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Luminarium & Quotidiana


Found in: language arts & literature; social studies; 6-8; 9-12

Luminarium: Anthology of English Literature is a growing resource for grade 6-12 English and social studies teachers and students. The anthology has broader sections of Medieval, Renaissance, 17th Century, and Restoration literature and more specific sections for religious writers, Renaissance drama, Metaphysical and Cavalier poets. The Luminarium Encyclopedia provides historical context for people, places, and events.

Anthology of Middle English Literature (1350-1485) features poetry and prose by Chaucer, Malory, and others, as well as plays and lyrics. The Chaucer entry includes a biography, works. Quotes, essays and articles, links to study resources, and an annotated list of books for further study. A right-hand sidebar provides quick links to medieval science and historical persons and events. The section for the Canterbury Tales provides links to online texts, study resources, and, for some tales, audio recordings. Following the written text and listening as the Prologue or a tale is read in Middle English illustrates the evolution of the English language and is useful in English as well as social studies classes.

Metaphysical Poets includes an introduction and poems by Donne, Marvell, Vaughan, and six others. Many of Donne’s songs and sonnets include audio files.

A second resource for English (writing models) and social studies (historical context) teachers and students is Quotidiana, an anthology of 420 public-domain classical essays from 76 writers from antiquity to the early twentieth century. The website was originally developed as a teaching tool. Essayists can be keyword searched or found using author and chronology menus. A third menu highlights women writers. The essays are varied, some serious, others humorous. Christopher Morley’s essay “On Laziness,” which begins “To-day we rather intended to write an essay on Laziness, but were too indolent to do so.” is one of the latter and should appeal to students and teachers. A very different essay is Nellie Bly’s 1887 “As A White Slave,” which describes her attempts to get factory work in New York City and her eventual experience making paper boxes. Quotidiana’s also offers interviews with contemporary essayists.

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