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Read Me What to read, 1101-1400

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\/ 14th Century

One star: Noh (14th-15th Centuries) Etext: The Online Books Page | Japanese Text Initiative Reference: Noh translations | Wikipedia: List of Noh plays (A–M) - (N–Z) Criticism: post
Note: a major form of classical Japanese musical drama that has been performed since the 14th century. --Wikipedia
Comment: The classic drama of Japan, mixing poetry and prose, music, choreography, and masks... --A Guide to Oriental Classics
Twenty Plays of the No Theatre, Donald Keene, ed. (1970)

THOMAS a Kempis (c. 1380-1471) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a German canon regular of the late medieval period and the most probable author of The Imitation of Christ, which is one of the best known Christian books on devotion --Wikipedia
The Imitation of Christ (c. 1420)

One star: Sir GAWAIN and the Green Knight (late 14th Century) Etext: The Online Books Page | Luminarium Study: Spark Notes Criticism: post
Note: ...Middle English alliterative romance. It is one of the better-known Arthurian stories, of an established type known as the "beheading game". --Wikipedia
Comment: the author addresses serious questions of courtesy, reputation, and moral conduct, but he also suffuses his poem with irony, constantly plays with the gulf between appearance and reality, and keeps everyone guessing until the very end. --Michael Dirda

Christine DE PIZAN (1364-c. 1430) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: an Italian French late medieval author. can be regarded as Europe’s first professional woman writer. --Wikipedia
The Book of the City of Ladies (Le Livre de la cite des dames, 1405)

VIDYAPATI (1352?-1448?) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a Maithili poet and a Sanskrit writer. ... the language at the time of Vidyapati, the prakrit-derived late abahatta, had just began to transition into early versions of the Eastern languages, Maithili, Bengali, Oriya, etc. Thus, Vidyapati's influence on making these languages has been described as "analogous to that of Dante in Italy and Chaucer in England." --Wikipedia
Love Songs (1380-1406)

Geoffrey CHAUCER (c. 1340-1400) Etext: The Online Books Page Reference: Joseph Wittig fan site Criticism: post
Note: known as the Father of English literature, is widely considered the greatest English poet of the Middle Ages --Wikipedia
Legend of Good Women (c. 1374-1386)
Parliament of Fowls (c. 1374-1386)
One star: Troilus and Criseyde (c. 1380-1390)
Comment: The love of Chaucer's Troilus for Criseyde is misguided, but then Troilus is really still only a boy. In happier circumstances, Chaucer's Criseyde would not have betrayed her young lover. --Charles Van Doren
Five stars: The Canterbury Tales (c. 1390)
Comment: Here are bawdy stories that will make your roar or blush or both, delicate tales of chivalry and romantic love, classic animal fables and ancient legends charmingly retold, scandalous tales of clerical corruption, together with edifying tales of spiritual devotion. And the style varies from the coarsest and most common street idiom to the most elegant and mock-elegant niceties. --Seymour Cain
Comment: What appears to be a simple tale of religious pilgrimage is really a study of the human condition, particularly the meaning of goodness or holiness in human life. --Constance Buchanan

Jean FROISSART (c. 1337-c. 1405) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a medieval French author ... For centuries, Froissart's Chronicles have been recognized as the chief expression of the chivalric revival of the 14th century Kingdom of England and France. --Wikipedia
One star: Chronicles (Chroniques, 1377-1400)

IBN KHALDUN (1332-1406) Etext: The Online Books Page | Muslim Philosophy
Note: an Arab Muslim historiographer and historian, regarded to be among the founding fathers of modern historiography, sociology and economics. --Wikipedia
One star: Prolegomena (Muqaddimah) to al-Kitabu l-'ibar (1375-1378)
Comment: One of the most remarkable philosophies of history ever written, Ibn Khaldun's encyclopedic discourses on the historical factors in the rise and fall of civilizations is a classic among modern world historians. --A Guide to Oriental Classics

