Foundations in History and Literature

General Course Description

Foundations in Literature and History will provide students a firm foundation in both literature and history and prepare them for a serious study of these subjects in high school and college. Like the Vice and Virtue class, it will expose students to classic authors and their literary works, and reintroduce critical terms learned, such as “plot,” “theme,” “allegory,” “realism,” and “satire.” Much of the reading material in the literature portion of the text has been adapted to a reading level suitable for the targeted age level, but some works, especially poetry, have been kept in their original form. Students will review poetics, including rhyme and scansion, and will be introduced to new rhetorical terms and figures of speech. The history texts, also adapted, will provide students with interesting reading material that cannot be found in textbooks, such as contemporary anecdotes of Washington and Lincoln and the recollections of General Lee’s son of his father.  Like the Vice and Virtue course, the Foundations in History and Literature course will include instruction and exercises in vocabulary, reading comprehension, grammar, writing and poetry. The writing instruction will include a presentation of various essay formats and will be based on the reading. Students will memorize poetry and apothegms useful for writing and speaking. The lists below include samples of works that will be read in the course.

Sample Works in History

  1. Plutarch, Julius Caesar and Brutus

  2. William Bradford, History of Plymouth Plantation (American history: selections of Bradford’s own writing adapted)

  3. Herodotus, The Histories (Greek History)

  4. Charles Dickens, selections from American Notes (adapted)

  5. Livy, “Romulus and Remus”

  6. Church, Stories from Livy and Stories from Virgil (Roman history: Selections from the historian Livy adapted for children)

  7. Anonymous, Golden Deeds (World History: A selection of interesting brief tales of various famous people, such as Columbus, William Tell and Charlemegne)

  8. Charles Lamb, The Adventures of Ulysses (The Odyssey adapted for Children by one of the most famous English Romantic Essayists)

  9. Nathaniel Hawthorne, Grandfather’s Chair (American history: selections from Hawthorne’s book written for children)

  10. Charles Dickens, History of England for Children (English history: Selections of English history)

  11. Rupert S. Holland, Boyhood Histories (Selections of histories of famous people around the World, including Peter the Great, Horatio Nelson, Walter Scott, Otto Van Bismarck among others)

  12. H. A. Guerber, a history of the Peloponnesian War and of Alexander the Great

Sample Works in Literature

  1. Alfred Tennyson, “Gareth and Lynette” (adapted)

  2. Charles and Mary Lamb, Tales from Shakespeare (adapted Selections, including King Lear and Hamlet)

  3. Selected poems by Robert Frost

  4. Selected poems by Christina Rossetti

  5. Selections from Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan

  6. Selections from the Odyssey retold by Charles Lamb

  7. Andrew Lang, The Book of Romance (Tales from King Arthur and Robin Hood adapted for children)

  8. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Enoch Arden (adapted) and Evangeline (adapted)

  9. Selected poems by John Keats, Percy Bysshe Shelley and Samuel Taylor Coleridge

  10. Adapted selections from Paradise Lost by John Milton

  11. Selected tales by Hans Christian Anderson

  12. William Wordsworth, Lyrical Ballads

  13. Selected poems by William Blake

  14. Ballads of Robin Hood

  15. Geoffrey Chaucer, “Nun’s Priest Tale” (adapted)

  16. Greek Myths (e.g., Nathaniel Hawthorne, Tanglewood Tales)