Once upon a time, there were dragons in the psalms, singing praises to God.
And then the translators came along and declared the dragons to have been sea-monsters (or whales)
and the mysteries that they guarded mere fantasies of the imagination.
We, however, know that the dragons were real.
This is a reading list for Christians who believe in dragons
and who want to learn to summon them again through poetry and art.
For advanced dragon training, visit the Dragon Common Room.
For background reading on Christianity and the history of the West, go to “What to Read?”
For the battle-song of the Dragon, see “Dragon Song.”
For an introduction to our poetry work, see “Up, drakes! It’s time for tea—and prosody!”
To preview and purchase our books, visit Dragon Common Room Books.
- A copy of the Bible, preferably Douay-Rheims translation The Holy Bible. Douay-Rheims Version. Translated from the Latin Vulgate. The Old Testament: First published by the English College at Douay, A.D. 1609. The New Testament: First published by the English College at Rheims, A.D. 1582 (Charlotte, N.C.: Saint Benedict Press, 2009)
- A thesaurus Roget’s International Thesaurus. 8th edition, revised and updated, ed. Barbara Ann Kipfer (New York: Harper-Collins, 2019)
- A rhyming dictionary Frances Stillman, The Poet’s Manual and Rhyming Dictionary (London: Thames and Hudson, 1965)
- A workbook Stephen Fry, The Ode Less Travelled: Unlocking the Poet Within (London: Arrow Books, 2005)
- A practice Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way: A Course in Discovering and Recovering Your Creative Self (New York: Jeremy Tarcher, 1992)
- An anthology of poetry in English Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, The Oxford Book of English Verse, 1250-1918. 2nd edition (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1939)
- A translation of the psalms The Poets’ Book of Psalms: The Complete Psalter as Rendered by Twenty-Five Poets from the Sixteenth to the Twentieth Centuries, ed. Laurance Wieder (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995)
- Ephrem the Syrian, Hymns, trans. Kathleen E. McVey (New York: Paulist Press, 1989)
- The Complete Old English Poems, trans. Craig Williamson (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017)
- The Heliand: The Saxon Gospel, trans. G. Ronald Murphy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992)
- Anselm of Canterbury, Prayers and Meditations with the Proslogion, trans. Benedicta Ward (London: Penguin Classics, 1979)
- Francis of Assisi, The Geste of the Great King: Office of the Passion, ed. Laurent Gallant and Andre Cirino (St. Bonaventure, NY: Franciscan Institute, 2001)
- Alfonso el Sabio, Cantigas de Santa Maria, trans. Kathleen Kulp-Hill (Tempe, AZ: Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2000)
- Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy, La Vita Nuova—many translations!
- Frauenlob’s Song of Songs: A Medieval German Poet and his Masterpiece, ed. and trans. Barbara Newman (University Park, PA: Penn State University Press, 2007)
- Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl, Sir Orfeo, trans. J.R.R.Tolkien (New York: Del Rey, 1979).
- York Mystery Plays: A Selection in Modern Spelling, ed. Richard Beadle and Pamela King (New York: Oxford University Press, 1975)
- Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene
- William Shakespeare, Plays: Furness Variorum for the full footnotes; Folger for more readable editions
- John Donne, Poems
- George Herbert, Poems
- John Milton, Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained
- Alexander Pope, Rape of the Lock and Other Major Writings, ed. Leo Damrosch (London: Penguin Classics, 2011)
- Charles Wesley, Hymns
- Gerard Manley Hopkins, Mortal Beauty, God’s Grace: Major Poems and Spiritual Writings, ed. John F. Thornton and Susan B. Varenne (New York: Vintage, 2003)
- G.K. Chesterton, Lepanto, ed. Dale Ahlquist (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2004)
- T.S. Eliot, The Wasteland, Four Quartets
- Dorothy Sayers, The Man Born to Be King (Camp Hill, PA: Classical Academic Press, 1943)
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lays of Beleriand (History of Middle Earth 3), ed. Christopher Tolkien (New York: Del Rey, 1985)
- Dana Gioia, Poems
Keys to the Christian imagination
- Origen of Alexandria, An Exhortation to Martyrdom, Prayer, and Selected Works, trans. Rowan A. Greer (New York: Paulist Press, 1979)
- Augustine of Hippo, Confessions—many translations!
