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Epic continent: adventures in the great stories of europe
A boatload of men rushing away from a war-zone, seeking sanctuary in the islands of the Mediterranean... A squabble amongst the French political elite, over the best way to 'deal with Islam'... A broken alliance in Northern Europe, grievances festering, leading to wholesale destruction... Are these stories ripped from the front pages of our newspapers - or the plots of epic sagas written hundreds of years ago? In A Continent of Epics, award-winning travel writer Nicholas Jubber journeys across Europe, exploring the epic poems and how they have a startling resonance in contemporary times. Reaching back to the era remembered as 'the Age of Migration', Jubber explores how attitudes to population movement, borders, kin relations, sex, class and political structures are dramatised in the ancient and medieval epics. From Homer's Odyssey, through the devastating conflict of the French Song of Roland and the German Nibelungenlied, to the great Viking sagas such as Beowulf and the Icelandic Njal's Saga, these are timeless tales about human nature; but also windows into other societies, with different emphases on matters of honour, kinship, fundamentalism and fate. Both a thrilling look at the stories sung by medieval bards and minstrels and a journey across a continent struggling with its identity, A Continent of Epics examines how the great heroes dealt with their manifold challenges and explores how their influence has resonated down the ages to impact on what it means to be 'European' today.
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