Editor’s Welcome

Welcome to the Fall 2008 issue! If there is a theme to this issue it seems to be how and why the Middle Ages are still relevant to modern students and teachers.

In the librarian’s corner, Kristi Castleberry offers you an overview of available materials on Joan of Arc, a medieval figure who has never gone out of style. Did you know that Joan of Arc was one of the first stories to be featured on the big screen when film first emerged as a popular entertainment? Or that the book Mark Twain was most proud of was his tale of Joan of Arc? Considering how many films have come out in recent years on the Maid of Orleans, your students will no doubt find her a fascinating figure.

The question of what appeals to students was raised quite dramatically in the controversy surrounding the 2008 Newberry Award-winning children’s book, Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village, written by Laura Amy Schlitz and beautifully illustrated by Robert Byrd. The question of whether or not this book was chosen for its appeal to adults rather than its appeal to children is an issue beyond the purview of our work here – although it’s hard not to note that the debate once again makes the medieval come across as an arcane and esoteric topic. But the other question that needs to be asked, and that our reviewer N.M. Henckel is uniquely situated to address, has to do with how this book represents the Middle Ages. Check out what our reviewer has to say about this latest medieval children’s book.

Our two articles present two remarkably innovative approaches to using medieval ideas in the classroom in terms of both possible content and pedagogical praxis. Felicia Nimue Ackerman, professor of philosophy at Brown University, shows us how to introduce students to moral philosophy through Sir Thomas Malory’s Morte D’Arthur. Meanwhile, Alex Mueller, an assistant professor of English at the University of Massachusetts at Boston, demonstrates that the National Writing Project’s ideas about how to teach writing are positively medieval – in the good way! These two articles illustrate how understanding the medieval past also helps us see our present more clearly.

As always, I look forward to your feedback on this issue and recommendations for future issues.

Christine Neufeld

Original Citation: The Once and Future Classroom , Volume VI, Issue 2, Fall 2008

NOTE: Links have been corrected and/or deleted.  The original “look and feel”  of the journal has been preserved as much as possible, but the original logos have also been removed.  No editing to the actual texts has been done since their original publication.

TEAMS: Teaching Association for Medieval Studies