'This accessible and groundbreaking book...shows how literature and archaeology can illuminate each other to new and stimulating effect' - Professor Helen Cooper, University of Oxford. 'Eye-opening, exciting and absorbing book...The author's close reading of familiar works...produces exciting new arguments on texts ranging from Anglo-Saxon poems to those of William Carlos Williams. Archaeologists, cultural critics, and literary scholars, medieval and modern, will all learn much from its bold insights' - Professor Allen J. Frantzen, Loyola University, Chicago. "Voices in the Past" is a pioneering exploration of the scope for linking archaeology and the critical reading of literature. It begins by introducing and comparing the theories and methods of the two subjects; Professor Hines shows how material and literary artefacts are related, arguing for a fully interdisciplinary approach as a means of gaining a deeper understanding of their meaning and value. This new perspective is then applied to a series of texts and contexts from the Anglo-Saxon period through the High Middle Ages to the Renaissance and Restoration, the 1850s, and American modernism of the 1930s.
Key topics considered are the functions and meanings of references and objects, the physical surroundings of literary performances, the emergence of books as commodities and authorship as a profession, and the role of literature in responses to accelerating material change in the modern world. Through this reading of creative writing and archaeological heritage, the author offers fresh and rewarding insights into all periods of English cultural history. Professor John Hines teaches at the School of History and Archaeology, Cardiff University.