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Chapter Two Medieval Period Geoffrey Chaucer

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1 Chapter Two Medieval Period Geoffrey Chaucer
Pre-Elizabethan age: Thomas More A Brief Introduction to Elizabethan age

2 Contents The Middle (Medieval)English period Geoffrey Chaucer
Historical background The literary scene of the period The formation of Middle English Geoffrey Chaucer Life experience His literary career His major works His contributions to English language and poetry Analysis and appreciation of the General Prologue in his masterpiece The Canterbury Tales

3 Medieval Period(1066-1400) Historical backgroud (P7-8)
Norman conquest: In 1066, French-speeking Normans came under William the Conqueror. *The establishment of the feudal system *The 1381 peasant uprising *The completion of the Doomsday Book《末日审判书》 *The launching of the Crusade *The siging of the Magna Charter《大宪章》 *The war with France or the 100-year’s war ( )

4 The literary scene of the period
There were mainly two forms of literary writings, religious writing and romance. The formation of Middle English For about 3oo years after 1066, languages spoken in England were confusion. There were Old English, French and Latin. For about 3oo years after 1066, languages spoken in England were confusion. There was Old English, descended from Anglo-Saxons, The 100-year’s war with France was an awakening of national consciousness in England. The French language was gradually replaced by the native tongue. The English language gained absolute supremacy.

5 5.Thousands of words and expressions were borrowed from French, Latin, Greek and Italian.
The English language in this transitional stage from Old English to modern English, through some 4 centuries (from12th – 15th) of development and change, has gradually been known as Middle English.

6 Representatives in this period
1.John Wycliffe (1320 – 1384): an Oxford scholar, the first to translate the Bible from Latin to Middle English (though not accurate), the pioneer in the field of translating the Bible. 2. William Langland (1332 – 1400?) His masterpiece is Vision of Piers the plowman, written in the form of a dream allegory and in Middle English. *(A term) An allegory is a story or description in which the characters and events symbolize some deeper underlying meaning, and serve to spread moral teaching. It has double meaning: i, e., a primary meaning, or a surface meaning, and a secondary meaning, or underlying meaning. In an allegory, abstract qualities or ideas such as patience, purity, or truth, are personified as characters in the story.


8 Geoffrey Chaucer (1340 – 1400)

9 Life experience 1340 Chaucer was born in London, in the Vintry.
1357 Page to the Countess of Ulster. 1359 Taken captive while on a military expedition to France. 1360 Released on ransom and returned to England. 1366 Married Philippa Roet, a Lady in waiting to the queen. 1367 Served Edward III as a Valet 1368 Went abroad as a Diplomat. 1369 Sent to Italy to negotiate a commercial treaty. 1374 Becomes Controller of Customs at the Port of London. 1378 Sent to Italy as a diplomat.

10 1379 Became Controller of Petty Customs, London.
1380 Became Justice of Peace for Kent. 1381 Became Knight of the Shire for Kent. 1382 Chaucer’s wife Philippa Roet died. 1384 Started receiving pension from Richard II due to strained financial conditions. 1385 Granted an annual hogshead of wine from the King. 1386 Pension increased by Henry IV. 1389 Became Clerk of the King’s Works. 1400 Died on October 25 and buried in the Poet’s Corner in Westminster Abbey.

11 His literary career His education: Little is known about his education. But he is good at Latin, French, and Italian. Three periods: 1360s-about 1372=French period: a translator (The Romance of Rose) and an imitator (The Book of Duchess) =Italian period: a Borrower (Troilus and Cryseyde) borrowed theme, characters from Baccassio’s Filastrato. the last 15 years of his life=English (Maturity) period: a creator (The Canterbury Tales)-his own theme, choice of words, characters and plot.

12 His contributions to English language and poetry
* Chaucer’s language is now called Middle/Current language * He established English as the literary language of England. He wrote in the London dialect of his day. * He did much in making the London dialect the foundation for the modern English Speech. His contributions to English poetry * He introduced from France the rhymed stanza of various types, esp. the rhymed couplet of iambic pentameter or Heroic Couplet into English poetry, instead of the old Anglo-Saxon alliterative verse.

