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Medieval Literature.

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1 Medieval Literature

2 Learning Objectives To learn what brought about the changes from the Anglo-Saxon period to the Medieval Period. To discover what language changes occurred because of these events. To become familiar with the major literary works of the period and their cultural importance. To develop an understanding for how the structure of medieval society shapes its literature. To analyze major themes and motifs of medieval literature.

3 A Brief History… and Kings.
Duke William II of Normandy invades England and wins the Battle of Hastings in 1066, defeating English King Harold II. William becomes King William I of England.

4 A Brief History… and Kings.
French, or Anglo-Norman, became the official language at court and among the aristocracy. Latin was still the official language of the church and the schools. English, or Middle-English, was a variable and dynamic language spoken among the lower working classes.

5 Medieval Monarchy and Genealogy
William I (the Conqueror) William II (died early) Henry I Maude (Matilda) (briefly, throne stolen by Stephen) Stephen I Henry II (had Thomas Becket killed, otherwise good king) Richard I (Lionhearted) (of Robin Hood fame) John I (his brother, Magna Carta) Henry III Edward I (Longshanks) (of Braveheart fame!) Edward II (idiot – Marlowe writes about him) Edward III (begins 100 Years’ War) Richard II (weak, abdicates - Shakespeare writes about him) Henry IV (Henry Bolingbroke) takes power from Richard Henry V (Shakespeare writes about him… “We few, we happy few, we band of brothers” begins new era in the 100 Years’ War at Battle of Agincourt) Henry VI (weak) Edward VI (deposed… unpopular), Edward V, only 13, killed Richard III (famous Shakespearean hunchback “a horse! My kingdom for a horse!”) Probably killed Henry VI Henry VII – Tudor Dynasty Begins, ends War of Roses House of Normandy House of Blois House of Plantagenet House of Lancaster House of York House of Tudor

6 Saint Thomas Becket: 1118-1170 Archbishop of Canterbury Cathedral
Frenemy of Henry II Given job as Archbishop out of cronyism. Actually took the job seriously. “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?” – Henry II Murdered in 1170 by King Henry II’s knights “without” his orders. The saint the pilgrims are going to see in Canterbury Tales

7 Saladin: Famous Muslim leader who opposed the Christians during the Crusades. He led the Muslims against the Crusaders and eventually recaptured Jerusalem in 1187. His chivalrous behavior was noted by Christian chroniclers, despite being the nemesis of the Crusaders. He won the respect of many Christains, including Richard the Lionheart.

8 Eastern Exposure Exposure to Arabic cultures during the Crusades introduced many new ideas to Europe: Algebra, Geometry, and Trigonometry Chemistry, Astronomy, and Physics Medicine / Medical Knowledge Re-introduction to lost Classical texts (Aristotle, etc.) Architecture – the gothic style

9 100 Years’ War: In 1328, the Capetian dynasty in France came to an end with the death of Charles IV, the son of Philip the Fair. An assembly of French barons gave the crown to Philip VI of Valois, the nephew of Philip the Fair. Edward III, king of England, asserted that he in fact had a superior claimed to the throne because his mother was Philip the Fair's daughter. There was some question about her legitimacy, though. The war, fought entirely on French soil, raged off and on for more than 100 years. English victories were followed by French victories, then a period of stalemate would ensue, until the conflicts again rose to the surface. Edward III of England

10 100 Years’ War: After the battle of Agincourt in 1415, the English controlled most of northern France. It appeared that England would shortly conquer France and unite the two countries under one crown. At this crucial moment in French history, a young and illiterate peasant girl, Joan of Arc (c ), helped to rescue France. The Wars of the Roses left England in no position to wage war in France and so the Hundred Years’ War ended in 1453. Calais remained in English possession until 1558 and the title of King of France was claimed by the British until January 1, 1801. The high number of sieges in the Hundred Years’ War led to the development of technology with new siege engines and the use of the longbow as an English weapon - the power of the mounted knights came to an end.

11 The Peasants’ Revolt: Wat Tyler’s Rebellion
1381: Unpopular poll tax to pay for foreign wars has English peasants in uproar Wat Tyler, John Ball, and Jack Straw gather a force of 50,000 men and take Canterbury and London Peasants were recognizing new freedoms and rights as they could demand higher wages due to labor shortages caused by the Black Plague. Richard II meets with Wat Tyler to hear his demands, but Tyler is killed by the Lord Mayor because he was rude to the King. Increased awareness in the upper classes of the need for the reform of feudalism in England and the appalling misery felt by the lower classes as a result of their enforced slavery. "When Adam delved and Eve span, who was then the gentleman?"

