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Literature list for 9th - what do you think?

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Here's my plan:



Sophocles (Oedipus trilogy? only one? different play(s)?)

Aristotle - rhetoric or poetics?

Cicero - Republic


Ovid - Metamorphoses

Plutarch - Lives

Athanasius - On the Incarnation

Augustine - City of God or Confessions?

Boethius - Consolation of Philosophy

Dante - trilogy? only one?


St Thomas More - Utopia

St Teresa of Avila - Autobiography


That's 14, which gives 2-3 weeks per book, which doesn't seem like a lot of time, but this is my strong reader so we're mostly going to be focusing on starting real analysis.  WTM recommends 12 books/year for a good reader, 18 for a superstar, so I aimed somewhere in the middle.  This is our literature AND history for the year (WTM-style great books w/ Spielvogel as the history spine).


Would you swap out anything?  Is there a great translation/edition of any of these that you really liked?  I'm looking at the Ignatius Press Critical Edition for Augustine & Boethius, but don't have one in mind for anything else - going to check the library and what's free on Kindle.  Is there a great study guide for any of them that you recommend?


I'm thinking about trying IEW's Brit Lit course for 10th, so trying to get about up to there in history, which is why we're going somewhat past just the ancients.  Plus this is my STEM kid from the other thread, so getting through history in less than 4 years is going to give us time to do something else.  Am I trying to cram too much into one year, though? 



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Ok, I might be more of a classical 'lite' person but I've done the following with two out of 4 9th graders so far:  Gilgamesh, Job, Antigone, something from Plato - like Phaedo or Meno, also the allegory of the cave from The Republic.  I can't remember what we did from Aristotle suddenly.  We must have done something!  Good grief, where is my brain. But I do think Poetics is shorter and more accessible than Rhetoric.  So I'd read that one.  For my oldest a girl, not at all into military epics, we did The Odyssey only.  For my son who was into all things epic we read The Iliad, The Odyssey and the Aeneid.  We read a retelling of Julius Caesar's Gallic Wars (I think by Olivia Coolidge???)  We ended the year with Confessions by Augustine.  My kids would never, ever in a million years be able to do all that you have listed.  This stuff is hard reading and deep.  I am more of a multa non multum person anyway.  So I'd rather read a few important works slowly and deeply than plow through a lot of stuff.  But YMMV.  I do sometimes wish we had done an excerpt of Cicero or read a bit of Ovid.  


Oh with my daughter we did read Lysistrata (she was a bit scandalized) and we might have stuck Julius Caesar in there just to get some Shakespeare in, even though chronologically it is out of order.

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This is a draft reading list for us for next year (9th grade). DS is a pretty good reader, enjoys a well-written piece of literature (at least modern) but strongly dislikes archaic language. I hope it helps and would love to get any feedback. Besides excerpts from The Norton Book of Classical Literature (ed. by Bernard Knox), here's my draft:


The Epic of Gilgamesh translated by Ferry [or N.K. Sandars] (comments on translations?)

The Bhagavad Gita (we're planning on being in India for 2nd semester, so this really fits; recommended translation?)

Homer The Iliad (perhaps the translation by Robert Fagles); just read & quick discussion, or just use Norton excerpt of Iliad

Homer The Odyssey (probably the translation by Robert Fagles); more intensive study, maybe using the Great Course?

Aeschylus- Oresteia [translated by Peter Meineck] or just Agamemnon

Aristotle Poetics

Sophocles Oedipus (more in depth, maybe GC companion) and Antigone (more quickly)

Euripides- Medea

Aristotle Rhetoric (linkage with our writing program). How accessible is this for a 9th grader?

Aristophanes- One, probably The Clouds (or maybe The Birds)

Herodotus Histories (not literature, but from our history)

Thucydides The History of the Peloponnesian War [or just excerpts from Norton Book]

Plato approx 4 dialogues to start

Readings from the Bible

Plato The Republic, probably not in its entirety (translation by Robin Waterfield?)

Virgil Aeneid (translation by Robert Fagles?)

Augustine Confessions


We'll also be reading some original or other ancient sources, perhaps including Josephus's Wars of the Jews in our history. The Tale of Sinhue and Other Ancient Egyptian Poems translated by R.B. Parkinson would provide some diversity since we're highly Greek-centric, though by design. We'll also read stories from cultures in various continents before broad internationalization, some of which will be immediately before colonization, such as in the Americas. Although it's strictly "out of time sequence," the practical effect is that of a primarily independently developed culture. Anything we can't live without? Anything we should drop? Thanks.



P.S. Why did you choose Spielvogel as your spine book vs. Bauer SOTAW, etc.? (and which Spielvogel?)

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P.S. Why did you choose Spielvogel as your spine book vs. Bauer SOTAW, etc.? (and which Spielvogel?)


Because I already own it.  :cool:   Plus we really haven't ever used anything quite so textbooky, which I want her to get used to before college.  It's the Western Civilization text that ends at 1715.


Your list is far more Greek-centered than mine.  If I was going to drop anything it would be to choose the Iliad OR Odyssey, maybe skip one Greek poet.  I actually want to add in another poet/playwright, but already feel like my list is long.  I'm thinking of maybe using some excerpts instead of full readings, but honestly I'd rather use fewer full texts instead.  I'm skipping Plato because I don't like him, and hate to limit Aristotle to only one work but need to hit other times/places too.  We get enough Bible in other contexts, so I'm not going to add in any study with our literature.

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I would choose only one Dante work. We read "Inferno," which I thought was somewhat interesting but, my ds did not. Now he has to read the other two in college this semester. Poor boy.


My second ds just read Aristophanes "The Birds" and found it funny. The Lego Movie takes a reference from it.

