English 1140


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Eng. 1140




This web page is just a resources page. You'll need it mostly at the beginning of the semester to find out what books to buy or borrow and what free web sites to use. There also are extra credit resources here. This page does not have any assignments on it.


The bookstore should have most or all of the books below. However, if you're making a special--and long--trip to school just to buy the books, you might want to call the bookstore first to see if the books are all in.

Many libraries have these books, including the IHCC library. However, remember that other people in this course may also be trying to check the books out from the nearby libraries.

You can order the books online from Amazon.com and other places: go to Amazon.com and type the name and author of the book into the search engine. To get the cheapest deals, click on "used."  Look for sellers with the highest star rate for customer satisfacdtion. Remember, though, that some sellers might take up to two weeks to get your book to you (even though most claim 5 days for shipping time). Being extra late with a required reading is not an excuse for an additional extension beyond one week.  

NOTE: If the IHCC Bookstore has run out of a book that it had ordered for the course, you may place an order with the Bookstore if you'd like to purchase from the Bookstore. This ensures that the Bookstore can get what you need as quickly as possible, hopefully withn a few days. While placing an order through the Bookstore's website is the most efficient way for you to get your book quickly, you can also fill out order forms in the store.

Warning #1: If you are ordering Maria Tatar's Classic Fairy Tales from Amazon or elsewhere--or getting it from a library or other non-IHCC Bookstore source--do NOT get the wrong edition. Please do find the "Norton Critical Edition" trade-paper version with no illustrations. Avoid buying/checking out the much more expensive hardcover edition with color illustrations. In all cases, if you are buying, try to find the cheapest editions you can.

Warning #2: Do not just simply buy every single book that is listed for the course. You will spend a lot more money than you need to, and you will have books that you don't need to read for the course. In several cases, there are choices: e.g., choosing just one of two books, or just one of three. See the instructions below.

Warning/note #3: Everyone must read Classic Fairy Tales starting Week 3. This book is assigned for three weeks. Buy it if you plan to read it for three weeks. However, if you'd prefer to switch to Myths of the Ancient Greeks starting Week 4, then do not buy Tatar--instead, buy Myths of the Ancient Greeks. (For the Wk. 3 Classic Fairy Tales reading, you can use the online version.)

Questions?  If you want to ask me any questions ahead of time, feel free to contact me!  Email me at richard@jewell.net or call 612.870.7024.  Good luck, and I'll see some of you at the first in-person meeting on campus in the first week (see the "Home" page for the date, time, and place)!

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Note #1: The least expensive editions have been chosen for the bookstore, some of them used. However, it is possible in some cases to get better deals at booksellers like Amazon.com if you order several weeks in advance of when you need the book. Libraries also have many of these books.

Note #2: You may buy all of your required books right away (but see the choices below). Or you may wait to decide until the deadline week number mentioned below for each set of books.

Note #3: There are many options below, so you'll need to take a few notes before you start buying or borrowing:
A. Get out a pen and take notes,
B. print this page and circle what you want to buy, or
C. bring up a second window in Word on your computer and type your choices.

Below are the books/resources you will need in rough order that they will be used in the course. First is a quick summary; then there is a more detailed list. See the detailed list for ordering information, when to get the books, etc.

Quick Summary of the Required Books and Sources
(from bookstore or library and/or free online)
(See more detailed directions below!)

TEXTBOOKS (as online websites to use):

LITERATURE OPTIONS TO READ (books to buy or find online):

  • WEEKS 3-5: Ancient-Modern Short Stories:
    The Classic Fairy Tales
    edited by Tatar (Buy. Both "A Norton Critical Edition" and "Second Norton Critical Edition" are okay. Warning! -- Do NOT order the large, illustrated, hardbound edition!)

    NOTE: Would you rather read Greek myths instead of fairy tales? If so, do NOT buy the Tatar book. instead, buy: The Greek Myths by Waterfield and Waterfield.

    Or, instead, you may buy Gilgamesh, an ancient Sumerian book-length story, translated by Stephen Mitchell (be sure to get the Stephen Mitchell edition, not any other one).

    (Please also note that you will have later options to read The Greek Myths and Gilgamesh, so if you want to start with Tatar's fairy tales and later read Greek myths or Gilgamesh, then you may buy BOTH or all three of these two books.)

