Beyond that, the Middle Ages saw the composition of some of the greatest and most rewarding literary works ever written, the works of Chaucer and Dante no doubt preeminent among them, but by no means are they alone in their surpassing merits.
In this course, we will look at some of those other splendid works - Beowulf, the little-known, but utterly splendid Njal's Saga, and Sir Gawain the Green Knight among them.
©2005 Timothy Shutt; (P)2005 Recorded Books
First, there is Professor Shutt's infectious enthusiasm for the works he's discussing and even more for the insights that can be derived from those works. Then there's his openness to cultural concepts (Beowulf's heroic manliness, for example, or the piety of the Dream of the Rood) that aren't that popular in the academy these days. He never resorts to cheap shots at the faith or ideals of the Middle Ages, never lapses into that "chronological snobbery" (C. S. Lewis' term) that assumes everyone and everything that came before us is somehow inherently less worthwhile.
Instead, he takes you on an amazing journey through many of the high spots of Medieval Literature, one that will either send you back to reread Gawain and the Green Knight and the Lais of Marie de France or send you forward to finally read those Icelandic Sagas and Troubadour lyrics you somehow managed to dodge in your undergrad days. Unlike most of the lectures I've heard in my life, these bear re-listening. Shutt is that rare type of professor who isn't afraid to admire what others marginalize, nor is he embarrassed by the concept of "truth".
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