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MIDDLE ENGLISH. SOCIETY, HISTORY AND LITERATURE. 1066-1154 A.D. Battle of Hastings: the Normans invade England. DRAMA . 1485. THE ORIGINS. THE DARK AGES. 11 th century. THE MIDDLE AGES. Anglo Saxon / Old _English. Anglo Norman / Middle _English. 700. THE MIDDLE AGES.

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middle english

MIDDLE ENGLISH

SOCIETY, HISTORY AND LITERATURE

the middle ages

1066-1154 A.D.

Battle of Hastings: the Normans invade England

DRAMA

1485

THE ORIGINS

THE DARK AGES

11th

century

THE MIDDLE AGES

Anglo Saxon /

Old _English

Anglo Norman /

Middle _English

700

THE MIDDLE AGES

INVASIONS:

Jutes from Denmark,

Angles, Saxons from Northern Germany

Iberians

Celts

43-409 A. C. Romans

1485

TUDORS

begin

to rule over

England

597 A.D.

1154-1399

Saint Augustine’s mission.

Christianity spreads throughout England

  • PLANTAGENETS:
  • Baronial revolts
  • Magna Charta
  • The Parliament
  • The hundred years war
  • Peasants revolt

449

1399-1485

The wars of the roses

Celtic people escape to Cornwall, Wales and Scotland

FEUDALISM

POETRY

NARRATIVE POEM

EPIC POEM

feudalism
FEUDALISM

It was a method of organizing society introduced in England by Normans in 1066

The term derives from the French word “feu”= “fee” and means:

LAND HELD IN EXCHANGE FOR DUTY OR SERVICE TO A LORD

  • The KING was THE OWNER OF ALL LAND
  • Other noblemen, called VASSALS, held a portion of the land IN RETURN FOR GOODS AND SERVICES especially MILITARY SERVICE UP TO 40 DAYS a year
  • The chief vassals, called BARONS, in turn, created other vassals, the KNIGHTS and VILLAINS OWING SERVICE TO THEM
  • VILLAINS were FREE BUT ATTACHED ON THE LAND on which they were born
  • VILLAINS’ (or PEASANTS) service was in the form of work on the lord’s farm
  • KNIGHTS gave military service to their lord in exchange for his land
  • SERFS were almost slaves
  • HOMAGE was the promise that all men had to do to their lord kneeling before him with their hands between those of the lord
  • BARONS lived in MANORS retaining some ARABLE LAND for themselves (their DEMESNE)
  • Strips of the remaining landwere allocated to the peasants
  • Meadows and waste lands were common to all and formed the so called COMMON FIELDS that were used for pasture
slide4

Serfdom in the Middle Ages

  • During the Middle Ages in Europe, which historians date from about the 5th century to the 15th century AD, peasants became legally bound to live and work in one place in servitude to wealthy landowners. In return for working the land of the owner, known as the lord, these peasants, called serfs, received a crude house, a small adjoining plot of ground, a share of the surrounding fields, some farm animals, and protection from outlaws and other lords. The serf gave part of his own crop to the lord as payment of rent and was subject to many other payment obligations and taxes. Serfdom differed from slavery because serfs had the right to own property, could not be sold, and could theoretically purchase their freedom from their lords.
slide5

Feudal Manor Cultivation

  • During the feudal period, people lived in self-contained communities, producing their own food and clothing. A typical English manor used a three-field system of cultivation, with each section divided into individual strips. In this system, the uses of the sections were rotated periodically, with one field resting, or lying fallow each time, so that the land did not become nutrient poor.
slide6

The feudal system was introduced

  • Important administrative and judicial reforms were made
  • Barons and knights acquired great importance
  • Domsday book
  • The relationship with the Church was business-like
  • NORMAN KINGS 1066 – 1154
    • William I 1066-1087
    • William II 1087-1100
    • Henry I 1100-1135
    • Stephen 1135-1154
slide7

Henry I’s daughter, Matilda, married Geoffrey Plantagenet of Anjou who became king as Henry II

  • He restored order, brought stability reducing the power of the barons and of the Church:
  • professional soldiers (scutage tax)
  • Travelling judges to hold assizes or courts according to Common Law
  • Trial by jury instead of trial by ordeal
  • Constitution of Clarendon (1164) (bishops investing, clergymen trial)
  • T. Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, murdered in 1170
  • Third Crusade
  • Magna Charta
  • Baronial revolts
  • The rise of Parliament
  • Chivalry
  • Hundred years war (1337-1453)
  • Lollardy
  • Polltax
  • Peasants' revolt 1381
  • HOUSE OF PLANTAGENET 1154-1399
    • Henry II 1154-1189
    • Richard I (Lion heart) 1189-1199
    • John(Lack land) 1199-1216
    • Henry III 1216-1272
    • Edward I 1272-1307
    • Edward II 1307-1327
    • Edward III 1327-1377
    • Richard II 1377-1399
slide8

Hundred years war (Agincourt 1415)

  • Joan of Arc
  • Eaton, Cambridge
  • Wars of the Roses
  • HOUSE OF LANCASTER 1399- 1485
    • Henry IV 1399-1413
    • Henry V 1413-1422
    • Henry VI 1422-1461
slide9

