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Dear all, I want to know if high school students ... optional one? Tham cynge licoden peran. I'd appreciate your reply.

I went to high school in Jamaica and the US, and if it weren't for the rest of the thread I'd have no idea what you had written. I think Chaucer was offered at my American high school, but I never studied him.

Both my children, who were educated in the US, read Chaucer in translation in high school. They also read "Gilgamesh" - in translation, of course.
Fran
I can read either

happily now, but the third offering, "Northanger Abbey" was spoiled ... recovered enough to read Jane again, I should try it.

Do. It's worth it, in my opinion, although I'm never going to be a rabid Janeite.

I tried Austen again, a couple of years ago, after a poster to aue asked a series of questions about the language in "Pride and Prejudice". It makes such a difference, not being forced to read something.

I don't know whether I'm ready to go back to "Trumpet Major" though.

Fran
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For O-Level, we had "Animal Farm" and Hardy's "The Trumpet Major" (the most boring novel ever written).

Snap! We did the Trumpet Major too, which ruined it for me for thirty years or so. But I have ... IV Part 1 (I never did read Part 2). I don't remember another novel, though there may have been one.

Henry IV Part 1 was always an O&C O Level play, with Part 2 set for study by the same "cohort" for A Level - I suppose the second play is darker and more complex, and thought to need a more mature approach. The two Parts really need to be seen in the context of Richard II and Henry V, so my pupils got rather a large dose of the English history plays.
Alan Jones
I want to know if high school students in the ... obligatory school subject or optional one? Tham cynge licoden peran.

As posted earlier, this appears to be "Early English." Fifty years ago the high school curriculum in Britain (as indicated ... were not. It seems unlikely that British high schools nowadays read Chaucer in the original (but I am guessing here.)

If "Early English" is Piers Plowman and The Pearl , then I think this is late Anglo-Saxon: it has the same morphological bells and whistles you'd find in Beowulf . I say "late" because it has "cynge" instead of "cyninge", but that mought be dialectal. CDB
We got Matthew Arnold (Sore- and Rusty-Bum and all that) and "Julius Caesar", both of which ought to have appealed; ... for me forever, I suspect. Although maybe, if you have recovered enough to read Jane again, I should try it.

At this distance, It's very hard to remember which texts were O-level and which were A-level (as well as to remember most of them at all). I think O-level included Jane Eyre, the Squire's Tale, Great Expectations, Julius Caesar ... and, goodness, there must have been all sort of others which have slid into oblivion. I can't for the life of me think what poetry we did. I suppose we did a Jane Austen: it might have been Pride and Prejudice, but since I like JA and know her books fairly well (and had read them all long before we had to do them at school), none of them stand out on the grounds of having been more studied than the rest.
For A-level we had The Four Quartets, Nostromo, D H Lawrence's short stories and poems, Troilus & Criseyde, and, and ...

Katy Jennison
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At this distance, It's very hard to remember which texts were O-level and which were A-level (as well as to ... do them at school), none of them stand out on the grounds of having been more studied than the rest.

My recollection of our O-Level syllabus was that we had to study one novel, one collection of poetry and one novel. We spent a lot of time on the Hardy, and the Shakespeare. but we were just handed "Animal Farm". There was no teaching involved at all - it was an annotated copy, though, and a quick read.
For A-level we had The Four Quartets, Nostromo, D H Lawrence's short stories and poems, Troilus & Criseyde, and, and ...

I didn't take A-Level English; I remember my friends who did all went around with huge piles of books all the time.
That was a time when we read a lot of literature for pleasure. I can remember spending Saturday afternoons sitting with my friends in a Chinese restaurant in Nottingham, discussing our reading of D H Lawrence's novels(1), just before we went to see a play at Nottingham Playhouse.
We even went to poetry readings.
Fran
(1) I think the original attraction must have been the naughty bits, but we all enjoyed trying to identify the places that Lawrence was writing about. He changed the names of most of the towns and villages in his novels, but he used names that were quite similar to other local places. For instance, he calls Chesterfield "Uthwaite", which is close to "Huthwaite", a tiny village next to the one where I grew up.
Lists, is it? Great Expectations and Twelfth Night (both of ... wetness of poetry (de la Mare). Hello clouds. Hello sky.

I forgot to mention the Shakespeare - we did Julius Caesar" for O-Level. I can still remember the appalling performance ... first two Acts. We assumed it was the producer's brother-in-law. And Octavius was knock-kneed and spoke in a falsetto. Weird.

It seems that there is hardly anybody here who didn't do "Julius Caesar". We got taken to see an appalling production too - in Carlisle in our case. It was in modern dress (Nazi-style uniforms, mostly), on a set dominated by an enormous staircase. This was because the actor playing Caesar had one talent - falling downstairs. He was stabbed at the top, rolled all the way down to the bottom, crawled up while delivering his dying whatsits, then rolled all the way down to the bottom again. Even at fifteen, we all guessed that this was not exactly what Shakespeare had in mind.

Don Aitken
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a set dominated by an enormous staircase. This was because theactor playing Caesar had one talent - falling downstairs. He ... to the bottom again. Even at fifteen, we all guessed that this was not exactly what Shakespeare had in mind.

Shake would have loved it, though. I can't remember how Olivier did Caesar, but he was a great faller, too: in a Stratford Coriolanus he fell off a platform, and appeared to hang there by his feet for a few seconds before flopping to the main stage.

Mike.
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It seems that there is hardly anybody here who didn't* do "Julius Caesar". We got taken to see an appalling ... to the bottom again. Even at fifteen, we all guessed that this was not *exactly what Shakespeare had in mind.

What a pity. We were somewhat more fortunate, being taken to Stratford to see Judi Dench in Twelfth Night. I can see and hear her to this day.

David
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