LUO Guanzhong (c. 1330-1400) [Luo Kuan-Chung] Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a Chinese writer who lived during the Yuan and Ming periods. --Wikipedia
The Romance of the Three Kingdoms (1360) Criticism: YellowBridge on translations

HAFEZ (1325/26–1389/1390) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a Persian poet. ... His influence in the lives of Iranians can be found in "Hafez readings" .... frequent use of his poems in Persian traditional music, visual art and Persian calligraphy. --Wikipedia
Divan (1959)
Comment: consists chiefly of some six hundred lyrics or ghazals, whose form he brought to the zenith of perfection. His themes are wine, love (once thought to be mystical but now more generally thought to be literal), and panegyrics of his ruler... --Philip Ward

Grettis saga (c. 1320) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: one of the Icelanders' sagas. It details the life of Grettir Asmundarson, a bellicose Icelandic outlaw. --Wikipedia
Comment: the hero battles and finally destroys a ghost-demon named Glam. In the full moonlight, however, the dying Glam spits out a terrible curse: From this moment on, despite all his strength and valor, Grettir will always be deathly afraid of the dark. --Michael Dirda

Giovanni BOCCACCIO (1313-1375) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: an Italian author, poet, correspondent of Petrarch, and important Renaissance humanist. --Wikipedia
Comment: For two centuries, when but little was known of the Decameron north of the Alps, he was famous all over Europe simply on account of his Latin compilations on mythology, geography and biography. --Jacob Burckhardt
Two stars: Decameron (Decamerone, 1353)
Comment: [A] kind of diurnal Arabian Nights set just outside Florence in 1348 as the Black Death ravages the city. --Ingrid D. Rowland
Comment: After the first gloomy pages of the book the reader reaches a landscape of rejuvenation, rebirth and revival. --Dante Della-Terza

GAO Ming (c. 1305-1370) [Kao Ming] Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a Chinese poet and playwright during the Yuan Dynasty. --Wikipedia
The Lute (P'i-p'a chi 14th C.; Jean Mulligan, trans., 1980)
Comment: ...Ming ch'uan-ch'i drama. --A Guide to Oriental Classics

PETRARCH (1304-1374) Etext: The Online Books Page | Humanistic Texts
Note: an Aretine scholar and poet in Renaissance Italy, and one of the earliest humanists. Petrarch's rediscovery of Cicero's letters is often credited for initiating the 14th-century Renaissance. --Wikipedia
Comment: lives in the memory of most people nowadays chiefly as a great Italian poet, owed his fame among his contemporaries far rather to the fact that he was a kind of living representative of antiquity, that he imitated all styles of Latin. --Jacob Burckhardt
Comment: He was one of the principal causes for that great revival of Latin learning that continued almost unabated for centuries, but finally began to wane during the last century. --Patrick Harvey
One star: The Triumphs (Trionfi 1374)
One star: Il Canzoniere (1374, "Song Book")
Letters Etext: Medieval Sourcebook

IBN BATTUTA (1304-1369) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a Moroccan explorer of Berber descent. He is known for his extensive travels --Wikipedia
Comment: There's little doubt that Ibn Buttatah was, and remains, the greatest traveler of all time. --Geoffrey Moorhouse
Comment: Born in Morocco, he held judicial office in such distant regions as India and the Maldive islands and attained the same dignity upon returning to his native Morocco at the end of his life. Despite the variety of government and custom, the same Sacred Law, at least in principle, applied throughtout the realm of Islam and an expert in the Law was therefore qualified to hold office anywhere. --William H. McNeill
A Gift to Those Who Contemplate the Wonders of Cities and the Marvels of Travelling (Rihla, 1355) Etext: Medieval Sourcebook | Medieval Sourcebook Study: Virtual Tour
Comment: an excellent first-hand narrative of life in the (predominantly Muslim) world of the second quarter of the fourteenth century, from which one can elicit numerous conclusions about the decline of order and control in government and administration. --Philip Ward

