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Copy of Literature lesson 1: Old English and Middle English Period
Transcript of Copy of Literature lesson 1: Old English and Middle English Period
449 - 1066
Two major works in the
Old English Period
The Middle English Period,
also called the Medieval Period
1066 - 1485
Collection of stories, mainly in verse
Old English is also called Anglo-Saxon
Set word order
Medieval Romance/courtly love
The Canterbury Tales
The Old English and Middle English Period
A Germanic language
a professional poet
The Anglo-saxon Chronicle
+/- 3000 lines
Alliterative verse (repetition of sounds)
Oral tradition (bards)
Partly written down in the 10th century
Beowulf, a hero of the Geats in Scandinavia, comes to the help of Hrothgar, the king of the Danes, whose mead hall, Heorot, has been under attack by a monster known as Grendel.
After Beowulf slays him, Grendel's mother attacks the hall and is then also defeated. Victorious, Beowulf goes home to Geatland in Sweden and later becomes king of the Geats. After a period of fifty years has passed, Beowulf defeats a dragon, but is fatally wounded in the battle. After his death, his attendants bury him in a tumulus, a burial mound, in Geatland.
The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
Written by generations of anonymous monks
History of England until 1154
Descriptions of daily life, harvest, nature
But also of war, Viking raids and politics
French and Latin words
Religious or Secular Lyric Poetry
Knights of the Round Table
Lancelot and Guinevere
Was meant to be heard!
Musical effects, and a refrain
Frame story (a story in a story)
Describes 30 pilgims on their way to the Archbishop of Canterbury's grave. Each tells a story for a storytelling contest.
The Wife of Bath's Tale
One of the pilgrims who enter the storytelling contest
She Has been married five times
"What women want"
One of the best known tales of the Canterbury Tales
Told by "Alyson," the wife of Bath
Brought by the Jutes or Vikings (Denmark), Angles (Germany) and the Saxons (Germany and the Low Countries)
William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy invaded England in 1066, and took the throne after winning the Battle of Hastings
1066: The Norman Conquest
- a lengthy narrative poem,
- ordinarily concerning a serious subject
- containing details of heroic deeds
and events significant to a culture or nation.
-the intended stress in a line of poetry.
-In Anglo-Saxon poetry, we hear four hard beats.
-A break or pause in a line of poetry.
So Hrothgar’s men lived happy in his hall
Till the monster stirred, that demon, that fiend…
-In Old English poetry, an elaborate phrase that describes persons, things, or events in a metaphorical indirect way; a condensed metaphor.
-Ex. Whales’ home = the sea
-Compose a kenning to describe yourself and write it next to your name.
Shared heroic ideal, one who values
courage, loyalty, courtesy, generosity
Themes: Preoccupation with:
(Fate) heroic human will and courage allow one to control responses to fate
(the passing away of all worldly things): why?
Courtly love was an idealized love between a knight and his lord's lady. It paradoxically was a physically love, preserved by the morality and discipline of the knight. The lady inspired nobility in a knight.
The code of chivalry was an unpublished code of conduct that tempered the brutality of knighthood. It required knights to act honest, faithful, just, wise, charitable, and temperate. It is expressed in the oaths that the knights of the round table take.
Opens with a feast
Involves a challenge or ORDEAL
Tells the adventures of a young hero
Involves supernatural elements
Teaches the hero a moral lesson
Develops the cyclical qualities of nature
Recorded by Sir Thomas Malory in Le Morte D'Arthur in 1471