    WEEKS 6-7: Ancient Classical Literature (choose one):
    Oedipus the King
    [Oedipus Rex] by Sophocles (free online),
    Lysistrata by Aristophanes (free online),
    The Greek Myths by Waterfield and Waterfield (buy),
    Gilgamesh translated by Mitchell (buy)
    China's ancient Tao Te Ching (free online),
    India's ancient Bhagavad Gita (free online),
    or The Arabian Nights (book--trans. by Haddawy; buy)

  • WEEKS 8-9/10: Medieval Literature (choose one):
    (book--Heaney, trans.; buy),
    The Honeysuckle and the Hazel Tree
    (bk.--Terry, trans.; buy online), or Canterbury Tales by Chaucer (free online--read below for source),
    King Arthur literature (free online--read below for source),
    more of The Greek Myths,
    more of Gilgamesh,
    or more of The Arabian Nights (book--trans. by Haddawy; buy)

  • WEEKS 10-11: Miscellaneous Legendary Literature (choose one):
    by Satrapi (graphic novel, buy),
    Biblical literature (free online--read  below for source),
    any play we have attended/will attend,
    King Arthur literature (as above, free online),
    The Greek Myths by Waterfield and Waterfield (buy),
    More of Gilgamesh translated by Mitchell (buy),
    More The Arabian Nights (book--trans. by Haddawy; buy)

  • China's ancient Tao Te Ching (free online),
    India's ancient Bhagavad Gita (free online),
    online poetry: poems by Nobel Prizewinning poems by Pablo Neruda,
    or poems by deceased rap star Tupac Shakur (both are free online)
  • WEEKS 12-13: 19th-20th Century Novels (choose one):
    Old Man and the Sea
    by Hemingway (buy),
    by Morrison (buy), or
    The Pearl
    by Steinbeck (buy)
    Persepolis by Satrapi (graphic novel, buy; or another graphic novel from this list (see below for more details about each): Maus, Daytripper,
    Watchmen, or The Arrival
    Night by Wiesel (nonfiction Holocaust narrative, buy)
    or A Christmas Carol by Dickens

  • (online or buy)
  • WEEKS 14-16: Modern Fantasy Literature (choose one):
    The Hobbit
    by Tolkien (or Fellowship of the Ring),
    Books 2, 4, & 5 of Chronicles of Narnia by Lewis (or 3 other Narnias),
    Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone by Rowling (or another Harry Potter)
    3 graphic novels from the following: Maus, Persepolis, and one of your own choice)

(See more detailed directions below!)


for Ordering/Finding and Using These Books Each Week:

Course Website (online only--free website; Weeks 1-17):

  • Go to RichardJewell.org and click on "1140 Website" (free online).
     - By the end of Week 1, you should have either attended the introductory computer lab session on campus about the course and its website (see the "Home" page of this website).
    You should have written, by the end of Week 1, 500+ words summarizing the course website (see the "Week 1 Assignments" in the "Wkly. Asgnmnts." page of this website). The course website can always be found by going to RichardJewell.org and, in the left column by "Eng 1140," clicking on "1140 Website."

Main Textbook & Readings (not printed--you can find them only online as free websites. Weeks 1-17):

  • Section H.--"Writing to Literature" in WritingforCollege (free online) (several weeks throughout semester)
     - By the end of Week 1, know where to find section "H.: Writing to Literature" and its several chapters--free and online--in WritingforCollege.org. (A link to the section also is in the left column of this website.)

  • Secondary Text: Ch. 53--"Story Writing" in WritingforCollege

  • Reading Plays We See: If you want to read a play that we also are seeing, you may do this in any week(s) you want, instead of the assigned literature below. However, when you write about what you read, you should first state, at the beginning of your writing about it, five sentences giving clear differences between the reading and the staging of the play (or state that you haven't seen the play, yet).

Sections (2-3 Wks. each) of Literature Readings:

  • WEEKS 3-5: Ancient-Modern Short Stories:

    The Classic Fairy Tales
    edited by Tatar (buy) (Wks. 3-5)
    or The Greek Myths by Waterfield and Waterfield (buy)
    (Wks. 4-5)


By Week 2 (or two weeks earlier if ordering online), everyone must choose and buy The Classic Fairy Tales edited by Maria Tatar (Publ.: Norton, Norton Critical Edition, 1998; trade/paper bound.
In Week 3, you can read the online version of the Tatar assignment in Classic Fairy Tales without buying it. Then, for Wks. 4-5 (and other weeks, if you want), buy & read:  

The Greek Myths by Waterfield and Waterfield, trade/paper bound.

Both books are available in the IHCC Bookstore.

Starting Week 4, you can buy Gilgamesh translated by Stephen Mitchell, and ancient Sumerian book-length tale (poem) about a Sumerian king who was both hard on his subjects and himself, and met a tragic end. You may continue reading this book, or start it, anytime from Week 4 - Week 11.

WARNING: If you're ordering The Classic Fairy Tales, do NOT order the large, illustrated, hardbound edition, called The Annotated Classic Fairy Tales, by the same author: it does NOT have the same stories and is much more expensive! Be sure to order the exact version described immediately above! The IHCC Bookstore does have the correct version (though used online editions may also be available at cheaper prices).