Wars of the Roses and the end of Feudalism

  • HOUSE OF YORK 1461 - 1485
    • Edward IV 1461-1483
    • Edward V 1483
    • Richard III 1483-1485
slide10

NORMAN KINGS 1066 – 1154

    • William I 1066-1087
    • William II 1087-1100
    • Henry I 1100-1135
    • Stephen 1135-1154
  • The feudal system was introduced
  • Barons and knights acquired great importance
  • William I sent his men to make a complete survey of the economic life of the country so he had information about the levying of a property tax and a detailed knowledge of the extent and distribution of his wealth, lands and revenues (Domsday book)
  • For us the Domsday book is very important in that it affords a comprehensive picture of the social structure of England at that time
  • The relationship with the Church was business-like
    • William paid his annual tax to the Pope (Peter’s pence)
    • He separated the fields of clerical and lay justice removing religious cases to special ecclesiastical courts
  • The gap between the conquered Anglo-Saxons and the conquering Normans slowly decreased.
  • The sign of reconciliation was the marriage between Henry I and Edith the offspring of the Wessex kings
slide11

HOUSE OF PLANTAGENET 1154-1399

    • Henry II 1154-1189
    • Richard I (Lion heart) 1189-1199
    • John(Lack land) 1199-1216
    • Henry III 1216-1272
    • Edward I 1272-1307
    • Edward II 1307-1327
    • Edward III 1327-1377
    • Richard II 1377-1399
  • Henry I’s daughter, Matilda, married Geoffrey Plantagenet of Anjou who became king as Henry II
  • Restored order, brought stability reducing the power of the barons and of the Church:
  • He engaged professional soldiers (scutage tax)
  • He sent Travelling judges to hold assizes or courts according to Common Law
  • Trial by jury was provided instead of trial by ordeal
  • The Constitution of Clarendon was issued in1164 (The king claimed considerable authority in investing the bishops. Clergymen were tried also by a civil court for serious crimes)
  • T. Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury,was murdered in 1170
slide12

HOUSE OF PLANTAGENET 1154-1399

    • Henry II 1154-1189
    • Richard I (Lion heart) 1189-1199
    • John(Lack land) 1199-1216
    • Henry III 1216-1272
    • Edward I 1272-1307
    • Edward II 1307-1327
    • Edward III 1327-1377
    • Richard II 1377-1399
  • RICHARD I Lion heart
  • Third Crusade (1189 - 1192): it had heavy costs but increased both intellectual and commercial exchanges with Asia
slide13

HOUSE OF PLANTAGENET 1154-1399

    • Henry II 1154-1189
    • Richard I (Lion heart) 1189-1199
    • John(Lack land) 1199-1216
    • Henry III 1216-1272
    • Edward I 1272-1307
    • Edward II 1307-1327
    • Edward III 1327-1377
    • Richard II 1377-1399
  • MAGNA CHARTA
  • “…No taxes shall be demanded in our realm without the consent of the great council […] No free man shall be arrested, put in prison or lose his property, or be outlawed or banished, or harmed in any way […] unless he has been judged by his equals under the law of the land
  • JOHN (LACKLAND)
  • Levied higher taxes to defend his French possessions. This annoyed
    • Barons, Church and merchants who compelled him to sign the Magna Charta
    • MAGNA CHARTA is the first step towards the constitutional Monarchy as it asserts kingship checked by acceptance of the restraint of law
slide14

HOUSE OF PLANTAGENET 1154-1399

    • Henry II 1154-1189
    • Richard I (Lion heart) 1189-1199
    • John(Lack land) 1199-1216
    • Henry III 1216-1272
    • Edward I 1272-1307
    • Edward II 1307-1327
    • Edward III 1327-1377
    • Richard II 1377-1399
  • Henry III became king at the age of 9 and Britain was governed by a group of barons until he grew up.
  • Starting in 1158 Simon De Montfort, Earl of Leicester, led a baronial revolt against the king to create a structure of permanent control over the king’s policy.
  • In 1256 he called a Parliament (barons, Knights and, FOR THE FIRST TIME, 2 REPRESENTATIVES FROM EACH “BOROUGH OR TOWN
slide15

HOUSE OF PLANTAGENET 1154-1399

    • Henry II 1154-1189
    • Richard I (Lion heart) 1189-1199
    • John(Lack land) 1199-1216
    • Henry III 1216-1272
    • Edward I 1272-1307
    • Edward II 1307-1327
    • Edward III 1327-1377
    • Richard II 1377-1399
  • EDWARD I in 1295 called the Model Parliament (representatives of the barons, the clergy, two knights from each county and two citizens from each town)
slide16

HOUSE OF PLANTAGENET 1154-1399

    • Henry II 1154-1189
    • Richard I (Lion heart) 1189-1199
    • John(Lack land) 1199-1216
    • Henry III 1216-1272
    • Edward I 1272-1307
    • Edward II 1307-1327
    • Edward III 1327-1377
    • Richard II 1377-1399
  • EDWARD III
  • Since in the Middle Ages success in battle was the principal source for the power of the king, he introduced the idea of chivalry a name given to a set of values (bravery, loyalty, honesty, and glory) which the perfect knight had to respect (cycle of Arthurian legends)
  • He also founded the “Order of Garter” (24 knights)
  • In 1337 he laid claim to the Crown of France on the grounds that his mother was the French king’s sister (Philip VI Valois) starting so the HUNDRED YEARS WAR 1337-1453.
  • The real reason for the Hundred years war was that the French were threatening Flanders, the chief market for English wood.
  • This war received a severe check for the
  • BLACK DEATH 1348 (bubonic plague) which carried off a third of population
  • LOLLARDY (J.WYCLIFFE) spread over. It was a religious reformist movement which attacked the power and worldliness of Church
slide17

