I’ve long been fascinated by epic poems like The Iliad and The Odyssey,
Such wonderful tales passed down from generation to generation for hundreds and thousands of years, to the point where their origin can only be informed speculation.
So I’m looking forward to Nicholas Jubber’s illustrated BridLit talk, Epic Continent: Adventures in the Great Story of Europe, in the Bull Ballroom on Monday 4 November at 11.30am.
This is the kind of talk that could be overshadowed by the big hitters of Brid Lit this year but will prove to be an absolute gem, the kind of event you’re so glad you attended.
Jubber is an award-winning travel writer and he’s been exploring the continent’s epic poems from The Odyssey (my favourite) to Beowulf, The Song of Roland to The Nibelunfenlied, an epic poem written around 1200 in Middle High German (and which I had to look up on Wikipedia).
It’s apt that Jubber examines these poems’ impact on European identity in turbulent times. Perhaps there is an epic poem being created right now, in the midst of our own turbulent times here in the UK.
Enduring epic poems were inspired by seismic change. Shaped by their times, they have stirred passions ever since, motivating arms and revolutionaries just as they continue today.
In a review for The Times, Nick Rennison says: ‘His travels from one end of Europe to the other take him deep into the world of the epics. He goes to Sicily where puppeteers still entertain tourists with tales from The Song of Roland, recounting heroic deeds that date back to Charlemagne.
‘In a Serbian monastery, he sees an epic character in the flesh, in the preserved remains of Prince Lazar, hero of the Kosovo Cycle, and learns how this folk poetry from the Middle Ages was given new, often dangerous relevance in the Balkan conflicts of the 1990s.’
Jubber takes us on a fascinating adventure which illuminates so much of the story of Europe and why it is constantly changing.
One not to miss.