WHEN TO USE THIS PAGE: PLEASE READ THESE INSTRUCTIONS BEFORE BUYING YOUR TEXTBOOKS!
HOW TO USE THIS PAGE EACH WEEK: PLEASE READ THE Detailed Directions BELOW EACH TIME YOU START A NEW SET OF TEXTBOOKS (every 2-3 weeks)!
This web page is just a resources page. You'll need it mostly at the beginning of the semester to find out what books to buy or borrow and what free web sites to use. There also are extra credit resources here. This page does not have any assignments on it.
STARTING NOTES FOR BUYING YOUR BOOKS
The bookstore should have most or all of the books below. However, if you're making a special--and long--trip to school just to buy the books, you might want to call the bookstore first to see if the books are all in.
Many libraries have these books, including the IHCC library. However, remember that other people in this course may also be trying to check the books out from the nearby libraries.
You can order the books online from Amazon.com and other places: go to Amazon.com and type the name and author of the book into the search engine. To get the cheapest deals, click on "used." Look for sellers with the highest star rate for customer satisfacdtion. Remember, though, that some sellers might take up to two weeks to get your book to you (even though most claim 5 days for shipping time). Being extra late with a required reading is not an excuse for an additional extension beyond one week.
NOTE: If the IHCC Bookstore has run out of a book that it had ordered for the course, you may place an order with the Bookstore if you'd like to purchase from the Bookstore. This ensures that the Bookstore can get what you need as quickly as possible, hopefully withn a few days. While placing an order through the Bookstore's website is the most efficient way for you to get your book quickly, you can also fill out order forms in the store.
Warning #1: If you are ordering Maria Tatar's Classic Fairy Tales from Amazon or elsewhere--or getting it from a library or other non-IHCC Bookstore source--do NOT get the wrong edition. Please do find the "Norton Critical Edition" trade-paper version with no illustrations. Avoid buying/checking out the much more expensive hardcover edition with color illustrations. In all cases, if you are buying, try to find the cheapest editions you can.
Warning #2: Do not just simply buy every single book that is listed for the course. You will spend a lot more money than you need to, and you will have books that you don't need to read for the course. In several cases, there are choices: e.g., choosing just one of two books, or just one of three. See the instructions below.
Warning/note #3: Everyone must read Classic Fairy Tales starting Week 3. This book is assigned for three weeks. Buy it if you plan to read it for three weeks. However, if you'd prefer to switch to Myths of the Ancient Greeks starting Week 4, then do not buy Tatar--instead, buy Myths of the Ancient Greeks. (For the Wk. 3 Classic Fairy Tales reading, you can use the online version.)
Questions? If you want to ask me any questions ahead of time, feel free to contact me! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 612.870.7024. Good luck, and I'll see some of you at the first in-person meeting on campus in the first week (see the "Home" page for the date, time, and place)!
Note #1: The least expensive editions have been chosen for the bookstore, some of them used. However, it is possible in some cases to get better deals at booksellers like Amazon.com if you order several weeks in advance of when you need the book. Libraries also have many of these books.
Note #2: You may buy all of your required books right away (but see the choices below). Or you may wait to decide until the deadline week number mentioned below for each set of books.
Note #3: There are many options
below, so you'll need to take a few notes before you start buying or borrowing:
Below are the books/resources
you will need in rough order that they will be used in the course. First is a
quick summary; then there is a more detailed list. See the detailed list for
ordering information, when to get the books, etc.
Course Website (online only--free website; Weeks 1-17):
Main Textbook & Readings (not printed--you can find them only online as free websites. Weeks 1-17):
Sections (2-3 Wks. each) of Literature Readings:
THEORIES TO USE FOR INTERPRETING/ARGUING
Directions: This is a list of theories that are available online. They will help you later in the term when you must use a theory each week to write a rough-draft "Interpretive Thesis." When exploring theories to use when interpreting literature, your best bet is to look for theories that you already know, either from reading about them and/or, better yet, from living or experiencing them. While you are free to play with these theories, be sure that you do understand what they mean before you try to use them.
A. Find Your Own Theory: Use www.Google.com and write "_____ theory" with the name or type of theory written in the blank.
B. General List of Theories: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_theories
C. Websites on Several Specific Types of Theories:
SOME ADDITIONAL ONLINE RESOURCES
Web Links to Literature:
Links to Literature
(click on it)
is a collection of dozens of links
leading to thousands more, all of them literary texts or related subjects. You will
find some links to mythic literature among them.
You may read and write about literary terms for extra credit. See these sources or use your own:
This handbook at www.OnlineGrammar.org has hundreds of web links about grammar, spelling, punctuation, quotations, and bibliographies--and especially about literary readings, resources, and terms.
(Click on the above or scroll down.)