  • WEEKS 6-7: Ancient Classical Literary Plays (choose one of these options):

     - Oedipus the King
    [Oedipus Rex] by Sophocles
    (free online), or
     - Lysistrata by Aristophanes
    (free online), or
     - The Greek Myths by Waterfield and Waterfield
    (buy in Bookstore), or
     - Tao Te Ching (free online), or
     - Bhagavad Gita
    (free online), or
     - The Arabian Nights translated by Haddawy (buy online, or see if a few
        copies of it are still at the IHCC Bookstore)


    By the end of Week 3 of the course, choose one of the following:

    • A. Oedipus the King (also called Oedipus Rex) by Sophocles. One of most famous ancient Greek tragedies of all time. (There are several versions online, depending on which you find the easiest to understand. Google "Oedipus Rex text." Read half of it per week.

    • B. Lysistrata by Aristophanes. The world's most favorite bawdy, ancient Greek comedy. (There are several versions online, depending on which translation you find most fun to read. Google "Lysistrata text" or use http://eserver.org/drama/aristophanes/lysistrata.txt . Read half of it per week.
      Buy and prepare to read a printed-book version of these plays--often available in most libraries and by online purchase from Amazon.com (not available at IHCC Bookstore). (A good printed-book translation of Oedipus the King is the
      Pocket Books/Simon & Schuster, Pocket Books Classic/Enriched Classic version.)

          - C. Buy and prepare to read
    The Greek Myths by Waterfield and Waterfield (IHCC or other online or physical bookstores). In any given week, you may choose to read one of these three sections: Ch. 1-4, 5-8, or 9-10.

           - D. China's ancient Tao Te Ching (free online)

           - E. India's ancient Bhagavad Gita (free online)

          - F. Buy and prepare to read The Arabian Nights translated by Haddawy (a few copies at IHCC bookstore, or buy online). Warning: some stories have x-rated materials in them.

    WEEKS 8-9/10: Medieval Literature (choose one of these options):

    Beowulf (book--Heaney trans., buy)
    Canterbury Tales
    (free online)
    King Arthur literature (free online--see below), or
    Honeysuckle and the Hazel Tree (book, buy)--women's story poems
    or The Arabian Nights (book--translated by Haddawy; buy) Warning:
         Some stories have x-rated materials.)


    By the fourth week of class, everyone must choose and find or buy one of these four sources:

          - A. Buy ahead of time (IHCC Bookstore or online) the medieval story of Beowulf  as recently translated by Seamus Heaney: an early-medieval story of a monster and the hero who slays it and its mother. (Publ.: Mac Higher). Available in IHCC Bookstore or at most libraries and bookstores. Nobel Literature Prize winner Seamus Heaney's  version is far and above the best ever in English. If you like adventure and monsters, Heaney's translation is a very good one. (Warning: Most students think the 2nd half is somewhat boring compared to the first half. So, you may want to read Beowulf in the 1st week and then a different medieval book in the 2nd week.)


         - B. Buy online ahead of time medieval stories authored by medieval women, including romantic ones, in The Honeysuckle and the Hazel Tree. This translation is far better than any translations of medieval women that may be online. This book is especially for those who enjoy reading women's literature and/or "story poems." Read this in two parts.

    - C.  Go online (free) to legendary King Arthur stories (Note that King Arthur stories are less about magic and chivalry and more about power and violence.) For more details and the assignments, click here on

    Literature of King Arthur

    (You'll have another one to two weeks, as well, to choose this one.) Some people like the online translations; others don't.


          - D. Find online (free) or borrow in a library the late-medieval stories Canterbury Tales. The author, Chaucer, is sometimes called the father of English literature.  However, note that people who read the online version tend not to enjoy it very much. If you can buy or borrow a print version, it's much better if you buy (online) or borrow (in the IHCC Library) Canterbury Tales, A Retelling by Peter Ackroyd.  It is much more readable and fun than other versions. Choose enough stories (some are long, some short) to read about 40-60 pp. or screens per week.


          - E. Buy and prepare to read The Arabian Nights translated by Haddawy (a few copies at IHCC bookstore, or buy online). If you've already started using it, then read more stories. Warning: some stories have x-rated materials in them.

  • WEEKS 10-11: Miscellaneous Legendary Literature (choose one of these choices):
    - Persepolis
    by Satrapi
    (graphic novel, buy)
    - Biblical literature
    (free online)
    - A play you have recently attended or will attend this semester, 
    - More of
    The Greek Myths by Waterfield and Waterfield (buy),
    - More The Arabian Nights (book--trans. by Haddawy
    Warning: Some stories have x-rated materials.)
    - King Arthur literature
    (as above, free online),
    - More of the other "Medieval Lit.,"
    choices above,
    - China's ancient Tao Te Ching
    (free online),
    India's ancient Bhagavad Gita
    (free online),
    or Poetry by Pablo Neruda, Nobel Prizewinning poems (free online),
            or by Tupac Shakur, a deceased rapper and poet of note