/\ 14th Century
\/ 13th Century

SHI Nai'an (1296-1370) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a Chinese writer from Suzhou. --Wikipedia
One star: The Water Margin or All Men Are Brothers (Shui-hu chuan)
Comment: A classic of Chinese popular fiction, narrating the adventures of a band of outlaws in the Sung Dynasty. --A Guide to Oriental Classics

Juan RUIZ (c. 1283-1350, Archpriest of Hita) Etext: The Online Books Page | Poetry Archive
Note: known as the Archpriest of Hita (Arcipreste de Hita), was a medieval Spanish poet --Wikipedia
The Book of Good Love (Libro de buen amor, 1343)
Comment: Irony, parody and coarse laughter are never far from the surface (we do not even know if the author was in fact an 'archpriest' at all), and the most amusing sections concern the doings of a notorious old procuress called Trotaconventos, and her attempts to obtain mistresses for the author. --Philip Ward

Yoshida KENKO (1283?-1350?) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a Japanese author and Buddhist monk. --Wikipedia
One star: Essays in Idleness (Tsurezuregusa, c. 1330)
Comment: Observations in journal form on life, nature, and art, with especially important articulations of Japanese aesthetic values... --A Guide to Oriental Classics

One star: Njals saga (c. 1280) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: one of the sagas of Icelanders. ... Njal is burned alive in his home as a part of a cycle of killing and vengeance. --Wikipedia
Comment: Njal is equipped with second sight, along with a good deal of simple common sense and worldly wisdom--none of which ultimately suffices either to save his own life or to avert the widening acts of vengeance that, down the decades, devastate the world of his family and neighbors. --Brad Leithauser

Volsunga saga (late 13th Century)
Note: ...Icelandic prose rendition of the origin and decline of the Volsung clan --Wikipedia

YUIEN
Lamentations of Divergences (Tannisho, late 13th Century) Etext: The Online Books Page | Living Dharma
Note: a late 13th century short Buddhist text generally thought to have been written by Yuien --Wikipedia
Comment: The essential teachings of Shinran [(1173-1262)] as remembered by a devoted disciple. --A Guide to Oriental Classics

DANTE Alighieri (1265-1321) Etext: The Online Books Page | Poetry Foundation | Academy of American Poets Criticism: post
Note: a major Italian poet of the Middle Ages --Wikipedia
One star: The New Life (La Vita Nuova, c. 1292)
Comment: a celebration of Dante's love for a real girl, Beatrice Portinari, whom he first met in 1274, and using them as a textbook for the allegorical and symbolic treatment of human love in poetry. --Philip Ward
Convivio (c. 1304)
On Monarchy (De Monarchia, c. 1310-1313)
Comment: The sacrum imperium has now clearly broken in two. Dante's solution was to have his universal vision, expressed in millenarian language, institutionalized in a world monarchy. --Jene M. Porter
Five stars: The Divine Comedy (c. 1321) Reference: Virtual Tour of Hell Criticism: Scott D. Moringiello essay
Comment: Just as, at an earlier period of the Middle Ages, types and anti-types were sought in the history of the Old and New Testaments, so does Dante constantly bring together a Christian and a pagan illustration of the same fact. --Jacob Burckhardt
Comment: At rare moments in a cultural tradition, great works are created which sum up all the strands of thought and imagination that have gone into the making of that tradition. Such a unifying work is usually the creation of a poetic genius. --Seymour Cain
Comment: It is that he give to us who do not agree with his position, and who are still troubled by the damned and the unbaptized, some sense of what it might be like to live with Dante's faith, and to experience the spiritual life which follows from it. --Anthony O'Hear
Comment: Best translation (alas): Sayers. --Raphael and McLeish
Letter to Can Grande (James Marchand translation) Etext: Jim Dean fan site
De Vulgaria Eloquentia (1529)

