Friday 25 March 2011

Guernsey - a Rich Literary Pie

Dr Jason Monaghan provides an overview of literary Guernsey, including this snippet:
I can say little about what some would call the island’s true literary heritage, that in the language of the islands. The local language is a version of Norman-French, generally called Guernesiais, but it was never a written language. Until the early twentieth century, the language of law and government was ‘Good French’, with the local tongue reserved for country folk. A small number of Victorian writers made valiant efforts to write down the language before it vanished in the squeeze between English and French, including Denys Corbet who referred to himself as ‘Lé Draïn Rimeux’ (the last poet). This work continues into the modern day, for example Hazel Tomlinson's P'tites Lures Guernésiaises. Heavily endangered, few people under 50 now speak more than a few phrases of the language. The Toad and the Donkey by Geraint Jennings and Yan Marquis is a newly published anthology of Norman writing fresh on the market.

(Dr Jason Monaghan is Museums Director for Guernsey. He is the author of a number of archaeology and history books and articles. As Jason Foss has had five thrillers published, and he is a member of the UK Crime Writers’ Association.)

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