By the sixth week of the class, everyone must choose and find or buy one of these books, plays, or sets of readings. Choose carefully, as this is, for some people, the least interesting and/or most challenging part of this course. If you buy/find online a selection with a number of different stories, note how much you need to read--or not read--each week, and then if you don't like the first few paragraphs of one story, then try another...and another until you find one you like. Here are the choices:
      - A. Buy Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, a famous "graphic novel" (serious, book-length cartoon) about a young, modern Iranian woman growing up before and after the Islamic Revolution in her country. (Publ.: Random House). Available in IHCC Bookstore or at most libraries and bookstores.
(NOTE: If Persepolis is your first graphic novel, remember to not only read the words but also look carefully at each picture for full effect--the words and pictures may convey different information.)
 - B. Find and read, from online or any library or bookstore, a written copy of one of the plays that you have attended (online or in person) as part of the course, or another play by the same author. Note: When you write about what you read, you should first state, at the beginning of your writing about it, five sentences giving five clear differences between the reading of the play and staging of the play.


      - C. Find online (free) legendary stories from the Judeo-Christian Bible. See Literature in the Judeo-Christian Bible for more details.


      - D. Read more of the any of the books listed in the Medieval Literature selections in Wks. 8-9/10 above.


      - E. Read poems by Nobel Prizewinning South American poet Pablo Neruda: Go to www.poemhunter.com/pablo-neruda/poems/page-4/?a=a&l=3&y=. Choose 20 poems (20 per week) from over 165 by looking at all the titles. Then read the 20 you choose either out loud once, or silently twice each. Then pick three similar ones on which to do a literary review of all three at the same time.


    - F. Read poems by deceased rapper Tupac Shakur. Google "tupac shakur poetry" and choose 20 poems (20 per week). Then read the 20 you choose either out loud once, or silently twice each. Then pick three similar ones on which to do a literary review of all three at the same time.

  • WEEKS 12-13: 19th-20th Century Famous Novels--(choose one):
    Old Man and the Sea
    by Hemingway (buy)
    Sula by Morrison (buy)
    The Pearl by Steinbeck (buy), or
    Night by Elie Wiesel (nonfiction Holocaust narrative, buy)
    A Christmas Carol
    by Dickens (online)
    Persepolis by Satrapi (graphic novel, buy) or others listed immediately below


    By the fifth week of the course, everyone must choose and then buy or find online one of these books, They are available (first come, first served) in the IHCC Bookstore (and in all libraries) except for the following: A Christmas Carol by Dickens is online; and while a few copies of the graphic novel Persepolis are in the bookstore and most libraries, all the other graphic novels listed below are not available in the IH bookstore, but must be purchased or (borrowed in a library) on your own.

          - A. The Old Man and the Sea by Hemingway. Short, mythic-like novel of an old man taking his small fishing boat out and capturing the biggest fish anyone has seen. (Pprbck. Publ.: Simon & Schuster)

          - B. Sula by Toni Morrison. Short, mythic-like novel about a powerful black woman and her problems. (Pprbck. Publ.: Random House)

     - C. The Pearl by John Steinbeck. Short, mythic-like novel about a wonderful pearl found by a simple peasant, who then struggles not to be corrupted by the wealth he expects from selling it. (Pprbck. Publ.: any publ.)

          - D. Night by Elie Wiesel (nonfiction Holocaust narrative, buy). In this famous concentration-camp biography, by a Nobel Prizewinner, a young man survives a concentration camp but watches his father die.

          - E. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. You can find this famous story of Tiny Tim and Scrooge in any library, most large bookstores, or inexpensively as a used book at Amazon et al. Or you can read the complete text online at www.gutenberg.org/files/46/46-h/46-h.htm. Do two readings in five "Staves":  
            1st wk.
    , "Stave 1" through half of "Stave 3";
            2nd wk.
    , "last half of "Stave 3" through "Stave 5." 
    (You are welcome to start a different Dickens book for 2-3 weeks, but most of his books are 800-1200 pages in length!)

    OR a Graphic Novel as Follows:

          - F. Persepolis by Satrapi (graphic novel, buy). Persepolis is perhaps the most famous graphic novel in America. It is about a modern young  woman dealing with her country, Iran's, revolution before, during, and after it. Note: You may buy or borrow, instead, one of the well known and high quality graphic novels below. (None of these can be purchased in the IH Bookstore.) Most of these suggestions are from a friend at Century College who is an expert in this field. They are:

        - Maus (or for twice as much reading, Maus I and II Combined)--a kind of existential look at the Holocaust by a survivor who now lives in New York.

         - Daytripper--"set in Brazil and has a Twilight Zone-y plot device. Kind of existentialist life meditations, "The Road Not Taken," etc. 

         - Watchmen--looks goofy at first glance but it is epic and awesome.  It's also a long read--takes longer than Maus I & II if the students actually read the interchapters [which you may skip for this class]. The book is postmodern in that it blends all kinds of texts (including a grim comic book within the comic), and it's modernist in how carefully it's structured around the Doomsday Clock."

