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teaching, attention, students


We compete for students’ attention. Surrounded by smart phones, tablets, and laptops, we compete for their attention, sometimes in the classroom but definitely outside of it. To combat this deluge of distractions, assigned readings must contain attractive content. The challenge can be particularly acute in pre-modern history classes, partly because the language and the content of primary sources, even when translated into clear, modern prose, is often unfathomable to readers accustomed to reading Sparknotes or Wikipedia. One potential solution to this challenge is Maurice Keen’s Outlaws of Medieval Legend (rev. ed. New York: Routledge, 2001).