The list author says: "While several late-medieval writers such as Chaucer have been classroom staples for years, the fascinating and often magical literature of the early Middle Ages has mostly gone unstudied and under-appreciated. There was a lot going on in medieval Europe before the Norman Invasion of 1066! Though Christianity had, for the most part, enveloped Europe at that point, a literary dig through time reveals some of the pre-Christian cultures and religions that were practiced by the native residents of those lands. Many of these books were recommended and taught by one of my favorite professors, and I think it represents a good balance of historical reference and all-out fantasy adventure."
"This makes for pretty rewarding, yet dry, reading. It's an excellent historical reference, and if you read attentively, you will notice a great amount of absurdity (sometimes humorous, sometimes not)."
"S.A.J. Bradley has lovingly collected the ultimate volume of poetry for anyone with an interest in medieval studies, beginner to scholar. Many of the poems, such as "The Phoenix", sparkle with imagination, high fantasy and gorgeous imagery, while others are stunningly tragic. From rhymes to riddles, this weighty book has it all."
"I've noticed that most people usually focus on tales of England when thinking about medieval literature, but Ireland went through the Middle Ages, too! These incredibly intricate and beautifully told sagas represent some of Ireland's key mythology, a real treasure for anyone interested in ancient religions and cultures."
"Patrick K. Ford's translation of this collection of Welsh tales is seamless, refreshing and stunningly vivid. The collection is easy to read, and stands on its own enough to be enjoyed by someone with little to no background in medieval studies. Definitely a "must"."
"God, I love Snorri Sturluson. He relates the (surprisingly brief) prose version of old Norse mythology with a taste for adventure, mystery, and a touch of mischief. There are endless themes to explore and things to think about; this is a goldmine for intellectual delving."
"Before Snorri, there was the Poetic Edda. Since the poems in this Edda were passed on by minstrels, the author remains a mystery. One of the cool things about this Edda is that it just sounds SO epic; every line is like a beating drum."
"For those of you who are interested in looking at the language that many of these texts were written in (specifically Beowulf and the book of Anglo-Saxon poetry), Peter S. Baker provides an approachable and thorough guide to learning Old English. It's tough, but more than worthwhile!"
"This is a great companion to Baker's "Introduction to Old English", as you will inevitably need to extend your word search beyond Baker's glossary. Tip: DO NOT skip over the section in the front on how to read this dictionary! If you do, you'll be pretty confused."