         - The Arrival by famous Chinese-American author Amy Tan--"a beautiful book about the immigrant experience--the fantastic elements help readers internalize the dislocations of coming to a strange land. The only language in the book is the foreign signs the protagonist cannot read. Highly recommended."

         - American Born Chinese--pitched for a young adult audience but nicely presents identity conflicts without just being a downer. 


  • WEEKS 14-16: Modern Fantasy Literature (choose one):

    Buy 1 of the following:

     - The Hobbit by Tolkien (or any 1 of 3 Fellowship of the Ring books),
     - Books 2, 4, & 5 of Chronicles of Narnia by Lewis (or 3 other
     - Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone by Rowling (or another Harry


    By the eighth week of the course, everyone must choose and then buy one of these three books/sets, all available (first come, first served) in the IHCC Bookstore:   

 - A. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. The book that started the hobbits and Lord of the Rings series. Multiple paperback versions available. (If you've already read it, you may choose one of the first two Lord of the Rings books from a library or other bookstore, instead.)

- B. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling. The book that started the Harry Potter/Hogwarts seven-book series. (If you've already read it, you may choose one of the others in this series from a library or other bookstore, instead.)

- C. Three slim books (buy all three and read one entire book per week!) from C.S. Lewis' seven-book Chronicles of Narnia series (note--choose these by name, not by series number, as the numbering is different from different publishers):

        - The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe 
        - Prince Caspian
        - The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

      - D. Three of the graphic novels listed above in "Weeks 12-13" Part "F." (Buy them on your own, online or in larger bookstores--but call first for the bookstores.)

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 (Updated 16 Jan. 2013)

Directions: This is a list of theories that are available online. They will help you later in the term when you must use a theory each week to write a rough-draft "Interpretive Thesis."  When exploring theories to use when interpreting literature, your best bet is to look for theories that you already know, either from reading about them and/or, better yet, from living or experiencing them.   While you are free to play with these theories, be sure that you do understand what they mean before you try to use them.

A. Find Your Own Theory: Use www.Google.com and write "_____ theory" with the name or type of theory written in the blank.

B. General List of Theories: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_theories 

C. Websites on Several Specific Types of Theories:

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Web Links to Literature:

Links to Literature (click on it) is a collection of dozens of links leading to thousands more, all of them literary texts or related subjects.  You will find some links to mythic literature among them.

Literary Terms:

You may read and write about literary terms for extra credit. See these sources or use your own:

http://bedfordstmartins.com/litgloss (Bedford St. Martin's literary glossary of over 200 terms)
http://www.tnellen.com/cybereng/lit_terms/ (short dictionary of terms)

Online Grammar Handbook

This handbook at www.OnlineGrammar.org has hundreds of web links about grammar, spelling, punctuation, quotations, and bibliographies--and especially about literary readings, resources, and terms.


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King Arthur Webs   

Literature in the Judeo-Christian Bible Webs

Fairy/Folk Tales Webs      

List of Extra-Cr. Movies Based on Literature

(Click on the above or scroll down.)


Literary Legends of King Arthur:

     Please note, before you make your selection, that while some people are glad they read these Arthurian legends, others are less satisfied. Note that King Arthur stories are less about magic and chivalry and more about power and violence--and about about how power and violence came into conflict with higher beliefs and hopes of community, sharing, and chivalry, as often embodied in magical hopes and dreams and to some extent in a Christian idealism not often followed in these stories.
     But you remain interested, try out Arthur for one week. Here's what to read.
     First, read the three short Web pages in 1, 2, & 3 below; then also find and read 30+ pp. per week (about 12,000+ words per week) of your choice of  only one of 4, 5, 6, or 7 below.  For 4-7 below, choose the parts of the legend you want to read.  If you borrow or buy a book, read 30+ pages per week.  If you read from one of the Web sites, you'll have to estimate the 12,000+ words yourself because the size of a Web page differs from one computer to another.  How should you estimate?  See below.*  

1.   REQUIRED: Introduction A, Historical person: www.kingarthursknights.com/arthur/legendary.asp.

2.   REQUIRED: Introduction B, History of the legend: go to  www.wwnorton.com/college/english/nael/middleages/topic_

3.   REQUIRED: History of the Malory book and Caxton edition: go to www.legendofkingarthur.co.uk/literature/malory.htm.  

4.   (CHOOSE JUST one OF 4-7:) Le Morte D'arthur—Sir Thomas Mallory’s full-text, 1470 A.D. story in nine “books.”  This is the original collection and creation of the King Arthur legend as we know it today from various older stories and legends that Mallory collected and further developed.  Be aware, though, that the language is 15th century English--not impossible to read, but harder than contemporary English.  Go to  http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/Mal1Mor.html. (Note: This is the hardest to read of the three choices here. Be up for a challenge if you read this.)

5.   (OR CHOOSE one OF 4-7:) Illustrated, larger-text version of same book.  Go to  www.mysticrealms.org.uk/malory/.   

