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Introducing the Medieval Literature Aloud: Chaucer Studio Audio Collection

Bloomsbury Medieval Studies is excited to introduce the Medieval Literature Aloud: Chaucer Studio Audio Collection, which offers expert audio recordings of some of the most important and impactful Medieval texts, alongside a curated selection of scholarly eBooks. From Old English, Middle English, and Old Norse, to Middle High German, Old French and Italian, as well as examples of Medieval music, this collection is an unrivalled learning resource for scholars and students of Medieval Literature.

To celebrate the launch of this new collection we are offering free to access extracts from some of the best known works of Medieval Literature. For a limited time only, explore the free content brought together below and bring the language and culture of the global Middle Ages to life.

Click here to explore the collection in more detail.

Experience the Epic Tale of Beowulf Brought to Life

Beowulf is arguably considered one of the best-known surviving works of Old English Literature, and is a must read for all students and scholars of Medieval Language and culture. A vibrant tale of the heroic Beowulf, and his battle against the monstrous Grendel, this unique recording provides a complete dramatic reading of the epic poem, performed in full and brought to life by a skilled group of readers. The composition date of this anonymous work is contested, and the nature of its early oral transmission has led to much interpretation and debate, yet few works of Medieval Literature have as enduring a legacy.

Fancy delving deeper into the world of Beowulf? Continue the adventure with a read of Edward B. Irving Jr’s A Reading of Beowulf, to discover the rich and ever-growing breadth of scholarship and debate that surrounds this epic tale.

Join the Pilgrims of Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales

Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales remains arguably one of the most well know, and most commonly studied, works of Medieval literature. This collection recounts the stories told by a group of fictional pilgrims as they make their way from Southwark in London to Canterbury to visit the shrine of Saint Thomas Becket at Canterbury Cathedral. While thought to be incomplete, this collection of stories is regarded by many as Chaucer’s magnum opus, and is credited with helping to popularize the use of the English vernacular within contemporary literature. It remains a vital object of study for students and scholars of Medieval literature and history, and is available here through expert audio recordings which bring these important tales to life.

Want to hear more from the illustrious Geoffrey Chaucer? Medieval Literature Aloud provides full recordings of his most well-known works, including Troilus and Criseyde, The Book of the Duchess, The House of Fame, The Legend of Good Women, and many more. Click here to explore the collection.

Voicing the Works of Medieval Women

Voicing Medieval Women brings together important texts written by women across the Medieval world, chosen by prominent female scholars of the Middle Ages. This rich array of works includes poetry and prose in Middle English, the literary languages of France and French-speaking England (Provençal, Anglo-Norman, Old French), and a selection of Old Norse works. This unique anthology allows users to hear the texts of key women writers from Bridget of Sweden and Julian of Norwich, to Margery Kempe and Marie de France. These expert recordings can be studied alongside an eBook version of the work [Click here to read the Introduction] for a well rounded exploration of this vital field of study.

Want to continue your study of women writers from the Middle Ages? Try a sample of the Lais of Marie de France.

Delve into the Adventures of Nibelungenlied

Medieval Literature Aloud is proud to offer recordings in a wide breadth of Medieval languages, from Old French, Italian, Old Norse, and more. Nibelungenlied is arguably one of the most sophisticated and lengthy poems of the Middle Ages. This epic work recounts 39 adventures including Siegfried's fights against the dragon, the deeds of the queen of Iceland Brünhild, and Kriemhild. Dated to around 1200, this anonymous poem is thought to be the first heroic epic ever written in German and is credited with inspiring the growth of later heroic poetical works. Nibelungenlied is performed here in full, read by leading expert Eberhard Kummer, providing scholars and students with an invaluable learning tool that will support research and allow users to improve their pronunciation of Middle High German.

For more works of Middle High German Literature, try this track from A Garland of Medieval German Verse, which offers recordings of a selection of Medieval German Literature from key figures such as Der von Kürenberg, Hartmann von Aue, and Wolfram von Eschenbach to name but a few.

Join Sir Gawain and do Battle with the Green Knight

Bloomsbury Literature Aloud provides complete recordings of the key works attributed to the so called ‘Gawain Poet‘, sometimes also known as the ‘Pearl Poet‘. Perhaps the most well-known of these works is Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, a 14th century chivalric romance that has been retold through numerous retellings, from theatrical adaptations to renderings from renowned writers such as J. R. R. Tolkien and Simon Armitage. The fictional tale follows Sir Gawain, one of the Knights of King Author's Round Table, and his dealings with the challenging Green Knight. Students of Medieval literature will be familiar with the tale and can hear it brought to life in vivid detail here.

Want to hear more from the Gawain Poet? Click here to listen to Pearl, a dream vision poem that reflects on a father’s grief following the loss of his daughter, or explore this author’s lesser-known works, Patience, or Cleanness

Explore William Langland’s Piers Plowman Like Never Before

Medieval Literature Aloud offers expert recordings of the most commonly studied Medieval texts, including a full reading of William Langland’s Middle English allegorical narrative poem, Piers Plowman, or Visio Willelmi de Petro Ploughman. Dated to the late 14th century, this alliterative verse tells the story of the narrator’s search for a Christian ideal with a mix or satire and allegory. Piers Plowman comes alive in this invaluable resource for instructors and students. Whether you are reading the poem for the first time or teaching it for the hundredth, the Chaucer Studio Piers Plowman recording will enhance your experience of this powerful alliterative masterpiece.

Continue your study of Langland‘s key work with a read through the full Senate House Library manuscript made digitally available through Bloomsbury Medieval Studies, followed by an exploration of its contextual history with this exclusive Commentary Article.

Recommend This to Your Librarian

If you’ve enjoyed this preview of what the Medieval Literature Aloud: Chaucer Studio Audio Collection has to offer, recommend it to your librarian here. Recommend it to your librarian here.