September 2017

Writing Alfred the Great

Alfred the Great is not one of the neglected figures of history. Interest in him as the founder of a dynasty, a nation builder, a university founder, a scholar, a poet, a warrior, and, in latter days, even a lover, has, over the past millennium made him an all-round wonderful guy. For one Victorian writer, he was the “most perfect character in history.” When I was approaching the job of writing a new book about Alfred, it became clear that Alfred might, however, have benefited from a higher degree of neglect from some of his biggest fans. Many historians, beginning...

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