The Problem of the Poetic Pellas or, What’s in a (Wrong) Name?
London, BL, MS Sloane 2430 (f.2v)
The study of martial literature, like any other topic with few followers, is prone to errors of citation and sourcing. These errors can persist to the point that they become their own sort of source. Repeated use makes them historical. I think the genre of historical martial arts is the easy target because much of the material that enthusiasts work with is well outside the typical scholarly territories anyway and few of these students have the source fetish that academics develop. The case-study today is the “poem of the pell.”
Alfred Hutton (1839-1910), former Captain of the 1st Kings Dragoon Guards, military reformer, antiquarian, and amateur historian of swordsmanship, gathered a significant personal collection of swords, weapons, and books on martial history, swordsmanship and the development of fencing as a sport. Hutton left a substantial part of this collection Victorian and Albert Museum, London, and his books were integrated into the National Art Library.* Continue reading →