Had the Angles and Saxons not purposefully migrated to the isles of the Britons and brought with them their already-well-developed use of language, Angelina Jolie may never have appeared in the movie Beowulf.
Professor Michael D.C. Drout is at his best when lecturing on the fascinating history, language, and societal adaptations of the Anglo-Saxons. He not only presents their storytelling abilities using their own words; he does so in their own voice - the incredibly melodious Old English.
©2009 Michael D.C. Drout; (P)2009 Recorded Books, LLC
I came to this Lecture reluctantly. I have been very disappointed by other "Modern Scholar Courses" finding them either superficial, intellectually or academically sloppy, or mediocre at best. Also I had no enthusiasm for the subject. The introduction did not help, making it seem like more of the same...
BUT, this was a truly fascinating and wonderful read. The prof is amazing. He is as academically rigorous as I could wish and he teaches his subject in a very complex yet engaging way. His work is easy to follow and very interesting despite delving very deep into many academic debates.
I STRONGLY recommend this course to anyone from late High School on through PhD level. This is just well done scholarship in a very interesting way. The first and last lectures are not great but the stuff in between is phenomenal. I now want to learn much more on this subject.
Again, this is not how I have viewed other Modern Scholar productions which I have been profoundly disappointed with. This absolutely worth the time and money.
I come at this review as a non-specialist in medieval/dark age history (being much more of a math/science person) but very interested in the subject. After having bought several lecture series from the Teaching Company, I only recently discovered the Modern Scholar series here on Audible. This was my first purchase in the Modern Scholar library and it is by far my favorite. Michael Drout is a fantastic teacher with a genuine enthusiasm for the subject. He is clearly a current scholar, and includes recent academic work in the field in a very accessible format. I especially appreciate his (for the most part) non-partisan discussion and straight forward, no-nonsense, engaging, but not at all dumbed-down, approach. I really wish I had more professors in college with his gift for teaching. After the first listen, I was motivated to learn more about the Anglo-Saxons, and that - to me - is the mark of a successful teacher.
Very highly recommended. You will not regret spending a credit on this series.
I bought this for my wife, I'm not much into language studies, at least I didn't think I was until I listened to it. This is not like the pod casts of university lectures I've tried. This is good AND interesting, the Prof is engaging and energetic. He has a good speaking voice and the recording is great. I still can't believe that I've gone back and listened to it again to make sure I understand all his points.
I'm trying to wean myself and learn to function without earbuds for more than ten minutes at a time. It hasn't been easy. I lose balance...
I totally include my support for Prof. Drout's work here - his enthusiasm and narration really make it work. I'm always hoping to find a great series or fun historical lecture and frankly - quite a few become my "fall asleep" during bouts of insomnia choices. I'm grateful this was not one of those. He's got real talent. Makes me want to be in his classroom.
(For some reason, my paragraph breaks aren't showing up on the Audible site, so I've put a slashmark at the end of each paragraph to hopefully mimic a paragraph break and make this easier to follow)/
I have enjoyed these lectures so tremendously that after listening to all 8 hours, I went right back to the beginning to re-listen and as I suspected I would, pick up a lot of fascinating information I'd missed the first listen./
Drout gives an in depth overview to a dead culture and he not only brings these ancient people to life and their most interesting characters, works, and historical events to life, but he also makes them relevant by explaining their influences to our modern cultures and language and ideas. /
I purchased this on some whim but thanks to these wonderful lectures, I have developed such a fascination and interest in the Anglo-Saxon world, I'm toying with the idea of returning to school and majoring in A-S studies! And I'm old! /
Also, I can see myself using every one of my credits for the next couple of years ONLY on the Modern Scholar series. In fact, I grit my teeth when I think of every credit wasted on crap vamp lit!
Whatever you know (or think you know) about the Anglo-Saxon world, be prepared to learn much more about their language while you are gaining knowledge of their history, culture, art, warfare and all the other aspects of their society. The author and lecturer is a philologist, meaning that he is an expert on languages like J.R.R. Tolkien. Because he is able to tease out threads of culture from his scholarship with their language and manuscripts, you will discover things about the people who came to post-Roman Britain beginning in the mid-400s. Their influence continued up through the Norman invasion in 1066 and for nearly 200 more years in various parts of England and Wales. He uses the mnemonic device MCGVR (pronounced like McGyver) to help the listener recall the major elements of the Anglo-Saxon history. He lectures in an engaging and sometimes humorous way, so the presentation isn't dry, but this is DEFINITELY NOT the book if you want a quick study of Beowulf before a test. You'll learn a lot about that book but it won't be worth the price in your listening time. But if you want to be able to really KNOW something about this important era of English history so you can fit in King Alfred and all the characters named Harold and where the Vikings come into the story, this is the book for you.
