While the first portion of the book was necessary to establish the correct timeline and help those who do not have knowledge of early Christianity, I found it rather dry. It is foundational and ought to remain in the book, though personally it was not beneficial. However, as much of the literature of the Medieval Ages was influenced by religion, the authors did not leave the religious aspect in the first few chapters, but rather integrated it throughout the book. This was helpful for tracking how religious movements and literature continuously interacted. I found that the two were more interconnected that I originally thought. However, as the book informed, even if an author was not writing for specifically religious purposes, the world of Christianity, and the legality associated with it, shaped literature. Chapter Five mentions that Beowulf, a pagan poe...
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...the book, I found it difficult to read. The constant presence of indented quotations made reading strenuous; the plethora of quotations made it hard to focus in and treat them as important. If I were to suggest changes in a succinct fashion it would be as follows: begin each chapter with a timeline of the specific period being discussed, mentioning significant moments (invasions, plagues, wars, new rulers, and new schools of thought), and focus on authors writing during those periods, highlighting the key themes most commonly written about, drawing on which significant moment initiated the writing. This would give students a clearer understanding of the specific time periods, but also would allow them to go back and compare the changes over time. Overall, I thought this book helpful in some aspects and hindering in others, leaving readers of literature wanting more.
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