Friday, November 18, 2016

What is Levi Roach reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Levi Roach, author of Æthelred: The Unready.

His entry begins:
My most recent read was R.I. Moore’s War on Heresy. I’m a long-time fan of Moore, so it’s something of an embarrassment that it took me so long to get around to the book. I started reading it while on holiday in Toulouse. The southern French city – which witnessed some of the most dramatic heresy trials of the Middle Ages – offered the ideal backdrop.

Moore seeks to understand the origins medieval Europe’s obsession with heresy. As he notes, before the second half of the twelfth century, false belief had only been a matter of passing concern; thereafter, however, it became something of a fixation. Moore argues that this was a consequence of socio-economic changes in the preceding years (above all, economic boom and the growth of government and administration). These placed traditional social bonds under strain, encouraging a ‘back-to-basics’ approach to faith; they also provided authorities with...[read on]
About Æthelred: The Unready, from the publisher:
An imaginative reassessment of Æthelred "the Unready," one of medieval England’s most maligned kings and a major Anglo-Saxon figure

The Anglo-Saxon king Æthelred "the Unready" (978–1016) has long been considered to be inscrutable, irrational, and poorly advised. Infamous for his domestic and international failures, Æthelred was unable to fend off successive Viking raids, leading to the notorious St. Brice’s Day Massacre in 1002, during which Danes in England were slaughtered on his orders. Though Æthelred’s posthumous standing is dominated by his unsuccessful military leadership, his seemingly blind trust in disloyal associates, and his harsh treatment of political opponents, Roach suggests that Æthelred has been wrongly maligned. Drawing on extensive research, Roach argues that Æthelred was driven by pious concerns about sin, society, and the anticipated apocalypse. His strategies, in this light, were to honor God and find redemption. Chronologically charting Æthelred’s life, Roach presents a more accessible character than previously available, illuminating his place in England and Europe at the turn of the first millennium.
Learn more about Æthelred: The Unready at the Yale University Press website.

Writers Read: Levi Roach.

--Marshal Zeringue