The book group has now met five times and is proving fascinating.
“It was a great first meeting – the historical Whitbourne information really started to root Godwin in time and place, and people are engaged with the concept. I’m really excited by it, and have been having lots of ideas. Where did he get his ideas from? The classic question asked of every fiction writer … I have quite a few thoughts but I’m sure others will have more. It might be fun as we go along and learn more of the story and references to put ourselves in Godwin’s mind and, over the weeks, add in as a mind-map or diagram what sources might have influenced him.”
“Two things spring to mind – and they are related in an odd way. Firstly, the early 17th C was sandwiched between the ending of the era of Bloody Mary, Reformation etc., with very messy wars (notionally about religion) raging on the Continent; secondly, as a senior clergyman, Godwin was speaking and writing from a particular place in society: well-educated in a humanistic framework at a church-oriented university, but yet constrained by his episcopal role.
So, two sandwiches. This must have impacted greatly on his choice of vehicle for expressing his message.
If we assume it was published posthumously, that brings in a whole additional set of factors – if it was deliberately so, why did he not want it published sooner?”
“My hunch about possible sources of Godwin’s inspiration is that he could well have been familiar with the oral legend of the ‘Wolverley Knight’ – mish-mashed with other oral fragments of River Severn swan lore. He may also have read The Knight of the Swanne at some point, which is the source of a very popular reference to a Swan pulled boat.
He was probably also familiar with Sir John Mandeville’s travels and Frampton’s translation of The Travels of Marco Polo.
Raspe’s much later 18th century ‘Baron Munchausen’ contains two trips to the moon – the book is partly original material but also recycles many motifs from popular (Folk) lying tales (and these can have very ancient origins).
There are several folk legends of the Man in the Moon: in medieval and Jewish legend it is the place of Cain’s banishment.”
Please join us if you can; everyone with an interest can come, copies of the book are still available to borrow – and there are teas and cake and good conversation!
Next meeting is on Monday November 26th at 7pm in the Village Hall and we will be discussing the final part of the book and the next stages of the project.