- Augustine of Hippo, The City of God Against the Pagans—many translations!
- Augustine of Hippo, Exposition of the Psalms, trans. Maria Boulding, 6 vols. (New York: New City Press, 2000-2004)
- John Cassian, Conferences, Institutes—many translations!
- Benedict of Nursia, Rule for Monks—many translations!
- Gregory the Great, Moralia in Job, trans. James Bliss, 3 vols. (Reprinted by Ex Fontibus, 2012)
- Pseudo-Dionysius, The Celestial and Ecclesiastical Hierarchy of Dionysius the Areopagite, trans. John Parker (London: Skeffington and Son, 1894)
- Bernard of Clairvaux, On the Song of Songs I-IV, trans. Kilian J. Walsh and Irene M. Edmonds (Kalamazoo, Mich: Cistercian Publications, 1971, 1983, 1979, and 1980)
- Hugh of St. Victor, On the Sacraments of the Christian Faith, trans. Roy J. Deferrari, 2nd ed. (Reprinted by Ex Fontibus, 2016)
- Richard of St. Victor, The Book of the Patriarchs, The Mystical Ark, trans. Grover A. Zinn (New York: Paulist Press, 1979)
- Guigo II the Carthusian, Ladder of Monks and Twelve Meditations, trans. Edmund Collegde and James Walsh (Kalamazoo: Cistercian Publications, 1981)
- Jacobus de Voragine, The Golden Legend: Readings on the Saints, trans. William Granger Ryan (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012)
- Bonaventure, The Journey of the Mind to God, trans. Philotheus Boehner (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1993)
- William Durandus, Rationale Divinorum Officiorum (Fons Vitae, 2007)
- Henry Suso, Wisdom’s Watch Upon the Hours, trans. Edmund Colledge (Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 2013)
- The Cloud of Unknowing, trans. James Walsh (New York: Paulist Press, 1981)
- The Bible of the Poor: A Facsimile Edition, trans. Albert C. Labriola and John W. Smeltz (Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press, 1990)
- Thomas of Kempen, The Imitation of Christ, trans. Richard Challoner (Charlotte, N.C.: Tan Books, 2013)
- John of the Cross, Dark Night of the Soul—many translations!
- Ignatius of Loyola, Spiritual Exercises, trans. Louis J. Puhl (Chicago: Loyola Press, 1968)
- Kenelm Henry Digby, The Broad-Stone of Honour: Or, the True Sense and Practice of Chivalry (Forgotten Books, 2018)
- Thomas Merton, The Seven Story Mountain: An Autobiography of Faith (New York: Harcourt, 1999)
- Meditations on the Tarot: A Journey into Christian Hermeticism, trans. Robert Powell (New York: TarcherPerigee, 2002)
Flowers of the Christian Imagination
- Hildegard of Bingen, Scivias, trans. Mother Columba Hart and Jane Bishop (New York: Paulist Press, 1990)
- Elisabeth of Schönau, The Complete Works, ed. Anne Clark (New York: Paulist Press, 2000)
- Wolfram von Eschenbach, Parzival, trans. A.T. Hatto (London: Penguin Classics, 1980)
- Hadewijch, The Complete Works, trans. Mother Columba Hart (New York: Paulist Press, 1980)
- Gertrude the Great of Helfta, The Herald of Divine Love, trans. Margaret Winkwork (New York: Paulist Press, 1980)
- Mechthild of Magdeburg, The Flowing Light of the Godhead, trans. Frank Tobin (New York: Paulist Press, 1997)
- Mechthild of Hackeborn, The Book of Special Grace, trans. Barbara Newman (New York: Paulist Press, 2017)
- Marguerite Porete, The Mirror of Simple Souls—many translations!
