2 Important Dates 43-420 Roman invasion and occupation of Britain 450 Anglo Saxon Conquest1066 Norman Conquest1200 Beginning of Middle English literature1485 Caxton’s printing of Malory
3 The Middle AgesCovers time span from collapse of the Roman Empire to the RenaissanceTime period of more than 800 years1485 end of the Middle Ages
4 A Time of Change Roman Catholic Church provided continuity Norman Conquest added French words to the English vocabularyCross-currents of languages and literatures during this periodLiterature in English was performed orally,and written throughout the Middle Ages, but uniquely English literature does not exist before the late 14th century.English began to displace French at the end of the 14th century in Parliament and courts of law.
5 Anglo-Saxon EnglandFrom 1st to 5th century, England was province of Roman EmpireNamed BritanniaWhen the Romans withdrew during the fifth century, island was invaded by Germanic seafarersThese belonged to three tribes: the Angles, the Saxons, and the Jutes.
6 Conversion to Christianity Britons became Christian in the fourth centuryIn 597, a Benedictine monk was sent by Pope Gregory as a missionary to King Ethelbert of Kent and missionaries from Ireland became to preach Christianity in the north.Within 75 years, the island was Christian.The first extended written specimen of Old English (Anglo-Saxon) language is a code of laws.England produced many distinguished Churchmen, including Bede.,
7 Invasions by the DanesIn the 9th century, Christian Anglo-Saxons were subjected to invasions by the Danes.They were stopped by King Alfred.King Alfred was an enthusiastic patron of literature.
8 Old English Poetry Oral tradition Literacy was restricted to men of the churchMost of Old English literature is religiousMost of Old English poetry is contained in just four manuscripts.
9 Heroic ValuesHeroic values of Germanic society continued to inspire clergy and laity in the Christian era.Heroic Values - Tribe is ruled by king who surrounds himself with a band of retainers. He leads men to battle and rewards them with gifts and treasures. Retainers are obligated to fight for their lord to the deathBlood vengeance is a sacred duty.The best poetry of the period is both Christian and heroic.
10 Characteristics of Old English Poetry Harsh world viewFormal speechElevated languageIronyContrast Pagan and ChristianFateThe PastViolenceValues of warrior society
11 Anglo-Norman England The Normans took possession of England in 1066 They adopted French language and Christian religionHenry II, first of England’s Plantagenet kings
12 LanguagesDuring the Anglo-Norman period, four languages co-existed: Latin, French, English, and Celtic.The Latin Bible provided subject for Old English poetry and proseAttraction to Celtic legendsMarie de France and Chrétien de Troyes wrote romancesKing Arthur and his court acquired immense popularityRomance involves a knight proving his worthiness through nobility of character and brave deedsReligious literature aimed at women – saints’ lives, The Ancrene Riwle.
13 Middle English Literature in the 14th Century Old English replaces French in literatureThirty Year’s WarThe bubonic plague wiped out one-third of European populationA time of social unrestChurch becomes target of resentment because of its wealth and worldlinessGreat European poets of the 14th century include Dante, Petrarch, Marie de France, and BoccoccioEnglish writers of the 14th century include Chaucer, William Langland, the Pearl poet, and the author of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
14 The Fifteenth CenturyWar of the Roses between Lancasters and Yorks ended with King Henry VII’s ascension to the thronePerformances of mystery plays and morality playsMystical writings – Julian of Norwich and Margery KempeLydgateMaloryCaxton’s printing press introduced in Caxton’s publication of Malory’s Morte Darthur.
15 Middle English Literature Religious literaturePopular literatureRomanceKing ArthurAllegoryMoralityAuthors looked at themselves as craftsmenNo emphasis on originalityPtolemaic view of the universe – earth centeredGothic Church as symbol of Middle Ages – height and light