Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Friday, April 4, 2008

too many people haven't heard of this...

my two favorite books of medieval literature are as follows:

the Lais of Marie de France:
Up at Project Gutenberg

Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy:
Up at Project Gutenberg

Go, read them, and bask in the awesome. Find them in stores, in used book stores, in libraries and garage sales.

I have mentioned these two texts many places since this weekend, and far too few do not know of these texts. They are lovely, and wonderful, and full of the proverbial "win".


Alina said...

Check out all of Chretien de Troyes' Arthurian romances. And for the barbarian in you, read Beowulf in the original old english.

One of the greatest passages of sorrow at the loss of a son is here:

Þæt wæs feohleas gefeoht, fyrenum gesyngad,
hreðre hygemeðe; sceolde hwæðre swa þeah
æðeling unwrecen ealdres linnan.
Swa bið geomorlic gomelum ceorle
to gebidanne, þæt his byre ride
giong on galgan; þonne he gyd wrece,
sarigne sang, þonne his sunu hangað
hrefne to hroðre, ond he him helpe ne mæg
eald ond infrod ænige gefremman.

That's just a snippet of it, but it's gorgeous.

J m mcdermott said...

Chretien de Troyes is a thousand times better than Thomas Mallory. I can't stand Mallory.

Alina said...

Yeah, Chretien de Troyes is amazing. He's one of my major influences in my fantasy writing - when I choose to write medieval. I got a degree in medieval history, studied the period in great depth, and then started writing urban fantasy. Go figure. Anyway, I love him, and I love Old English literature. The problem with Old English literature is you can't read a translation and really get it. I don't know why. I think reading Tolkien in modern English is probably closer to the experience of reading sagas in their native languages than reading a translation of the saga is.