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Literature lesson 1: Old English and Middle English Period
Transcript of Literature lesson 1: Old English and Middle English Period
The Old English Period
700 - 1066 a.d.
Two major works in the
Old English Period
The Middle English Period
1066 - 1485
The Middle English Period
Collection of stories, mainly in verse
Old English is also called: Anglo-Saxon
Set word order
Epic Romance/courtly love
The Canterbury Tales
The Old English and Middle English Period
A Germanic language
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 Hroðgar, the king of the Danes, whose mead hall (in 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
Link-and-frame (a story in a story)
Describes 29 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
Theme: Female sovereignty in marriage
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.