Lady NIJO (1258 – after 1307)
Note: a Japanese historical figure. She was a concubine of Emperor Go-Fukakusa from 1271 to 1283, and later became a Buddhist nun. After years of travelling, she wrote a memoir --Wikipedia
The Confessions of Lady Nijo (Towazugatari, c. 1304-1307) Criticism: Makiko Fugiwara essay
Comment: poetic diary in the tradition of Heian court ladies. --A Guide to Oriental Classics

Marco POLO (c. 1254-1324) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: an Italian merchant traveler from the Republic of Venice --Wikipedia
Two stars: The Travels of Marco Polo (Livres des merveilles du monde, c. 1300)
Comment: The first European to see and record in realistic detail the splendor, magnificence, and wonder of the East... --Robert B. Downs
Comment: the main source of Western knowledge of China for 200 years, in spite of the fact that Polo did not mention chopsticks, tea drinking, foot binding, or the Great Wall. --John Derbyshire

WANG Shifu (c. 1250-1337?) [Wang Shih-fu] Etext: The Online Books Page Criticism: Tsai Shu-hui essay
Note: a successful Chinese playwright of the Yuan Dynasty. --Wikipedia
The Story of the Western Wing or Romance of the West Chamber (Xi Xiang Ji)
Comment: masterpiece of Yuan drama. --A Guide to Oriental Classics

Poetic EDDA (13th Century) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a collection of Old Norse poems primarily preserved in the Icelandic mediaeval manuscript Codex Regius. --Wikipedia

Laxdaela saga (1230-1260) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: one of the Icelanders' sagas. --Wikipedia
Comment: the beautiful Gudrun is forced to wed her lover's best friend, with tragic consequences. --Michael Dirda

Egils saga (1240) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: an Icelandic saga. ... centered on the life of Egill Skallagrimsson, an Icelandic farmer, viking and skald. --Wikipedia

GUAN Hanqing (c. 1241-1320) [Kuan Han-ch'ing] Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a notable Chinese playwright and poet in the Yuan Dynasty. --Wikipedia
The Injustice to Dou E or Snow in Midsummer (Gan Tian Dong Di Dou E Yuan) Criticism: Alexander Huang essay

Yunus EMRE (1240?-1321?) Etext: The Online Books Page | Poetry Chaikhana | eskisehir 2013
Note: a Turkish poet and Sufi mystic. --Wikipedia
Mystical Poetry
Comment: One of the most important of Anatolian Turkish mystic poets, Yunus Emre was also one of the first to use Turkish as a serious literary language. --A Guide to Oriental Classics

JACOBUS de Voragine (c. 1227-1298) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: an Italian chronicler and archbishop of Genoa. He was the author, or more accurately the compiler, of Legenda Aurea, the Golden Legend, a collection of the legendary lives of the greater saints of the medieval church that was one of the most popular religious works of the Middle Ages --Wikipedia
Golden Legend (Legenda Aurea, c. 1260)

