I've selected a third pattern for the Norns Project, and am happily knitting away at it. As of yet it's still in its infant stages, and the pattern is just shaping. By next week's Yarn Along, though, it's sure to be far more developed (perhaps even completed!). I'm delighted with how the project is coming along!!!
|The very beginning of my new panel! |
This will be joined to the top of the full blanket as soon as it's completed.
As I finish up The Mabinogion this week, I've been thinking how much Medieval-related literature has affected me personally. Even before I embarked on the Norns Project and the ponderous adult reading list, books from and about this period obsessed me. I was raised on stories like these - some primary-source folktales, others secondary sources, still others contemporary fiction - all written in the glorious tradition of Ancient and Medieval poets and storytellers. Well-written literature from or about this era shares a certain haunting and compelling quality that is absolutely irresistible. There you can find blindingly-bright glory in a world of violence, timeless wisdom in an age of social collapse, and ethereal beauty in an era (wrongfully) popularized as a cultural dark age. The spirits of the men and women who shaped this culture are more inspiring still.
As I'm sure you've all guessed by now, I've embarked on a lifelong love affair with the Middle Ages. But without this crucial background of children's literature, fact books, and fairy tales, I don't know if I would ever have been drawn to the Middle Ages as a field of study. So for today's post, I thought I might share the five Late Antique and Medieval children's books that originally piqued my interest in the subject. This list is targeted for readers 8-14, and includes the books that still have a home on my shelves (sadly, there are hundreds more which have long since disappeared back into the library stacks!). Still, these books are the place to start. You and/or your children are sure to be as swept away with Medievalism as I was!
2. The Children of Odin (or Nordic Gods and Heroes), by Padraic Column. The book to read after D'Aulaires' - not as thematically blunt as the original Eddas and Sagas, but still more in-depth than the previous book. This is ideal for the middle-grade reader!
3. The Mark of the Horse Lord, by Rosemary Sutcliff. Although more suited to older readers, Rosemary Sutcliff's novels are essential reading for any 12+ Medievalist. Her facts are sometimes hazy, but the overall spirit of the novels is one of authenticity. This particular one - my favorite by her - is set in Late Antique Britain on the cusp of the Middle Ages. It's a stunning portrait of the cultures (Roman and barbarian) emerging into the forces that were to shape Medieval society and our world at large.
4. The Shield Ring, by Rosemary Sutcliff. Sutcliff's riveting imagining of the last Viking stronghold in William Rufus' 11th c. England, fighting for its survival against the uncompromising Norman conquerers.
5. The Medieval World Series, by Various. I cannot recommend this series of introductory books highly enough - despite their slim size, they are filled with information guaranteed to inspire and delight any budding Medievalist.
You might also be interested in this recent post of mine, detailing some extremely common media inspired by Viking culture. Enjoy!!! Please do comment if you end up finding any of these resources helpful. And if you'd like any additional ideas for wonderful Medieval-related children's books, please leave a comment or send me an email via my blogger profile!