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 Post subject: medieval literature
PostPosted: February 15th, 2007, 10:42 am 
Istari
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a number of us have already got into discussions about this wonderful topic in various places, so it's been suggested that we have a thread specially dedicated to it. i think that's a marvellous idea, and as i can't find a pre-existing thread i'm starting this one.

so, who else likes medieval literature? what have you read? what is it that you like about it?

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PostPosted: February 15th, 2007, 10:59 am 
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*pays first visit*

Well, the only thing I've read I know is 100% Medieval are the legends of the grail I read when I was writing my history project on the concept and origin of the Holy Grail.

My primary literature included:
Merlin and the Grail ~ Robert de Boron
Parzival ~ Wolfram von Eschenbach
Perceval - The Story of the Grail ~ Chrétien de Troyes

I might think of more later on... when we talk about Medieval is that a certain genre or the entire period? (and what does that period even include?):angel:

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PostPosted: February 15th, 2007, 11:26 am 
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^ i'm reliably informed that medieval literature is anything from the 5th to 15th centuries.

well, i've loved beowulf and old norse sagas since i was seven, and i'm currently studying medieval literature as part of my english degree, although thus far we've only reached the 10th century.

i have read:
- beowulf (in two different translations)
- the exeter book elegies (the wanderer, the seafarer, the wife's lament and the ruin)
- a number of the exeter book riddles
- judith
- the battle of maldon
- exodus
- gunnlaug wormtongue
- hen-thorir

i've also read some anglo-saxon historical and religious texts and i'm familiar with the arthurian myth cycle.

i don't quite know how to explain what it is i love about this literature. i swear i must be part anglo-saxon and part viking (quite possible, given that i'm english) - there's something in me that's drawn to those cultures more than any others, and i feel at home in the worlds the literature creates. i guess i like the combination of strangeness and familiarity i find in early medieval literature, and the way it can swing between the heroic and supernatural (gods and dragon-slaying) and the everyday and mundane (lawsuits and loneliness).

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PostPosted: February 15th, 2007, 11:54 am 
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*scratches head*
Ohh thanks for the info... I just realized I have no idea what Medieval literature might be... I mean Shakespeare would be too late to be considered Medieval... and I assume he is considered a different genre too...
I have yet to read bewulf, but since I've heard so much about it on this forum, I should probably add it to my must-read-hopefully-in-a-not-so-far-off-future list...!

As I said in the other thread my grandmother used to read the stories of Norse mythology to me when before I learned how to read them myself. I have read most Icelandic sagas - including Gunnlaug Wormtongue and some old folk songs. I'm not sure about the titles of them in English though.

eowyn, the Arthurian myths and the entire plot and tradition about that kind of stories must be very important to English literature. You consider it a very important part of your history and background, right?
When reading the stories of the grail, I found it interesting that the grail was known in so many different stories and percieved as different things. The three stories I mentioned in my previous post are from England, Germany and France.

What you say about being attracted to the supernatural and mundane in a story makes a lot of sense... basically you just described the content of Harry Potter - no wonder it became so popular! :angel:

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PostPosted: February 15th, 2007, 12:55 pm 
Istari
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^ interesting you should mention harry potter given that it is the thing i hate most in all of literature. for me, it never quite hits the mark (i have other issues with it which i won't go into here).

personally, i love the stories about arthur, but i don't feel the same connection to them as i do to the anglo-saxon and viking stuff. i guess it's because they never really came out of the english culture that the anglo-saxons and vikings created - they were celtic in origin and then were taken and reworked by other european countires (as you said, they are french and german versions).

as a society, arthur's not really as important to us as you'd expect. but then, modern england is disappointingly apathetic towards all of it's legends and folk stories - not even st george (our patron saint) is much talked of anymore. i think it's mainly to with the fact that an incresingly secular socity has no use for, or interest in, christian stories (most early medieval english literature is written from a disticntly christian point of view). that fact really saddens me - they're fantastic stories whatever your religious beliefs, and they don't deserve to be so easily dismissed.