THOMAS Aquinas (c. 1225-1274) Etext: The Online Books Page Reference: Thomas O’Meara bibliography | Thomas International Center | Pius XI encyclical Criticism: post
Note: an Italian Dominican friar and priest and an immensely influential philosopher and theologian in the tradition of scholasticism --Wikipedia
Comment: a flame of heavenly wisdom --Dante
Comment: St. Thomas put all the power of his genius at the exclusive service of the truth. He seems to wish to disappear behind it, almost through fear of troubling its brightness, so that it, and not he, should shine forth in all its radiance. --John Paul II
Commentary on the Sentences of Peter Lombard (Scriptum super libros Sententiarium, 1252-1256)
Concerning Being and Essence (De ente et essentia, 1256)
Disputed Questions on Truth (Quaestiones disputatae de Veritate, 1256-1259)
Summa Contra Gentiles (1264)
Comment: ...composed at the request of S. Ramon de Penafuerte, ostensibly to convert the Muslims of Spain. But the book grew into quite a different tool, aiming at nothing less than the reconciliation of reason with revelation. --Philip Ward
Hymns (c. 1264)
Comment: Certainly Aquinas' greatest hymns, 'Pange lingua (Tantum ergo)', 'Adora te devote', 'Verbum supernum (O salutaris hostia)', and the rest are amongst the very greatest poems of the West from the age of Augustus to Dante in any language --Kenneth Rexroth
On Kingship, to the King of Cyprus (De regno [De regimine principum], ad regem Cypri, 1267)
Commentary on Aristotle's 'On Interpretation' (Peri Hermenias, 1270-1271)
Three stars: Summa Theologica (Summa Theologiæ, 1265-1274) Etext: Domincan | New Advent | Maritain Bookseller:Amazon
Comment: First, notice the title of the article; this indicates the general subject to be discussed. Second, notice what, at the beginning, Aquinas says 'seems' to be the case. The contrary of this will usually be Aquinas' own position. Third, proceed at once to read the portion commencing 'I answer that'. This will give Aquinas own thought and his reasons for it. Fourth, return to the objections and read them together with their replies. --Peter Wolff
Comment: Knowledge can be obtained, Aquinas argues, through either faith or natural reason. Faith derives its knowledge mainly from the Holy Scripture; the supreme examples of natural reason, derived from the senses, are found in the works of Plato and Aristotle. Both kinds of knowledge come from God, and therefore they cannot be in conflict. --Robert B. Downs
Comment: It [Scholasticism] is an immense structure, like the greatest computers, capable of absorbing all experience, if only the experience is programmed into its own terms, and producing satisfactory answers--satisfactory within the terms. --Kenneth Rexroth
Comment: its numerous volumes dictated to a team of scribes because one alone could not keep up with the Master. --Raphael and McLeish

Grail Quest (The Quest for the Holy Grail, c. 1225) Etext: The Online Books Page Criticism: Sandra Miesel essay | Sandra Miesel sidebar
Note: The Holy Grail is a dish, plate, stone, or cup that is part of an important theme of Arthurian literature. --Wikipedia

NICHIREN (1222-1282) Etext: The Online Books Page | Soka Gakkai International
Note: a Buddhist monk who lived during the Kamakura period (1185–1333) in Japan. Nichiren taught devotion to the Lotus Sutra ... as the exclusive means to attain enlightenment. --Wikipedia
The Major Writings of Nichiren Daishonen (Gosho Translation Committee, 1979-1985) Bookseller: Amazon

Magna Carta (1215) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: also called Magna Carta Libertatum or The Great Charter of the Liberties of England, is an Angevin charter originally issued in Latin --Wikipedia

Roger BACON (c. 1214-1294) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: an English philosopher and Franciscan friar who placed considerable emphasis on the study of nature through empirical methods. --Wikipedia
Opus Majus (1267)

Nibelungenlied (1180 to 1210; The Song of the Nibelungs) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: an epic poem in Middle High German. The story tells of dragon-slayer Siegfried at the court of the Burgundians, how he was murdered, and of his wife Kriemhild's revenge. --Wikipedia

SAADI Shirazi (c. 1208-c. 1292) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: better known by his pen-name as Sa'di ... was one of the major Persian poets of the medieval period. --Wikipedia
Gulistan (1258; "The Rose Garden")

RUMI (1207-1273) Etext: The Online Books Page Criticism: post
Note: a 13th-century Persian poet, jurist, theologian, and Sufi mystic. --Wikipedia
Comment: the favorite [Muslim] poet of mystically-inclined Americans --Daniel Pipes
One star: Spiritual Couplets (Matnawiye Ma'nawi)
Comment: The greatest mystical poet of Persia. --A Guide to Oriental Classics
One star: In It What's in It (Fihi ma fihi)

Robin Hood (early 13th Century) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a heroic outlaw in English folklore, a highly skilled archer and swordsman. --Wikipedia

