Thursday, February 11, 2010

Now I'm a Peasant

I've finally read three medieval books (in any category--history, historical fiction, medieval writing) for the Tournament of Reading Book Challenge.

Here's my review of C. S. Lewis' The Discarded Image:

This is based on a lecture series that Lewis gave several times while a don at Oxford. It's a great introduction both to Medieval Literature and to the medieval worldview or "model" as he names it. There were so many interesting parts to this book--it's hard to summarize. He presents a different interpretation of the Great Chain of Being and the Ptolemaic view of the universe. The sun and the spheres revolved around the earth not because the earth was so important but because the earth was so humble and small--at the bottom and on the outside of this great dance. Throughout he looks at language and how writers of the time were tremendously influenced by all that they read, even when they misread things. He goes through the seven scholarly disciplines, the various types of souls, and the complexions of people. Complexions in this case meant more like characteristics or humours. One idea that I found particularly interesting was that because medieval artists lacked perspective, this was an issue in writing as well. For example, a giant might not be consistently the same size in relationship to a man, a barn, or a field. I'm excited to read more medieval literature now and then maybe I'll come back and reread this again--I'm sure there's so much that I've missed on the first go round.

1 comment:

Jean said...

This is one of my all-time favorite books ever! :)