Shakespeare and the Psalms Mystery: Did Shakespeare Help Write the King James Bible?

Shakes46th cover (kindle)

The answer, of course, is ‘no’. The author, Jem Bloomfield, explains over on his blog, Quite Irregular why he decided to write a book whose title is a QTWAIN, but it boils down to ‘because it’s really interesting‘.

If you’re also fascinated by the King James Bible, literary conspiracy theories, Hebrew poetry, translation, Trollope or even Kipling, this might be the book for you.

The story involves the story of Laurence Chaderton, a clergyman who played the role of Queen Hippolyta in a play as a teenager, but who later wrote polemics about how the theatre corrupted society and encouraged unnatural lust.  It involves examining the poetic metres into which the Psalms were translated, and which eventually produced the hymn “All People That On Earth Do Dwell”.  And it involves seeing how Mary Sidney and Edmund Spenser wove the same psalm into their own poetry, and the bravado, piety, and smut they made of it.

Available from Amazon in kindle or paperback.

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Taliessin through Logres

We’ve recently published the second of Charles William’s collections of Arthurian poetry.

In them, Charles Williams, a friend and comrade of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, weaves his own version of the legends of King Arthur with his imaginative accounts of Byzantium and Christendom.

Dense, subtle and full of astonishing turns of phrase, the poems bring together history, theology, myth and literature in a prodigious work of intellect and imagination. Their style varies from ringing rhymes and cunningly wrought stanzas, to alliterative lines recalling Anglo-Saxon poetry, as Williams retells the stories that have inspired writers from Malory to Tennyson to Zimmer Bradley.

Over at Quite Irregular, Jem Bloomfield has written a post about Taliessin through Logres.

Region of the Summer Stars begins: the theme is what was anciently called the Matter of Britain; that is, the reign of King Arthur in Logres and the Achievement of the Grail … The time historically is after the conversion of the Empire to Christianity but during the expectation of the Return of Our Lord (the Parousia).

It’s the beginning of a gripping, readable set of poems about the Matter of Britain.

The stars vanished; they gone, the illumined dusk
under the spell darkened to the colour of porphyry,
the colour of the stair of Empire and the womb of woman,
and the rich largesse of the Emperor; within was a point,
deep beyond or deep within Logres,
as if it had swallowed all the summer stars