Medieval Britain 1066-1307 through Historical Fiction

Wednesday, September 17, 2014
(This program continues for multiple sessions)
Wednesdays, September 17 - November 19 (class will meet October 30 rather than October 29)

5:45 - 7:45 pm

Led by Matthew Bird

Explore the highlights of Medieval British history– including the Norman Conquest, the Anarchy, the Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland, and the Conquest of Wales–through quality historical fiction. Novels by Morgan Llywelyn, Sharon Penman, and others will introduce the period. With the readings as background, class meetings will discuss issues such as church-state relations, food and drink, medicine, land tenure and military service, law and commerce, and the role of women in society. For the first class session, please read David Howarth’s 1066, the Year of the Conquest.

Matthew Bird, a law librarian and independent scholar, has a BA in history from Princeton University and a PhD in international politics from the University of Wales.

Materials List

Required Text(s):

  • David Howarth, 1066: The Year of the Conquest (Penguin, 1981; repr. Barnes & Noble, 1993) 207 pp. ISBN (pbk) 978-0140058505
  • Georgette Heyer, The Conqueror (Sourcebooks Landmark, 2008) ISBN (pbk) 978-1402213557 480pp. Note: The Newberry Bookstore has a limited stock of this text. Please remember to call (312) 255-3520 in advance to check current availability.
  • Jean Anouilh, Becket (Riverhead Books, 1996) ISBN (pbk) 978-1573225088
  • James Goldman, The Lion in Winter (New York: Random House, 2004) ISBN (pbk) 978-0812973358
  • Georges Duby, William Marshal: the Flower of Chivalry (New York: Pantheon, 1986) 153 pp. Translated from the French by Richard Howard; Reissued March 1987. ISBN (pbk) 978-0394751542. Note: The Newberry Bookstore has a limited stock of this text. Please remember to call (312) 255-3520 in advance to check current availability.
  • Sharon Kay Penman, Falls the Shadow (New York: Ballantine/Holt, 1989; repr. St. Martin’s Griffin, 2008) 580 pp. ISBN (trd pbk) 978-0312382469

Suggested Reading:

(out of print; instructor will provide copies):

  • Edward Marston, The Wolves of Savernake (Crest, 1995) 243 pp. ISBN (mass market pbk) 0449223108
  • Morgan Llywelyn, Strongbow (Tor Books, 1997) 160 pp. ISBN (pbk) 0812544625

Readings for the First Session:

  • For the first class session, please read David Howarth’s 1066, the Year of the Conquest.

This class is part of the Newberry’s Adult Education Seminars Program.

Cost and registration information: 

Ten sessions, $230.
Register Online.