Bardskull is the record of three journeys made by Martin Shaw, the celebrated storyteller and interpreter of myth, in the year before he turned fifty. It is unlike anything he has written before. This is not a book about myth or narrative: rather, it is a sequence of incantations, a series of battles.
Each of the three journeys sees Shaw walk alone into a Dartmoor forest and wait. What arrive are stories - fragments of myth that he has carried within him for decades: the deep history of Dartmoor itself; the lives of distant family members; Arthurian legend; and tales from India, Persia, Lapland, the Caucasus and Siberia. But these stories and their tellers don't arrive as the bearers of solace or easy wisdom. As with all quests, Shaw is entering a domain of traps and tests. Bardskull can be read as a fable, as memoir, as auto-fiction or as an attempt to undomesticate myth. It is a magnificent, unclassifiable work of the imagination.
About the Author
Martin Shaw is a writer, storyteller and teacher who lives on Dartmoor. He founded the Oral Tradition and Mythic Life courses at Stanford University, and is director of the Westcountry School of Myth in the UK.He is the author of the award-winning Mythteller trilogy: A Branch from the Lightning Tree, Snowy Tower and Scatterlings. Recent books include Smokehole, Courting the Wild Twin (both published by Chelsea Green), All Those Barbarians, Wolf Milk, Cinderbiter (with Tony Hoagland) and his Lorca translations, Courting the Dawn (with Stephan Harding).Dr Shaw has introduced thousands of people to mythology and how it penetrates modern life. For twenty years, he has been a wilderness rites of passage guide, working with at-risk youth, the sick, returning veterans and many women and men seeking a deeper life.