From Gilgamesh to Beowulf

Our Literature studies this year will closely follow our History curriculum of ancient civilizations. We will be exploring epic poems and heroic tales that were written during the time period in history we are studying; Gilgamesh as we study Mesopotamia, Osiris alongside ancient Egypt, The Iliad and ancient Greece etc… Along the way we will be learning about the tradition of heroism in literature using Joseph Campbell’s Stages of The Monomyth, learning how to master a comparative essay, playwriting, poetry and more.  Using age appropriate translations, as well as sampling primary sources, we hope to sink our teeth into King David, The Tao Te Ching, The Ramayana, The Bhagavad Gita and Beowulf as well. Our plan is to also experience these works as our distant ancestors did, through oral tradition, theatrics, artwork and song.

Serving as a beautiful compliment to this class, the children will be taking an Antiquities Class at The Met on Fridays from October through January. It is titled Pause for Pegasus and promises to explore Epic poems and Dramas while studying relevant artifacts throughout the museum.  The fall semester they tackle Herodotus and in the Spring semester they will study Vergil’s Eclogues and Georgics.

5 thoughts on “English

  1. The Epic of Gilgamesh should be an excellent cross over from literature to history as it represents that cultures “flood story.” Flood stories run across almost all civilizations, and it might be profitable to examine that type of common need that people have to write about that topic.
    Another cross over topic could be the influence that music has had on architecture. A good example is the architectural style of cathedrals and Gregorian chant. Sounds like a great adventure you are all starting.

    1. Thanks Pete. I never realized the relationship between music/architecture before. It seems quite obvious now that you mention it. I will definitely be incorporating this down the road.
      Gilgamesh is going wonderfully. We are reading a young persons version by Ludmila Zeman that is divided into three parts. We are also reading translation of the actual tablets from the British Museum to get a sense of the pace and style of the original. I can’t wait for you to see what the kids have drawn and written so far. I’ll be posting some stuff tonight.

      1. Also, sometimes we only think of places like Iraq as third world countries when in fact they have this incredible cultural background.

    2. There’s a connection between architecture and music? Wow, I need to look that up, it’ll help me with my history. And yes, it is a great adventure.

  2. Payton “Seventeen” Booth Tarkington
    Jack “Red Badge of Courage” Stephen Crane
    Ava “Heidi” Johana Spyri

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