Tag Archives: medieval literature

Othello by William Shakespeare

This version of the play was offered as a free Sync audio book. I downloaded it just because it was Shakespeare. Since it’s summer and I’m spending more time outside working around the house, I listen to a lot more audio – both books and podcasts so I was happy for the addition.

Published: originally in 1603; this edition in 2008

Genre: play

Length: 2 hours and 38 minutes or about 110 pages

Setting: Italy, late 1500s

Summary: Short version: Iago makes Othello doubt Desdemona’s love for him Continue reading

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Three Kingdoms by Lo Kuan-chung

Mr. Curiosity read several medieval classics this year, based on recommendations from The Well-Trained Mind. While I like their recommendations, it focuses on Western literature. I wanted Mr. Curiosity to read one of the great Asian classics. I have him a choice between this one (a Chinese classic) and The Tale of Genji (a Japanese classic). I chose this edition (there are many) because our library had it.

Translated and edited by: Moss Roberts

Published: this edition in 1976; originally in the 15th century

Genre: medieval classic historical fiction

Length: 304 pages of text, 318 pages total

Setting: third century China

Summary: Short version: A long-ranging fight over who will control China Continue reading

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Hamlet by William Shakespeare

Shakespeare fits in the medieval time period we’re covering this year in homeschooling. This was the play Mr. Curiosity chose to read. I read it along with him. I think this is my first time experiencing Hamlet.

Published: 1600

Genre: classic play

Length: I have a book that contains all of Shakespeare’s works. This took up 41 pages of double-columned text in that book

Setting: Denmark, late 1500s

Summary: Short version: Death, betrayal, and madness in the high courts of Denmark Continue reading

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Utopia by Thomas More

Mr. Curiosity is studying medieval history this year. As part of his work, he’s reading several medieval pieces of literature. This was one of his choices for the year. I read the books alongside him.

Translated by: Robert M. Adams

Published: originally in 1516, this edition in 1975

Genre: classic philosophy

Length: 85 pages

Setting: Utopia, a medieval society

Summary: Short version: More’s description of a society set up to benefit all Continue reading

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Sir Gawain and the Green Knight translated by J. R. R. Tolkien

This was my next choice for the kids’ Great Book of medieval literature. I’d read several times that it was best appreciated orally, so I made it our read aloud.

Published: 1975 for this version, around 1400 for the original

Genre: epic poetry

Length: 97 pages for this poem, 158 for the entire book with two other poems

Setting: King Arthur’s England

Summary: Short version: The mysterious Green Knight challenges King Arthur’s court to a contest Continue reading

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Beowulf: A New Telling by Robert Nye

I gave this to Miss Adventure to read while Mr. Curiosity and I were reading Seamus Heaney’s translation of Beowulf. I’m still following many suggestions in The Well-Trained Mind for homeschooling, and Bauer and Wise recommend having middle-schoolers read some of the original literature. They recommended this version of Beowulf for the younger audience. After I talked to Miss Adventure about the book, I realized there were some significant differences between the two versions. I decided to read this version to compare to Heaney’s.

Published: 1968

Genre: historical fiction

Length: 92 pages

Setting: Scandinavia, some time before it was written

SummaryShort version: Beowulf defeats the monsters Continue reading

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Beowulf, translated by Seamus Heaney

This is one of Mr. Curiosity’s Great Books of the medieval period he’s reading this year. I like to read along with him so we can discuss the book together. I’m pretty sure I read the book in high school, but I only remembered that Beowulf fights the monster Grendel.

Published: this edition in 2000, originally between the seventh and tenth centuries, CE

Genre: epic poetry

Length: 213 pages, but for each two-page spread, the right page is the original middle English, and the left page is the translation, so you’re most likely only going to read half of that

Setting: Scandinavia, some time before it was written

Summary: Short version: Beowulf is awesome and defeats all the monsters Continue reading

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