Presentation on theme: "Introduction to British Literature"— Presentation transcript:
1 Introduction to British Literature Anglo Saxon and Medieval Period
2 Conquest of Britain Beginning as far back as 800 B.c. Britons and Gaels invaded British Isles firstRomans, led by Julius Caesar, came next and their rule lasted more than 300 yearsAnglo-Saxon invaders came from what is presently GermanyAll of these invasions led to making Great Britain was it was (and its literature reflective of these diverse groups)
3 Coming of Christianity Romans introduced Christianity to BritainContinued with the establishment of monasteries from the 4th through the 6th centuriesThe Church promoted peace and helped unify the English people during these times of war and invasions
4 Danish InvasionViking invaders plundered monasteries and destroyed religious objects as a result of their own rising populations in Norway and DenmarkKing Alfred the Great tried to fight off the encroachmentThe outcome left England divided but named Alfred a great hero in his attempts to preserve England as it was before the Danish invasion
5 Norman ConquestDescendents of the Vikings who invaded France and southern EnglandWilliam of Normandy suppressed Anglo-Saxon nobility and controlled government and business by conducting it in FrenchLed to remaking England into a feudal system
6 Feudalism By definition, the exchange of property for personal service Land all belonged to the kingBarons—land-owners with special privilegesKnights—professional soldiersManors—small parcels of landSerfs—peasant s who worked at the manors
7 Henry II and Thomas Becket Henry became one of England’s ables kings after Norman rule fellAppointed his friend, Thomas Becket, as archbishop of CanterburyBecket went against Henry and sided with the pope in a legal matterHenry’s supporters misunderstood his wrath and murdered BecketBecket’s tomb became a shrine at Canterbury
8 Anglo-Saxon PeriodT he Old English Period or the Anglo-Saxon Period refers to the literature produced from the invasion of Celtic England by Germanic tribes in the first half of the fifth century to the conquest of England in 1066 by William the Conqueror.
9 MedievalThe Middle English Period consists of the literature produced in the four and a half centuries between the Norman Conquest of 1066 and about 1500, when the standard literary language, derived from the dialect of the London area, became recognizable as "modern English."
10 Anglo Saxon Period ( )Most of the storytelling in this time period was of the oral tradition. There are few written manuscripts that still survive. The major themes of this time werepraise of heroes who triumph in battlereligious/moral instruction. The predominant genre in this time period was epic poetry.
11 Anglo-Saxon Poetry Heroic Poetry—recounts achievements of warriors Elegiac Poetry—laments the loss of loved ones or the pastRepresentative WorksBeowulf (epic, or long heroic poem)The Wanderer (famous elegiac poem)
12 Anglo-Saxon ProseAll important prose writing was composed in Latin prior to the reign of Alfred the GreatProse: The Venerable Bede’s History of the English Church and Its People
13 Medieval Period ( )This was the time of knights and their ladiesThe chivalric code of honor was very important to literature of this time, and romances became popular. Religion was still a major reason for literature, as well, and plays that instructed the illiterate masses in moral codes, called morality plays, were produced. One of the major genres of this period was the folk ballad.Poem: Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales
14 Romances, Lyrics, and Ballads Medieval Romances described adventures of knights such as Morte d’Arthur by Sir Thomas MalloryPoets strummed harp-like instruments called lyres as they recited their work; lyric poetry evolved from thisSecular Lyrics—about nature and loveReligious lyrics—about GodBallads—folk songs that tell a story such as Robin Hood