HAPPY NEW YEAR!
I am afraid I don’t know the answer to her question. Is there anyone out there who is able to help Annie with her question? I think it might interest the rest of the readers of HTBS, too.
I made a mental note when I read your posts about Frans Bengtsson to look out for a copy of The Long Ships. Sounds a good read, I thought. Just now, I went up to the top floor of Partridge Towers to look out a Hornblower book knew my son had up there, and lo and behold I found a copy of The Long Ships there. None of my family has a clue how it got here. I am looking forward to reading it, even though the cover has an even worse historical atrocity than the helmet wings on the new edition. Not only does the Viking warrior in the picture look as though he is asleep, he is wearing a helmet with cow horns. [See picture on the left.]
Cow horns have been comprehensively rubbished lately, even in the popular TV panel game QI. According to a transcript produced by a QI obsessive, Stephen Fry said: “Viking helmets didn’t have horns. It’s thought that they were actually little more than leather skullcaps, or nothing. The idea of horned helmets comes from various pre-Christian Celtic artefacts and depictions: wrong people and wrong era. The modern association with Vikings dates from a Swedish book illustrator named Gustav Malmström in the 1820s and from productions of Wagner’s Ring in the 1870s (not that the Ring is about Vikings), into which it was introduced by Carl Emil Doepler, the designer of that show. Furthermore, the horned helmets were a development of an earlier 19th century romantic notion: the winged helmet. Horns muscled wings out until they were revived by the Thor and Asterix comics.”
Mind you, that didn’t stop a crew from my club, Langstone Cutters, rowing the Great River Race in plastic cow horn helmets.
And so Chris ends his thoughts about awful book covers of the Bengtsson novel. I can only agree. There are some terribly ugly ones with historical blunders like horns and wings on the Vikings’ helmets. Why can’t the illustrators do a little research before they start putting their pen to paper? I believe some of their helmets were made of iron to protect them from sword blows, etc.
Besides the cover of Chris’s edition seen above, the first paperback edition from 1957, published by the New American Library, also has a dreadful cover, seen at the very top of this entry. But, of course, the important thing is what Frans G Bengtsson’s The Long Ships has to offer as a historical novel, not the different covers. I am delighted to hear that Chris found a copy of The Long Ships, and I am certain that he will enjoy the book; I am yet to find a reader of the book who did not like it!
Some years back I was subscribing to and writing book reviews and small pieces for the beautiful magazine Maritime Life and Traditions. I was sad when it went down the pipes in 2006. Somehow the National Maritime Historical Society’s magazine Sea History started to come instead, I guess as compensation, but when they wanted me to subscribe to it, I politely declined. To me, Sea History, although a nice publication, never came close to what Maritime Life and Traditions used to be, a first-class publication with well-written articles and wonderful illustrations in colour. On Friday, the latest issue of Sea History, No. 133, Winter 2010-11, showed up in the mail box. With the magazine came a letter asking me to ‘come back’ as a subscriber.
Then follows a list with descriptions of valuable rowing links (many you will find under my ‘Good Rowing Links’ on the right). Allow me to here quote McCracken: River & Rowing Museum; Fishmongers’ Company (which organise The Doggett’s Coat and Badge Race); Rowing History (The Friends of Rowing History); the National Rowing Foundation; Row2K; Henley Royal Regatta; The Boat Race; Head of the Charles; Pocock Racing Shells; Northwest Maritime Center; USRowing; Rowing Canada; British Rowing; 2012 London Olympic Rowing; and FISA World Rowing. Two rowing blogs are also mentioned in the article: Chris Partridge’s Rowing for Pleasure and HTBS (the blog you are on right now.)
Peter McCracken is happy to welcome other suggestions, please e-mail him at email@example.com