I am plotting a course of study that should take me on a long and rewarding journey. Many of my favorite authors – Borges, Lewis, Tolkien, Bellairs, Chesterton, Wynne Jones, Gaiman, Pratchett – have all revealed in their work some knowledge of, to generalize, early medieval culture. I have decided to learn as much as I can about the same subject as a research project, precursor to my own writing.
First comes the research. Lots of research.
I would like to study several languages – Icelandic / Old Norse, Spanish, and Old English. I’ll also need to brush up on my Welsh and German. This will make it possible to consult historical texts in their original languages, at least to some degree. I’ve always enjoyed learning new languages as a hobby, but without use the things I learn fade away. Now I have a reason to use what I learn.
I’d also like to read the biographies and full works of the authors in whose steps I’m following. I’ve got stacks of books and lists of titles to hunt down.
I want to study the history of Europe during the times before, during, and after Roman occupation, the times when Germanic tribes traveled across great distances, fighting, conquering, migrating… I’d like to create a moving map covering centuries of shifting geography and population.
That’s the beginning. Once I’ve gotten some understanding of language and physical histories, I want to study cultures and, ultimately, legends and myths. I want to discover all those old stories for myself.
I am excited about every step of this enormous project and hope to keep things organized using the posts, categories, and tags of my blog. Over the years I’ve filled notebooks with quotes from books I’ve read, my own writings, and information on languages studied. Here is my attempt at organization, making my notes much more useful by making them accessible and connected.
“I’m merely a dreamer, and then a writer, and my happiest moments are when I’m a reader.”
-Jorge Luis Borges