13 Explanations of the Literary terms
Iamb: a meter pattern composed of a pair of syllables, with the first one unaccented and the second stressed. Pentameter line: A poetry line in which there are ten syllables, with two ones made up of a "foot", five feet in all. Iambic pentameter: It is a poetry meter. In each line, there are ten syllables which can be broken up into five feet (pentameter) of an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable (iambic) –hence iambic pentameter.

14 Analysis and appreciation of the first 2 stanzas in the General Prologue of his masterpiece
Contents Historical context Brief introduction *the frame work *the gallery of portrait of his characters *the writing technique

15 *synopsis and understanding *analysis and appreciation
3. Analysis and appreciation of the first 2 stanzas *synopsis and understanding *analysis and appreciation *interpretation of the peculiarity of the first stanza *symbols and themes *difference from Bacassio’s Decameron

16 The front cover of Canterbury Tales

17 Canterbury Cathedral OUTSIDE INSIDE

18 Historical context The time of the writing of The Canterbury Tales was a turbulent time in English history. *The Catholic Church was in the midst of the Great Schism and, though it was still the only Christian authority in Europe, was the subject of heavy controversy. *Lollardy, an early English religious movement led by John Wycliffe, is mentioned in the Tales, as is a specific incident involving pardoners (who gathered money in exchange for absolution from sin) who nefariously claimed to be collecting for St. Mary Rouncesval hospital in England.

19 *The Canterbury Tales is among the first English literary works to mention paper, a relatively new invention which allowed dissemination of the written word never before seen in England. * Political clashes, such as the 1381 Peasant's Revolt and clashes ending in the deposing of King Richard II, further reveal the complex turmoil surrounding Chaucer in the time of the Tales' writing. *Many of his close friends were executed and he himself was forced to move to Kent in order to get away from events in London.

20 Brief introduction The Canterbury Tales is one of the landmarks of English literature, perhaps the greatest work produced in Middle English and certainly among the most ambitious. Chaucer did not complete the entire Canterbury Tales as he designed it. There are altogether 30 travelers on the pilgrimage to Canterbury. He structured the tales so that each pilgrim would tell four tales on the way there and back, and that would bring the total up to However, Chaucer only completed 20 complete stories and 4 fragments, not even completing one tale for each pilgrim.

21 The frame work: This long poem consists of three parts: The General Prologue; 20 tales, and four fragments; and separate prologues to each tale. His gallery of portraits of people: comes from all classes of the English society of his time, ranging from a Knight to a humble Plowman, except the royalty and the peasant. The Pilgrims are a microcosm of the 14th century English society.

22 His writing technique:
1.plainly narrative 2. everything is based on reality. The Prologue supplies a miniature of the English society at that time. Chaucer liked to use the realistically writing skill to represent the reality. 3. That is why he is called the “father of realism”/ master of realism; He applies to the work a strong sense of humor and an infinite sense of humanity

23 Synopsis In April the pleasant showers of rain had pierced the drought of March to the very root and bathed every plant with life-giving moisture. The refreshing west wind had quickened the young shoots in every wood and field. The young sun had completed its second half course in the zodiac sign of the Aries, and the small birds encouraged by nature sang melodiously. People longed to go on pilgrimages and seek strange shores in this rejuvenating month. People from every corner of England went to Canterbury to seek the holy blessings at the shrine of Saint Thomas Becket. One spring day at the Tabard Inn in Southwark, while the narrator (Chaucer) was waiting for the next day to go on his pilgrimage to Canterbury, a group of twenty-nine pilgrims arrived at the inn. The narrator was accepted into their company and they decided to rise early next morning and carry on their journey. The narrator describes each of these pilgrims and tells the reader about their ranks and the kind of clothes they wore.

24 Anslysis and appreciation
“When in April" places us immediately in the reverdie tradition -- literally the "re-greening," a mode in medieval lyric poetry celebrating the revival of spring and all that that entails. 1-18 lines present a unified and ideal organic hierarchy -- a great chain of awakenings from the rain to the roots of the plants to the flowers, the sun to the fields and the birds growing musical and insomniacal, to humans who maybe sublimate the same impulses into pilgrimages to holy shrines of martyrs. So we progress from the natural to the divine, or from the natural/divine to the anthropomorphic/sacred. Memorize these 18 lines!

