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The Britannias: An Archipelago's Tale

The Britannias: An Archipelago's Tale

ISBN: 9780393608557
Regular price $32.23 USD
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From Neolithic Orkney, Viking Shetland, and Druidical Anglesey to the joys and strangeness of modern Thanet, The Britannias explores the farthest reaches of Britain's island topography, once known by the collective term "Britanniae" (the Britains). This expansive journey demonstrates how the smaller islands have wielded disproportionate influence on the mainland, becoming the fertile ground of political, cultural, and technological innovations that shaped history throughout the archipelago.

In an act of feminist inquiry, personal adventure, and literary quest, Alice Albinia embarks on a series of journeys that traverse Britain and reach beyond its contemporary borders--from Europe to the Caribbean, Ireland to Scandinavia. She walks the coastlines of Lindisfarne, sails through the Hebrides archipelago, and bikes into Westminster at dawn. As she takes us across extravagantly varied island topographies and surveys centuries of history, Albinia ranges between languages and genres, and through disparate island cultures. She talks to stubbornly independent islanders and searches for archaeological and linguistic traces of island identities, discovering distinct traditions and resistance to mainland control.

Trespassing into the past to understand the present, The Britannias uncovers an enduring and subversive mythology of islands ruled by women. Albinia finds female independence woven through Roman colonial reports and Welsh medieval poetry, Restoration utopias and island folk songs. These neglected epics offer fierce feminist countercurrents to mainstream narratives of British identity and shed new light on women's status in the body politic today.

Vivid, perceptive, and disruptive, The Britannias boldly upturns established truths about Britain while revealing its suppressed and forgotten beauty.

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