HOUSE OF PLANTAGENET 1154-1399

    • Henry II 1154-1189
    • Richard I (Lion heart) 1189-1199
    • John(Lack land) 1199-1216
    • Henry III 1216-1272
    • Edward I 1272-1307
    • Edward II 1307-1327
    • Edward III 1327-1377
    • Richard II 1377-1399
  • RICHARD II was only 10 when he became king and a council of noblemen governed the kingdom. The first Parliament of the reign decided to levy a
  • Polltax (4 pence from each lay person of either sex over 14 except for beggars and 12 pence from all members of the religious orders) It was the first time that a government tax had fallen equally on the mass of the population rather than on the richer part. This created great discontent which together with
    • The results of Black Death upon the economy and the labourers
    • The feudal pressure in a society with new bourgeois elements
    • Ecclesiastic wealth. Worldliness and abuse of power
  • brought to a PEASANTS’ REVOLT 1381
  • Having no children, Richard was compelled by his barons to abdicate and his cousin, the Duke of Lancaster, became King as Henry VI
slide18

HOUSE OF LANCASTER 1399- 1485

    • Henry IV 1399-1413
    • Henry V 1413-1422
    • Henry VI 1422-1461
  • HENRY V’s main interest was fighting so he resumed the Hundred years war and led England to the victory of Agincourt (1415)
  • HENRY VI was book-loving and he founded the 2 colleges at Eton and Cambridge
  • The wave of French patriotism revived with Joan of Arc (1412-1431) and English were forced to withdraw to Calais
  • Te Wars of the Roses (1455-1485) started between the 2 rival families of Lancaster and York
  • In 1461 Henry was confined to the Tower by the son of the Duke of York who seized the throne as Edward IV
slide19

Edward IV and V were imprisoned in the Tower by their uncle Richard Duke of Gloucester

  • HOUSE OF YORK 1461 - 1485
    • Edward IV 1461-1483
    • Edward V 1483
    • Richard III 1483-1485
  • Richard III was disliked both by the Lancastrians and the Yorkists as he was suspected for the murder of his nephews
  • Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond, leader of the Lancastrians, raised an army and defeated Richard.
  • He sized the throne as Henry VII Tudor
  • The Wars of the Roses stuck a heavy blow to the power of the barons as many of the oldest and strongest families were wiped out and the ideas of chivalry and feudal service faded into the past
slide22

ENGLISH SOCIETY IN THE 14th AND 15th CENTURIES

NEW PHASE OF THE MIDDLE AGES WITH A HIGHER LIVING STANDARD

14th CENTURY

The new middle classes, rural and urban, appeared upon the political, economic, social, religious, and literary scenes

  • PRINCIPAL FACTORS:
  • WAR
  • RISE OF MERCHANTS:
  • ENCLOSURES
  • RISE OF MINOR ARISTOCRACY
  • FORMATION OF THE “GENTRY”
  • BIRTH OF YEOMEN
  • WAR offered the middle levels of nobility the opportunity to make fortunes
  • Any king who refused to go to war against France or to organize crusades would lose prestige
  • The king needed barons’ armies
  • The king had to turn to merchant financiers in order to get more money to wage war
  • RISE OF MERCHANTS:
  • Counsellors of the king upon whom land, titles and power were conferred thing that led to the creation of a mercantile nobility
  • RISE OF MINOR ARISTOCRACY
  • ENCLOSURES
    • the system of open fields was breaking down and farmers were enclosing more and more fields with edges
  • “GENTRY”(free landholders)(called Franklins)
slide23

ENGLISH SOCIETY IN THE 14th AND 15th CENTURIES

NEW PHASE OF THE MIDDLE AGES WITH A HIGHER LIVING STANDARD

14th CENTURY

The new middle classes, rural and urban, appeared upon the political, economic, social, religious, and literary scenes

  • PRINCIPAL FACTORS:
  • WAR
  • RISE OF MERCHANTS:
  • ENCLOSURES
  • RISE OF MINOR ARISTOCRACY
  • FORMATION OF THE “GENTRY”
  • BIRTH OF YEOMEN
      • GUILDS were associations of artisans that controlled:
      • Quality of goods
      • Prices
      • Wages
      • Rules concerning apprenticeship
  • They organised also fairs
      • Prepared biblical plays to be performed
      • GUILDS DEVELOPPED INTO TRADING COMPABIES
  • In 1477 WILLIAM CAXTON SET UP THE FIRST ENGLISH PRINTING PRESS
    • In a short time England would be exposed to the ferment of ideas of Italian Renaissance
  • YEOMEN: peasantartisans and tradesmen who lived near or near the town and worked the land and, at the same time, sold the objects he made with his hands.
  • They used the money made in trade to enlarge their holdings in lands so that they became members of the gentry
  • ANTICLERICALISM
  • Slackness of monastic orders
  • Feudal monasteries lent money at interest and warded orphans to their own advantage
  • Wealth and inconsistent behaviour of Clergy
  • Lollardy (J. Wycliffe)
slide24

