After reading A Gate at the Stairs I was in need of something completely different. So I decided to read The Tain from my other class, Translating the Middle Ages.
The Tain is an old Irish epic. In some ways it reminded me of Beowulf. There was lots of fighting, with a superman who was just better than everyone else. I really enjoyed reading it (except for a few parts where it goes on and on listing people).
One day Medb, the Queen of Connacht, starts comparing her wealth to that of her husband's. Their fortunes are perfectly matched except that her husband, Ailill, has one of the finest bulls in the land. And so she starts a war with Ulster for their bull, the only one in all the land which can match her husband's.
But the men of Ulster are all afflicted by a curse. And so it falls to Cu Chulainn, an extraordinary young man, to fend off the advancing army until his countrymen recover. Cu Chulainn uses everything from single combat to guerilla warfare to fend off the Irish army.
The Tain is really entertaining to read. I really enjoyed it, especially because it was so different from A Gate at the Stairs. I think I prefer Beowulf overall, but it was still really good.