25 As a tradition, in Middle ages, if a poet began his poem with spring, the reader would learn that the poet would tell a love story. The General Prologue begins with the description of Spring characteristic of dream visions of secular love, the same tone, even some of the same details in his Le Roman de la rose. His audience may well have thought they were about to hear another elegant poem on aristocratic love. However, they hear instead: Then longen folk to gon on pilgrimages. The focus changes from secular love to religion, to a pilgrimage, and the texture shifts from the elegant abstractions and allegorical personages to a very real London in the fourteenth century.

26 A pilgrimage is a religious journey undertaken for penance and grace
A pilgrimage is a religious journey undertaken for penance and grace. It was very popular in fourteenth-century England, as the narrator mentions. Pilgrims traveled to visit the remains of Saint Thomas Becket, archbishop of Canterbury, who was murdered in 1170 by knights of King Henry II. Soon after his death, he became the most popular saint in England. The pilgrimage in The Canterbury Tales should not be thought of as an entirely solemn occasion, because it also offered the pilgrims an opportunity to abandon work and take a vacation.

27 At line 20, the narrator abandons his unfocused, all-knowing point of view, identifying himself as an actual person for the first time by inserting the first person—“I”—as he relates how he met the group of pilgrims while staying at the Tabard Inn. He emphasizes that this group, which he encountered by accident, was itself formed quite by chance (25–26). He then shifts into the first-person plural, referring to the pilgrims as “we” beginning in line 29, asserting his status as a member of the group.

28 This is a sudden shift. We readers find ourselves hearing "Bifel," "I," "by aventure" -- and we're in the realm of chance, offhandedness, subjectivity, personal specificity, randomness, the casual. A distinction is now required between Chaucer-poet and Chaucer-pilgrim. It's the pilgrim giving us the prologue. Point-of-view is through this puppet's eyes. So the often ironic poet is using a narrator, a persona, through which to speak -- a pretty faux-Chaucer.

29 The narrator ends the introductory portion of his prologue by noting that he has “tyme and space” to tell his narrative. His comments underscore the fact that he is writing some time after the events of his story, and that he is describing the characters from memory. He has spoken and met with these people as also a pilgrim, but he has waited a certain length of time before sitting down and describing them as a poet. He positions himself as a mediator between two groups: the group of pilgrims of which he was a member of the pilgrims and us, the audience, whom the narrator explicitly addresses as “you” in lines 34 and 38.

30 On the other hand, the narrator's declaration that he will tell us about the “condicioun,” “degree,” and “array” (dress) of each of the pilgrims suggests that his portraits will be based on objective facts as well as his own opinions. (REALISM)

31 Interpretation of the peculiarity of the opening part
The opening part of the General Prologue mixes the spiritual with the secular and moves between each form with relative ease. It sets up imagery of spring and regeneration. It does not conform to the cliché tradition "in springtime a young man's fancy turns to love," but veers into more spiritual territory. In springtime these travelers make a religious pilgrimage to Canterbury. It sets the tone and mood of the tales: gay and ironic.

32 Symbols (A literary term)Symbols are objects, characters, figures, or colors used to represent abstract ideas or concepts. Springtime The Canterbury Tales opens in April, at the height of spring. *The springtime symbolizes rebirth and fresh beginnings, and is thus appropriate for the beginning of Chaucer's text. *Springtime also evokes erotic love, for example, the Squire is compared to the freshness of the month of May, in his devotion to courtly love.

33 Themes (A literary term)Themes are the fundamental and often universal ideas explored in a literary work. "The Canterbury Tales" has several overlapping themes, which not only enrich the book’s texture but also lend it some kind of coherence and unity. Most of these themes are abstract and cannot be stated as singular propositions. Nearly all the subjects of Chaucer’s most serious contemplation can be found in his magnificent epic.

34 *the problem of the position of women and marriage relationships
The major themes are: *critique of the church *themes of the inherent corruptness of human nature and decline of moral values *the problem of the position of women and marriage relationships *themes of honor and truth *themes of Christian virtue and chivalry.