NORMAN CONQUEST INVASION AND FUSION PROCESS

1066

CULTURAL CONTEXT IN THE 14th AND 15th CENTURIES

CHIVALRY and a new code of conduct

FRANCE as outside dominant outside influence for at least 4 centuries

  • True courtesy
    • Honour
    • Generosity
    • Truth
  • OLD PAGAN VALUES:
    • Valour
    • Physical strength
  • MAIN CONSEQUENCES:
    • Language
    • Chivalry
    • Romances of chivalry and love
    • Poetry
  • ROMANCES of chivalry and love
    • Knight
    • His lord’s wife or a noblewoman
    • Unhappy love
    • Faithfulness
    • Noble deeds inspired by love
  • CHURCH:
    • Preservation and transmission of culture
    • Monasteries as centres of learning and arts
    • Great cathedrals (Winchester, Lincoln, Durham, Salisbury, Canterbury, Gloucester) as centres of the communal life of the city
  • POPULAR TRADITION:
  • mystery, morality plays
  • ballads, carols
  • BRITISH ART:
  • illuminated manuscripts
  • religious architecture (Norman and Gothic cathedrals)
  • Music (Chapel Royal, John Dunstable)
slide25

1066 - 1485

Anglo Norman Period: principal focuses

  • 1 - The MONARCHY, starting from Henry II (1154-1189) tries to build up a system of administrative control over the kingdom and establish a centralised judicial organization
    • Professional soldiers and reduction of power of the barons.
    • Scutage tax instead of service for kings
    • Travelling judjes and Common law (custom, comparisons, previous cases and decisions)
    • Trial by jury instead of trial by ordeal. Reduction of the power of the Church
    • Constitution of Clarendon 1164 (the king claims considerable authority in investing the Bishops)
    • Edward III (1327- 1377) introduces the idea of CHIVALRY. The order of the GARTER is founded
    • Richard II ( 1377-1399) POLLTAX (4 pence from each lay person of either sex over 14 except for beggars and 12 pence from all members of the religious orders except mendicant friars). The earnings from this tax were used to pay the debts deriving from the war against France and to reinforce the navy
slide26

1066 - 1485

Anglo Norman Period: Principal focuses

  • 2 -The CHURCH acquires a new strength and controls money, land and men
  • Bishops represent Pope but are also great landowners
  • Period of conflict between State and Church over spheres of power
    • Lay investiture
    • Ecclesiastical office
    • Ecclesiastical privileges in the courts of justice (Constitution of Clarendon 1164)
  • T. Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, is murdered in 1170
  • 3 - The BARONS,allied with the church and then with the rising merchant class, try and succeed in asserting their rights with respect to the power of the King
    • 1215 Magna Charta, the first step towards Constitutional Monarchy
    • 1258 baronial revolt to create a structure of permanent control over the king’s policy
    • De Montfort earl of Leicester calls the first meeting of the Parliament (barons, knights and 2 representatives from each town)
    • 1295 Model Parliament is called by Edward I (representatives of the barons, the clergy, two knights from each county and two citizens from each town)
slide27

1066-1485

Anglo Norman Period and Christianity

  • Preservation and transmission of culture
  • Monasteries as centres of learning and of arts
  • Great cathedrals (Winchester, Salisbury, Canterbury, Gloucester….) as centres of communal life of the city
middle english 1100 1450

RULING CLASSES AND ARISTORCRACY:

NORMAN-FRENCH

CONQUERED:

ANGLO-SAXON LANGUAGE

For 2 centuries after the conquest

CHURCH, SCHOLARS:

LATIN

ANGLO-SAXON

Vocabulary was enriched with new words borrowed directly from FRENCH

  • Warfare
  • Hunting
  • Falconry
  • Law
  • Science
  • courtesy

LATIN

FRENCH

MIDDLE ENGLISH (1100-1450)
  • Middle English lost almost all of the Anglo Saxons inflections. Of the old noun declensions remained:
    • The “s” ending for the plural of the nouns
    • Genitive singular
  • The definite article “the” and adjectives became indeclinable
  • The “to” form for infinitives started to be used

NORTHERN

middle english 1100 145029

SOUTHERN

By the 14th century Middle English was used in:

Schools

Law courts

G. Chaucer used Middle English for his Canterbury Tales sogaining the name of father of the English language

MIDDLE ENGLISH (1100-1450)

MIDDLE ENGLISH was a uniform language and its dialects were divided into four groups

  • Middle English lost almost all of the Anglo Saxons inflections. Of the old noun declensions remained:
    • The “s” ending for the plural of the nouns
    • Genitive singular
  • The definite article “the” and adjectives became indeclinable
  • The “to” form for infinitives started to be used

