The Middle Ages Chaucer Malory

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  • 1. The Middle Ages
    • Approximately 500-1500 AD
    • After the fall of Rome/before the Renaissance
    • “ The Dark Ages”
    • No Central Government
    • Church the only unifying element
    • Feudalism
    • Illiteracy
    • Literature preserved by monks
  • 2. Courtly Tradition (Chivalry)
    • Courtly Love…
      • NOT to be confused with Courtney Love
      • Nothing to do with marriage
      • Often between a knight and the wife of someone else
      • Is where modern love evolved from
  • 3. The Norman Conquest
    • William The Conqueror in 1066
    • Anglo-Saxons now served the French
    • Thousands of borrowed words from the French (“pork” and “pig”)
    • Shift from Old to Middle English—much less complex
    • Mixed cultures-Folklore and legends of French mixed with English
    • Le Morte D’Arthur incorporated French stories
  • 4. Sir Thomas Malory
    • Personal life very different from knightly virtues of works
    • Was frequently in trouble with the Norman authorities
    • Accused of robbery, extortion, attempted murder and rape (of a nun )
    • Jailed several times. Once broke jail by swimming a moat
  • 5. Sir Thomas Malory
    • He was excluded from four general pardons
    • Made powerful enemies by not submitting to Norman rule
    • Wrote Le Morte d’Arthur while in prison
    • Did not write the first King Arthur story, but it’s the most popular
    • Was attempting to create a rallying point for British people
    • Made prose acceptable as an art form
  • 6. Courtly Tradition ( Chivalry )
    • A knight must…
      • Be absolutely loyal to his king
      • Be honorable and courageous
      • Protect the weak and poor
      • Serve his lady
  • 7. Geoffrey Chaucer
    • The father of British Literature
    • Wealthy family, but not royalty (“Chaucer” meant “shoemaker” in French)
    • A favorite of the British Court
    • Was a soldier, diplomat, clerk and held other sundry jobs
      • Familiar with all aspects of life
  • 8. Geoffrey Chaucer
    • The Canterbury Tales was written as a “hobby”
      • On of the great masterpieces of British Lit.
      • Picture of medieval life
    • Buried in Westminister Abbey- the first writer to be so honored
      • Section is now called “Poets’ Corner”
  • 9. The Pilgrimage Approximately 60 miles