Of all the Modern Scholar audiobooks I've downloaded, this is right at the top as one of my favorites. Professor Drout does an excellent job. The MCGVR memory trick he used helped me to have a clearer picture of the Anglo-Saxon history and is just one example of why this lecture series is as good as it is. I highly recommend this program!
Fabulous course! Absolutely enthralling -- this is the kind of history teacher you always WISHED for in school. He makes the material accessible and consistently answers the "So What" question, ie: how does this history affect us now, in this century? Archeological, anthropological detail with crisp relevance! Highly recommended!
Fantasy and Romance Author
Professor Drout gives an evocative, fast-paced, and very interesting tour through the history, places, language, people and events of the Anglo-Saxon period in England. I'm a history buff, but this was a new period to me. Well worth a listen, if you're at all interested in a rich but obscure era in English history.
This is a great course by an enthusiastic professor who provides a very entertaining and informative tour of the Anglo-Saxon world. I am very pleased with the quality and content of this course, and will be listening to more work on similar topics by this author. Very highly recommended.
"Fabulous! Couldn't turn it off"
This is a truly excellent survey of the Anglo Saxon period by a professor who clearly loves it. His accent is heavy American, which takes some getting used to, but you soon forgive this because he handles the material so expertly.
Treat yourself to some Anglo Saxon history today!
Michael Drout is enthusiastic and carries his enjoyment of his subject into his lectures. This is a period I know little about. In school we jumped from the Romans to the Norman Conquest and anything I've tried to pick up since has tended to be quite dry. Here, the narrative flows; although I could have done with this being twice as long to allow me to fill in some of the inevitable gaps as he sped through several hundred years of history and literature. Well worth listening to.
"Brilliant from start to end!"
This lecture series has the winning combination of being jam packed with information and being very entertaining at the same time!
I've been quite interested in this topic for a while but knew little to nothing about it. If only Drout had been my history teacher at school! He has a passion for the subject that definitely comes out in the narration. You'll learn a lot not only about the Angles & Saxons, but also how they fit in with other peoples interacting with England like the Danes, Vikings, Celts, Christianity, Paganism, Rome and much more!
"More Words than Worlds"
Author is an expert on literature and dwells mainly on Anglo Saxon words than drawing a full picture of the people themselves. More on archaeological evidence and its significance would have been welcome. But he is a great enthusiast, learned and makes the subject very accessible.
"Entertaining, Fun and Informative"
I had previously listened to Professor Drout's lectures on science-fiction, which I had only moderately enjoyed after the lecture reaches the 1970's (see my review for more details). But I did nonetheless get the another set of lectures from Professor Drout because he is such a wonderful lecturer with great delivery and an excellent sense of humour. I was hoping that another, more historical, topic would bring out the best in him, and I was not disappointed. The set of lectures on The Anglo-Saxon World covers Britain from 500 AD until 1066 AD (the norman Conquest) with an excellent additional lecture on how the Anglo-Saxon concepts remained important up to the time of Henry the Eight. The lecture on the decades before 1066 and the lecture on the use of Anglo-Saxon as a political football under Henry the Eight are excellent (and stupendously funny at times). I am not a literature student and I was a bit worried during the introduction as it seemed that the lectures would focus more on literature than history, but my fears were soon calmed. I even enjoyed the 3 lectures on "pure" literature (lectures 9-10-11) because they stressed the psychology of people living in those times. So, even if you are not a literature geek, don't skip those 3 lectures. The only aspect that is supremely annoying in this lecture set is that each lecture begins with a long section where Professor Drout reads an excerpt in Anglo-Saxon which probably only 100 persons on Earth understand. These readings are followed by the English translation but they got really irritating, mostly as I am guessing that no one really know how Anglo-Saxon sounded, so were are not learning much from Professor Drout's attempts. Still, a minor quibble. Heartily recommended.
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