Just in time for Christmas comes the perfect solution to that vexed matter of "Dad's Stocking Filler" - a new scholarly edition of one of Dorset's best-loved medieval poems: Geoffrey Cuppen-Saucer's The Turbary Park Tales*.
* This is a solution in the sense of something to put in said stocking in order to "bulk it out". It cannot be said with any certainty either that this is what Dad wanted or that he will be delighted to see it. It will, however, have served at least one purpose - something the kids can give him and care not a jot whether he likes it or not. Unwrapping of their own presents can then continue in good conscience
Newly edited by University of Afpuddle Professor of Mediaeval Poetry Gawain Greenman, this - the first critical edition in over a decade - features an all new transliteration as well as a modernised text designed to make the otherwise challenging poem available to a much wider readership. "The aim", says Professor Greenman, "is to bring the text into the 21st century and to encumber it with all the trappings, obsessions, prejudices, preoccupations and fashionable causes of the current era. Only by so doing can we force Cullen-Saucer's narrative to conform to our own firm presuppositions and understandings".
Asked if the aim of scholars might not be simply to clarify the text and let it speak for itself, Professor Greenman is more than clear: "Absolutely not!", he says. "What a bizarre and old fashioned view of the responsibilities of scholarship". "What, after all, would be the point of that when we have in our possession an authenticated document from the past that we can use to support of our current views and thereby prove their timeless worth, universal geographical applicability and eternal verity?" "I might add that in the process we can also elevate Cuppen-Saucer himself from both obscurity and odium; rephrasing his objectionable antiquated - indeed almost medieaeval - views in such a way as to limit any damage to his literary reputation. I think of it as conservation, preservation, restoration, justiofication, representation and falsification in one well-researched package".
Threadstones the quality High Street bookstore reports that it has sufficient stocks to keep everyone happy. Their Afpuddle University Campus Store Assistant Perry Oddical says: "supply will certainly outstrip demand", adding "and I imagine if you absolutley don't have to have it for Christmas, you will find it in the January Sales bin come 16th December".
Meanwhile the critics are highly excited. "We are highly excited", confirmed The Mappowder Mirror's Literary Supplement Editor Paige Turner. "There are rumours of a new Rowena Westlake and we have all just boiled over".
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Not sure if medieval poetry is your bag? Think it might be a load of old tosh? Why not surprise yourself by downloading an extract from the Prologue to Geoffrey Cuppen-Saucer's The Turbary Park Tales? [HERE] University of Afpuddle Professor of Mediaeval Poetry Gawain Greenman's new revised critical edition is "colourful, racy**, cosmopolitan and a perfect companion for that disco night" [Sydling St Nicholas Sun]
** NB Not racist
Warning: Not suitable for small children. This extract includes a reference to sexual intercourse.