“Wake up, wake up, king in a Cath-o-lic style…”

There’s nothing quite as weird as sitting at home, sweating off a muggy August noon like a forsaken tumbler of iced galangal ale, when a knock at the door heralds a package: copies of your book translated into Brazilian Portuguese.

Behold: Tornando-se Carlos Magno: Europa, Bagdá e os impérios do sécula IX, translated by Carlos and Anna Duarte and published this summer by Editora Record of Rio de Janeiro. It’s a sharp little book, with those interior paperback cover flaps I find exotic because they seem to be de rigeur everywhere but in North America.

Is Brazil full of Charlemaniacs? I’ve no idea—but the arrival of Tornando-se Carlos Magno gives me an excuse to share some Charlemagne-in-the-news links I’ve been hoarding. (The first three come courtesy of Scott, an American expat in Germany who recently posted some nice photos of Aachen.)

“Tongue of toad, newt so greeny…” Christopher Lee has announced Charlemagne: The Omens of Death, a sequel to his weighty-brass Charlemagne concept album from 2010. Grimacing musically, he promises “100 percent heavy metal.” (The first album is available on CD or as an iTunes download. I reviewed it here.)

Saxon: The Book of Dreams, a new novel by Tim Severin, features something I can’t recall seeing in fiction before: Saxon canoodling at Charlemagne’s court.

Back in July, historian Istvan Deak surveyed Europe in the New York Times and wondered, “Where’s Charlemagne when we need him?” His conclusion struck me as odd: “A new imperial construct embracing all nations, religions and non-totalitarian ideologies might well be the only alternative to the revival of tribalism with all its tragic consequences.”

One law firm draws a fiery line from Charlemagne to mesothelioma litigation.

The Daily Mail serves up “six things you must do in Aachen.” Go there, they suggest, for “a Holy Roman Emperor’s treasure, fine dining and a biscuit.”

Charlemagne and Alcuin popped up last week in coverage of the new Viking “invasion” of Lindisfarne.

National Museums Scotland has acquired a holy-water stoup that 19th-century royalty thought belonged to ol’ Karl der Große.

When a modern-day knight on a horse named Lionheart crosses Canada “to revive the values he says have been lost to the modern world,” you’re darn right Charlemagne gets a mention.

Finally, an old favorite: As everyone gears up to go back to school, let France Gall provide a video response to that immortal question, “Qui a eu cette idée folle / un jour d’inventer l’école?” (You know you want to.)

4 thoughts on ““Wake up, wake up, king in a Cath-o-lic style…”

  1. “A new imperial construct embracing all nations, religions and non-totalitarian ideologies might well be the only alternative to the revival of tribalism with all its tragic consequences.”

    Didn’t the pagan Saxons and Arian(?) Lombards find Charlemagne’s embrace a bit tight for comfort?

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  2. I have to admit that dreadful though I thought the first album was, I’m actually quite impressed and pleased to gather he’s doing another. I fear I will buy it whether or not it’s more metal, just to see how, um, extreme it gets…

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