Official Review: The Middle Ages by Jane Chance

Use this section to discuss drama books and poetry books. Drama includes plays but not novels. This includes work by Shakespeare, Marlowe, Miller etc. Poetry anthologies can also go here.
Forum rules
Authors and publishers are not able to post replies in the review topics.
Post Reply
Posts: 588
Joined: 25 Sep 2013, 05:21
Currently Reading: American Psycho
Bookshelf Size: 1970
Reviewer Page:
Latest Review: The Middle Ages by Jane Chance

Official Review: The Middle Ages by Jane Chance

Post by L_Therese »

[Following is an official review of "The Middle Ages" by Jane Chance.]
Book Cover
4 out of 4 stars
Share This Review

Poetry is one of my favorite literary modes because of its artful and carefully planned use of language. The most excellent poetry uses not only word choice and rhythms to create a literary work that is pleasing to read but also figurative modes to explore concepts in new ways. By my measure, Dr. Jane Chance’s book The Middle Ages is collection of very excellent poetry.

Dr. Chance had a career as a celebrated scholar and professor at Rice University. She had an honorary doctorate bestowed on her by Purdue University. She has twenty-five published books on medievalism and medieval literature. This latest collection of sixty-two poems combines poetry with medieval themes with other themes that readers of various ages and life experiences may find accessible.

My favorite poem was one entitled “To Scheherazade from the Bride Before”. Many people are familiar with the story of Scheherazade of Arabian Nights, but this tells the sad story of one of the anonymous women who were brutally killed after surrendering their virginity. It is sad and simple, poignantly expressing both fear and regret while holding out hope that a different choice might allow the next woman to live. It turns the familiar story on its head without compromising everything treasured about the original.

Another poem that I loved was one called “Her”. This was one of the poems that did not feature any medieval themed content. Instead, it was the thoughts of a grandmother contemplating her apparently unborn granddaughter. The child was still nameless, but the grandmother was rapturously dreaming about her life. The poem was celebrating this small life and unformed identity. It also paired well with previous themes that discussed the struggles and joys of womanhood. In this poem, all that is known about the granddaughter is that she will be born female and may someday join in those experiences.

If I could change anything about this collection, I would ask the author to integrate more of the medieval into the latter parts of the collection. It seemed like the medieval themes were only in the first section, while the other three sections focused on other themes, such as sexuality, aging, creation, memory, and self. I enjoyed all four sections, but the medieval selections had an added unique quality that I do not often encounter from other poets who do not have the scholarly background of Dr. Chance.

I rate The Middle Ages by Jane Chance 4 out of 4 stars. The poetry was of excellent quality. It was well-written, both pleasing and interesting to read, and the poems inspired deep thoughts about even mundane subjects. The editing was superior, and I noted no mechanical errors at all. This collection is a book I am glad to own and would certainly revisit from time to time. Readers who particularly enjoy poetry are almost guaranteed to enjoy this collection. Readers who love medieval literature, even if they are not usually especially attracted by poetry, should also give this book a try. Since this collection is so well done, I would also recommend it for people who do not normally love poetry but might be interested in trying some.

The Middle Ages
View: on Bookshelves

Like L_Therese's review? Post a comment saying so!
User avatar
Book Lover 35
Posts: 582
Joined: 10 Oct 2018, 18:16
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 24
Reviewer Page:
Latest Review: VieVie La Fontaine by Linda Heavner Gerald

Post by Book Lover 35 »

It sounds like a good book. I wouldn't mind reading the "Her" poem. Great review!
User avatar
thomsy kay
Posts: 1
Joined: 25 Dec 2018, 03:49
Bookshelf Size: 0

Post by thomsy kay »

it is a fascinating. book that link diversity expression through poetic way wouldn't. mind reading it
User avatar
Special Discussion Leader
Posts: 10937
Joined: 31 Dec 2016, 20:31
Currently Reading: Sunshine at the Academy
Bookshelf Size: 381
Reviewer Page:
Latest Review: Ark of the Apocalypse by Tobin Marks

Post by kandscreeley »

Poetry has never been my forte. This collection, though well written, does not change my mind. I'm glad you enjoyed it, but I'll pass. Thanks.
Good books, like good friends, are few and chosen; the more select, the more enjoyable.
-Louisa May Alcott
User avatar
Previous Member of the Month
Posts: 4689
Joined: 08 Jun 2018, 22:16
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 409
Reviewer Page:
Latest Review: 52 - A Tale of Loneliness by Johnny DePalma

Post by Cecilia_L »

I agree that more medieval content in the latter portion of the book would be a welcome addition to this unique collection.
User avatar
Posts: 239
Joined: 29 Sep 2018, 06:33
Favorite Book: The Sword Swallower and a Chico Kid
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 60
Reviewer Page:
Latest Review: Lola the Buhund and the Father of Discord by Elbot Carman

Post by SpencerVo »

Although I often have little patience for poetry, I find this collection extremely intriguing with the imaginative medieval theme woven with deeply personal introspection. “To Scheherazade from the Bride Before” seems great, as most readers of the tale have never considered the shortened lives of the little women before her. Thank you for this lovely introduction!
It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.
User avatar
Posts: 73
Joined: 21 Nov 2018, 01:24
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 11
Reviewer Page:
Latest Review: First Family by Alice Langholt
Reading Device: B00JG8GOWU

Post by JordanKSmith »

Dr. Chance really seems to have a profound connection with those women. I find it interesting how pain, both past and present, can inspire such creativity. People are incredible creatures with such a strong ability to adapt.

I've been meaning to get into poetry, so I'll put this on my shelf. Thanks for the quality review. :)
If it looks bad, you've zoomed in too far.

Unconditional love is impossible until you can look at yourself without judgment.
(9 of 175 Books by 12/1/19)
User avatar
Sweet Psamy
Posts: 246
Joined: 30 Aug 2018, 12:03
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 29
Reviewer Page:
Latest Review: Lost and Love: Thailand (Book One of the Lost and Love Series) by Stella Knights

Post by Sweet Psamy »

I appreciate excellent poetry like this one. I also agree with you on the medieval theme being included in the other 3 sections. I would love to read this book though.nice review.
Post Reply

Return to “Drama and Poetry Books”