35 Difference from Baccassio’s Decameron
The structure of The Canterbury Tales is indebted to Boccaccio's Decameron, in which ten nobles from Florence, to escape the plague, stay in a country villa and amuse each other by each telling tales. Boccaccio had a significant influence on Chaucer. The Knight's Tale was an English version of a tale by Boccaccio, while six of Chaucer's tales have possible sources in the Decameron: the Miller's Tale, the Reeve's, the Clerk's, the Merchant's, the Franklin's, and the Shipman's. However, Chaucer's pilgrims to Canterbury form a wider range of society compared to Boccaccio's elite storytellers.

36 The Canterbury Tales differs from Boccaccio's Decameron: the speakers are not from a single social class, but drawn from a broad range of society, from the noble knight to the drunken rascal of a Miller and the impoverished Parson. Choosing a pilgrimage as the vehicle for the tales was a brilliant move -- a pilgrimage was the one occasion in medieval life when so wide a range of members of society could plausibly join together on relatively equal terms, allowing for greater differences in tone and substance.

37 It is hot, let me feel the cool snow

38 The Pre-Elizabethan Age: Thomas More
CONTENTS A brief introduction of the historical background Literary representatives in pre-Elizabethan age Thomas More

39 Historical background
From 1400 to 1550, significant changes had been undergoing. Old England was in transition. The wars of Roses ( ): Barely at the end of the 100-years War with France, England was again blown into the whirlwind of civil war. Tudor Dynasty: Then the King, Henry VII, took the advantage of this situation, founded Tudor dynasty. The religious reformation in England: Then Henry VII’s son, Henry VIII ( ) succeeded the throne. He started the extensive movement against the control of the Roman Catholic Church.

40 He declared the break with Rome
He declared the break with Rome. This is the Protestant Reformation, which in essence a political movement in a religious disguise, a part of struggle of the newly rising class for power. 4. The Counter-reformation: The reformation was closely followed by the Counter –reformation during the reign of Queen Mary (1553 – 1558), Henry VIII’s daughter. She was a devout Catholic. So many Protestants were burned as heretic. This religious persecution did not stop until Queen Elizabethan Age.

41 The Enclosure movement and introduction of the printing
In England the movement for enclosure began in the 12th century and proceeded rapidly in the period 1450–1640, when the purpose was mainly to increase the amount of full-time pasturage available to manorial lords. Much enclosure also occurred in the period from 1750 to 1860, when it was done for the sake of agricultural efficiency. By the end of the 19th century the process of the enclosure of common lands in England was virtually complete.

42 6. The religious Reformation in Europe
The term Reformation refers in general to the major religious changes that swept across Europe during the 1500s, transforming worship, politics, society, and basic cultural patterns. One key dimension was the Protestant Reformation, the movement that began in 1517 with Martin Luther's critique of doctrinal principles and church actions in Germany and that led to the establishment of new official churches—the Lutheran, the Reformed or Calvinist, and the Anglican. These were separate from the Latin Catholic Church in organization and different from it in theology.

43 Renaissance and Humanism (literary terms)
*Renaissance: It is a movement of the humanistic revival of classical art, architecture, literature, and learning that originated in Italy in the 14th century and later spread throughout Europe, marking the transition from medieval to modern times. *Humanism: A cultural and intellectual movement of the Renaissance (14th century to 17th century) that emphasized secular concerns, rejecting religious beliefs and centers on humans and their values, capacities, and worth, as a result of the re-discovery and study of the literature, art, and civilization of ancient Greece and Rome.

44 Humanists argued that man should be given all freedom to enrich their intellectual and emotional life. In religion they demanded the reformation of the church. In art literature, instead of singing praise to God, they sang in praise of man and of the pursuit of happiness in this life. Humanism shattered the shackles of spiritual bandage of man’s mind by the Catholic Church and opened his eyes to “a brave young world” in front of him. The English Renaissance can be traced in Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales. In the later half of the 14th century, Chaucer went to Italy. This trip had a great influence on him. Generally speaking, English literature of Renaissance may be divided into 3 stages of development. The first stage extends from the end of 15th century to the last half of the 16th century; The second stage was just in the Elizabethan age; The third one was the Jacobean period. The literary forms were poetry, prose, fiction and drama.

