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The Bruce [Hardcover]

John Barbour
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 547 pages
  • Publisher: Adam & Charles Black (1909)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00086PZ2Y
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,142,473 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A labour of love translation of Scots epic poem 26 May 2003
Format:Paperback
The first thing which strikes me about this translation of John Barbour's poem chronicling the life of Robert the Bruce, is the vast time and effort which must have gone into it over a period of years if not decades. There are plenty of historical notes which accompany the translation, meaning Professor Duncan has has done all the hard work, so the reader can sit back and enjoy the story of King Robert's fight to keep his crown and expel the English from Scotland.
The original text appears in the book on the right hand page while the translation appears on the left page, meaning you can read the translation of each page first and then get stuck into the original, bit by bit. Otherwise, it would be too overwhelming and I must give that the thumbs-up. It is not easy reading the original and when you have finished the book, you do feel as if you have achieved something.
If you buy this, I can also recommend 'The Bruce' by Nigel Tranter, which is an historical novel about the life of King Robert. While many people look down at such things as being nonsense, it is clear that Tranter had studied a copy of John Barbour's epic. You may also want to buy 'The Wallace' by Blind Harry (the John Gilbertfield translation) which is basically the same idea as 'The Bruce', but about William Wallace.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
By Deborah MacGillivray HALL OF FAME VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
Called "some of the most famous lines in Scottish Literature", they were written in 1386 by John Barbour, Archdeacon of Aberdeen. This was the Age of Chivalry - a time of knights and ladies, where bravery, valour and larger-than-life heroes came into flower. Above all, Loyalty was treasured, and none rivals the tale of loyalty between two men, who faced some of the hardest times in Scottish History and paid the price: Robert the Bruce, Earl of Carrick, and James Douglas. Even today James "Black" Douglas still thrills the imagination and heart of ladies fair!
Their tales is epic, and frankly, would make a better movie than Braveheart. I love Wallace, and never would discount his part in Scotland's history and struggle to remain a country separate from England. However, he was a shooting star that lit the fires of rebellion; the hard role of forging Wallace's dream into a reality fell upon the shoulders of twenty-something Bruce and his right hand Jamie Douglas. Their struggle was longer and harder, for not only did Bruce have to fight Longshanks - and later his son Edward II, to see Scotland free - he had to fight the mighty clan Comyn who control nearly 2/3s of Scotland.
The language of Barbour's epic, translations edited by A.A.M. Duncan, is easy to read, and lends such wealth into seeing Robert the Bruce and James Douglas as men, not just heroes. It gives such strong imagery and insight into the medieval period of Scotland. This first accessible modern edition of Barbour's work and must for any lover of Scottish History's bookshelf.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
NB!!! The author is wrongly stated by Amazon! It should be John Barbour. Please change!

I have three copies of this translation. Why? The error pointed out repeatedly: in the year 2000, in 'Bannockburn Revealed', again in 'Bannockburn Proved' in 2005, again in 'The Genius of Bannockburn', 2012, and in 'The Genius Summary,' is still present in the revised edition of this translation in 2005. It is in BK XII lines 391-395:
'Tharfor thai herberyd thaim that nycht
Doune in the Kers, and gert all dycht
And made ready thar aparaill
Agayne the morne for the bataill,
And for in the Kers pulis war'

This, Duncan renders as: 'So they lodged there that night down in the Carse, and had everyone clean and make ready their equipment before morning, for the battle. And because there were STREAMS in the Carse.' p466.
It should be instead: 'And because there were POOLS in the Carse.'

It is not that its author does not understand the mistake. He is simply unwilling to admit it. Why? Because it is inexcusable: any able Scottish child can see the error; and because it matters! It has led to the loss of our Scottish heritage, the battle area, which has been built over, covered in housing schemes, because of it.
For centuries there has been a dispute about the site of the Battle of Bannockburn. So long as historians could not agree, the local Council felt free to build everywhere that suited them. Correct that single error and the site is obvious and immediate. For there is another ms, The Brut y Tywysogyon, Peniarth MS 20 version, translated by Prof Thomas Jones of the University of Wales in 1952, which tells us the battle was fought among pools of water. It is on page 123 of that book. (See it on p159 GB). The quotation dates from 1314.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful resource on The Bruce and James Douglas 18 Nov 2003
By Deborah MacGillivray - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Called "some of the most famous lines in Scottish Literature", they were written in 1386 by John Barbour, Archdeacon of Aberdeen. This was the Age of Chivalry - a time of knights and ladies, where bravery, valour and larger-than-life heroes came into flower. Above all, Loyalty was treasured, and none rivals the tale of loyalty between two men, who faced some of the hardest times in Scottish History and paid the price: Robert the Bruce, Earl of Carrick, and James Douglas. Even today James "Black" Douglas still thrills the imagination and heart of ladies fair!
Their tales is epic, and frankly, would make a better movie than Braveheart. I love Wallace, and never would discount his part in Scotland's history and struggle to remain a country separate from England. However, he was a shooting star that lit the fires of rebellion; the hard role of forging Wallace's dream into a reality fell upon the shoulders of twenty-something Bruce and his right hand Jamie Douglas. Their struggle was longer and harder, for not only did Bruce have to fight Longshanks - and later his son Edward II, to see Scotland free - he had to fight the mighty clan Comyn who control nearly 2/3s of Scotland.
The language of Barbour's epic, translations edited by A.A.M. Duncan, is easy to read, and lends such wealth into seeing Robert the Bruce and James Douglas as men, not just heroes. It gives such strong imagery and insight into the medieval period of Scotland. This first accessible modern edition of Barbour's work and must for any lover of Scottish History's bookshelf.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Expect The Best 24 Feb 2013
By Jack - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The subject matter alone should make you expect excellence. You will not be disappointed. Let yourself be transported to the world of Scottish freedom and the man who made it happen!
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