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Medieval period of English Literature (1066-1485)

A brief history of English Medieval period (1066-1485)

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Medieval period of English Literature (1066-1485)

  1. 1. The Medieval Period (1066 – 1485)  Presented by • UMAIR IFTIKHAR • 13131502-051
  2. 2. The Medieval Period (1066 – 1485)  The Norman Conquest , the end of Anglo Saxon period.  William, Duke of Normandy, defeated Harold, King of England  1066The Battle of Hastings  fought on Senlac Hill, seven miles from Hastings,  On September 28, 1066,  William landed in England at Pevensey, on Britain’s southeast coast, with approximately 7,000 troops and cavalry.  On October 13, Harold arrived near Hastings with his army  first Norman king of England, Christmas Day, 1066
  3. 3. William King of England 1066  William the Conqueror, the most powerful duke in France  descendant of the Viking  ruled England with strength and efficiency  Within four years he established his rule all over the country  To eliminate arguments and establish a firm basis for awarding confiscated lands, William ordered an extensive survey of all property, the results of which were recorded in the Domesday Book in 1086.  William introduced into England the system of reciprocal loyalties called feudalism. Under feudalism the land is the property of the king, not of the tribe. He kept huge areas for himself, but made grants of land for his nobles
  4. 4. The Roman Catholic Church  the unifying force as well as powerful institutions.  The religious writings were very popular  Within 10 years of the Conquest only one bishop, of Worchester, and only 2 major monasteries remained under control of English abbots, the rest were Normans appointed by the king, who controlled the wealth of these church estates.  Later the relations between the crown and church became complex. Conflict often arose between church and crown; in England it was settled by Compromise.  The Roman Catholic Church was the unifying force of the age, as well as one of England's most powerful institutions. Clergy and scholars at the abbeys performed the traditional services of educating clergy and nobles and of writing, translating, copying, gathering, and storing manuscripts.
  5. 5. The 3 Estates in the Middle Ages  The idea of estates, or orders, was encouraged during the Age, but this ordering was breaking down.  Clergy  Latin chiefly spoken, those who pray, purpose was to save everyone’s soul  Nobles  French chiefly spoken, those who fight, purpose was to protect— allow for all to work in peace— and provide justice  Commoners  English spoken, those who work, purpose was to feed and clothe all above them
  6. 6. Characteristics of Medieval Literature  Romance  Chivalry  Courtly Love  The miracle and morality play
  7. 7. Chivalry  Refers to the lifestyle and moral code of medieval knights.  The Medieval knight was bound to the chivalric code to be loyal to…  God  his lord  his lady  Chivalric ideals include...  benevolence  brotherly love  politeness  Sir Gawain is an example
  8. 8. Romance  " Romance is a literary genre popular in the Middle Ages, dealing, in verse or prose, with legendary, supernatural, or amorous subjects and characters.  The name refers to Romance languages and originally denoted any lengthy composition in one of those languages.  Later the term was applied to tales specifically concerned with knights, chivalry, and courtly love.  The romance and the epic are similar forms, but epics tend to be longer and less concerned with courtly love." Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, King Horn, Athelston, the song of Ronald(1098) are best examples of Medieval Romance.
  9. 9. The Ideal of Courtly Love  This relationship was modeled on the feudal relationship between a knight and his liege lord.  The knight serves his courtly lady with the same obedience and loyalty which he owes to his liege lord.  She is in complete control; he owes her obedience and submission
  10. 10. The knight's love for the lady inspires him to do great deeds, in order to be worthy of her love or to win her favor.
  11. 11.  “Courtly love" was not between husband and wife because it was an idealized sort of relationship that could not exist within the context of "real life" medieval marriages.  In the middle ages, marriages amongst the nobility were typically based on practical and dynastic concerns rather than on love.
  12. 12. The lady is typically older, married, and of higher social status than the knight because she was modeled on the wife of the feudal lord, who might naturally become the focus of the young, unmarried knights' desire.
  13. 13. Mystery play  Mystery plays were stories taken from the Bible.  Each play had four or five different scenes or acts.  The priests and monks were the actors.  Each scene or act was preformed at a different place in town and the people moved from one stage to the next to watch the play.  The play usually ended outside the church so that the people would go to church and hear a sermon after watching the play.
