progress; Layamon with heroes and fighting. There is in Layamon something not unlike dialogue and exclamations: where Wace gives silk and the polish of steel, Layamon gives cloth and the weight of steel.'
(Charles Williams. Arthurian Torso. p223)

If the modern jury is out on Laȝamon's dept to Old English, the balance of that last sentence, and the aptness of the judgement, are both impressive.

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