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A Restitution of Decayed Intelligence in Antiquities
Tekijä: Richard Verstegan
Ei tämänhetkisiä Keskustelu-viestiketjuja tästä kirjasta.
Tämä arvostelu kirjoitettiin LibraryThingin Varhaisia arvostelijoita varten.There are far more layers to this work than I expected to find when I clicked "request".
First, the editor has been working on a vast project for years, with the goal of attributing Renaissance British texts to specific individuals through various forms of analysis. This covers everything from speeches given by Queen Elizabeth I and tracts generally attributed to Sir Walter Raleigh all the way to the King James Bible. This project also takes a side as to whether or not William Shakespeare actually existed, among many other things. The idea of a small conspiracy of writers putting out nearly everything of note in Renaissance England is intriguing, but way beyond what I thought this was going to involve.
Second, the original author (Richard Verstegan/Rowlands) is alleged to have been part of this secretive conspiracy and forged a whole bunch of texts on history in between creating speeches for the Queen or writing the King James Bible. The editor portrays him and the other members of the conspiracy as the Edmund Backhouses of the late 16th century - a bunch of people forging all kinds of stuff and attributing them to other people who may or may not have existed, or if they did exist, weren't literate/otherwise capable of writing anything complex.
Third, this book is alleged to be the first surviving text in English (albeit not rendered into modern English until now) describing how England was created by the Anglo-Saxons and how the English should feel especially proud of themselves for being Anglo-Saxon. This racist "just so" story is why I requested the book in the first place and it's explained in extensive (although at best questionable, I think) Renaissance historic understanding. Whether or not Rowlands/Verstegan was the master forger he is alleged to have been, the book focuses heavily on the origins of the Anglo-Saxon language and people, strongly connecting both to Germany. There is also a lot of nominally Biblical history and geography, most of which I find dubious regardless of who's writing it. The explanation of the origins of the word "Saxon" come off similar to a lot of folk etymologies I've heard, though considering it was written about 400 years ago that might have been the best the writer could have done. The dictionary of Anglo-Saxon words and names is particularly interesting considering its age.
I also alert possible readers that at ~500 pages it wouldn't be a quick read anyway, plus the very dense academic writing and numerous side theories or possibilities alluded to in the text make it that much more complicated. One thing I noticed as an Arabic speaker is that when languages using the Arabic script come up in the footnotes (Arabic, Farsi, etc) the text is printed in the wrong direction. I don't know how to read Hebrew, but I know it's written right to left like Arabic, so that might have happened with the Hebrew as well.
Delightful jumble of erudition by an Anglo-Dutch antiquary and Catholic apologist (circa 1548-1630), designed to introduce the language and culture of the Anglo-Saxons to their English descendants. Also includes the first English reference to the story of the Pied Piper (this phrase seems to be Verstegan's own invention). - Since uploading this item I have had to part with the 1655 edition; the present one (Wing V269) is identical except for the title-page.
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Richard Verstegan's book A Restitution for Decayed Intelligence in Antiquities was available from LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
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The book covers different aspects of ancient history, discussing the origins of language and writing, before moving on to explore the religions and philosophies of the ancient world.
Verstegan's attention to detail provides a wealth of information about every aspect of ancient life, from the types of food that people ate to the clothes they wore and the games they played. This level of detail makes the book not only informative but also incredibly immersive.
Overall, "A Restitution for Decayed Intelligence in Antiquities" is an outstanding work that is essential reading for anyone interested in the history and culture of the ancient world. Verstegan's writing is engaging and informative, and his attention to detail makes the book a true delight to read. Highly recommended. ( )