(OR CHOOSE one OF 4-7 in one of the other of two modern retellings of the Arthur legends (you'll need to buy it or find it in a library):         

6.   T.H. White’s The Once and Future King. T.H. White is a relatively recent writer; this book has an avid following among those who love the romance of the King Arthur stories. (See a summary/synopsis at www2.netdoor.com/~moulder/thwhite/toafk_a.html.) (Note: This is the easier to read if you are choosing between this and Le Morte D'arthur, above. People tend to enjoy this one more.)

7.   OR John Steinbeck’s The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights. Steinbeck was the author of such famous American novels as The Pearl and Grapes of Wrath.  (See summary/synopsis and preview at www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0374523789/102-0703361-9320917.) (Note: This is probably the easiest to read of the three choices, here. However, it also is the furthest removed from the original King Arthur stories. On the other hand, Steinbeck himself is a Nobel-Prizewinning author, and so his version of the stories is very well written.)

*How should you estimate 12,000 words on a Web site?  Count your lines and screens:

(a) Count the words in ten average lines, then divide by ten to learn how many words there are in an average line.  

(b) Then figure out how many lines appear at one time on your screen.  Use this to estimate how many words appear at one time on your screen.  (Multiple the number of average words in a line by the number of lines that can appear on your screen at one time.)

(c) Finally, figure out how many screens you'll need to reach 12,000+ w.  

(d) Depending on your browser and the Web site, 12,000 words could end up being, roughly, as few as 20 screens (small print) to as many as  60 screens (large print).  If you need help with the math, email me with the numbers you've already figured out. 

Judeo-Christian Bible Literary Readings:

        Please read all of the following stories in any order you like.  The equivalent in a standard paperbound storybook would be about 30-40 pages of reading.  

        Which type of Bible should you use?  For our purposes--examining them as  literature--almost all versions are acceptable.  So use whatever you have or find a version from the Web.  For pure literary beauty--in how the language sounds and in some of the metaphors it develops--the old King James Version is fun to read. If, however, you are looking online for more accuracy of translation of the original stories, search for the Bible using terms such as "literal," "paraphrase," and "interpreter's" versions. Many modern Bibles (for example, the New Standard Revised Edition) try to find a happy medium--straightforward, modern translation written in an interesting literary style.  To find many online Bibles, go to


       Please be aware as you read these Bible passages that you should be looking at them in terms of literary qualities. Do not examine them, for the purposes of this course, as religious beliefs. (This does not mean they are not necessarily true. It just means that this is a literature class, and you need to see the elements of literature in them.) 

FIRST WEEK (note: you must do this option first for Bible readings):

     - Daniel in the Lion's Den and in Babylon: Daniel 1-6 (Chapters 1-6 only)

     - Song of Songs (Song of Solomon): Song of Songs (whole book)

     - Jacob's Ladder: Genesis 28:10-22 (chapter 28, verses 10-22)

     - Prodigal Son: Luke 15 (all of Chapter 15)

     - 2 Versions of Creation Story:
           Vers. #1, w/humans created in the sixth day: Genesis 1:1-2:3 
           Vers. #2, w/everything created on the same day: Genesis 2:4-2:22

SECOND WEEK (note: you cannot do this option until you already have done the option above):

Choose one of the first five books of the Christian Bible's New Testament (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, or the Acts of the Apostles). Read the stories in it--you may skip the theology parts, the X-gave-birth-to-Y geneaologies, and other non-story parts.


More Fairy Tales, Online:

Both of these websites were good as of 1-’15. If they’ve stopped functioning, let me know! (Read about 45 web pages per week if you are doing this as an optional weekly assignment.)

1. Fairy and Folk Tales from around the world: www.worldoftales.com/fairy_tales.html

2. 209 of the Grimms' original Fairy Tales, blood, guts, and all (Warning: Don't plan on reading these to young children!):


Movies That Follow Literary Books/Plays Closely:
(Updated 12/28/16)

Please note: Because this is an English literature class, the only movies that are acceptable are those based on written books or plays that are literary classics in their field, old or modern. In addition, the movies must follow closely the original literary works. (Also remember, as explained in the "Attendance" web page, that you can only receive 1/2 credit for watching and reading about these movies.)

So, for example, even while some of the Star Trek or Star Wars movies may rise to the level of literature, they cannot count as extra credit for this course because they were made as movies (first), and not as books (or only secondarily as books).

Note: This is only a short list of such movies. Many more exist and can be found by picking a literary work and then Googling its name with the word "movie." Once you know a literary work has a movie made from it, you can get details about the movie from www.imdb.com  ("Internet Movie Database").

Alice in Wonderland.  ** to ****.  There are several versions of this great classic, the best known (and possibly best made) of which is the Walt Disney animated film or the newer film starring Johnny Depp.

