Thursday, September 27, 2012

Announcing Our New Medieval History Through Literature Study Guide for High School Students

It's finally here! After more than a year in research and writing we are excited to announce our newest study guide: Medieval History Through Literature for high school students. This guide takes the best elements of teaching history using literature and adds detailed notes for literary analysis, geography, vocabulary, and much more. Beginning with the fall of the Roman Empire and continuing through 1500, this curriculum covers over 1100 years of fascinating history. Students will read classics like Beowulf, The Song of Roland, Inferno, The Canterbury Tales, Marco Polo's fascinating travelogue, Boccaccio's observations of the bubonic plague in the Decameron and much more! Beginning with the writings of Augustine and continuing through Chaucer you will discover some of the most important literary pieces in the western tradition. Additionally, The Medieval World, the background text for the course, provides a broad and fascinating look at the social, moral, religious, political, and scientific shifts that occurred around the world during the era. Works such as One Thousand and One Arabian Nights, Scottish Chiefs, and The World of Columbus and Sons provide further depth to the study as students investigate the spread of Christianity and the emergence of Islam, the coming age of discovery, and the battles for independence that still affect our world today. 

Set up in 35 weekly lessons, this guide provides the structure necessary to get the most out of the literature while connecting it with historical events. Each lesson contains reading assignments, writing prompts, comprehension question designed to encourage critical thinking, vocabulary, geography, links to related websites, and much more. Additionally detailed notes on historical background and literary analysis are provided for Beowulf, The Song of Roland, Scottish Chiefs, The Divine Comedy, and The Canterbury Tales. Additional in-depth analysis of the three world religious, feudalism, and the great plague ensure students' comprehension of these essential topics. 

The study guide is available for immediate download. Get it here!

Below you can see the books required for the course:

In 5th century Denmark, a murderous monster stalks the night, and only the great prince of the Geats has the strength and courage to defeat him. The story of Beowulf's terrifying quest to destroy the foul fiend Grendel, his mother–a hideous sea-hag, and a monstrous fire-dragon, is the oldest surviving epic in English literature. Beautifully translated and updated by the brilliant linguist Seamus Heaney.
"A faithful rendering that is simultaneously an original and gripping poem in its own right." —New York Times Book Review

Lively, absorbing, often outrageously funny, Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales is a work of genius, an undisputed classic that has held a special appeal for each generation of readers. The Tales gathers twenty-nine of literature’s most enduring (and endearing) characters in a vivid group portrait that captures the full spectrum of medieval society, from the exalted Knight to the humble Plowman. For advanced readers due to difficult language and mature content.

Very few people know that Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) wrote a major work on Joan of Arc. Still fewer know that he considered it not only his most important but also his best work. He spent twelve years in research and many months in France doing archival work and then made several attempts until he felt he finally had the story he wanted to tell. He reached his conclusion about Joan's unique place in history only after studying in detail accounts written by both sides, the French and the English. Because of Mark Twain's antipathy to institutional religion, one might expect an anti-Catholic bias toward Joan or at least toward the bishops and theologians who condemned her. Instead one finds a remarkably accurate biography of the life and mission of Joan of Arc told by one of this country's greatest storytellers. The very fact that Mark Twain wrote this book and wrote it the way he did is a powerful testimony to the attractive power of the Catholic Church's saints. This is a book that really will inform and inspire.

Out of the rich turbulence of English history, June 15, 1215 stands apart as a significant milestone in the progress of human liberty. On that day, a brave band of barons, led by the noble Stephen Langton, and calling themselves the Army of God, stood up to the wicked King John and demanded that he restore the ancient laws of England that he had so unabashedly trampled underfoot. The era is a rollicking one filled with colorful characters like Robin Hood and his Merry Men, Richard the Lionheart, Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine, and many more. Newbery and Caldecott medal-winner James Daugherty brings his own passion for freedom's story to this wonderful saga of the thirteenth century. Daugherty devotes the last part of the book to a history of the "documents" of freedom—what he calls the "Children of the Magna Charta"—demonstrating how liberty has progressed over the ages. Two-color illustrations by the author enhance the drama of this text.

An anthology of over 150 great writings including works by Boethius, Bede, Peter Abelard, Geoffrey of Monmouth, Marie de France, Marco Polo, and many others. When used in our Medieval History Through Literature Study Guide high school students will read medieval poems, songs, ballads, prayers, religious works as well as excerpts from St. Augustine's Confessions, Dante's InfernoThe Song of Roland and many others. An excellent resource for everyone interested in medieval literature. "No better anthology exists." — Commonweal.

Sumptuously illustrating the vivid parade of a thousand years of history, this comprehensive historical atlas concentrates on the Mediterranean world but also shows what happened across the globe between A.D. 400 and 1500 —from the fall of Rome to the age of discovery. Every page glistens with period works of art, fascinating maps, quotes from medieval figures, close-ups of intriguing artifacts, and rich landscape photographs of the places where battles were fought and monarchs were crowned. For every century, a signature city is spotlighted to represent that era's developments. Time lines connect the many dramatic events that took place in these dark and exciting times, which continue to shape our world today. Written by a team of veteran National Geographic writers, this richly illustrated reference includes full index, reading list, and glossary.

A completely original version of the Arabian Nights by award-winning author Geraldine McCaughrean. In order to delay her inevitable execution, Queen Shahrazad tells her murdering husband, King Shahryar, a wonderfully exciting story every night. The brilliant storyteller preserves her life while relating tales of intrigue, adventure, and duplicity. A delightful window into the Persian world.

This magnificent book tells the story of the brave Scots who rebelled against the tyranny of King Edward during the period of 1296 - 1305. This inspiring tale of courage has been a favorite for generations of readers. The story of William Wallace, Robert the Bruce, and the brave Scots who stood up to English tyranny is sure to become a favorite!

This is the story of a wonderful, changing, reawakening world—the world of the Renaissance and Reformation. Measured by the lifetime of Columbus and his sons, this book spans the years from 1451-1539. With Columbus as the central figure of this narrative, readers will also learn the fascinating stories of Prince Henry the Navigator, Ivan III of Russia, Gutenberg, Queen Isabella, Leonardo da Vinci, Mohammed II, the African ruler Nomi Mansa, Martin Luther, Erasmus, Albrecht Dürer, Copernicus, Michaelangelo and many others. Told in Foster's engaging and winsome style enhanced by her helpful chronologies and timelines, readers will learn of the religious, cultural and scientific changes that ushered in a new frontier of exploration and discovery.

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