  14. 14. The Miracle play  The miracle play was about the life or actions of a saint, usually about the actions that made that person a saint.  One popular Miracle play was about Saint George and the dragon.
  15. 15. Morality plays  Morality plays were designed to teach people a lesson in how to live their life according to the rules of the church.  Sometimes these plays had elaborate sets, sometimes no sets at all.  It didn't seem to matter.  The people attended these plays.  They didn't have to, but it was a break from their normal daily lives.
  16. 16. Ballads  Ballads- One of the most popular forms of literature in the  a narrative song.  Ballads told of common folks and of characters and events from legend and folklore.  Consists of stanzas that contain a quatrain , rhyme scheme ABAB  English Lyric Poetry- It was written in the 13t, 14th, 15th centuries and remains anonymous. They are love-lyrics, French – inspired. They render a new fascination with service to a fair lady rather than to a feudal king.
  17. 17. Important figure  William Langland  John Gower  Geoffrey Chaucer
  18. 18. William Langland (1332-1400) and Piers Plowman:  He appears on the manuscripts of his poem  He was born probably near Malvern in 1332 where he was educated at the Benedictine School.  The name of William Langland has a celebrity in the English language for his singular work—The Book of Piers the Plowman. In the English literature of the 14th century, Langland’s Piers the Plowman stands out as the most renowned work.  Satire on the corrupt religious practice  Throws light on the ethical problems of that days.  The characters assumes by him is that of prophet, denouncing the sin of society and encouraging men to aspire to higher life  He was a satiric poet. The feudal system is his ideal he desire no change in that. All will be well if different order of society would do their duties.
  19. 19. John Gower (1325-1408)  He has important place in English Medieval poetry.  He is a great stylist.  He proved that English might complete with the other language which had most distinguished themselves in poetry.  Narrative poet  Works: confession Amantis which is conversation between poet and a divine interpreter. He presents himself as moralist
  20. 20. Geoffrey Chaucer (1345-1400),  ‘Father of English poetry’  a poet who demonstrated the potential of Middle English as a literary language.  He was the son of a wealthy London wine merchant; he became a page in a noble household, and later a high official in the royal service.  He travelled widely in Europe negotiating financial treaties for the crown, and thus became acquainted with the works of Dante, Boccaccio and Petrarch.
  21. 21. There are three stages in his work  at first he wrote in the French courtly style  the allegorical romance(The Romaunt of the Rose)  he came under the influence of Dante and Boccaccio, producing the masterpiece Troylus and Cryseyde (c 1380). He borrowed freely from his Italian source: this was standard medieval practice, as originality counted for little but the weight of a revered authority much.  Chaucer made something unique out of the story about the son of the king of Troy and his unfaithful lover.
  22. 22. Geoffrey Chaucer (1345-1400),  The Canterbury Tales of 1386, the most famous of Chaucer's works, is a collection of stories told (so the framework) by 31 pilgrims resting in a tavern on their way to the shrine of Saint Thomas Becket.  The characters are introduced in the Prologue: they nearly all come from the middle ranks: professional men such as a doctor, lawyer, an official; a merchant, a sailor; there are craftsmen, servants, a woman who has outlived five husbands; a nun, priests and monks.
  23. 23.  Chronology of Chaucer's works  before 1372 The first part of The Romaunt of the Rose  1368-72 The Book of the Duchess  1378-83 The House of Fame  1380-2 The Parlement of Fowls  1382-6 Boece and Troilus and Criseyde  1380-7 Palamon and Arcite  c.1387 The Legend of Good Women  1388-1400 The Canterbury Tales
  24. 24. William Caxton (1424-1491)  William Caxton had a tremendous influence on the preservation of English literature.  A respected translator, Caxton traveled extensively in Europe and probably learned the printing trade in Germany.  After returning to England, he opened his own printing business. Before his death fifteen years later,  he had printed practically all of the English literature available at the time, including Morte d'Arthur and The Canterbury Tales.
  25. 25. Refereces   56009063-Michael-Alexander-A-History-of-English-Literature-1-libre  Henry A. Beers :Brief History of English and American Literature  A new history of English Literature by B.R. MULLICK

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A brief history of English Medieval period (1066-1485)


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