Constructing Nations, Reconstructing Myth
Back in October, I made a brief reference to Constructing Nations, Reconstructing Myth: Essays in Honour of T.A. Shippey, a collection which I'm co-editing with Andrew Wawn and Graham Johnson. While we knew Brepols Publishers was going to pick it up for over a year, we now have a contract. It will be published as part of Brepols' Making the Middle Ages series, and the collection is about the “the Grimmian Revolution," what Shippey calls the development and the results of comparative philology in the 19th and 20th centuries. In the initial contact letter that we sent to potential contributors and in our initial discussions with Brepols, we offered the following possible topics:
-the effects of literary and linguistic discovery on European national self-definitionsThe collection will have 16 essays divided into three topics (nationalism, philology, and mythology) by scholars from 7 countries. It covers such topics the rise of Finnish vernacular literature, Beowulf, Tolkien as philologist and mythologist, Old Norse poetry and myth, the Mabinogi, Macpherson's Ossian and Scottish nationalism, Frisian and Danish "Grimmian" figures, and Anglo-Irish-Icelandic connections. It's on track to be published in October 2007.
-the way in which comparative philology was extended, successfully or not, to comparative mythology
-the creation of folkloristics as a study, including the collecting of folktale and folk-ballad
-the history of the recovery of the old Northern literatures and languages
-the reception of those literatures and languages in general, and the way they have altered modern literary sensibility.
What I don't think is going to be made explicit in the collection is how all of this, the whole of Grimmian Revolution, is social memory. Sometime after we finish editing the whole thing -- probably after the collection itself is out -- I plan on writing an essay on the Grimmian Revolution as projects in social memory.
There's something a bit exhilarating and a bit intimidating about signing a book contract.