Gummere’s Old English Ballads.
Child’s The English and Scotch Popular Ballads.
Collins’s Greek Influence on English Poetry.
Tucker’s The Foreign Debt of English Literature.
SUGGESTED READINGS WITH QUESTIONS AND SUGGESTIONS
Malory.—Craik, Century, 19-33; Swiggett’s Selections from Malory; Wragg’s Selections from Malory,—all contain good selections. The Globe Edition is an inexpensive single volume containing the complete text. The best edition is a reproduction of the original in three volumes with introductions by Oscar Sommer and Andrew Lang (London: David Nutt). Howard Pyle has retold Malory’s best stories in simple form (Scribner).
Compare the death (or passing) of Arthur in Malory with Tennyson’s The Passing of Arthur. What special dualities do you notice in the manner of Malory’s telling a story? Is his work original? Why has it remained so popular? What age specially shows its influence?
More.—The English translation of the Utopia may be found entire in Everyman’s Library (35c). There are good selections in Craik, I., 162-167.
What is the etymological meaning of Utopia? What is its modern significance? Did More really give a new word to literature and speech? The Utopia should be read for an indication of the influence of the Renaissance and for comparison with twentieth-century ideas of social improvement.
Tyndale.—Bosworth and Waring’s Gospels, containing the Anglo-Saxon, Wycliffe, and Tyndale versions. Specimens of Tyndale’s prose are given in Chambers, I., 130; Craik, I., 185-187.
Why is Tyndale’s translation of the Bible important to the student of literature? What are some special dualities of this translation?
Early Scottish Poetry.—Selections from fifteenth-century Scottish poetry may be found in Bronson, I, 170-197; Ward, I, passim; P. & S., 246-277; Oxford, 16-33.
From the King’s Quair and the poems of Henryson, Dunbar, and Gawain Douglas, select passages that show first-hand intimacy with nature. Compare these with lines from any poet whose knowledge of nature seems to you to be acquired from books.
Ballads.—Ward. I., passim, contains among others three excellent ballads,—Sir Patrick Spens, The Twa Corbies, Robin Hood Rescuing the Widow’s Three Sons. Bronson, I., 203-254; P. & S., 282-301; Oxford, 33-51; and Maynard’s English Classics, No. 96, Early English Ballads also have good selections. The best collection is Child’s The English and Scotch Popular Ballads, 5 vols.
What are the chief characteristics of the old ballads? Why do they interest us today? Which of those indicated for reading has proved most interesting? What influence impossible for other forms of literature, was exerted by the ballad? What did Autolycus mean (Winter’s Tale, IV., 4) when he offered “songs for man or woman, of all sizes”? Have any ballads been written in recent times?