Thursday, March 23, 2006

A stranger in my own land

A friend has kindly passed me her copy of Boudica: dreaming the serpent spear by Manda Scott. I haven't started to read it yet, but have read the Author's notes.

My main problem with Scott (and I've read all three of the previous Boudica novels, btw) is that she seems to think that since Boudica lost back in the 1st centry, this island has been tainted by all that has come since. This, of course, implies that any peoples who have arrived here from that time onward are a malign influence. This means the Anglo-Saxons, the Vikings, the Normans, the Jews, the Hugenots, all other immigrants, and presumably right on up to the present day.

Scott says: 'Our land may have been ruled by the natural inheritors of Rome. They may have spread their influence across the globe, their need to control all that they do not understand ...' Who is the 'Our' in 'Our land' Am I included in that statement? Or am I one of the 'natural inheritors'? You calling me a pikey? You disrepecting me? Am I bovvered though?

Either way, there's a distinct whiff of exclusion going on here.*

Hey! I've just found out that the way I've been loading photos was limited by my browser. Now I'm using a different browser, it's much easier to upload photos, eg, of the lovely Lauren.

*Note to self: in future, don't read these sort of mystical historical fiction novels, else you'll burst another blood vessel.


At 6:34 pm GMT, Blogger Gabriele C. said...

Well, are you an Italian invader now, or a natural heir of the Romans returning to her rightful place? :-)

At 7:19 pm GMT, Blogger Sarah Cuthbertson said...

Alex, if you're either of these, we'd better watch our step here or you might subject us to "genocide, segregation and urbanisation, a stripping of a people from their land and their gods", all over again. That's a quote from her comments about Boudica: Dreaming the Eagle on her website, BTW.

As you rightly point out, Manda seems to have no grounding in British history between the Roman invasion and the present day. Why does she think we speak a Germanic rather than a Romance language? Why does she think our our legal sytem has an Anglo-Saxon base?

Simon Scarrow tells how he met Manda at a book event and asked her why she hated the Romans so much. "Because," she replied, "I can't forgive them for what they did to my people." MY people. WTF?

At 10:38 pm GMT, Blogger Gabriele C. said...

Oh dear, that's worse than some US Scots on a forum I've left, to still be mad at the English because they kicked Bonnie Prince Charlie out of their country.

At 10:47 pm GMT, Blogger Alex Bordessa said...

Cripes, Gabriele, I dunno! I'm really not sure what Scott is talking about. But I rather suspect anyone who isn't 'Celtic' isn't welcome in Britain, no matter how long they've lived here.

Now, now, Sarah, bad language at your age ;-) At least Scott's done in your era now. But she might appear in mine, and I'm darn worried ... I guess the Mists of Avalon is due for a rehash. Oh boy ...

At 11:28 pm GMT, Blogger Stephen said...

Boudica was British. Scott considers herself, I believe, to be Scottish. They therefore come from two different groups of people whose languages were mutually incomprehensible before either lot set foot on the shores of these islands.

Boudica would have felt no more kinship with the Scots (at the time Hibernian gaels) than she would have done with the Romans.

At 8:40 am GMT, Blogger Alex Bordessa said...

But they're all 'Celts' so apparently they have natural kinship?! Later on the Scotii invaded Caledonia. Presumably, the Romans were to blame for that as well. Hey ho.

At 9:38 pm GMT, Blogger Stephen said...

Well, you know my views on this: there were no Celts in the British Isles before 1700. Celticism and Pan-Celtic harmony were political inventions aimed at rallying opposition to the 1707 Act of Union.

Who does Manda Scott blame for the rise of trousers?

At 10:43 pm GMT, Blogger Alex Bordessa said...

We'll find out, no doubt, when/if she ventures into Late Roman Britain, which may be on the cards.

At 6:01 am BST, Blogger JOE ROESCH said...

I'd be pleased to have you visit the website for my recently published historical novel, "Boudica, Queen of The Iceni" (Robert Hale, Ltd, London). While it's a work of fiction,it adheres to the historical record as faithfully as the recent History Channel docu-drama, "Warrrior Queen Boudica." Joseph E. Roesch, [My thanks to Gabriele and others who have already stopped by!]


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