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That's way more than we could handle with 2 average students who enjoy classic Literature, but aren't passionate about it. The year we did ancients with an 8th and a 9th grader, we managed to do 8 works: Gilgamesh**, Iliad, Odyssey, about 10 Greek myths, Oedipus the King, Antigone, Aeneid**, and Till We Have Faces -- and the 2 ** works were abridged adaptations.


For doing first real literary analysis, we read slowly -- a lot of it aloud together -- and did a lot of discussing daily. Plus some writing on most works. Because most of the works were full translations in poetic form, the reading, whether aloud together or silently solo, is much slower going and requires a lot of concentration, so has to be done in shorter time segments. Just what our experience with ancient and medieval classics was...


For the History portion we used Spielvogel's Human Odyssey (first 200 pages) to cover the Ancient History, and read the excerpts included in it for primary source documents. We also used portions of a number of other resources, plus DSs solo read about 6 historical fiction books as supplement.



Agreeing with previous posters that you have a very stout Lit. list -- JMO, but it really looks like a college course Theology/Lit. list rather than a 9th grade Lit. list. ;)


JMO, but not only are these all deep works, but many are written in a poetic form which makes for MUCH slower reading to absorb not only the sense (the "what's happening"), but also the style and how that contributes to theme and meaning. I would consider thinking of what your student's personal interests are in reading and literature, and drop a few of the heavy-hitters off of this list to make room for a few works that would excite and interest your student… And, if this list is your student's choice and personal interest, then go for it full throttle and enjoy! :)


Just some possible suggestions for what that might look like below, with rough approximations of amount of time to expect for the works. BEST of luck, whatever you decide to go with! Warmest regards, Lori D.



1. 2-3 weeks Gilgamesh 

2. 2 weeks Sophocles (Oedipus trilogy? only one? different play(s)?) -- choose 1 play (Oedipus the King is the most famous/referred to; Antigone has terrific themes to discuss)

3. 2-3 weeks Aristotle - rhetoric or poetics? /  Cicero - Republic -- choose 1 or the other, NOT both

4. 6-8 weeks Aeneid

5. 1-2 weeks Ovid - Metamorphoses -- excerpts; focus on just a few of the most well-known ones

6. 1-2 weeks Plutarch - Lives -- excerpts

approx. 18 weeks 


Athanasius - On the Incarnation -- drop, or do as part of Bible/devotional time

Augustine - City of God or Confessions? -- drop, or do excerpts as part of Bible/devotional readings


7. 4 weeks ADD: Julius Caesar by Shakespeare

8. 2 weeks Boethius - Consolation of Philosophy -- drop and substitute Beowulf

9. 3 weeks Dante - trilogy? only one? -- choose 1 -- OR, substitute excerpts from Spencer's The Faerie Queen

10. 2-3 weeks Everyman -- drop and substitute Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, OR other King Arthur work

11. 2-3 weeks St Thomas More - Utopia -- if short on time, just do a few excerpts

12. 4 weeks St Teresa of Avila - Autobiography -- drop and substitute Macbeth by Shakespeare

approx. 18 weeks 




ETA: As I have time, I'll revise/add to this:



Translations and Resources


You might really like Omnibus, which has some great discussion and background, and covers many of the works you are using, including many of the church-based/theological works. However, Omnibus covers History AND Literature, which means you would not use your Spielvogel for History. Also, Omnibus spreads out all of the chronological History and Lit. over a total of six years, and instead of covering 3500 years (Ancients through Medieval) in one year as you have planned, Omnibus I only covers up through the Aeneid...


* Gilgamesh

We used the abridged/adaptation Gilgamesh and Other Babylonian Tales by Jennifer Westwood, which also includes several Babylonian myths, including a flood myth, which was great for comparing with the Biblical flood account. For a full translation, many people prefer the David Ferry version, which minimizes the section in which the "temple prostitute introduces Endiku to the ways of love"...

Introduction to Gilgamesh -- 30 min. documentary

"Darmok" -- Star Trek Next Gen. episode, Captain Picard tells the story of Gilgamesh


* Sophocles

We read Oedipus the King, and Antigone, both were Fitzgerald translations, and liked them.


* Aristotle - rhetoric or poetics


* Cicero - Republic


* Aeneid

We read the Alfred Church abridged/adaptation The Aeneid for Boys and Girls. Fagles has a full translation and is very readable and uses immediate and current language. Fitzgerald is poetic with a lovely flow, without making it difficult reading. DH recently read through the Ruden version and liked it.


* Ovid - Metamorphoses

DH recently read through the Oxford World Classics version by Melville, which has extensive end notes which he found helpful.


*Plutarch - Lives


* Athanasius - On the Incarnation


* Augustine - City of God or Confessions


* Boethius - Consolation of Philosophy


* Dante

"Dante: best translation" -- past thread with suggestions

"Most Readable Divine Comedy Translation" -- past thread with suggestions


* Everyman


* St Thomas More - Utopia

We read the excerpts in an older Norton Anthology of English Literature, and that worked well. You might consider pairing excerpts of Utopia with a modern sci-fi work of dystopia for comparison — something like The Giver is short and would be easy to compare.


* St Teresa of Avila - Autobiography



For possible substitutions/additions:


* Beowulf

We loved the Seamus Heaney translation.


* Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

We loved the Tolkien translation. If you're not fond of Tolkien's style, a number of people like

"Sir Gawin and the Green Knight -- need input, please" -- great past thread


* Macbeth

We really liked the Parallel Shakespeare teacher guide and student workbook for this one. Also, Peter Leithart's Brightest Heaven of Invention: Christian Guide to Six Shakespeare Plays.

No Fear Shakespeare -- side-by-side original and modern translation

Throne of Blood -- film; Japanese samurai version of the story

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