Sunday, April 10, 2011

Reading Update

I've finally gotten to the point in my reading list for this year where I will make my first real volley into Medieval literature.  I'm starting it with three books that will perhaps help me understand the actual Medieval texts better.  First, Terry Jones' Medieval Lives by Terry Jones & Alan Ereira, which I am half-way through.  Next will either be C.S. Lewis' The Discarded Image or 1066 by David Howarth.  These are all three decidedly English, though Lewis' work will be more cosmopolitan than the other two, I'm sure.  I would argue that most of the Medieval works I'll be reading are English, but only three are: Ecclesiastical History of the English People, History of the Kings of Britain, and The Canterbury Tales.  I'll be starting with The Consolation of Philosophy and going through Gargantua and Pentagruel by RabelaisBoethius is from the early Middle Ages--quaintly known as the "Dark Ages"--and his Consolation was widely popular throughout the entire Medieval period.  It was a personal favorite of Alfred the Great.  Rabelais wrote during the French Renaissance, but the 16th century isn't really that far off from the end of the Middle Ages, and it'll be good to see it's influence on such a prominent Renaissance writer.  Also, I really want to read it.
After Boethius I'll be reading Confessions by Saint Augustine, though I'm thinking of reading Augustine first, as he was the earlier writer.  I suppose I have two more books to read before I have to make that decision.  Part of me is a bit concerned I'll be burnt out on it by the end, and maybe I will.  Six or seven Medieval texts in a row can be straining, I suppose.  That's why I'll be reading something light at the end.  I mean, Rabelais is known as "scatological humor."  I've also heard Gargantua and Pentagruel referred to as the French Don Quixote, but I think that's an unfair comparison.
I hope to be updating more often with thoughts on what I'll be reading, but we'll see.  I've been spending less and less time on the internet lately.  I'm not sure why, but it just hasn't been as appealing as other things.