Over the northern summer I read Paul Kingsnorth’s 2014 novel The Wake. It’s set during the Norman invasion of England in 1066 but the most striking thing about it is that it’s written in Kingsnorth’s own version of Old English. It was such a struggle to read initially but also remarkable how, with time, I became used to the words and their rhythm. Here are two small quotes that really struck a chord with me.
cilde i has telt thu how the land specs and thu has seen in this ham how folcs has teorned from it to the hwit crist and this has been the brecan of angland cilde. it is not in the words cilde it is not in bocs thu moste go to the holt to the fenn sleep by the waters cilde in the wuds in the regn do not spec and thu will waec one daeg and the land will be in thu and thu in it and thu will feel as it feels and all that it has will be in thu cilde and in this way the eald gods will return cilde they will return in thu.
men i saes we has been sold none can be trusted now none. we has gifen our selfs too free to others. there is no triewth beyond this holt no triewth in men. triewth is in the ground in the treows i has lystned too micel to men.