Exam Reads: pre-1500s

After an embarrassing amount of procrastination, I’ve begun to devote myself fully to the gargantuan reading list that is the Comprehensive Exam List. It’s split up into chunks, which made it seem manageable before I began but now just serves as academia’s way of taunting me.

“You think this first quarter of the very first chunk is bad? You have fifteen more chunks to go! Mwahahaha!”

Nonetheless, I’m reading some good stuff. There’s a reason these things have lasted so long – most of it is quality. I have a huge binder with all my real notes in it, so I think I’ll investigate doing some kind of micro-blogging* for the blog version of each story.

My advice to you, now that the first chunk is done? Get an excellent translation of Beowulf; its worth it. Skip Chaucer’s Parson’s Tale, skip “Pearl” by the Gawain Poet, and find a summary of the Anglo-Saxon “Genesis B.” Charleton Miner Lewis did a great translation of sir Gawain and the Green Knight that is free and well-formatted on Kindle. Watch yourself on the Native-American creation myths; the Norton versions are not the only ones out there.

On to some serious bucket-list reading!

*Update: Twitter summaries worked out, and they ended up being good review. Links to all of them on the Exam Reads page.


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