Beauty and the Beast, Peter Pan, Pinocchio, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and other Walt Disney classic animated fairy tales.  *** to ****.  These classic stories come from medieval, renaissance, and baroque/enlightenment-period tales that have been around--and have changed form--from century to century and country to country for many hundreds of years in Western society.

Beowulf, 2007, about 3 hrs. ***-***½Ray Winstone, Crispin Glover, Angelina Jolie, and Robin Wright Penn.  The warrior hero Beowulf arises from humble beginnings by defeating the monster Grendel and becomes a close friend of the king, but hubris (pride) causes him to lose his way ethically and physically, and he then must defeat the monster's equally monstrous mother, who first disguises herself as a beautiful seductress.  This new movie version of the ancient Beowulf legend has received excellent critical reviews and is, at the least, an excellent rendering of the comic-book version of this myth.  See also Grendel below.

Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.  2005.  ****  This Oscar-winning movie version of the first C.S. Lewis Chronicles of Narnia series tells the story of four children who accidentally fall into the kingdom of Narnia, where mythical creatures and beasts live side by side with talking animals in medieval pageantry and power, all of whom are led by mighty Aslan, the lion king, who must take back the kingdom from the grips of winter and the cold-hearted ice queen.  The children precipitate this event when they arrive as the only humans in the place, fulfilling a prophecy of their coming. 

Camelot and other feature films about King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.  ** to ****.  Almost all King Arthur movies are idealized Hollywood versions of the older King Arthur legends.  However, so are the books of literature written about Camelot. Of these idealized versions, Camelot, ***,  is perhaps the best known with the most positive reviews.  Two King Arthur movies may be closer to the true origins of the literary legends: One is King Arthur, starring Clive Owen and Keira Knightly, 2004, ***, 130 min. It is "promoted as the 'true' story" that "revolves around a group of knights whose loyalty is torn between Rome, Britain, and their homeland to the east" (Apollo Reviews).  The other more realistic movie based on the old literary legends is Excalibur, a movie from the 1980s or so, with Monty Python actors in it, is a serious film that perhaps is closest of any Arthur-legend movies to the original literary legends, themselves. 

Clash of the Titans.  **-***.  Based on early Greek myths, this is the story of the hero Perseus, who goes on an adventurous quest to kill the Medusa (the famous snake-haired villainess) and other great deeds in order to save those he loves.  Hades and the Kraken also figure prominently in this version.  The movie takes many twists and turns that are a little different from the original Greek story, and it has rather melodramatic acting at times, but still it is an interesting and fun introduction to elements of early Greek literary stories.

Grendel, 2007, 2 hrs. w/commercials.  **-***.  This SciFi Channel made-for-TV movie is a reasonable and sometimes moving retranslation of the ancient classic Beowulf, and a good introduction to reading the ancient book-poem.  See "Beowulf" above.

Harry Potter movies. ***-***½The first Harry Potter book captured the top British literary book award--the Booker Prize--the year it came out. The other books in the series are of like quality. In addition, the movies.adhere fairly closely to the literary quality and content of the books. The Harry Potter movies capture in wonderfully charming ways much of contemporary understandings about witches and magic, something like Walt Disney meets J.R.R. Tolkien and the Brothers Grimm.   If you haven't seen this movie series, start with the first one, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.

The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. *** to ****.  These two relatively recently made trilogies have won multiple awards and iare a mostly accurate and wonderful recreations of J.R.R. Tolkien's literary fantasy classics by the same name.  If you haven't seen them, start with the first one. If you plan to watch them all, it might be better to start with The Hobbit trilogy, as the events in that happen a generation earlier in time than the events in The Lord of the Rings. (And if you decide to read the books, you can simply read The Lord of the Rings, if you want. However, if you plan to read The Hobbit as well, start with it--just one book--before moving on to The Lord of the Rings, which is three books.)  Into the Woods, Meryl Streep, et al. 2014, ***½Into the Woods originally was a Tony award-winning Broadway play. The script is considered a great work of literature by many. The recently released movie version is a mix of many fairy tale elements with Meryl Streep playing the main witch.  Amazon.com describes the plot (in an older version) as follows:  "A childless baker and his wife cannot have a child until they follow the bidding of the witch next door to get a cow as white as milk, the cape as red as blood, the hair as yellow as corn, and the slipper as pure as gold. Good thing, then that they've got neighbors named Jack, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel and Cinderella to help them before (and after) Happily Ever After."

Ivanhoe, stars Robert Taylor and Elizabeth Taylor, 1952, 120 min.  ***-***½.  Based on a famous novel by Sir Walter Scott, this story feeds on the same types of cultural and historical veins as Robin Hood.  Set in the same period of time, the story shows Ivanhoe, a knight, who fights for "courtly love and Saxon honor" (TCM) to help King Richard, recently released from prison, take back his throne from the evil Prince John and the Sheriff of Nottingham.