Please note, before you make your selection, that while some people are glad
they read these Arthurian legends, others are less satisfied. Note that King
Arthur stories are less about magic and chivalry and more about power and
violence--and about about how power and violence came into conflict with higher
beliefs and hopes of community, sharing, and chivalry, as often embodied in
magical hopes and dreams and to some extent in a Christian idealism not often
followed in these stories.
1. REQUIRED: Introduction A, Historical person: www.kingarthursknights.com/arthur/legendary.asp.
REQUIRED: Introduction B, History of the legend: go to
3. REQUIRED: History of the Malory book and Caxton edition: go to www.legendofkingarthur.co.uk/literature/malory.htm.
4. (CHOOSE JUST one OF 4-7:) Le Morte D'arthurSir Thomas Mallorys full-text, 1470 A.D. story in nine books. This is the original collection and creation of the King Arthur legend as we know it today from various older stories and legends that Mallory collected and further developed. Be aware, though, that the language is 15th century English--not impossible to read, but harder than contemporary English. Go to http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/Mal1Mor.html. (Note: This is the hardest to read of the three choices here. Be up for a challenge if you read this.)
(OR CHOOSE one OF 4-7:) Illustrated, larger-text version of same
book. Go to
6. T.H. Whites The Once and Future King. T.H. White is a relatively recent writer; this book has an avid following among those who love the romance of the King Arthur stories. (See a summary/synopsis at www2.netdoor.com/~moulder/thwhite/toafk_a.html.) (Note: This is the easier to read if you are choosing between this and Le Morte D'arthur, above. People tend to enjoy this one more.)
OR John Steinbecks The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble
Knights. Steinbeck was the author of such famous American novels as
The Pearl and Grapes
of Wrath. (See summary/synopsis and preview at www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0374523789/102-0703361-9320917.)
(Note: This is probably the easiest to read of the three
choices, here. However, it also is the furthest removed from the original King
Arthur stories. On the other hand, Steinbeck himself is a Nobel-Prizewinning
author, and so his version of the stories is very well written.)
(Note: This is probably the easiest to read of the three choices, here. However, it also is the furthest removed from the original King Arthur stories. On the other hand, Steinbeck himself is a Nobel-Prizewinning author, and so his version of the stories is very well written.)
*How should you estimate 12,000 words on a Web site? Count your lines and screens:
(a) Count the words in ten average lines, then divide by ten to learn how many words there are in an average line.
(b) Then figure out how many lines appear at one time on your screen. Use this to estimate how many words appear at one time on your screen. (Multiple the number of average words in a line by the number of lines that can appear on your screen at one time.)
(c) Finally, figure out how many screens you'll need to reach 12,000+ w.
(d) Depending on your browser and the Web site, 12,000 words could end up being, roughly,
as few as 20 screens (small print) to as many as 60 screens (large print). If
you need help with the math, email me with the numbers you've already figured out.
Judeo-Christian Bible Literary Readings:
Please read all of the following stories in any order you like. The equivalent in a standard paperbound storybook would be about 30-40 pages of reading.
Which type of Bible should you use? For our purposes--examining them as literature--almost all versions are acceptable. So use whatever you have or find a version from the Web. For pure literary beauty--in how the language sounds and in some of the metaphors it develops--the old King James Version is fun to read. If, however, you are looking online for more accuracy of translation of the original stories, search for the Bible using terms such as "literal," "paraphrase," and "interpreter's" versions. Many modern Bibles (for example, the New Standard Revised Edition) try to find a happy medium--straightforward, modern translation written in an interesting literary style. To find many online Bibles, go to
Please be aware as you read these Bible passages that you
should be looking at them in terms of literary qualities. Do not
examine them, for the purposes of this course, as religious beliefs. (This
does not mean they are not necessarily true. It just means that this is a
literature class, and you need to see the elements of literature in them.)
- Daniel in the Lion's Den and in Babylon: Daniel 1-6 (Chapters 1-6 only)
- Song of Songs (Song of Solomon): Song of Songs (whole book)
- Jacob's Ladder: Genesis 28:10-22 (chapter 28, verses 10-22)
- Prodigal Son: Luke 15 (all of Chapter 15)
- 2 Versions of Creation
SECOND WEEK (note: you cannot do this option until you already have done the option above):
Choose one of the first five books of the Christian Bible's New Testament (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, or the Acts of the Apostles). Read the stories in it--you may skip the theology parts, the X-gave-birth-to-Y geneaologies, and other non-story parts.
More Fairy Tales, Online:
Both of these websites were good as of 1-’15. If they’ve stopped functioning, let me know! (Read about 45 web pages per week if you are doing this as an optional weekly assignment.)
