Star of the North: The Life of the Venerable Bede by K. Parbury (Frank Graham 75P)
This is a popular introduction to the life of the great Northumbrian saint and scholar, appropriately appearing in Bede's 13th centenars year. It is a naturalistic account, the author preferring the lively realism or the novelist to the often dry scholarship of the historian.
The predominant impression created is that of Miss Parbury's loving reverence for her subject and for the Faith that inspired his life.
The period between the departure of the Romans and the arrival of the Normans is often dismissed in the popular mind as a time of anarchy and barbarity — six and a half centuries of cultural darkness. Nothing could he further from the truth.
The Anglo-Saxons. once they settled down. displayed an intellectual vigour more enduring than their better-known martial qualities. and this flowered forth in i remarkable way in seventh and eighth century Northumbria — by European standards of the time a tiny, wild a remote northern kingdom.
In the pages or Miss Parbur■
little book we not only meet Bede. the great scholar and "Father of English History," hut we are also given tantalising glimpses of a glittering array of men whose greatness has extended far beyond their own lifetimes.
In a few short years Northumbria produced individuals of the qualities of SS Wilfred, C.uthbert, Hilda, Benedict Biscop, Chad. John of Beverley and Willisbroad, and these are only a few attic more outstanding personalities of that place and period. This is the ‘N odd we meet in Miss Parbur's writing.
One of two small criticisms .can he made. The reader may Feel that rather more attention could have been paid to the writing of Bede's masterpiece, "The Ecclesiastical History of the English People," which is dealt with briefly in the last few pages.
It might also he said that although the publishers, Frank Graham of Newcastle, are to he thanked for the efforts they make to present cheap introductions to all aspects of Northern history and culture, a little more care in proof-reading might eliminate the irritating printers errors which abound in this work.