Book List for Lit Two: The Middle Ages (CLICK FOR PDF VERSION)

There are lots of options for acquiring these books. You can order them from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or another online retailer. If you want to save money, you can check them out of the library. For most of them, you can get e-book versions or access them online and read them on your computer screen.

Please take note of my comments below. For many of the books, it’s important that you acquire the correct edition or translation.


Confessions, by Augustine (the Sarah Ruden translation)

Be careful with this one. There are many translations and several abridged versions of the book. Be sure to get the Sarah Ruden translation. We are reading the unabridged book.

Beowulf (Seamus Heaney translation)

Again, be sure to get the right translation.

The Inferno, by Dante (John Ciardi translation)

Another book where the translation makes a difference. Get the right one.

The Canterbury Tales, by Chaucer

 We will be reading the Prologue and four tales. You can find them online, but I recommend purchasing the whole book.

  • The Prologue

  • “The Knight’s Tale”

  • “The Franklin’s Tale”

  • “The Pardoner’s Tale”

  • “The Nun’s Priest’s Tale”

“Gawain and the Green Knight” (J.R.R. Tolkien translation)

There are other translations that are fine, but students like the fact that the author of The Lord of the Rings did this one.

The Once and Future King, by T.S. White

Le Morte D’Arthur, Sir Thomas Malory

We are only reading short excerpts from this book and I’ve provided them in digital form in the syllabus. I don’t recommend buying the whole book. It can be expensive.

Utopia, by Thomas More

Fierce Wars and Faithful Loves: Book I of Spenser’s The Faerie Queene, by Roy Maynard

We’ll be reading Book 1 of Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene, but I want you to get hold of one particular version called Fierce Wars and Faithful Loves, edited and annotated by Roy Maynard. It’s great; trust me.

Dr. Faustus, by Christopher Marlowe

Hamlet, by William Shakespeare

Macbeth, by William Shakespeare

Henry IV, Part 1, by William Shakespeare

Henry IV, Part 2, by William Shakespeare

Henry V: 1989 Film directed by Kenneth Branagh

That’s right. You don’t need a print version of this play unless you want to both read and watch it. Instead of reading this week, students will watch a really good film production directed by and starring Kenneth Branagh. If you can find a streaming version, great. Otherwise, try libraries.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream, by William Shakespeare

Shakespeare’s Sonnets

You don’t have to purchase anything. I provide all these poems in the syllabus.

  • Sonnet #18

  • Sonnet #29

  • Sonnet #71

  • Sonnet #116

 John Donne’s Poetry

You don’t have to purchase anything. I provide all these poems in the syllabus.

  • “Valediction: Forbidding Mourning”

  • “Holy Sonnet #5”

  • “Holy Sonnet #7”

  • “Holy Sonnet #10”

  • “Holy Sonnet #14”

  • “The Flea”

Metaphysical Poetry

You don’t have to purchase anything. I provide all these poems in the syllabus.

  • “To His Coy Mistress” by Andrew Marvell

  • “To the Virgins” by Robert Herrick

  • “To Althea” by Richard Lovelace

  • “Why So Pale and Wan, Fond Lover?” by Sir John Suckling