NORTHERN

EAST MIDLAND

WEST MIDLAND

This group became the most important and it was called “king’s English”as it was spoken in a vast area including London

slide30

449 - 1066

Anglo Saxon Period and Christianity

  • Fusion into a single native tradition of two alien imported components: the language, literary forms and arts of North Germany and the moral values and classical literary influences of Rome
  • Written documents mixing of Christian trends and Germanic culture
  • Great wealth of Latin words enrich Old English
  • Some old words are given new meanings

1066-1485

Anglo Norman Period and Christianity

  • Preservation and transmission of culture
  • Monasteries as centres of learning and of arts
  • Great cathedrals (Winchester, Salisbury, Canterbury, Gloucester….) as centres of communal life of the city
slide31

1066 - 1485

Anglo Norman Period

Middle English

  • OCT. 1066 BATLE OF HASTINGS: THE NORMANS INVADE ENGLAND
  • WILLIAM I THE CONQUEROR 1066 - 1087
  • survey of the economic life of the country: Doomsday Book
  • English common law (separation of the fields of clerical and lay justice)
  • HENRY II(King of England and Western France) 1154 - 1189
  • Professional soldiers and reduction of power of the barons. Scutage tax.Travelling judges and Common law (custom, comparisons, previous cases and decisions)Trial by jury.
  • Reduction of the power of the Church. Henry's Chancellor, THOMAS BECKET (1118- 1170), became archbishop of Canterbury Becket defends the interests of the Church and opposes the King refusing to comply with the Constitutions of Clarendon (1164). In 1170 Becket is murdered at Canterbury
  • RICHARD I THE LIONHEART 1189 - 1199
  • THIRD CRUSADE (1189 - 1192)
slide32

1066 - 1485

Anglo Norman Period

Middle English

  • JOHN LACKLAND 1199 - 1216
  • Heavy taxes to defend French possessions
  • 1215 MAGNA CHARTA: kingship checked by acceptance of the restraint of law (first step towards the constitutional Monarchy)
  • Simon De Montfort Earl of Leicester in 1258 led a baronial revolt to create a structure of permanent control over the King's policy
  • In 1265 De Montfort called the Ist meeting of the parliament (barons, knights and 2 representatives from each town)
  • 1295 Model Parliament (representatives of the barons, the clergy, two knights from each county and two citizens from each town)
  • EDWARD III 1327 - 1377
  • The idea of CHIVALRY is introduced. The order of the GARTER is founded
  • 1337-1453 HUNDRED YEARS WAR between England and France for French possessions
  • 1348 THE BLACK DEATH (bubonic plague). Religious reformist movement of LOLLARDY
slide33

1066 - 1485

Anglo Norman Period

Middle English

  • RICHARD II 1377 - 1399
  • POLLTAX (4 pence from each lay person of either sex over 14 except for beggars and 12 pence from all members of the religious orders)
  • 1381 PEASANTS' REVOLT
  • 1399 Richard II abdicates forced by his nobles
  • HENRY V 1413 - 1422
  • 1415 Victory of Agincourt in the Hundred Years War
  • HENRY VI 1422 – 1461 (Lancaster)
  • In the Hundred Years War the wave of French patriotism is revived by JOAN OF ARC (1412-1431)
  • The English withdraw to Calais.
  • War of the roses (1455 –1485)
  • 1461 HENRY VI is confined to the Tower of London
  • EDWARD IV 1461 - 1483
  • 1476 CAXTON starts PRINTING PRESS
  • EDWARD V 1483
  • Both Edward IV and V were confined to the tower and murdered
  • RICHARD III Duke of Gloucester 1483 – 1485 (York)
slide34

Middle Ages:

Christianity and culture

  • DRAMA develops in this period because it is used to give peasants a religious education in the mysteries of faith and Bible. It adds a human element to the religious themes, creates characters corresponding to English social types,
  • Liturgical drama: sung dialogues between the celebrants to commemorate above all Nativity and Resurrection
  • Mystery / Miracle plays: in the early 14th century the festival of Corpus Christi is introduced in the month of June and this kind of “sacre rappresentazioni” develop from the procession of the Consecrated Host
    • These include episodes which include human types easily recognisable by everyone
    • Even the setting may be an English one
  • Morality plays (Everyman).
    • Here characters are allegorical personifications of abstractions from theology or symbols of various aspects of human condition: Pride, Envy, Mankind…
    • We have the first pale tentative towards a psychological observation of characters
  • Allegorical tales: aim to make a moral point by tales that aren’t of biblical origin
long narrative epic poem
LONG NARRATIVE EPIC POEM

EPOS = the poets

  • ORAL
  • Special poetic vocabulary
  • Alliteration
  • Repetition
  • Fixed phrases
  • Ornate expressions

OLD ENGLISH POETRY

(Iliad, Odyssey, Aeneid) “BEOWULF”

  • Recollection of a glorious past
  • References to historical events
  • History as frame of the work
  • Canvas as supernatural folk-tales and mythological events
  • Aristocratic, military society
  • Fate of a whole people
  • Mythical hero and his noble heroic actions
  • Praise of the great
  • Brave deeds of heroes
  • Lament at the death of a hero