- Catherine of Siena, The Dialogue, trans. Suzanne Noffke (New York: Paulist Press, 1980)
- Birgitta of Sweden, Revelations, ed. Bridget Morris, trans. Denis Searby, 4 vols. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006-2015)
- Julian of Norwich, Showings, trans. Edmund Colledge and James Walsh (New York: Paulist Press, 1977)
- Christine de Pisan, The Book of the City of Ladies, trans. Rosalind Brown-Grant (London: Penguin Classics, 2000)
- Teresa of Avila, Interior Castle—many translations!
- Sor Maria de Jesus de Agreda, Mystical City of God, trans. Fiscar Marison, 4 vols. (Chicago: Theopolitan, 1914)
- John Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progress—many editions!
- Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe—many editions!
- G. K. Chesterton, Father Brown Stories, The Man Who Was Thursday, The Man Who Knew Too Much
- Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Silmarillion, The Lord of the Rings
- C.S. Lewis, The Space Trilogy, The Chronicles of Narnia, Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold
- Ursula K. Leguin, The Earthsea Cycle
- Vox Day, Summa Elvetica: A Casuistry of the Elvish Controversy (Castalia House, 2017)
Guides to the Christian Imagination
- Ann W. Astell, Eating Beauty: The Eucharist and the Spiritual Arts of the Middle Ages (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2006)
- Erich Auerbach, Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature, trans. Willard R. Trask (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1953)
- Owen Barfield, Poetic Diction: A Study in Meaning (Middleton: Wesleyan University Press, 1984)
- Margaret Barker, Temple Themes in Christian Worship (London: T&T Clark, 2007)
- Caroline Walker Bynum, Christian Materiality: An Essay on Religion in Late Medieval Europe (New York: Zone Books, 2011)
- Stratford Caldecott, Beauty for Truth’s Sake: On the Re-enchantment of Education (Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, 2009)
- Stratford Caldecott, Beauty in the Word: Rethinking the Foundations of Education (Tacoma, WA: Angelico Press, 2012)
- Stratford Caldecott, The Power of the Ring: The Spiritual Vision Behind the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit, 2nd ed. (Chestnut Ridge, NY: Crossroad, 2012)
- Mary Carruthers, The Craft of Thought: Meditation, Rhetoric, and the Making of Images, 400-1200 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998)
- Mary Carruthers, The Experience of Beauty in the Middle Ages (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014)
- Jane Chance, Tolkien’s Art: A Mythology for England (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2001)
- Christopher de Hamel, Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts: Twelve Journeys into the Medieval World (London: Penguin, 2017)
- Henri de Lubac, Medieval Exegesis: The Four Senses of Scripture, trans. Marc Sebanc and E.M. Macierowski, 3 vols. (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1998-2009)
- Eamon Duffy, The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England 1400-1580, 2nd ed. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005)
- Anthony Esolen, Ironies of Faith: The Laughter at the Heart of Christian Literature (Wilmington, DE: ISI Books, 2007)
- Margot Fassler, Gothic Song: Victorian Sequences and Augustinian Reform in Twelfth-Century Paris, 2nd ed. (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2011)
- Verlyn Flieger, Splintered Light: Logos and Language in Tolkien’s World, rev. ed. (Kent: Kent State University Press, 2002)
- Northrop Frye, The Great Code: The Bible and Literature (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1981)
- Northrop Frye, Words with Power: Being a Second Study of the Bible and Literature (San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1990)
- Rachel Fulton [Brown], From Judgment to Passion: Devotion to Christ and the Virgin Mary 800-1200 (New York: Columbia University Press, 2002)
- Rachel Fulton Brown, Mary and the Art of Prayer: The Hours of the Virgin in Medieval Christian Life and Thought (New York: Columbia University Press, 2017)
- Rachel Fulton Brown, Milo Chronicles: Devotions 2016-2019 (New York: Dangerous Books, 2019)
- Joseph Goering, The Virgin and the Grail: Origins of a Legend (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005)