12 The War of the Roses: Henry of Bolingbroke, a Lancaster, son of John of Gaunt, seized the throne of England from his cousin Richard II in 1399. Richard futilely attempted to save his life by “abdicating.” Accounts vary, but apparently Richard starved to death in a dungeon. Henry then became Henry IV, but descendants from the Yorkist side of the family (who had a better claim to the title) objected– for the next three generations Lancaster York

13 The End of the War of the Roses: The Battle of Bosworth Field
1485: Henry Tudor challenges Richard III at Bosworth Field. Richard is killed at the battle and the ruling house changes to Tudor. Henry marries Elizabeth of York to legitimize claim. Last king to claim throne through battle. The Medieval Period ends, and the Renaissance is ushered in. Tudor

14 Important Documents of the Middle Ages: The Domesday Book
Often called Doomsday Book– William the Conqueror had everyone’s personal property catalogued so he could tax it.

15 Important Documents of the Middle Ages: The Magna Carta
1215 AD Required King John of England to proclaim certain liberties, and accept that his will was not arbitrary. For example, no "freeman" (non-serf) could be punished except through the law of the land Many of these premises are still in existence in English law today.

16 Literature of the Middle Ages
William Langland (c ) The Vision of William Concerning Piers the Plowman (1362, A text) An allegorical dream vision poem divided into three parts, each with a different vision. It is both a social satire, a satire upon the Catholic church, and a call to live a pious and humble life. "I have no penny," quoth Piers, "Pullets for to buy No neither geese nor piglets, but two green [new] cheeses, A few curds and cream and an oaten cake And two loaves of beans and bran to bake for my little ones. And besides I say by my soul I have no salt bacon, Nor no little eggs, by Christ, collops for to make. But I have parsley and leeks and many cabbages, And besides a cow and a calf and a cart mare To draw afield my dung the while the drought lasteth. And by this livelihood we must live till lammas time [August]. And by that I hope to have harvest in my croft. And then may I prepare the dinner as I dearly like. All the poor people those peascods fatten. Neans and baked apples they brought in their laps. Shalots and chervils and ripe cherries many And proffered pears these present... “

17 Literature of the Middle Ages
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (1375) Written by the unknown “Pearl poet,” who also wrote the allegorical dream-vision poem, “Pearl.” Arthurian Romance in Alliterative Verse - Involves Sir Gawain’s quest to confront the Green Knight, who has disrupted Arthur’s court. The Green Knight represents pagan fertility against Gawain’s Christian chastity. A church reaction against “courtly love.” “Forþi an aunter in erde I attle to schawe, Þat a selly in siȝt summe men hit holden, And an outtrage awenture of Arthurez wonderez. If ȝe wyl lysten þis laye bot on littel quile, I schal telle hit as-tit, as I in toun herde, with tonge, As hit is stad and stoken In stori stif and stronge, With lel letteres loken, In londe so hatz ben longe.”

18 Literature of the Middle Ages
Geoffrey Chaucer (c ) The Canterbury Tales (1380s) 24 tales and a framing prologue that sets up the fiction of pilgrims meeting at a tavern as they begin their pilgrimage to the shrine of St. Thomas a Becket in Canterbury. Serves to show a cross section of Medieval English society from the poor to the noble class. “Whan that aprill with his shoures soote The droghte of march hath perced to the roote, And bathed every veyne in swich licour Of which vertu engendred is the flour; Whan zephirus eek with his sweete breeth Inspired hath in every holt and heeth Tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne Hath in the ram his halve cours yronne, And smale foweles maken melodye, That slepen al the nyght with open ye (so priketh hem nature in hir corages); Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages “

19 Canterbury Tales and Middle English
Whan that aprill with his shoures soote The droghte of march hath perced to the roote, And bathed every veyne in swich licour Of which vertu engendred is the flour; Whan Zephirus eek with his sweete breeth Inspired hath in every holt and heeth The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne Hath in the ram his half cours yronne, And smale foweles maken melodye, That slepen al the nyght with open ye (so priketh hem nature in hir corages); Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages, And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes, To ferne halwes, kowthe in sondry londes; And specially from every shires ende Of Engelond to Caunterbury they wende, The holy blisful martir for to seke, That hem hath holpen whan that they were seeke.

20 Literature of the Middle Ages
Sir Thomas Malory ( ) Le Morte d’Arthur (1485) Popular rendition printed by William Caxton of the story of King Arthur and his knights. Church influence on ideas of chivalry and courtly love - shows a negative side to courtly love with the adulterous relationship between Guinevere and Lancelot. Emphasis on purity, chastity. Malory did not compose these tales—he just translated and collected them from 13th century French romances. “HIt befel in the dayes of Vther pendragon when he was kynge of all Englond / and so regned that there was a myȝty duke in Cornewaill that helde warre ageynst hym long tyme / And the duke was called the duke of Tyntagil / and so by meanes kynge Vther send for this duk / chargyng hym to brynge his wyf with hym / for she was called a fair lady / and a passynge wyse / and her name was called Igrayne”

