On Giants' Shoulders

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Lit Prep

That's what I'm doing these days when I'm not mowing the lawn, weeding the garden, or trying to run intervals. We couch potatoes must get some exercise, but lit prep does give me a chance to laze around for a bit.

This fall I'm going to be doing anagogical literature with my girls. That's literature based on spiritual matters rather than realistic fiction. We'll be doing Dante's Inferno, Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress (yes, I do know that one's Protestant), at least part of Milton's Paradise Lost, some George Macdonald (probably the Princess and the Goblins), Walter Wangerin's The Book of the Dun Cow, Robert Siegel's Whalesong, and if we have time perhaps C.S. Lewis's Perelandra and a Madeleine L'Engle novel.

So in preparation I've been reading Dorothy Sayers Introductory Papers on Dante and have just begun C.S. Lewis' A Preface to Paradise Lost. I've owned the book for years and never actually read it. Abby took it off to Duquesne with her and used it heavily when she was taking Milton. I probably ought to let her teach Paradise Lost, but undoubtedly she'll have a job by then and won't be available. So I'll just let her mentor me through teaching Paradise Lost. She should enjoy that.

Anyway, if you want to better understand the history of epic poetry, or you want some great reinforcement for the value of liturgy (Lewis touches on this briefly, but powerfully), I suggest A Preface to Paradise Lost. If you want a good explanation of allegory I suggest Introductory Papers on Dante. If you think I've totally lost my mind to even think about doing such sophisticated stuff with high school kids I would respond that it's the second time I've done Dante with high schoolers and I did Bunyan with my own kids when they were much younger. Some of the other books were ones that I either read to my own kids or which Abby read herself long before college. I wanted to look at specific types of literary devices this year (metaphor, simile, epic poetry, allegory, rhyme scheme, and meter) and this looked like a way to do it while exploring some kind of great stuff and spiritual values as well.

If I had to give the course a title it would be Allegory, Epic Poetry, Beast and Fairy Tales, but I'm actually just calling it Anagogical Literature (when I can manage to type the word without misspelling it that is).

I've got to get my computer geniuses to scan a picture onto my blog for me. My lit girls mom took a picture of me and the girls at our last class of the year and gave it to me on Sunday. I'd like everyone to get a chance to see who these cool kids are. Maybe by the weekend...

So now it's breakfast and then either weeding the carrots, mowing the lawn or back to Lewis. I probably will make myself weed the carrots, but I'd sure prefer to curl up with that little blue book instead. If people only knew how much I HATE weeding carrots.... I decided yesterday I'd better start not hating it so much or it might end up as a purgatorial excercise. Oh well, at least I earn activity points for weeding carrots. Frankly, I'd rather run intervals, but I'll appreciate those carrots next winter.


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