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Chapter 1 & 2 Old and Middle English Literature

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1 Chapter 1 & 2 Old and Middle English Literature
An Outline of English Literature G. C. Thornley and Gwyneth Roberts

2 Beowulf (700) The Old English language, also called Anglo-Saxon, was the earliest form of English. (7) Old English was spoken from about 600 A.D. to about 1100. First English epic, a story of 3,000 lines, author unknown Story of Beowulf – about Hrothgar, King of the Danes, and a brave young man, Beowulf, from southern Sweden, who goes to help the King The first great poem (Anglo-Saxon) to be written

3 Old and Middle English Literature
Grendel in Beowulf Canterbury Tales

4 The Canterbury Tales (1387) by Chaucer
The English which was used from about 1100 to 1500 is called Middle English. (p.15) Chaucer=father of English poetry The Cantebury Tales contains about 17,000 lines A party of pilgrims tells stories to pass the time on their journey from London to Canterbury

5 The Canterbury Tales (1387)— the Prologue
Whan that Aprille with his shoures wrote The droghte of marche hath erced to the rote

6 The Canterbury Tales (1387) by Chaucer
There are more than twenty stories, mostly in verse (p.16) Wife of Bath– a woman of very strong opinions who believes firmly in manage and the need to manage husband strictly. Her story is about King Arthur’s knights who must give the correct answer to the question: “What do women love most?” in order to save his life.

7 Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (1360?)
One of the stories of King Arthur an his knights of Round Table (p.17-18) Sir Gawain struggle against an enemy with magic powers as well as great strength and cunning Sir Gawain finishes the adventure with all honor

8 Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (1360?)
Sir Gawain Meets the Green Knight In the legend of the Green Knight, a fearsome green warrior rides into the king's court, and challenges anyone to cut off his head. Sir Gawain eventually rises to his challenge; then the Green Knight laughs, picks up his head, and rides away, vowing to return the favor.

9 Morte D’Arthur (Arthur’s Death)
An important Middle English prose work (p.19) Published by William Caxton in 1485, a translation from the French Arthurian legends Sir Thomas Malory Theme: The search for the cup (the Holy Grail) used by Christ at the Last Supper, culminating with the dissolution of the Round Table

10 Miracle Plays Subjects of the Miracle Plays:
Disobedience of Adam and Eve (p.20) Noah and the great flood Abraham and Isaac Events in the life of Christ

11 Miracle Plays Acted on a stage called “pageant”
Performed at the same time in different places Serious and religious in intention Characters in the play has a tendency to become recognizably human English drama derives from the medieval Miracle Plays of the late 13th and 14th century

12 Morality Plays Characters in these plays were not people; they were virtues such as Truth or bad qualities such as Greed and Revenge (p.21) Everyman (translated from Dutch) The story of the end of Everyman’s life Characters include Beauty, Knowledge, Strength, and Good Deeds

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