Follow Literary Books Closely:
Please note: Because this is an English literature class, the only movies that are acceptable are those based on written books that are literary classics in their field, old or modern. In addition, the movies must follow closely the original literary works. (Also remember, as explained in the "Attendance" web page, That you can only receive 1/2 credit for watching and reading about these movies.)
So, for example, even while some of the Star Trek or Star Wars movies may rise to the level of literature, they cannot count as extra credit for this course because they were made as movies (first), and not as books (or only secondarily as books).
Note: This is ony a short list of such movies. Many more exist and can be found by picking a literary work and then Googling its name with the word "movie." Once you know a literary work has a movie made from it, you can get details about the movie from www.imdb.com ("Internet Movie Database").
Alice in Wonderland. ** to ****. There are several versions of this great classic, the best known (and possibly best made) of which is the Walt Disney animated film or the newer film starring Johnny Depp.
Beauty and the Beast, Peter Pan, Pinocchio, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and other Walt Disney classic animated fairy tales. *** to ****. These classic stories come from medieval, renaissance, and baroque/enlightenment-period tales that have been around--and have changed form--from century to century and country to country for many hundreds of years in Western society.
Beowulf, 2007, about 3 hrs. ***-***˝. Ray Winstone, Crispin Glover, Angelina Jolie, and Robin Wright Penn. The warrior hero Beowulf arises from humble beginnings by defeating the monster Grendel and becomes a close friend of the king, but hubris (pride) causes him to lose his way ethically and physically, and he then must defeat the monster's equally monstrous mother, who first disguises herself as a beautiful seductress. This new movie version of the ancient Beowulf legend has received excellent critical reviews and is, at the least, an excellent rendering of the comic-book version of this myth. See also Grendel below.
Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. 2005. **** This Oscar-winning movie version of the first C.S. Lewis Chronicles of Narnia series tells the story of four children who accidentally fall into the kingdom of Narnia, where mythical creatures and beasts live side by side with talking animals in medieval pageantry and power, all of whom are led by mighty Aslan, the lion king, who must take back the kingdom from the grips of winter and the cold-hearted ice queen. The children precipitate this event when they arrive as the only humans in the place, fulfilling a prophecy of their coming.
Camelot and other feature films about King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. ** to ****. Almost all King Arthur movies are idealized Hollywood versions of the older King Arthur legends. However, so are the books of literature written about Camelot. Of these idealized versions, Camelot, ***, is perhaps the best known with the most positive reviews. Two King Arthur movies may be closer to the true origins of the literary legends: One is King Arthur, starring Clive Owen and Keira Knightly, 2004, ***, 130 min. It is "promoted as the 'true' story" that "revolves around a group of knights whose loyalty is torn between Rome, Britain, and their homeland to the east" (Apollo Reviews). The other more realistic movie based on the old literary legends is Excalibur, a movie from the 1980s or so, with Monty Python actors in it, is a serious film that perhaps is closest of any Arthur-legend movies to the original literary legends, themselves.
Clash of the Titans. **-***. Based on early Greek myths, this is the story of the hero Perseus, who goes on an adventurous quest to kill the Medusa (the famous snake-haired villainess) and other great deeds in order to save those he loves. Hades and the Kraken also figure prominently in this version. The movie takes many twists and turns that are a little different from the original Greek story, and it has rather melodramatic acting at times, but still it is an interesting and fun introduction to elements of early Greek literary stories.
Grendel, 2007, 2 hrs. w/commercials. **-***. This SciFi Channel made-for-TV movie is a reasonable and sometimes moving retranslation of the ancient classic Beowulf, and a good introduction to reading the ancient book-poem. See "Beowulf" above.
Harry Potter movies. ***-***˝. The first Harry Potter book captured the top British literary book award--the Booker Prize--the year it came out. The other books in the series are of like quality. In addition, the movies.adhere fairly closely to the literary quality and content of the books. The Harry Potter movies capture in wonderfully charming ways much of contemporary understandings about witches and magic, something like Walt Disney meets J.R.R. Tolkien and the Brothers Grimm. If you haven't seen this movie series, start with the first one, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.
The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. *** to ****. These two relatively recently made trilogies have won multiple awards and iare a mostly accurate and wonderful recreations of J.R.R. Tolkien's literary fantasy classics by the same name. If you haven't seen them, start with the first one. If you plan to watch them all, it might be better to start with The Hobbit trilogy, as the events in that happen a generation earlier in time than the events in The Lord of the Rings. (And if you decide to read the books, you can simply read The Lord of the Rings, if you want. However, if you plan to read The Hobbit as well, start with it--just one book--before moving on to The Lord of the Rings, which is three books.) Into the Woods, Meryl Streep, et al. 2014, ***˝. Into the Woods originally was a Tony award-winning Broadway play. The script is considered a great work of literature by many. The recently released movie version is a mix of many fairy tale elements with Meryl Streep playing the main witch. Amazon.com describes the plot (in an older version) as follows: "A childless baker and his wife cannot have a child until they follow the bidding of the witch next door to get a cow as white as milk, the cape as red as blood, the hair as yellow as corn, and the slipper as pure as gold. Good thing, then that they've got neighbors named Jack, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel and Cinderella to help them before (and after) Happily Ever After."