Guillaume de LORRIS (c. 1200–c. 1240) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a French scholar and poet from Lorris. He was the author of the first section of the Roman de la Rose. --Wikipedia
Jean de MEUN (c. 1240–c. 1305)
Note: a French author best known for his continuation of the Roman de la Rose. --Wikipedia
The Romance of the Rose (Roman de la Rose, Lorris 1230, Meun between 1268 and 1285) Study: Mary-Jo Arn guide Criticism: post

Medieval Latin Lyrics (1929) Etext: Internet Archive
edited by Helen Waddell (1889-1965) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: an Irish poet, translator and playwright. --Wikipedia

Kabbalah (12th to 13th Century) Etext: The Online Books Page Criticism: post
Note: an esoteric method, discipline, and school of thought that originated in Judaism. --Wikipedia

Aucassin and Nicolette (Aucassin et Nicolette, 12th or 13th Century) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: an anonymous medieval French chantefable, or combination of prose and verse (literally, a "sung story", similar to a prosimetrum). --Wikipedia

/\ 13th Century
\/ 12th Century

DOGEN (1200-1253) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a Japanese Zen Buddhist teacher ... founded the Soto school of Zen in Japan ... known for his extensive writing including the Treasury of the Eye of the True Dharma or Shobogenzo, a collection of ninety-five fascicles concerning Buddhist practice and enlightenment. --Wikipedia
Treasury of the Eye of the True Dharma (Shobogenzo, compiled 1235-1237, published 1651))

JAYADEVA (c. 1200) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a Sanskrit poet ... most known for his composition, the epic poem Gita Govinda, which depicts the divine love of Krishna, and his consort, Radha. ... considered an important text in the Bhakti movement of Hinduism. --Wikipedia
One star: Gita Govinda Etext: Desiraju Hanumanta Rao fan site Reference: Black Peacock
Comment: 'Krishna Praised in Song' is a unique operatic lyric in Sanskrit, regarded both as a great poem and as a major work of medieval devotionalism. --A Guide to Oriental Classics

One star: The Tale of the Heike (Heike monogatari, after 1185) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: an epic account of the struggle between the Taira and Minamoto clans for control of Japan at the end of the 12th century in the Genpei War (1180-1185). --Wikipedia
Comment: Although the characters are idealized and perhaps--by our standards--romanticized, the rush and tumult of battle emerge from the Heike as they do from the Iliad, and personal feelings, though poignant and moving, occupy a small part of the narrative. --A Guide to Oriental Classics
- (Royall Tyler translation, 2012) Criticism: Christopher Benfrey review

Snorri STURLUSON (1178-1241) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: an Icelandic historian, poet, and politician. ... He was the author of the Prose Edda or Younger Edda, which consists of Gylfaginning ("the fooling of Gylfi"), a narrative of Norse mythology, the Skaldskaparmal, a book of poetic language, and the Hattatal, a list of verse forms. --Wikipedia
The Prose Edda (c. 1220)
Heimskringla (c. 1230)

The Tumbler of Our Lady (Le Jongleur de Notre Dame, late 12th Century) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: an old medieval legend. ... it tells the story of a juggler turned monk who has no gift to offer a statue of the Virgin Mary except for his ability to juggle well. --Wikipedia

DAIBU (before 1174-after 1232) Etext: The Online Books Page
The Poetic Memoirs of Lady Daibu (Kenreimon-in Ukyo no Daibu shu)
Comment: covering a fifty-year period of her life during the opening years of the Kamakura period. --A Guide to Oriental Classics
- Phillip Tudor Harries translation (1980) Criticism: Peter E. Nosco review

Shota RUSTAVELI (1172–1216) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a Georgian poet of the 12th century, and one of the greatest contributors to Georgian literature. --Wikipedia
The Knight in the Panther's Skin (Vepkhistkaosani)

