Fleas, Flies and Friars: Children's Poetry from the Middle Ages
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Fleas, Flies and Friars: Children's Poetry from the Middle Ages

3.29 of 5 stars 3.29  ·  rating details  ·  14 ratings  ·  9 reviews
Medieval children lived in a world rich in poetry, from lullabies, nursery rhymes, and songs to riddles, tongue twisters, and nonsensical verses. They read or listened to stories in verse: ballads of Robin Hood, romances, and comic tales. Poems were composed to teach them how to behave, eat at meals, hunt game, and even learn Latin and French. In Fleas, Flies, and Friars,...more
Paperback, 128 pages
Published March 13th 2012 by Cornell University Press (first published November 1st 2011)
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Michelle
Nicholas Orme's Fleas, Flies and Friars is a thoroughly enjoyable look at the lives of medieval children through their poetry. Orme states in the introduction that he had two primary criteria when compiling poetry for this book: 1) that it can be shown to have been composed, copied, used by, or aimed at children or teenagers and 2) that it include relevant passages from longer poems and stories, as well as works in Latin or French, that have previously been ignored. His goal in doing so was to,...more
Jessica Strider
Pros: designed to be read by anyone (not just scholars), wide variety of examples, good introduction

Cons: little commentary on the different poems/examples, no conclusion, no easy way to see the original poems he translates

Nicholas Orme has put together a short book of poetry that would have been told to or written/spoken by children in the Middle Ages. He's done so using full English translations so the book is accessible to those without a background in the field or a knowledge of Latin or mi...more
Sarah
This is the type of book that is perfect for those obsessives like me who love learning about the small details of historical life. Through the poetry for and by children and young adults of the middle ages, you really get a feel for how society functioned - and it was more interested in hygiene than modern readers might suspect. Especially of enjoyment to me were the insults that children had been encouraged to render into Latin, such as "A turd in your mouth!" - a saying that requires only min...more
Allison (The Allure of Books)
How awesome would it be to have records of children’s rhymes, verses and songs from the Middle Ages? In my opinion, it would be extremely interesting. Unfortunately, most such songs and riddles were passed down orally and have long since been lost. Fleas, Flies and Friars: Children’s Poety from the Middle Ages by Nicholas Orme discusses what we do know.

You guys, Fleas, Flies and Friars is fairly short. You can learn a lot of interesting information extremely quickly – and raise your reading cred...more
Rebecca Reid
Fleas, Flies, and Friars: Children’s Poetry from the Middle Ages by Nicholas Orme (to be published March 2012, Cornell University Press) is something completely different from my normal reading, but I enjoyed it very much. It is part anthology of poetry that children learned and recited from 1200-1500 CE (translated from Middle English or Latin) and part a description (annotation) of how children lived and learned during those years.

At just over 100 pages, it is obviously a brief glimpse into m...more
Sara Thompson
This is a collection of works from the middle ages. Nicolas Orme created a book that offers a peek into the lives of children during this time. Poems, rhymes, and verses by children, for children or about children.
It’s not what I expected. While Nicolas Orme’s goal was to make these works accessible to the common reader as opposed to a scholar, I had thought I was picking up a book for children. The book is not for young children. Some of the language is rough and there’s a good deal of explanat...more
Nafiza
I found this collection to be particularly fascinating as it gives a hint into the early lives of medieval children. This is the time when children were regarded as tiny adults so it’s especially interesting to see how and what entertainment children derived from stories and songs that they surely sang. Of course debates still rage about whether literature can be accepted to accurately reflect culture but in this instance, whether it does or not, I think the collection shows that storytelling an...more
Julie Barrett
read 1/27 pub 2/15 Fleas, Flies, and Friars Children's Poety from the Middle Ages by Nicholas Orwe
Poetry for children during the middle ages including ballads
of Robin Hood, charms, riddles, nursery rhymes and songs.
Latin and religion play a big part in what was said in these poems.
Interesting to see how and why these poems came about.
Bibliotropic
Jun 18, 2012 Bibliotropic marked it as to-read
Shelves: nonfiction
Put on hold because this is a very hard book to get into, in spite of fascinating subject matter.
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