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Xavier Magazine | May 26, 2017

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Once Upon a Time

Scott Hoffman

For one Medieval and Renaissance French Literature class, story time will never be the same. Their recently published class project turns literary masterpieces into children’s stories, complete with illustrations, to make such classics accessible to those with no more than one year of French. 


Under the title “Contes du Moyen Age” (Tales of the Middle Ages), the book now lives online through the McDonald Library for all to enjoy. The collection comes from a class in 2008 where professor Jo Ann M. Recker, S.N.D. de N., recognized the value of resurrecting and preserving classic tales for future generations.

“Because Medieval stories can seem so remote—and in that sense inaccessible—I wanted to make these works more immediate for students,” says Recker. “That’s when I thought, ‘How would one read these stories to children, in simple language?’ The students discovered new ways to express otherwise complex phrases or unfamiliar words while remaining faithful to the original work.”

This is the first time such a project has been done for this class, but more volumes may follow. “It just depends on what inspiration strikes me,” says Recker. “With this collection, we just wanted to help these stories come alive and make sure that they can be enjoyed for years to come.”

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