COMPOSED BY BARDS OR SCOPS

  • BARDS OR SCOPS HAD THE FUNCTION OF
  • Entertaining the audience
  • Historians of the group
  • Objective narration: the poet’s point of view coincides with that of the characters described
  • Nor the poet nor characters criticise the ideals and the customs of their country
  • Initial prologue and beginning in medias res
  • Elevated style
  • Long majestic speeches
  • Rich and various vocabulary
  • Detailed descriptions and lists of objects
  • Vivid pictorial flashes (banquet, battle, voyage, funeral
  • MAIN THEME:
  • The nature of heroic life
    • The function and character of leadership in heroic society
  • DIDACTIC AIM:
    • celebration of the heroic ethic
    • ALL MEN SHOULD DIRECT THEMSELVES TO ACTIONS WHICH LEAD TO GLORY AND PRAISE
poetry

BALLARE = TO DANCE

  • VERSE
  • SONG
  • DANCE
POETRY
  • ORAL ANONYMOUS NARRATIVE POEMS
  • COMPOSED BY COMMON PEOPLE
  • FOR A SIMPLE AUDIENCE
  • WERE SUNG OR RECITED IN ALEHOUSES AND AT FAIRS
  • Simple instrumental accompaniment
  • Simple language
  • stanzas of 2 or 4 lines usually rhyming abcb/ abab
  • Repetition of words or lines
  • Refrain (repetition of 1 ore more lines)
  • Alliteration

TRADITIONAL BALLAD

(13th 14th century)

Reliques of Ancient English Poetry 1765

  • BALLADS OF MAGIC:
    • fairies, ghosts, witchcrafts and transformation
  • BORDER BALLADS:
    • Rivalry between the English and the Scottish people
  • BALLADS OF LOVE AND DOMESTIC TRAGEDY
  • BALLADS OF OUTLAWS
    • Cycle of Robin Hood
  • MAIN THEMES:
    • Supernatural, love, war, family tragedies
  • NO DIDACTIC AIM
  • Narrative as a SEQUENCE OF RAPID FLASHES
  • INCISIVENESS DEPENDS ON THE SELECTION AND JUXTAPOSITION OF FLASHES
  • IMPERSONALITY:
    • the storyteller does not intrude his personality
    • no moralizing approach
  • MIXTURE OF DIALOGUE AND NARRATION
  • REAL AND SUPERNATURAL CHARACTERS (speaking animals and birds, fairies, witches, ghosts)
  • NO CLEAR LINE OF DEMARCATION BETWEEN SUPERNATURAL CREATURES AND ORDINARY MORTALS
  • BALLADS HAD THE FUNCTION OF
  • Entertaining the audience FOCUSING ON ONE SINGLE SITUATION and treating it dramatically
  • USED A SIMPLE LANGUAGE TO ALLOW LISTENERS/READERS TO CONCENTRATE ON THE PLOT
beowulf
Beowulf
  • As a Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford University, J.R.R. Tolkien probably taught Beowulf every year of his working life
  • His scholarly paper, “Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics” brought studies of the poem to the forefront of the academic world
  • Tolkien's imagined world of Arda owes something of it's creation to Beowulf: “Beowulf is among my most valued sources” (Letters, no.25).
  • Tolkien used Beowulf in creating his own works and adopting the good vs. evil archetype. Just as our modern English language is based on the ancient English, Tolkien used Old English words in his creation of names.
  • Tolkien included almost 50 Anglo-Saxon words or phrases from Beowulf in his works.
king arthurian legend
King Arthurian Legend
  • Arthurian legend has become the mirror of the ideal of medieval knighthood and chivalry. Arthur:
    • Was the illegitimate son of UtherPendragon, king of Britain
    • Became king of Britain by successfully withdrawing a sword from a stone.
    • Possessed the miraculous sword Excalibur , given to him by the mysterious Lady of the Lake .
  • Arthur's enemies: sister Morgan le Fay and his nephew Mordred. Morgan le Fay was usually represented as an evil sorceress, scheming to win Arthur's throne for herself.
  • Mordred (or Modred) was variously Arthur's nephew or his son by his sister Morgawse.
    • He seized Arthur's throne during the king's absence.
    • Later he was slain in battle by Arthur, but not before he had fatally wounded the king.
  • Most invincible knights in Arthur's realm: Sir Tristram and Sir Launcelot of the Lake.
  • Sir Gawain, Arthur's nephew, who appeared variously as the ideal of knightly courtesy and as the bitter enemy of Launcelot.
  • After 1225 no significant medieval Arthurian literature was produced on the Continent.
  • In England, however, the legend continued to flourish. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (c.1370), one of the best Middle English romances, embodies the ideal of chivalric knighthood.
  • The last important medieval work dealing with the Arthurian legend is the Morted'Arthur of Sir Thomas Malory , whose tales have become the source for most subsequent Arthurian material.
sir gawain the green knight ca 1370
Sir Gawain & The Green Knight (ca 1370)
  • This poem tells the story of Gawain, a knight and member of King Arthur’s Round Table
  • A perfect example of the idealism and romanticism of chivalry
  • Plot Overview
    • During a New Year’s Eve feast at King Arthur’s court, a strange figure, referred to only as the Green Knight, pays the court an unexpected visit.
      • challenges the group’s leader or any other brave representative to a game: The Green Knight says that he will allow whomever accepts the challenge to strike him with his own axe, on the condition that the challenger find him in exactly one year to receive a blow in return.
    • Arthur hesitates to respond, but when the Green Knight mocks Arthur’s silence, the king steps forward to take the challenge.
the canterbury tales
The Canterbury Tales
  • Englishman Geoffrey Chaucer wrote The Canterbury Tales, a collection of stories in a frame story, between 1387 and 1400.
  • Story about of a group of thirty people who travel as pilgrims to Canterbury (England). The pilgrims, who come from all layers of society, tell stories to each other to kill time while they travel to Canterbury.
  • Chaucer intended that each pilgrim should tell two tales on the way to Canterbury and two tales on the way back. He never finished his enormous project and even the completed tales were not finally revised. Scholars are uncertain about the order of the tales. As the printing press had yet to be invented when Chaucer wrote his works, The Canterbury Tales has been passed down in several handwritten manuscripts.
  • The Canterbury Tales is written in Middle English.