21 Literature of the Middle Ages
Medieval Ballads 13th and 14th centuries Songs depicting murderous acts, tragedies, heroic deeds, jealous sweethearts, and unrequited love. Sung to a strong, simple beat, containing a refrain. Examples include “Sir Patrick Spens,” “Barbara Allen,” “Get Up and Bar the Door,” and “Twa Corbies.” “Downe in yonder greene field, There lies a Knight slain under his shield, His hounds they lie downe at his feete, So well they can their Master keepe, His Hawkes they flie so eagerly, There's no fowle dare him come nie Downe there comes a fallow Doe, As great with yong as she might goe, She lift up his bloudy head, And kist his wounds that were so red, She got him up upon her backe, And carried him to earthen lake, She buried him before the prime, She was dead her self ere euen-song time. God send euery gentleman, Such haukes, such hounds, and such a Leman.” - from “Twa Corbies” Play songs from iTunes here.

22 Literature of the Middle Ages
Morality and Mystery Plays Mystery Plays – a series of shows, typically performed in villages by the local guild members once a year, that depicted the events of the Bible from Creation to Judgment on movable wagons. (Older) Morality Plays – a development out of the mystery play, morality plays are largely allegorical works that depict a protagonist who meets different personified vices and virtues who all try to get him to live either a sinful or stainless lifestyle. (Newer) From Everyman: “Here begynneth a treatyse how the hye Fader of heuen sendeth Dethe to somon euery creature to come and gyue a-counte of theyr lyues in this worlde and is in maner of a morall playe” Play songs from iTunes here.

23 English Women’s Literature
Literature of the Middle Ages English Women’s Literature Julian of Norwich ( ) – an anchorite nun who wrote Revelations of Divine Love. Believed to be the first published book in the English language written by a woman. Written in Middle English, the book accounts for her understanding of 16 revelations she received during a vision while ill. “In my folly, afore this time often I wondered why by the great foreseeing wisdom of God the beginning of sin was not letted: for then, methought, all should have been well. This stirring was much to be forsaken, but nevertheless mourning and sorrow I made therefore, without reason and discretion. But Jesus, who in this Vision informed me of all that is needful to me, answered by this word and said: It behoved that there should be sin; but all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.” - From Revelations of Divine Love

24 English Women’s Literature
Literature of the Middle Ages English Women’s Literature Margery Kempe ( ) – a noblewoman who wrote The Book of Margery Kempe. Considered to be the first autobiography by a woman in English. Chronicles her early married life, religious revelations, pilgrimages, and religious and civil persecutions. “Here begynnyth a schort tretys and a comfortabyl for synful wrecchys, wherin thei may have gret solas and comfort to hem and undyrstondyn the hy and unspecabyl mercy of ower sovereyn Savyowr Cryst Jhesu, whos name be worschepd and magnyfyed wythowten ende, that now in ower days to us unworthy deyneth to exercysen hys nobeley and hys goodnesse. “ – from The Book of Margery Kempe Play songs from iTunes here.

25 Non-English Works to Know
Song of Roland – epic poem about Roland, a knight of King Charlemagne of France and his adventures fighting the Saracens. (Mid-1100s) The Divine Comedy – Dante Alighieri – epic poem in which Virgil acts as Dante’s guide to Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory. Allegorical tale that serves as a model of the medieval world-view. (1321) The Decameron – Giovanni Boccaccio – frame tale - the work upon which Chaucer based his Canterbury Tales. Stories told by people escaping the plague in Florence. (1353)

26 Characteristics of Medieval Literature
Romance Sir Gawain and the Green Knight A narrative in prose or verse that tells of the adventures and heroic exploits of chivalric heroes exploits of knights often a supernatural element involved Christian message concern with salvation and the world to come no interest in social change until the late 14th century Chaucer signals new thinking, up-ending social order Heroism from both Germanic and Christian traditions, sometimes mingled Beowulf Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Presentations of idealized behavior literature as moral lesson loyalty to king chivalry use of alliteration The Alliterative Revival A re-hashing of Anglo-Saxon literary techniques.

27 The Medieval Romance Typically, a romance tells the story of one quest undertaken by one knight The setting is a timeless fairy-tale world; there is no "rise and fall" of Arthur's empire Many of these romances concern the role of love (courtly or otherwise) in human existence Frequently, the knight has some difficulty in working out an appropriate balance between love and chivalry Can be broadly categorized as dealing with three types of historical material: A. Rome (classical legends) B. France (often tales of Charlemagne and his nights) C. Britain (Arthurian stories/tales dealing with knightly heroes)

28 Literary Terms to Know…
Rhyme Royal Allegory Alliteration Breton Lai Mystery Play Morality Play Fableaux Bildungsroman Ballad Romance Frame Narrative/Tale Bob and Wheel Characterization Parable Fable Allusion

29 Feudalism

30 Pilgrimages

31 The Great Chain of Being and the Ptolemaic Universe

32 The Four Humors

33 The Wheel of Fortune

34 Courtly Love

35 Chivalry

36 The Black Plague

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