After a year taking care of other matters including editing, writing, teaching, I have resumed work on my Bevis book with a renewed sense of urgency as it is hoped that publication will coincide with the planned Southampton Literary Festival. Planning is at an early stage, and its practicalities are in other hands, but whatever happens I shall now aim to complete the book by next October.
It is a delight to be back with Bevis again, although planning its exact form is a work in progress. At present it is planned as 2 volumes to accommodate both aspects – the strictly medieval contexts relating to the text (Volume 1), and Tolkien’s use of the romance and its medieval contexts (Volume 2). Both volumes will begin with my own modern-English translation, followed by the contexts and commentary. Neither volume is intended to be a work of academic rigour but in Volume 1 – to bring together an accessible translation with enough background information to make the specifically medieval details of the story clear and interesting to non-academic readers. Volume 2 will follow the same format but provide a commentary on the importance of the story for understanding certain episodes in Tolkien’s works.
An academic edition of Bevis of Hampton is already available as an unpublished PhD thesis by Jennifer Fellowes. Jon Tier has also been working on Bevis for his thesis. The Middle English version of the romance may also be downloaded via the Kalamazoo website, and the standard academic ME text remains Eugen Kölbing’s, Sir Beues of Hamptoun.
This blog will now be used for regular updates on the progress of the project.