http://academics.vmi.edu/english/audio/GP_Hanks.html

canterbury tales
Canterbury Tales

10     That slepen al the nyght with open yeThose that sleep all the night with open eyes11     (So priketh hem Nature in hir corages),(So Nature incites them in their hearts),12   Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages,           Then folk long to go on pilgrimages,13 And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes,And professional pilgrims (long) to seek foreign shores,14    To ferne halwes, kowthe in sondry londes;To (go to) distant shrines, known in various lands;15  And specially from every shires endeAnd specially from every shire's end16   Of Engelond to Caunterbury they wende,Of England to Canterbury they travel,17  The hooly blisful martir for to seke,To seek the holy blessed martyr,18   That hem hath holpen whan that they were seeke.Who helped them when they were sick.

1    Whan that Aprill with his shoures sooteWhen April with its sweet-smelling showers

2   The droghte of March hath perced to the roote,Has pierced the drought of March to the root,

  • And bathed every veyne in swich licourAnd bathed every vein (of the plants) in such liquid
  • Of which vertu engendred is the flour;By the power of which the flower is created;
  • Whan Zephirus eek with his sweete breethWhen the West Wind also with its sweet breath,
  • Inspired hath in every holt and heethIn every holt and heath, has breathed life into
  • The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonneThe tender crops, and the young sun
  • Hath in the Ram his half cours yronne,Has run its half course in Aries,
  • And smale foweles maken melodye,And small fowls make melody,
the canterbury tales43
The Canterbury Tales
  • Chaucer began work on The Canterbury Tales about 1387
    • and intended for each of his thirty pilgrims to tell four tales, two while traveling to Canterbury and two while traveling from Canterbury.
    • However, only twenty-three pilgrims received a story before Chaucer's death in 1400.
  • Chaucer's Tales gained mass popularity the early fifteenth century => Chaucer = father of the English language.

This facsimile is the first reproduction ever made of this manuscript, considered a prime authority for the text of The Canterbury Tales.

