Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Thursday Literary Hop

Literary Blog Hop

This week's question comes from Debbie Nance at Readerbuzz


What is the most difficult literary work you've ever read? What made it so difficult?

The most difficult literary works I've read were the entire book list for my Medieval Literature class at the University of Washington.  Specifically, The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chauncer (1387-1400).  The professor insisted we read the original Old English version.  I think I was in tears after the first page.  I really had no idea what I was reading and was desperately trying to make sense of it because I knew I'd have to write a paper.  Eventually, I settled down and just went with it.  It was painful, but amazingly I started to  get the meaning of the words.  Until that moment, I'd never struggled with a text and it taught me patience.  After that Beowulf was a breeze!

16 comments:

  1. Learning patience is a big part of reading deeply, I think.

    I was required to memorize the Prologue to the Canterbury Tales when I was a senior in high school. Oddly, I can still recite it. "Wan that Aprille with a surra sota..." See how much sense that made to me!

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  2. Chaucer is super hard because the language is SO different! I'm not gonna lie, I'm not a huge fan.
    Thanks for participating in our Hop Charlie!

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  3. Canterbury Tales was a tough one but I thought the story was fabulous! The Wife of Bath is one of my favorite literary characters. On the other hand, I didn't like the story of Beowulf has much and therefore, thought that was a harder work!

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  4. I enjoyed the stories but really wished I had read a translation instead of the Old English. Not a high interest area for me.

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  5. I know I'll never read The Canterbury Tales in Old English. Maybe an translation.... someday.

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  6. I read just "The Miller's Tale" in its original English, but only with a trusty Middle English study companion at my side that I referenced for every other word. It is a lot of work! I have to say, though, that "The Miller's Tale" in particular is just hilarious. I had to slap a hand over mouth to choke back my laughter in a silent library!

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  7. I have read a lot of classics in my school and college years. And some still remain my favorites. However, there are a few I could never get into..


    Here is my Literary Blog Hop post!

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  8. I admit, I'm not fond of the Canterbury Tales...

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  9. In High School I vaguely remember Beowulf. I think I would have cried too if I had to read the old english version

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  10. I must be strange - sort of enjoyed The Canterbury Tales, but I read them in a class with an excellent teacher who made them very accessible. I agree that they teach you patience - and also reading them successfully built my confidence as a reader to try difficult texts.

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  11. I'm another person who enjoyed the Canterbury Tales, but I'll admit that I read both the Old English and translated versions side by side to understand everything.

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  12. haha! Chaucer! I think it's the first entry this week who I consider as hard as mine. Good work ma'am. I read Canterbury Tales to help a friend do a paper on it. It was crippling. I had B- and was very offended.

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  13. The Miller's Tale still tickles me pink.

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  14. Blimey I remember reading this, a few years ago & although I survived it, it left me with permanent scar tissue on an area of my mind that will never fully recover.
    Enjoyed your write up,
    Thanks.
    Parrish

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  15. I remember being tortured with this in high school, many years ago. It's one that I'd be interested in having another look at as an adult.

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  16. I had to do this too! Then I had to memorize and recite a section from The Prologue. I did end up loving the course, but Canterbury Tales in Middle English is daunting. But: being able to read the Prologue aloud in Middle English always entertains my high school students, so I got that out of it!

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