Ivanhoe, stars Robert Taylor and Elizabeth Taylor, 1952, 120 min. ***-***˝. Based on a famous novel by Sir Walter Scott, this story feeds on the same types of cultural and historical veins as Robin Hood. Set in the same period of time, the story shows Ivanhoe, a knight, who fights for "courtly love and Saxon honor" (TCM) to help King Richard, recently released from prison, take back his throne from the evil Prince John and the Sheriff of Nottingham.
Jason and the Argonauts, 1963, 120 min. Todd Armstrong and Nancy Kovack. ***, based on ancient Greek literature. This is one of several late '50s-early '60s "stop-motion animation" films combining real actors and places with special effects created by filming just one frame at a time of a mythical creature, stopping the camera and moving the creature in one small way, filming another frame, and so forth. To create the appearance of smooth motion, a five-minute scene might take as much as several months to film, especially if multiple creatures and real humans are involved at the same time. In this movie, Greek hero Jason sails past mythic evils and gods to reach the fabled golden fleece guarded by seven-headed Hydra, whose teeth are sown to create skeleton soldiers. The musical score sometimes gets in the way. (See also The 7th Voyage of Sinbad.)
King Arthur. See above "Camelot."
Lord of the Rings--See The Hobbit above.
Midsummer Night's Dream. ** to ****. There are several video/film versions of this Shakespeare classic about sprites, spirits, and humans gathering in the Forest of Arden for mischief, intrigue, and love.
Narnia movies based on books by C.S. Lewis. ***. Lewis wrote seven short novels about his Christian fantasy world Narnia. It combines Christian, modern, and children's storytelling myth and symbol with a plot complete with evil doers, heroes, and earthling children who have accidentally happened into this mirror world. There are one or two older video versions available of all seven, and the first of the tales, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, was released in 2005 as a major motion picture feature film. The movie based on another of the books was released a few years later.
Persepolis movie based closely on the literary graphic novel Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi (one of the optional books available in the IHCC Bookstore for reading in this class). It tells the autobiographical story of the author growing up in pre- and post-Islamic Revolution Iran.
The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad, 1958, 90 min. Kerwin Mathews and Kathryn Grant. ***. This is one of several late '50s-early '60s "stop-motion animation" films combining real actors and places with special effects created by filming just one frame at a time of a mythical creature, stopping the camera and moving the creature in one small way, filming another frame, and so forth. To create the appearance of smooth motion, a five-minute scene might take as much as several months to film, especially if multiple creatures and real humans are involved at the same time. In this movie, Arabian hero Sinbad the Sailor seeks the egg of a giant, two-headed Roc (bird of prey) in the land of one-eyed giants to help restore his shrunken princess to full size. He must deal with a wicked Arabian wizard who owns a magical golden lamp in which is trapped a young genii; when the lamp is rubbed (and the right words chanted), the genii comes forth and grants a wish. The musical score is especially good. (See also Jason and the Argonauts.)
Shakespeare plays. ** to ****. Almost any tragedy or comedy by Shakespeare is considered good to great literature. A very wide range of them is available from mediocre and boring or fascinating and superior. Staging can differ dramatically, too: some are in period dress while others are in modern dress, some have barebones stage settings while others are adapted to the great outdoors and to other natural scenes such as castles and large-scale battles, and some have modern language while others use Shakespeare's English. At an introductory level, for example, Franco Zefferelli's version of Romeo and Juliet is a great tragedy and excellent drama with period costumes and settings from which to discuss ideas about the mythic dimensions of love, passion, rivalry, youth, and age. Another example is Mel Gibson's Hamlet, with period dress and close approximation of Shakespeare's language, a very good but perhaps not great version.
Troy, 2004, Brad Pitt, **1/2. This is the Hollywood version of the great and famous story of Achilles leading Greece's army in the Trojan War, which started when Paris kidnapped Helen of Troy. It is fairly--though far from perfectly--accurate in plot, setting, and characters.
Walt Disney classics: see above, Beauty and the Beast, etc.
The Wizard of Oz, various versions (the most recent of which is the more complex, adult, punk version by the SciFi channel). The classic and still usually considered the best general version is the old one with Judy Garland.
Scroll down or click here for the following parts of this "Books & Websites" page:
Textbooks--Summary (See more detailed directions below!)