  • “ all ofhumanitymoves through its pages.”
  • Presents humor, at once friendly and satirical.
canterbury tales44
Canterbury Tales
  • A rich, tapestry of medieval social life
    • combining elements of all classes, from nobles to workers, from priests and nuns to drunkards and thieves.
  • When The Canterbury Tales were written:
    • Christianity was the dominant social force throughout western Europe, including England.
    • In 1388, while Chaucer was working on the tales, a change occurred in the way that Christianity was perceived and practiced when John Wycliffe, an English reformer, released a version of the Bible translated into English. For the first time, people from the lower classes, who had not been educated in Latin, could read the Bible themselves instead of having its word interpreted to them by members of the clergy.
canterbury tales45
Canterbury Tales
  • The General Prologue consists of character sketches of each member of the group that is going to Canterbury, as described by Chaucer, who is also a character in his own novel. Any other characters in The Canterbury Tales are created by one of the pilgrims, in stories within the novel. Therefore, these lesser characters are so numerous, that it is counter-productive to give them a character sketch.
  • Since the General Prologue and the main characters overlap almost completely, the character summaries will be combined with the General Prologue, but elaborated on by use of other parts of the text.
  • Chaucer: He is a character in his own novel, and he writes in the first person as an outside observer traveling with the pilgrims on their way to Canterbury.
canterbury tales some of the characters
Canterbury Tales- some of the characters
  • The Knight: a warrior who relies on the code of chivalry. Represents the romanticized standards of the feudal system
  • The Prioress: A nun, named Madame Eglantine. She makes every effort to be refined and elegant, and she cannot bear to see any harm come to any of God’s lesser creatures, like mice. However, when it is her turn to tell a story, hers is violent and full of blood and sorrow.
  • The Merchant: The merchant is obsessed with his wealth, and talks about money constantly.
  • The Wife of Bath: A well-traveled middle-aged woman who has been married five times, not counting other lovers she did not marry. She has a large amount of knowledge from experience, and when she questions the authority of the bible, she does it with a very good background from which to debate it.
  • Poor Priest: lived truly poor and in the service of God. An example of how a traditional priest should live in Chaucer’s time, following the life of Christ.
  • The Miller: a large and strong man, and is one of the best at telling vulgar stories.
  • The Pardoner: A clergyman who is outwardly corrupt. His main motivating factor was money, and so if the sinner had the gold, the Pardoner would favor the sinner and help pardon him.
canterbury tales the retraction
Canterbury Tales: The Retraction
  • Chaucer concludes his tales with praise to Jesus Christ. "Now preye I to hem alle that herknethailiteltretys or / rede, that if ther be any thyng in it that liketh hem, that / therof they thankenoure Lord JesuCrist, of whom procedeth / al wit and al goodnesse" (Chaucer's Retraction, l.1-4).
  • He adds that if anyone does not understand these tales, then it is due to his ignorance and not his intention, which was to fully capture the goodness of Christ in tale. He requests pardon from Christ for any problems there may be with the text.
  • He hopes to be granted mercy and kindness so that he may ascend to heaven at his time and concludes the long tales of Canterbury with this final line: "So that I may been oon of / hem at the day of doome that shulle be saved. Qui cum patre, &cetera." Chaucer's Retraction, l.29-30
why did those pilgrims go to canterbury
Why did those pilgrims go to Canterbury?
  • St. Thomas Becket, (c. 1118 – 29 December 1170) was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1162 to 1170.
  • He is venerated as a saint and martyr by both the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Church.
  • He engaged in conflict with King Henry II over the rights and privileges of the Church and was assassinated by followers of the king in Canterbury Cathedral.
what caused becket s assassination
What caused Becket’s assassination
  • In June 1170, the archbishop of York and the bishops of London and Salisbury held the coronation of Henry the Young King in York.
    • This was a breach of Canterbury's privilege of coronation, for which the Pope suspended the three.
    • That wasn't enough for Becket:
      • in November 1170, he excommunicated all three.
      • the three bishops fled to the king in Normandy,
      • Becket continued to excommunicate his opponents in the church.
      • word of this reached Henry who was in Normandy at the time.
henry is angry
Henry is angry!
  • After these latest venomous reports of Becket's activities, Henry is reported to have raised his head from his sickbed and roared a lament of frustration. The King's exact words are in doubt, and several versions have been reported:
    • "Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?“
    • "Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest?“
    • "Who will rid me of this troublesome priest?“
    • "Who will rid me of this turbulent priest?“
    • "Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?“
    • “Will no one revenge me of the injuries I have sustained from one turbulent priest?“
    • "Will none of the knaves eating my bread rid me of this turbulent priest?“
    • "What a band of loathsome vipers I have nursed in my bosom who will let their lord be insulted by this low-born cleric!“
    • "What miserable drones and traitors have I nourished and brought up in my household, who let their Lord be treated with such shameful contempt by a low-born cleric?"
knights decide to act
Knights decide to ACT!
  • Whatever the King said, it was interpreted as a royal command, and four knights, Reginald FitzUrse, Hugh de Moreville, William de Tracy, and Richard le Breton, set out to consult the Archbishop of Canterbury.
  • On 29 December 1170 they arrived at Canterbury.
  • According to accounts left by the monk Gervase of Canterbury and eyewitness Edward Grim, they placed their weapons under a sycamore tree outside the cathedral and hid their mail armour under cloaks before entering to challenge Becket.
  • The knights informed Becket he was to go to Winchester to give an account of his actions, but Becket refused. It was not until Becket refused their demands to submit to the king's will that they retrieved their weapons and rushed back inside for the killing.
  • Becket, meanwhile, proceeded to the main hall for vespers.
  • The four knights, carrying naked swords, caught up with him in a spot near a door to the monastic cloister, the stairs into the crypt, and the stairs leading up into the quire of the cathedral, where the monks were chanting vespers.
assassination53
Assassination
  • Several contemporary accounts of what happened next exist; of particular note is that of Edward Grim, who was himself wounded in the attack.
  • ...The wicked knight leapt suddenly upon him, cutting off the top of the crown which the unction of sacred chrism had dedicated to God. Next he received a second blow on the head, but still he stood firm and immovable. At the third blow he fell on his knees and elbows, offering himself a living sacrifice, and saying in a low voice, 'For the name of Jesus and the protection of the Church, I am ready to embrace death.' But the third knight inflicted a terrible wound as he lay prostrate. By this stroke, the crown of his head was separated from the head in such a way that the blood white with the brain, and the brain no less red from the blood, dyed the floor of the cathedral. The same clerk who had entered with the knights placed his foot on the neck of the holy priest and precious martyr, and, horrible to relate, scattered the brains and blood about the pavements, crying to the others, 'Let us away, knights; this fellow will arise no more.'
middle ages general timeline

1095-1291C.E.

Crusades

1347 Bubonic Plague

1066 C.E.

Norman invasion of Britain

450 C.E.

Anglo-Saxons invade England

1455 C.E.

Printing Press

1306-1321 Dante’s Divine Comedy

1375-1400 Sir Gawain & Green Knight

1517

Protestant Reformation

1386 C.E.

Chaucer begins writing Canterbury Tales

306 C.E.

Constantine comes to power in Eastern Roman Empire; beginning of Byzantine Empire

Beowulf

Composed

sometime

between

476 C.E.

Fall of Rome

1337-1453

100 Years War

France & England

1453

Fall of Byzantine Empire with invasion of Ottoman Turks

850 C.E.

900 C.E.

Middle Ages: General Timeline