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Reading the Middle Ages: An Introduction to Medieval Literature / Edition 1

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Overview

"Medieval literature is separated from us by so many centuries that it may seem completely foreign. It does, however, have much to say to 21st century readers and Steinberg's book demonstrates its continuing appeal. This introduction to medieval literature provides some of the cultural context that readers need to know, such as the religious orientation of the people, and their beliefs about romance and sexuality." The first chapter summarizes medieval religious thought, cosmology and intellectual history. The remaining chapters introduce a number of individual works from Beowulf to Chaucer. The discussions include works by women writers and Jewish writers and a chapter on the medieval Japanese masterpiece The Tale of Genji.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Steinberg (biblical and medieval literatures, SUNY at Fredonia) presents a nonscholarly examination of major classics of world literature written between 500 and 1500 C.E., focusing primarily on European classics (Beowulf, The Lais of Marie de France, The Romance of the Rose, The Pearl, The Divine Comedy, and Canterbury Tales) but also including Jewish literature, Icelandic sagas, and the Japanese masterpiece The Tale of Genji. Arguing that these classics are not only highly enjoyable to read but offer key themes still relevant in the 21st century, Steinberg explores key motifs of each work and applies them to modern times. For example, the conflict between the ideal (divine love, the City of God) and the reality of not being able to reach high expectations is as prevalent in contemporary literature as it was in the Middle Ages. The brief bibliography and lack of scholarly apparatus, as well as Steinberg's use of jokes and his clear writing, make this study highly accessible to students. Although the book's price is steep for a paperbound volume of under 200 pages, it is still a solid purchase for undergraduate and larger public libraries.-Morris Hounion, New York City Coll. of Technology Lib., Brooklyn Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786416486
  • Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/29/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 196
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Theodore L. Steinberg is a professor at the State University of New York at Fredonia, where he teaches courses in biblical, medieval and Renaissance literatures. He has published books on the Yiddish writer Mendele Mocher Seforim and on the 14th century poem Piers Plowman. Steinberg has been awarded the President's Award for Excellence in Teaching as well as the Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching. He lives in Fredonia.

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Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction
I Beowulf
II Chretien de Troyes
III The Lais of Marie de France
IV The Romance of The Rose
V The Tale of Genji
VI Jewish Literature
VII Sagas
VIII Dante
IX Pearl and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
X Chaucer
Epilogue (But Not a Retraction): From the Author to the Reader
Notes
Bibliography
Index
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