- Andrew Greeley, Myths of Religion (New York: Grand Central Publishing, 1989)
- Paul J. Griffiths, Religious Reading: The Place of Reading in the Practice of Religion (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999)
- Dom Prosper Gueranger, The Liturgical Year, 15 vols. (1841- ) [paperback]
- Malcolm Guite, Faith, Hope and Poetry: Theology and the Poetic Imagination (New York: Routledge, 2017)
- Jeffrey Hamburger, The Rothschild Canticles: Art and Mysticism in Flanders and the Rhineland circa 1300 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1991)
- Jean Hani, Divine Craftsmanship: Preliminaries to a Spirituality of Work (Kettering, OH: Angelico Press, 2016)
- Tom Holland, Dominion: How the Christian Revolution Remade the World (New York: Basic Books, 2019)
- Johan Huizinga, Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play-Element in Culture (1955)
- Jean Leclercq, The Love of Learning and the Desire for God: A Study of Monastic Culture, 3rd ed. (New York: Fordham University Press, 1982)
- Emile Mâle, The Gothic Image: Religious Art in France of the Thirteenth Century, trans. Dora Nussey (New York: Harper and Row, 1972)
- James Marrow, Passion Iconography in Northern European Art of the Late Middle Ages and Early Renaissance: A Study of the Transformation of Sacred Metaphor into Descriptive Narrative (Kortrijk: Van Ghemmert Publisher, 1979)
- Scott McCloud, Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art (New York: William Morrow Paperbacks, 1994)
- Bernard McGinn, The Presence of God: A History of Western Christian Mysticism, 6 vols. (New York: Crossroad, 1991-2019)
- Marshall McLuhan, The Classical Trivium: The Place of Thomas Nashe in the Learning of His Time (Corte Madera: Gingko Press, 2006).
- Marshall McLuhan, The Medium and the Light: Reflections on Religion, ed. Eric McLuhan and Jacek Szklarek (Eugene: Wipf & Stock, 1999).
- Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1964, 1994)
- Marshall and Eric McLuhan, Laws of Media: The New Science (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1988).
- Sigmund Mowinckel, The Psalms in Israel’s Worship (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2004)
- G. Ronald Murphy, Gemstone of Paradise: The Holy Grail in Wolfram’s Parsifal (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010)
- G. Ronald Murphy, The Owl, the Raven, and the Dove: The Religious Meaning of the Grimms’ Magic Fairy Tales (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002)
- G. Ronald Murphy, Tree of Salvation: Yggdrasil and the Cross in the North (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013)
- Barbara Newman, God and the Goddesses: Vision, Poetry, and Belief in the Middle Ages (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003)
- Aidan Nichols, The Shape of Catholic Theology: An Introduction to its Sources, Principles, and History (Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 1991)
- Friedrich Ohly, Sensus Spiritualis: Studies in Medieval Significs and the Philology of Culture, trans. Kenneth J. Northcott (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005)
- Dorothy Sayers, The Mind of the Maker (New York: HarperCollins, 1987)
- Elaine Scarry, The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987)
- Elaine Scarry, On Beauty and Being Just (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001)
- John Senior, The Death of Christian Culture (Norfolk, VA: IHS Press, 2008)
- John Senior, The Restoration of Christian Culture (Norfolk, VA: IHS Press, 2008)
- A.P. Sertillanges, The Intellectual Life: Its Spirit, Conditions, Methods, trans. Mary Ryan (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University Press, 1992)
- Charles Williams, The Descent of the Dove: A Short History of the Holy Spirit in the Church (Vancouver: Regent College Publishing, 2001)
- Philip and Carol Zaleski, The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings: J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, Charles Williams (New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2015)
- Jan Ziolkowski, The Juggler of Notre Dame and the Medievalizing of Modernity, 6 vols. (Cambridge: Open Book Publishers, 2018)
Praise the Lord from the earth, ye dragons, and all ye deeps—Psalm 148:7
Post a Comment
Thank you for taking the time to respond to my blog post. I look forward to hearing what you think!