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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1984
Signet Classics
by George Orwell
from Signet Classics
for 10th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
$8.49
1984
by George Orwell
from Harcourt
for 10th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
$13.60
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Sterling Classics
by Jules Verne
from Sterling Publishing Co.
for 5th-10th grade
in Sterling Classics (Location: FIC-STE)
$14.95
2001: A Space Odyssey
by Arthur C. Clarke
from ROC Science Fiction
for 9th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
$6.79
Abolition of Man
by C. S. Lewis
from HarperCollins
Philosophy/Religion for 10th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
$11.89 $8.00 (1 in stock)
Abraham Lincoln: Great Speeches
Dover Thrift Editions
by Abraham Lincoln & John Grafton, editor
from Dover Publications
Political Philosophy for 10th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
$1.70 $1.20 (2 in stock)
Abraham Lincoln: Selected Speeches and Writings
by Abraham Lincoln
from Library of America
for 9th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
$14.41 $11.87 (1 in stock)
Account of Mary Rowlandson and Other Indian Captivity Narratives
by Mary Rowlandson
from Dover Publications
for 9th-Adult
in 17th Century Literature (Location: LIT4-17)
$5.06
Adam Bede
Everyman's Library
by George Eliot
from Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.
Realistic Fiction for 9th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
$20.40
Adventures and Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
by Arthur Conan Conan Doyle
from Penguin Classics
for 7th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
$11.90
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
by Mark Twain
from Dover Publications
Realistic Fiction for 7th-10th grade
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
$5.10
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
by Mark Twain
from Penguin Classics
for 9th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
$6.80
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
by Mark Twain
New Ed from University of California Press
for 10th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
$15.95
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
by Mark Twain
from Bantam Books
Realistic Fiction for 7th-10th grade
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
$5.06
Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Dover Thrift Editions
by Mark Twain
from Dover Publications
for 6th-10th grade
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
$4.25
Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Puffin Classics
by Mark Twain
from Penguin Classics
Realistic Fiction for 6th-10th grade
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
$7.65
Aeneid
by Virgil (translation by Robert Fitzgerald)
from Vintage Classics
Ancient Literature/Epic Poetry for 10th-Adult
in Ancient Literature (Location: MLIT-ANC)
$11.90
Aeneid
by Virgil (translation by Robert Fagles)
from Penguin Putnam
for 9th-Adult
in Ancient Literature (Location: MLIT-ANC)
$15.30 $10.00 (1 in stock)
Aeneid
Penguin Classics
by Virgil (translation by David West)
Reissue from Penguin Classics
for 9th-Adult
in Ancient Literature (Location: MLIT-ANC)
$13.60
Aeschylus II: The Oresteia
The Complete Greek Tragedies
by Aeschylus (translation by Richmond Lattimore)
3rd edition from University of Chicago
Ancient Greek Tragedy for 10th-Adult
in Ancient Literature (Location: MLIT-ANC)
$10.20
Aeschylus' Oresteia
Penguin Classics
by Aeschylus (translation by Robert Fagles)
from Penguin Classics
Ancient Greek Tragedy for 10th-Adult
in Ancient Literature (Location: MLIT-ANC)
$11.05 $7.00 (1 in stock)
Aeschylus' Oresteian Trilogy
Penguin Classics
by Aeschylus (translation by Phillip Vellacott)
from Penguin Classics
Ancient Greek Tragedy for 10th-Adult
in Ancient Literature (Location: MLIT-ANC)
$10.20
Aesop's Fables
by Aesop
from Signet Classics
Fairy Tales & Fables for 10th grade-adult
in Ancient Literature (Location: MLIT-ANC)
$5.06
Agnes Grey
Penguin Classics
by Anne Bronte
from Penguin Classics
Realistic Romantic Fiction for 10th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
$10.20
Alas, Babylon
by Pat Frank
from HarperCollins
Apocalyptic novel for 10th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
$13.59
Alchemist
by Paulo Coelho
from HarperCollins
for 10th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
$14.44
Alexandre Dumas Three Musketeers Collection
Oxford World's Classics
by Alexandre Dumas
from Oxford University
Historical Fiction/Adventure for 9th-12th grade
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
$53.05
Alfred the Great
by Asser
from Penguin Classics
Biography for 9th-Adult
in Medieval Literature (Location: LIT2-MED)
$15.30
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Penguin Classics
by Lewis Carroll
from Penguin Classics
Fantasy for 5th-8th grade
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
$9.35
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
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass
by Lewis Carroll
from Modern Library
for 10th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
$9.35
All My Road Before Me
by C. S. Lewis
Reprint from HarperOne
for 11th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
$16.99
All Quiet on the Western Front
by Erich Maria Remarque
from Ballantine Books
War/Realistic Fiction for 10th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
$5.94
All Things Bright and Beautiful
James Herriot Series Book 2
by James Herriot
from St. Martin's Press
Realistic Fiction for 7th-12th grade
in Animal Stories (Location: FIC-ANI)
$14.44
All Things Wise and Wonderful
James Herriot Series Book 3
by James Herriot
from St. Martin's Press
Realistic Fiction for 7th-Adult
in Animal Stories (Location: FIC-ANI)
$14.44
All's Well That Ends Well
Folger Shakespeare Library
by William Shakespeare
from Washington Square Press
for 10th-Adult
in Renaissance & Reformation Literature (Location: LIT3-REN)
$5.09
All's Well that Ends Well
by William Shakespeare
from Dover Publications
for 10th grade-adult
in Renaissance & Reformation Literature (Location: LIT3-REN)
$2.98
Anchor Book of Chinese Poetry
by Tony Barnstone & Chou Ping, eds.
from Anchor Books
for 9th-12th grade
in Poetry Anthologies (Location: P6A-POET)
$17.00
And Then There Were None
by Agatha Christie
from HarperCollins
Murder Mystery for 9th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
$6.79
And Then There Were None
by Agatha Christie
75th Anniversary from HarperCollins
Murder Mystery for 9th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
$12.74
And There Was Light
by Jacques Lusseyran
Third Edition from New World Library
for 10th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
$14.41
Animal Farm
Signet Classics
by George Orwell
from Signet Classics
Utopian/Dystopian Literature for 9th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
$8.49
Animal Farm
by George Orwell
from Plume Books
Utopian/Dystopian Literature for 6th-12th grade
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
$11.90
Anna and the King of Siam
by Margaret Landon
from HarperCollins
Historical fiction for 9th-12th grade
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
$12.71
Anna Karenina
Signet Classics
by Leo Tolstoy
from Signet Classics
Realistic Fiction for 11th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
$6.76
Annals of Imperial Rome
Penguin Classics
by Tacitus
from Penguin Classics
Historical Non-Fiction for 10th-Adult
in Ancient Literature (Location: MLIT-ANC)
$15.30
Annotated Milton
by John Milton
from Bantam Books
for 11th-Adult
in 17th Century Literature (Location: LIT4-17)
$5.91
Annotated Pride and Prejudice
by Jane Austen
Revised & Expanded from Anchor Books
for 9th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
$15.26 $15.00 (1 in stock)
Anthem
by Ayn Rand
Expanded 50th Anniversary from Signet Classics
for 11th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
$6.79 $5.50 (1 in stock)
Anthology of Medieval Literature
by Rebecca Berg Manor, ed.
from Beautiful Feet Books
for 9th-12th grade
in Medieval Literature (Location: LIT2-MED)
$12.71
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