Wolfram von ESCHENBACH (c. 1170-c. 1220) Etext: The Online Books Page Criticism: post
Note: a German knight and poet, regarded as one of the greatest epic poets of his time. --Wikipedia
One star: Parzival (before 1217)
Comment: The action ranges across most of the known world, but its hero, Parzival, starts off as a country bumpkin who, when he first glimpses some knights, guesses they must be angels. We laugh--Wolfram displays a real taste for humor and wordplay--but isn't there a wisdom behind this ignorance, a suggestion that true knights should be angels, of a sort? --Michael Dirda

GOTTFRIED von Strassburg (c. 1165-c. 1215) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: author of the Middle High German courtly romance Tristan, an adaptation of the 12th-century Tristan and Iseult legend. --Wikipedia
One star: Tristan (1210)
Comment: ...Tristan is sent to bring Isolde from Ireland to wed King Mark, the two accidentally drink a potion that causes them to fall madly in love with each other, and they thwart every law of society and God to satisfy their all-consuming desire. --Michael Dirda

CHRETIEN de Troyes (c. 1160 to 1172-c. 1191) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a late 12th century French poet and trouvère known for his work on Arthurian subjects, and for originating the character Lancelot. --Wikipedia
One star: Yvain, The Knight of the Lion (1177-1181) Criticism: Helen Cooper review
Comment: The man has failed to honor his obligations as a true lover and husband, mainly because he has been spending too much time at work, i.e., off jousting and brawling with his buddy Gawain. --Michael Dirda

Kamo No CHOMEI (1153 or 1155-1216)
One star: An Account of My Hut (Hojoki, 1212) Etext: The Online Books Page | Humanistic Texts
Note: a Japanese author, poet (in the waka form), and essayist. ... He decided to turn his back on society, take Buddhist vows, and became a hermit, living outside the capital. --Wikipedia
Comment: A short account of a reclusive life, with meditations on the vicissitudes of worldly life, the beauties of nature, and the satisfactions of simplicity... the opening paragraph is particularly well known and loved. --A Guide to Oriental Classics

TROUBADOURS of Provence (12th Century) Reference: Anne Azema program notes | H.J. Chaytor (1912)
Note: A troubadour ... was a composer and performer of Old Occitan lyric poetry during the High Middle Ages (1100–1350). ... The texts of troubadour songs deal mainly with themes of chivalry and courtly love. --Wikipedia
Comment: The Troubadours of the Provencal movement had already begun to take that turn or twist towards Oriental fancies and the paradox of pessimism, which always comes to Europeans as something fresh when their own sanity seems to be something stale. --G. K. Chesterton
Songs
Comment: Noblemen created songs on the three principal themes of love, war and honour: at least two thousan five hundred such songs have survived until the present day, some with instrumental scores. --Philip Ward

One star: The Poem of the CID (El Cantar de Myo Cid, c. 1140) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: the oldest preserved Castilian epic poem (epopeya). Based on a true story, it tells of the Castilian hero El Cid, and takes place during the Reconquista, or reconquest of Spain from the Moors. --Wikipedia

XIN Qiji (1140-1207) [Hsin Ch'i-chi] Etext: The Online Books Page | Shaad M. Ahmad fan site | John Loftus at 70
Note: a Chinese poet, military leader, and statesman during the Southern Song dynasty. ... Some six hundred and twenty of Xin's poems survive today --Wikipedia
Poems

ATTAR of Nishapur (c. 1145-c. 1221) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a Persian Muslim poet, theoretician of Sufism, and hagiographer from Nishapur who had an immense and lasting influence on Persian poetry and Sufism. --Wikipedia
Ilahi-Nama [The Book of Divine Wisdom]
One star: The Conference of the Birds (Mantiq-ut-Tair)
Comment: an allegory of the soul's progress to God. --M. S. Merwin
Comment: A sophisticated literary treatment, in fable form, of the stages of religious experience in man's contemplative journey toward union with God --A Guide to Oriental Classics

