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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1421: The Year China Discovered America
by Gavin Menzies
1st edition from William Morrow & Company
for Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
$12.00 (1 in stock)
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Other Classic Novels
by Jules Verne
from Barnes & Noble
for 9th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
$20.00 (1 in stock)
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)
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Abraham Lincoln: Selected Speeches and Writings
by Abraham Lincoln
from Library of America
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Accordion Crimes
by E. Annie Proulx
from Charles Scribner's Sons
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$4.50 (1 in stock)
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
by Mark Twain
Centennial facsim. ed. with a new introd. and bibl from Harper & Row
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$6.00 (1 in stock)
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
by Mark Twain
3rd edition from W. W. Norton and Co.
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Aeneid
by Virgil (translation by Robert Fagles)
from Penguin Putnam
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in Ancient Literature (Location: MLIT-ANC)
$15.30 $10.00 (1 in stock)
Aeschylus I: The Oresteia (old)
The Complete Greek Tragedies
by Aeschylus (translation by Richmond Lattimore)
from University of Chicago
Ancient Greek Tragedy for 10th-Adult
in Ancient Literature (Location: MLIT-ANC)
$6.00 (3 in stock)
Aeschylus' Oresteia
Penguin Classics
by Aeschylus (translation by Robert Fagles)
from Penguin Classics
Ancient Greek Tragedy for 10th-Adult
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All Creatures Great and Small
by James Herriot
from St. Martin's Press
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All Things Bright and Beautiful
by James Herriot
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All Things Wise and Wonderful
by James Herriot
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American Poetry
by David S. Shields
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Anna Karenina
by Leo Tolstoy
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$8.00 (1 in stock)
Annotated Huckleberry Finn
by Mark Twain
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$25.00 (1 in stock)
Annotated Pride and Prejudice
by Jane Austen
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Anthem
by Ayn Rand
Expanded 50th Anniversary from Signet Classics
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Antigone
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by Sophocles
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Antony and Cleopatra
Folger Shakespeare Library
by William Shakespeare
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Art of War
by Sun Tzu
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Arthur
by Stephen R. Lawhead
from Crossway Books
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As I Lay Dying
by William Faulkner
from Vintage Classics
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As You Like It
Folger Shakespeare Library
by William Shakespeare
from Washington Square Press
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$5.09 $4.00 (1 in stock)
Ascent to Love
by Peter Leithart
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At The Villa of Reduced Circumstances
Professor Dr. von Igelfeld Entertainment - Book 3
by Alexander McCall Smith
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$5.50 (1 in stock)
Atonement
by Ian McEwan
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Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
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by Benjamin Franklin
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Autobiography of Charles G. Finney
by Charles G. Finney
from Bethany House
Autobiography for 9th-Adult
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Basic Writings of St. Anselm
by St. Anselm of Canterbury
2nd edition from Open Court Publishing
Medieval Theology for 10th-Adult
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Basket of Fragments
by R. M. McCheyne
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Ben-Hur
by Lew Wallace
from Harper & Row
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$7.50 (1 in stock)
Best Short Stories of O. Henry
by O. Henry
from Modern Library
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Blue Like Jazz
by Donald Miller
from Thomas Nelson Publishers
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Book of Lost Tales 2
by J. R. R. Tolkien & Christopher Tolkien
from Houghton Mifflin
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Book of Lost Tales 2
by J. R. R. Tolkien & Christopher Tolkien
from Houghton Mifflin
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Bounty Trilogy - Wyeth Edition
by Charles Nordhoff & James Norman Hall
from Little, Brown & Company
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Bridal Wreath
by Sigrid Undset
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Bridge to the Sun
by Gwen Terasaki
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Business of Heaven
by C.S. Lewis
Reissue from Harcourt
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$8.00 (1 in stock)
Caine Mutiny
by Herman Wouk
from Back Bay Books
for 10th-Adult
1952 Pulitzer Prize Winner
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
$13.59 $10.00 (1 in stock)
Canterbury Quintet
by Geoffrey Chaucer
from Little Leaf Press
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$10.00 (1 in stock)
Canterbury Tales
Penguin Classics
by Geoffrey Chaucer (edited by Nevill Coghill)
from Penguin Classics
Medieval Poetry for 8th-12th grade
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$9.35 $6.00 (1 in stock)
Canticle for Leibowitz
by Walter M. Miller
from Harper & Row
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$4.50 (1 in stock)
Catcher in the Rye
by J. D. Salinger
from Little, Brown & Company
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$7.64 $5.00 (2 in stock)
Celebrated Jumping Frog and Other Stories
by Mark Twain
from Reader's Digest
for 9th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
$8.00 (1 in stock)
Children of Dune
Dune Chronicles Book 3
by Frank Herbert
from ACE Publishing
Science Fiction for 10th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: LIT7-20)
$8.49 $5.00 (1 in stock)
Christmas Carol
Dover Thrift Editions
by Charles Dickens
from Dover Publications
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in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
$2.55 $2.00 (2 in stock)
Circle of Quiet
by Madeleine L'Engle
from HarperOne
for 4th-6th grade
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$5.50 (1 in stock)
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