Jason and the Argonauts, 1963, 120 min. Todd Armstrong and Nancy Kovack.  ***, based on ancient Greek literature.  This is one of several late '50s-early '60s "stop-motion animation" films combining real actors and places with special effects created by filming just one frame at a time of a mythical creature, stopping the camera and moving the creature in one small way, filming another frame, and so forth.  To create the appearance of smooth motion, a five-minute scene might take as much as several months to film, especially if multiple creatures and real humans are involved at the same time.  In this movie, Greek hero Jason sails past mythic evils and gods to reach the fabled golden fleece guarded by seven-headed Hydra, whose teeth are sown to create skeleton soldiers.  The musical score sometimes gets in the way.  (See also The 7th Voyage of Sinbad.)

King Arthur.  See above "Camelot."

Lysistrata-- ***. This is a student recommendation: March 18, 2004, Loyola University, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Qp5DP6a-2c.

Lord of the Rings--See The Hobbit above.

Midsummer Night's Dream.  ** to ****.  There are several video/film versions of this Shakespeare classic about sprites, spirits, and humans gathering in the Forest of Arden for mischief, intrigue, and love.

Narnia movies based on books by C.S. Lewis.  ***.  Lewis wrote seven short novels about his Christian fantasy world Narnia.  It combines Christian, modern, and children's storytelling myth and symbol with a plot complete with evil doers, heroes, and earthling children who have accidentally happened into this mirror world.  There are one or two older video versions available of all seven, and the first of the tales, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, was released in 2005 as a major motion picture feature film. The movie based on another of the books was released a few years later. 

Persepolis movie based closely on the literary graphic novel Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi (one of the optional books available in the IHCC Bookstore for reading in this class). It tells the autobiographical story of the author growing up in pre- and post-Islamic Revolution Iran.

Romeo and Juliet-- ***. This is a student recommendation: Angell Blackfriars Theatre, Providence Rhode Island, Nov.6, 2009, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6idyuKJRK8c&t=3s.

The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad, 1958, 90 min.  Kerwin Mathews and Kathryn Grant.  ***.  This is one of several late '50s-early '60s "stop-motion animation" films combining real actors and places with special effects created by filming just one frame at a time of a mythical creature, stopping the camera and moving the creature in one small way, filming another frame, and so forth.  To create the appearance of smooth motion, a five-minute scene might take as much as several months to film, especially if multiple creatures and real humans are involved at the same time.  In this movie, Arabian hero Sinbad the Sailor seeks the egg of a giant, two-headed Roc (bird of prey) in the land of one-eyed giants to help restore his shrunken princess to full size.  He must deal with a wicked Arabian wizard who owns a magical golden lamp in which is trapped a young genii; when the lamp is rubbed (and the right words chanted), the genii comes forth and grants a wish.  The musical score is especially good.  (See also Jason and the Argonauts.)

Shakespeare plays.  ** to ****.  Almost any tragedy or comedy by Shakespeare is considered good to great literature. A very wide range of them is available from mediocre and boring or fascinating and superior.  Staging can differ dramatically, too: some are in period dress while others are in modern dress, some have barebones stage settings while others are adapted to the great outdoors and to other natural scenes such as castles and large-scale battles, and some have modern language while others use Shakespeare's English. At an introductory level, for example, Franco Zefferelli's  version of Romeo and Juliet is a great tragedy and excellent drama with period costumes and settings from which to discuss ideas about the mythic dimensions of love, passion, rivalry, youth, and age. Another example is Mel Gibson's Hamlet, with period dress and close approximation of Shakespeare's language, a very good but perhaps not great version.

Troy, 2004, Brad Pitt, **1/2.  This is the Hollywood version of the great and famous story of Achilles leading Greece's army in the Trojan War, which started when Paris kidnapped Helen of Troy. It is fairly--though far from perfectly--accurate in plot, setting, and characters.

Walt Disney classics: see above, Beauty and the Beast, etc. 

The Wizard of Oz, various versions (the most recent of which is the more complex, adult, punk version by the SciFi channel).  The classic and still usually considered the best general version is the old one with Judy Garland.

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This "Books & Web Sites" page describes the required readings you will need for the course. In some cases, multiple options are available. Some options are printed books and some are free websites. In addition, other resources (e.g., movies) are listed here.

Scroll down or click here for the following parts of this "Books & Websites" page:

Starting Notes

Textbooks--Summary (See more detailed directions below!)


Theories for Interpreting

Misc. Online Resources

Other Resources:

             King Arthur




 Updated March 1, 2019

1st Ed., 27 Dec. 2009
2nd Ed., 1 Oct. 2014

Contact: Richard Jewell

Text and images are copyrighted by Richard Jewell (unless otherwise noted) and may be used for nonprofit academic purposes with no permission required. This website is for a course at Inver Hills Community College, a two-year college with full national Higher Learning Commission (HLC) accreditation. (Some four-year degrees also are offered on-campus in collaborations with HLC-accredited four-year colleges.) Inver Hills College is part of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnState), one of the two largest such U.S. college and university systems..