MAIMONIDES (1135-1204) Etext: The Online Books Page Study: Robert C. Koons lecture Criticism: post
Note: a preeminent medieval Spanish, Sephardic Jewish philosopher, astronomer and one of the most prolific and influential Torah scholars and physicians of the Middle Ages. --Wikipedia
The Guide for the Perplexed (Moreh Nevukhim or dalalatul ha’irin, 1190)
Comment: ...attempts to reconcile Judaic revelation with Aristotelian philosophy, and concludes that reason alone is insufficient to explain religious and scientific phenomena. --Philip Ward
The Preservation of Youth: essays on health (Fi tadbir as-sihha, 1198)
- (Hirsch L. Gordon translation, 1958)

ZHU Xi (1130-1200) [Chu Hsi] Etext: The Online Books Page | Humanistic Texts
Note: a Song Dynasty Confucian scholar who became the leading figure of the School of Principle --Wikipedia
Comment: Leading exponent and synthesizer of Neo-Confucianism in the twelfth century, which became orthodox state teaching in later centuries and spread throughout East Asia. --A Guide to Oriental Classics
Comment: Chu's influence on Chinese thought was not unlike that of Aquinas in Christendom --Leslie Marchant
and LU Tsu-chien (1137-1181)
One star: Reflections on things at hand; the Neo-Confucian anthology (1967, Wing-tsit Chan translation; Chin-ssu lu, 1175) Reference: Illustrated Encyclopedia of Confucianism entry

AVERROES (1126-1198) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: a Spanish Andalusian Muslim polymath... . Averroes was a defender of Aristotelian philosophy against Ash'ari theologians led by Al-Ghazali. --Wikipedia
On the Harmony of Religion and Philosophy (Kitab fasl al-maqal)
Comment: A classic attempt to reconcile religion and philosophy. --A Guide to Oriental Classics
(Mohammed Jamil-al-Rahman translation) Etext: Internet Medieval Source Book

LU You (1125-1209) [Lu Yu] Etext: The Online Books Page.
Note: a Chinese poet of the Southern Song dynasty. --Wikipedia
Chien-nan shih-kao (1220)

Blue Cliff Record (Hekiganroku, 1125) Etext: The Online Books Page | Eric Boix fan site
Note: a collection of Chán Buddhist koans originally compiled in China during the Song dynasty in 1125 ... and then expanded into its present form by the Chan master Yuanwu Keqin --Wikipedia

Okagami (The Great Mirror)
Note: c. 1120? --Encyclopaedia Britannica | It covers the period 850 to 1025, the golden days of the Fujiwara family's rule. --Wikipedia

SAIGYO (1118-1190) Etext: The Online Books Page | Poetry Hunter Reference: Hermitage of Poet Saigyo and Spring Kokeshimizu
Note: a famous Japanese poet of the late Heian and early Kamakura period. --Wikipedia
Note: ...Japanese Buddhist priest-poet, one of the greatest masters of the tanka (a traditional Japanese poetic form), whose life and works became the subject matter of many narratives, plays, and puppet dramas. --Encyclopaedia Britannica
Mirror for the Moon: A Selection of Poems by Saigyo (William R. LaFleur, trans.)
Comment: A collection of poems by a great court poet of the late Heian period. --A Guide to Oriental Classics

JOHN of Salisbury (c. 1115-1180) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: an English author, educationalist, diplomat and bishop of Chartres --Wikipedia
One star: The Statesman's Book (Policraticus, before 1159) excerpt Etext: Medieval Sourcebook

IBN TUFAIL (c. 1105-1185) Etext: The Online Books Page
Note: (...Latinized form: Abubacer Aben Tofail; Anglicized form: Abubekar or Abu Jaafar Ebn Tophail) was an Andalusian Muslim polymath: a writer, novelist, Islamic philosopher, Islamic theologian, physician, vizier, and court official. --Wikipedia
Alive, Son of Awake or Philosophus Autodidactus (Hayy ibn Yaqzan)

/\ 12th Century

\/ 301-1100 | 1401-1600 /\



Revised August 19, 2015.

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