Literature by Period

In the West we have what is called a teleological view of history. That means that the scope of human civilization and events, from its earliest time till now, is actually going someplace. Whether that place is Ragnarok, Armageddon, the New Jerusalem, or an alien apocalypse depends on which worldview you're espousing, but it's hard for people with European heritage to think in terms of the circularity of history, or that history is going nowhere, just on an on and on into the infinite future.

As Christians, we believe history is on its way to Christ. That may be a little simplistic, but ultimately God has ordered and guided history according to His will for it, and its completion is entirely in His hands....but only after the intended progression of events has been completed. If this is true, history can be seen, not merely as endless repetition, but as a line drawn between point A and some as yet indistinguishable (from a human perspective) point B.

The literature of any period, therefore, can only be understood by the particular historical stage and cultural context in which it was written. If history isn't stagnant, literature can't be either, and any writer is going to reflect (consciously or unconsciously) the attitudes prevalent around him. If you didn't know Cervantes was mocking the "courtly love" and chivalric ideals of Medieval Europe, Don Quixote wouldn't make near as much sense. A lot of Shakespeare's references are to cultural customs he witnessed. Charles Dickens includes so many scenes of social injustice because the England of his day was rife with oppression and mistreatment.

This intersection of history and literature isn't one-directional. To really understand history, it's essential to read the literature of the day. Sure, a history book published last year about the Roman Empire might yield plenty of good information, but reading Caesar's Gallic Wars will not only offer a firsthand perspective, it will also reveal a lot of contemporary attitudes most historians find it difficult to capture. A list of similar examples would require several books, and believe me, they exist.

We've chosen specific periods as categories both to reflect the generally accepted important literary and historical epochs, and based on how many books from each period we carry. If your favorite period isn't immediately recognizable on the list, you might just have to look a little deeper—for instance, we don't have a category for books written in China during the Boxer Rebellion, but that doesn't mean we don't have books that meet that criteria. Okay, we don't, but we have plenty of other titles representing the full scope of literary history from the ancients to the postmodern age.

Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.

 

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21 Items found Print
Active Filters: 5th grade (Ages 10-11), Trade Paperback
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
by Lewis Carroll
from Dover Publications
Fantasy for 5th-8th grade
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
$2.55
Boy on the Wooden Box
by Leon Leyson
Reprint from Atheneum
for 4th-8th grade
Christopher Award
in Holocaust (Location: G5E-HIS)
$8.49
C. S. Lewis Ultimate Collection
by C. S. Lewis
for 3rd-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
Circle of Quiet
by Madeleine L'Engle
from HarperOne
for 4th-6th grade
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
$5.50 (1 in stock)
Fates of the Princes of Dyfed
by Kenneth Morris
from Newcastle Publishing Co
for 5th-8th grade
$6.00 (1 in stock)
Favorite Sherlock Holmes Detective Stories
by Arthur Conan Doyle
Unabridged from Dover Publications
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
$1.50 (1 in stock)
Hobbit
by J. R. R. Tolkien
from Houghton Mifflin
Fantasy for 5th-9th grade
in Fantasy Fiction (Location: FIC-FAN)
$9.34
Hobbit
by J. R. R. Tolkien
from Houghton Mifflin
Fantasy for 5th-9th grade
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
$12.74
Hobbit & Lord of the Rings - Softbound Boxed Set
by J. R. R. Tolkien
from Houghton Mifflin
Fantasy for 4th-12th grade
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
$49.50
Journey and Ordeal of Cabeza de Vaca
Dover editions
by Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca
from Dover Publications
for 5th-Adult
in Renaissance & Reformation Literature (Location: LIT3-REN)
$9.31
Letters to Children
by C. S. Lewis
from Charles Scribner's Sons
Autobiographical Letters for 3rd-9th grade
in Fantasy Fiction (Location: FIC-FAN)
$13.60
Little Prince
by Antoine De Saint-Exupery
from Harvest House
Fantasy for 3rd-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
$10.19
Little Prince
by Antoine De Saint-Exupery
from Scholastic Inc.
Fantasy for 3rd-8th grade
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
$3.50 (1 in stock)
Little Prince
by Antoine De Saint-Exupery
from Harvest House
Fantasy for 3rd-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
$6.00 (2 in stock)
Lost Names
by Richard E. Kim
2nd edition from University of California Press
for 3rd-5th grade
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
$23.95
Monster Calls
by Patrick Ness
Reprint from Candlewick Press
for 5th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
$10.20
One Crazy Summer
by Rita Williams-Garcia
Reprint from Amistad Press
for 4th-7th grade
2011 Newbery Honor Book, National Book Award, Coretta Scott King Award, Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
$5.94
Puck of Pook's Hill
by Rudyard Kipling
from Echo Library
for 4th-9th grade
in Fantasy Fiction (Location: FIC-FAN)
Summer of the Great-Grandmother
by Madeleine L'Engle
from HarperOne
for 4th-6th grade
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
$5.00 (1 in stock)
Tanglewood Tales
by Nathaniel Hawthorne
from Classical Conversations
for 3rd-6th grade
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
Two-Part Invention
by Madeleine L'Engle
from HarperOne
for 4th-6th grade
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
$5.00 (1 in stock)