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European Literature during the Middle Ages

European Literature during the Middle Ages. The Hero with a Thousand Faces (Joseph Campbell) “ . . . The hero’s journey underlies the literature of all cultures. “. “The Romance Where Good Always Triumphs”David Leeming.

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European Literature during the Middle Ages

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  1. European Literature during the Middle Ages The Hero with a Thousand Faces (Joseph Campbell) “ . . . The hero’s journey underlies the literature of all cultures. “

  2. “The Romance Where Good Always Triumphs”DavidLeeming • “By the end of a typical romance, the hero has passed all the tests, suffered losses, gained what he had sought, and earned a measure of wisdom. In its purest form the hero’s quest is a struggle between good and evil.”

  3. The Magic Happened by John Steinbeck • “And in that scene were all the vices that ever were—and courage and sadness and frustration, but particularly gallantry—perhaps the only single quality of man that the West has invented.”

  4. Code of Chivalry in Middle Ages • The Code of Chivalry-brave and courteous conduct for knights • Remain faithful to God • Remain loyal to his king • Remain true to his lady love • Aid damsels in distress • Protect and defend the weak and underprivileged • Fight against evil, injustice, and cruelty • Be generous to all, courteous when facing enemies • Be prepared to die for country

  5. The Hero’s Journey • Call to adventure-the hero is chosen to begin a journey • Crossing the threshold-the hero travels from the known to the unknown • Challenges and tests-the hero faces a series of tough obstacles • A supreme test-the hero’s challenges climax in one final test • Return-the hero returns home usually with a gift or reward

  6. The Growth of Literacy(500s-1400s) • In the early Middle Ages, Latin was used to transmit knowledge, record information • Only members of clergy could read and write Latin giving the Church control and power • Late in Middle Ages growth in literacy among general populace led to intellectual independence

  7. Chivalry and Courtly Love(1000 – 1300) • Chivalry began as a military code of behavior. • Ideals were expressed in medieval romances—long poems about adventures of knights • Courtly love evolved from these chivalric ideals and became important element of medieval romance • Code of courtly love called for a knight to dedicate services to beautiful lady of noble birth • The lady served as inspiration and an ideal • Knight could never hope to marry her; he was not equal to her in society

  8. The Song of Roland (1100) • Earliest surviving example of Old French chansons de geste (songs of deeds) • Epic poem focuses on heroic deeds of Charlemagne, King of Franks (AD768-814) and other feudal lords • Shares many characteristics with classical epic poems such as The Iliad, The Aeneidsuch as long speeches, detailed battle scenes, supernatural events, repetition of memorable phrases

  9. Chevrefoil by Marie de France(12th Century) • Complete work based on legend of Tristan and Iseult • Author seems to be of noble birth because she was well educated; was fluent in French, Latin, English; and was familiar with Greek and Roman classics • Wrote three separate works in French(1160-1215): Lais, Fables, St. Patrick’s Purgatory • Lais was often sung by traveling minstrels, may have been performed in the Celtic language

  10. “The Grail” from PercevalChretien de Troyes (1135-1190) • Chretien de Troyes introduced new type of poetic narrative into Western literature, the Arthurian romance • Developed the legend of the Holy Grail (cup of Christ) • Perceval is a poem in two parts

  11. Perceval represents a new type of hero—one less interested in worldly glory than in Christian values such as penitence and charity • Quest for the Holy Grail represents a quest for spiritual perfection for the love of God

  12. The Nibelungenlied“How Sigfried Was Slain” • National epic of Germany (AD200) • Tale of love, revenge, murder • Combined from oral and written historic events and legends • Title literally means “songs of the Nibelungs” • Nibelungs were an evil family who possessed a cursed treasure (horde of gold and a magic ring)

  13. Sigfried, the Hero • Siegfried takes the treasure and becomes cursed • Also possesses a cloak that makes the wearer invisible • Slays a dragon and bathes in its blood making him invincible to all wounds • Linden leaf falls on his back; blood does not cover one small spot • Spot of vulnerability will bring his demise like Achilles of Greek myth

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