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PostPosted: February 15th, 2007, 1:20 pm 
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I actually considered Arthurian legends as part of anglo-saxon tradition, but it seems my limited knowledge fails again.
True! I see your point about Arthurian stories. I guess I have just been digging so deep into them so it came to sorta overshadow the remaining English literature, like Shakespeare, which I haven't read for a while. As I see it secularization has been growing over many years now, but at the same time fantasy and myths have become very popular. I think it's a tendency that points towards the fact that our society has become so clinic and stripped for legends, heros and imagination. People are hungry for it again. The fantasy wave that started with LotR and Harry Potter (sorry!) and continues with Narnia and Eragon is proof enough to me.
I believe it could also - over time - lead to an interest in history and own legends and mythology, though it might not look like it yet. I don't think it makes a difference that most Medieval stories are written from a Christian viewpoint. That is just natural, and will only reflect the culture and society in which they have been written, so as far as I see it, it shouldn't prevent people from other religious beliefs from reading it. LotR is written from a Catholic point of view (although it doesn't necessarily can be pointed out in the story) but has readers from all over the world!

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PostPosted: February 15th, 2007, 1:30 pm 
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I feel out of place. The only truly Anglo-saxon story that I've read (not an abridged/altered version, but an unaltered copy) is Beowulf, which I loved. I've read about other stories, but I haven't actually read any of them. It's kind of hard to find any books in English here, let alone Medieval books.

I've read a lot of the Arthurian stories, though (well, various versions of them, anyways). However, they don't really count as Anglo-saxon.

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PostPosted: February 15th, 2007, 3:38 pm 
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I don't know English literature,but I really like to read something like Beowulf or other books you have mentioned. The problem is that it's very difficult to find theese books in Italy!

About medieval literature I only know La Chanson De Roland and some italian autors like Ariosto, but he belongs to The Renaissance Age... it's quite different.

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PostPosted: February 16th, 2007, 2:41 am 
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I have read some other Medieval literature, I remembered, just not necessarily Anglo-saxon.

I've read The Song of Roland and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (translated by Tolkien :D), plus a few others that were also translated by Tolkien.

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PostPosted: February 19th, 2007, 6:44 pm 
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geoffrey de charnays guide to chivalry is a good book.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: February 19th, 2007, 7:14 pm 


I love medevial literature, though I havent, sadly, read much books of it lately.


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 Post subject: Re: medieval literature
PostPosted: March 22nd, 2013, 4:15 pm 
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Has not Tolkien gaven a good beowulf Translation?

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 Post subject: Re: medieval literature
PostPosted: April 27th, 2013, 11:50 pm 
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I've been taking Medieval Literature this semester and I've enjoyed most of what we've studied.
We started off with Beowulf, which I'd been exposed to in high school. I personally am not a huge fan of Beowulf...I appreciate the literature and its literary importance, but the story itself doesn't really captivate me. I am interested in reading Grendel by John Gardner, seems like an interesting point of view and I've heard good things.

I really enjoyed Njal's Saga. So many characters and names to keep track of but it was awesome! Very interesting to delve into old Icelandic culture and society.

Then we moved onto the Arthurian legends. The Death of King Arthur was good, I enjoyed reading that. We read Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and a lai by Marie de France. I loved the lai.

We spent a good deal of time on Dante's Inferno. Wow, what a piece of literature. I don't think I would have gotten much out of it if I'd read it on my own, but my professor's a medieval expert and really knowledgeable so we got through it safely. Will definitely read it again (and again), seems like one of those works that reveals something remarkable with each read.

We last read Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde and have now moved on to Canterbury Tales. I read some of the latter in high school but this course goes so much more in depth.

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 Post subject: Re: medieval literature
PostPosted: April 28th, 2013, 12:18 pm 
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I only know Beowulf and Dante's works.

I wish if I wish if I can go to a Medieval class (my country sucks on the educational level)... :(

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 Post subject: Re: medieval literature
PostPosted: April 28th, 2013, 3:08 pm 
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Alatáriël Telemnar wrote:
I only know Beowulf and Dante's works.

I wish if I wish if I can go to a Medieval class (my country sucks on the educational level)... :(

I totally creeped your profile, but whoa, hello English major from Egypt! :bye2: Fellow English major here. ^^

What English courses are you studying?

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 Post subject: Re: medieval literature
PostPosted: May 1st, 2013, 9:40 am 
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Nicole wrote:
Alatáriël Telemnar wrote:
I only know Beowulf and Dante's works.

I wish if I wish if I can go to a Medieval class (my country sucks on the educational level)... :(

I totally creeped your profile, but whoa, hello English major from Egypt! :bye2: Fellow English major here. ^^

What English courses are you studying?


Hello fellow English major :bye2: :bye2: :bye2: (I love my fellow English students) .

I study History of The UK, Translation, Readings, Writing (Not good as I expected), Grammar (To be able to work as editors) and mostly it's more of language and less Literature :( :grr: :annoyed2: :disgust: :annoyed: :( .

P.S. If you can help me with books' names or novels to read/study on my own please give me that list ;) .

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