Magnus

Magnus This is the story of the saintly Earl Magnus of Orkney who walked calmly knowingly and completely unarmed to a terrible death at the hands of his cousin Hakon Paulson Even the hardened Vikings who we

  • Title: Magnus
  • Author: George Mackay Brown
  • ISBN: 9780862418144
  • Page: 158
  • Format: Paperback
  • This is the story of the saintly Earl Magnus of Orkney who walked calmly, knowingly and completely unarmed to a terrible death at the hands of his cousin Hakon Paulson Even the hardened Vikings who were at the fateful meeting in 1116 turned away in horror at the brutality of what took place.

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      Published :2019-08-05T10:14:24+00:00

    About “George Mackay Brown

    • George Mackay Brown

      George Mackay Brown, the poet, novelist and dramatist, spent his life living in and documenting the Orkney Isles A bout of severe measles at the age of 12 became the basis for recurring health problems throughout his life Uncertain as to his future, he remained in education until 1940, a year which brought with it a growing reality of the war, and the unexpected death of his father The following year he was diagnosed with then incurable Pulmonary Tuberculosis and spent six months in hospital in Kirkwall, Orkney s main town.Around this time, he began writing poetry, and also prose for the Orkney Herald for which he became Stromness Correspondent, reporting events such as the switching on of the electricity grid in 1947 In 1950 he met the poet Edwin Muir, a fellow Orcadian, who recognised Mackay Brown s talent for writing, and would become his literary tutor and mentor at Newbattle Abbey College, in Midlothian, which he attended in 1951 2 Recurring TB forced Mackay Brown to spend the following year in hospital, but his experience at Newbattle spurred him to apply to Edinburgh University, to read English Literature, returning to do post graduate work on Gerard Manley Hopkins.In later life Mackay Brown rarely left Orkney He turned to writing full time, publishing his first collection of poetry, The Storm, in 1954 His writing explored life on Orkney, and the history and traditions which make up Orkney s distinct cultural identity Many of his works are concerned with protecting Orkney s cultural heritage from the relentless march of progress and the loss of myth and archaic ritual in the modern world Reflecting this, his best known work is Greenvoe 1972 , in which the permanence of island life is threatened by Black Star , a mysterious nuclear development.Mackay Brown s literary reputation grew steadily He received an OBE in 1974 and was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1977, in addition to gaining several honorary degrees His final novel, Beside the Ocean of Time 1994 was Booker Prize shortlisted and judged Scottish Book of the Year by the Saltire Society Mackay Brown died in his home town of Stromness on 13th April 1996.He produced several poetry collections, five novels, eight collections of short stories and two poem plays, as well as non fiction portraits of Orkney, an autobiography, For the Islands I Sing 1997 , and published journalism.Read at scottishpoetrylibrary.

    182 thoughts on “Magnus

    • Seamus Heaney once remarked that George Mackay Brown passed everything “through the eye of the needle of Orkney”, those remote islands north of Scotland where he was born and spent his life. This observation is certainly true of Magnus. The novel treats of aristocratic ambition, rousing sea battles, the depredations of marauding armies, petty crime, political plotting and brutal assassination, yet it never strays far from the seascape and landscape, the animals and people of the Orkneys. Mag [...]


    • Don't have time for a proper review, but suffice it to say that this novel, on first read, has probably entered my top ten favourite novels list (a list that probably includes upwards of twenty titles, heh). I had only scarcely heard of the author before now but now am so intrigued I'll be hunting up everything by him. This hidden gem from 1973 also has me totally dying to visit Orkney. (I've lived in Scotland for over ten years, but never made it that far north.) It's a 'historical' novel that [...]


    • I leapt at this account of the canonised Orcadian Magnus from an interest in a belief that medieval life is unfathomably strange. But the book was the antithesis to my motivar by its elucidation of the determined cycle of human existence, and its clear presentation of the complex products of northern European civilisation. The novel's first two quarters are written in a beautiful language-style that borrows the serial simplicity of an epic, while the flip into modern reportage at quarter #3 beca [...]


    • Most of George MacKay Brown's books are about Orkney and this novel is no exception. He uses the saga of St. Magnus the Martyr to relate the transition of man's instinct to worship God from prehistoric times of human sacrifice through animal sacrifice. The Crucifixion of Jesus becoming the ultimate sacrifice. Still he shows that innocents are martyred throughout out history with the story St. Magnus in 1155, and the martyrdom of Lutheran minister Dietrich Bonhoeffer by the Nazi. The character Li [...]


    • After spending a few days on the Orkney Isles staying at Birsay, I bought this book on the ferry back to Aberdeen.I visited George Mackay Brown`s grave in Stromness and have always loved his work.This is a wonderful book. The words flow so beautiful. It is complex to read because GMB changes style in the book. In one part he resorts to a newspaper type report on the war between the two Earls.


    • The story of St Magnus told mainly as if in his time. The narrative moves unexpectedly into old language, modern re-imagining, and World War 2 eras. The language and imagery are beautiful. The savagery of the time is horrifying. However, I found my attention wandering at times.


    • George MacKay Brown uses "Magnus" to highlight the nature of men, drawing parallels between the martyrdom of St Magnus and the hanging Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a theologist, by the Nazis. How Brown makes the switch between the two is interesting- some readers might find it jarring- but I thought it was very effective in demonstrating how history repeats itself."Names are wrong. Men are imprisoned by their names. Angels and animals don't need names. I do not like my name. It means great, powerful. I [...]


    • A beautifully written, deep book centred on the life and martyrdom of Magnus (latterly Sainted) of Orkney. Told between Magnus, his nobles, the servants, priests and others. I couldn't decide if Mans was written po-faced or as a comedic creation (he's not normally much of a comic) - if the book wasn't written years before Monty Python and the Holy Grail I would have thought it's a tribute. Maybe it was a precursor.As with all George Mackay Brown's work, it is completely imbued with the sense of [...]


    • I read this because I was going to the Orkneys on holiday, and I always like reading fiction set in the place I'm traveling to. It was very disappointing. I can see how Mackay Brown was trying to be innovative in his use of different formats (playscript, poetry, prose), but the story didn't have any cohesiveness. I also got very frustrated by the fact that none of the female characters were anything beyond a plot device for another, obviously more important, character to marry/rape/procreate wit [...]


    • Every page a lighted candle in the dark kirk - I felt the cold sea against my face, the longboat rising and falling beneath my feet - I heard the seals singing - I walked over the green islands under the tragic sky





    • Very beautiful, poetic writing. Interesting and unusual retelling of the clash between the two cousins, Earl Magnus and Earl Hakon, over who would rule the Orkneys in the 1100's.


    • Very adept st creating atmosphere. Not convinced by the newspaper style bulletin in the penultimate chapter but otherwise well crafted.



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