45 Representative in pre-Elizabethan age
Thomas More and his masterwork: Utopia Sir Thomas More (7 February 1478 – 6 July 1535), also known as Saint Thomas More, was an English lawyer, author, and statesman who in his lifetime gained a reputation as a leading Renaissance humanist scholar, and occupied many public offices, including Lord Chancellor (1529–1532). More coined the word "utopia", a name he gave to the ideal, imaginary island nation whose political system he described in Utopia, published in He was beheaded in 1535 when he refused to sign the Act of Supremacy that declared King Henry VIII Supreme Head of the Church of England.

46 The Elizabethan age Now came the Elizabethan Age in In this age, the literature can be divided into 3 phase (Read P35 -40); And there appeared the most famous the University Wits (P37 -38). During her rein, England was not only prosperous in inner economics, powerful in expansion abroad and ocean, but also flourised in culture and thoughts, esp, in literature, such as poetry (sonnets), prose and drama.

47 The three sub-periods in literature
1st period: *The publication of Edmund Spenser’s The Shepheardes Calendar *Thomas Wyatt introduced the sonnet into England *Henry Howard, Earl of Surry brought the the blank verse into England (A literary term) Blank verse: It is Rhyme-less iambic pentameter or a line of ten syllables in five iambs, a rhythemic unit of two syllables with the unstressed followed by the stressed syllable.(Milton is the master of this)

48 2nd period: *In poetry, Sperser contibuted his The Faerie Queene; The epic poem came out unfinished with only the first six books in 1596, which was dedicated to Elizabeth. The excellence of it lies in the complexity and depth of Spenser’s moral vision and in the Spenserian Stanza, which Spenser invented for his masterpiece. The main ideas in this poem: NATIONALISM (celebration of Queen Elizabeth); HUMANISM (shows strong opposition to Roman Catholicism); PURITANISM (shows moral teaching) Spenserian Stanza (a literary term): It is a nine-line stanza of 8 lines in iambic pentameter plus an iambic hexameter(six-foot line). The rhyme scheme is abab bcbc c. It is created by Spenser in his The Faerie Queene, thus named after him.

49 Philip Sidney’s sonnet Astrophel and Stella; The theme, heavenly and earthly love is reflected.
Shakespeare’s sonnets. *In prose, Sidney’s Apologie for Poetry; *In pastoral Romance, here’s Sidney’s Arcardia. It is pastoral. Pastoral poetry (a literary term): Poetry that portrays or evokes rural life, usually in an idealized way. In essays, Francis Bacon published some of his essays. *Another contribution from John Lyly is his Eupheus. *In drama, there were “the University Wits” first, including Christopher Marlowe, Bobert Greene, George Peele, Thomas Lodge, Thomas Nash amd Thomas Kyd, who were all graduates from Oxford or Cambridge or both except Thomas Kyd.They paved the way for the rise of Shakespeare. And then, Shakespeare’s some 20 of his plays were finished.

50 The 3rd period: Shakespeare finished all his later plays Ben Jonson did almost the whole of his work Francis bacon did his best work in this period,dominated English prose literarture for decades. The Authorized Bible, also named King James Bible came into being in It is still the best of its kind today, unequaled in precision, beauty and power.

51 Assignments Written work
Define the terms: iambic pentameter, symbols, themes, Ranaissance, humanism, blank verse, Spenserian Stanza and pastoral poetry. What are Chaucer’s contribution to English poetry and language? What are peculiar in the opening part of the General Prologue in Canterbury Tales by Chaucer? What is the symbol in the General Prologue? What does it symbolize? Who are “the University Wits”? What is Edmund Spenser’s masterpiece? What are the main ideas reflected in it?

52 Topics for discussion How to define Chaucer’s literary career? Why? What kinds of people are included in the gallery of his character portrait in Canterbury Tales by Chaucer? Why Chaucer is called “father of realism”? How to undrestand the identity of Chaucer as both a poet and a pilgrim? Compare Baccassio’s Decameron and Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales to find the difference between them. Why did literature flourish in Elizabethan age? The formation of English people and Old English language The formation of the Middle English Language *Oral work: Memorize the first 18 lines in the General Prologue.

53 Spring is coming. Let’s go on pilgrimage.

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