medieval english literature

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When (approx. years and work to work)
Caedmon’s Hymn (end of 7th century) – Everyman (beginning of 16th century) more than 800 years long
-1066-1487
What is left?
30.000 lines of Old english poetry (some just fragments of grater works)
Most dates still unknown.. those we know are mostly guesses
presentism
the act of judging the past by the present; the introduction of present-day ideas and perspectives into depictions or interpretations of the past
How do we divide middle ages?
We divide it into the Old English (Anglo-Saxons) that lasted until the Norman Conquest in 1066 and into the Middle English
just read it
A scandalous idea to the Anglo-centric version of literally history: there were nations and tribes before them; the Anglo-Saxon came to there from the mainland (Beowulf is considered the first English story, but in reality, it was not originally written in English)
Medievalism VS Medieval studies
Medievalism = looking back at the Middle ages
idealized version of them in our minds; it is almost like a middle ages fandom, romanticizing and also architecture
Medieval Studies = looking at the actual Middle ages. Based on different sources and materials from that time, both written and not (castles, tools from that era…)
Hereford Mappa Mundi
1,54m x 1,34m created around 1300
Jerusalem center of the world.
places are represented by their history and symbols, their myths and legends; there are also sketches of different biblical stories, beasts of the world and strange people of the world
The labyrinth of the Minotaur (half boy and half bull) Biblical stories: Noah’s ark, Eden, the tower of Babel in Babylon
Strange people of the world (from faraway places they didn’t know, so they came up with believable ideas;
People with faces on their chest (located in Africa)
People with one giant foot (Africa; to protect them from the hot Sun)
Dog people
The Venerable Bede
The father of English history
Wrote a grammar, topics about miracles, Bible commentaries, spiritual matters
Ecclesiastical History of England by Bede (read notes)
Beowulf
The original author of Beowulf is unknown as well as the precise date of its creation
There is still one original Beowulf copy preserved; it is kept at British Library in London
When was it written
Between 700 and 1000
Sometimes between 5th and 11th century
• Could be sometimes between 750 and 950; the language used in the original is a very mature medieval English
• “Small question with large consequences.” (Colin Chase)
Anglo-Saxon’s descendants want to prove to the world they are older than the German
Kennings (to ken = to know, to recognize)
It is a form of compounding words; we describe one word in terms of other words
helmet bearer = warrior; battle light = sword; sea-roads = river/ocean, etc.
alliteration
Alliteration is repeating sounds of the first or second letter in a series of words, or the repetition of the same letter sounds in stressed syllables of a phrase.
assonance
Repetition of vowel sounds within a line or at the end of lines when the lines end with different consonants. It doesn’t have to rhyme!
Understatement (=litotes)
They are used for a rhetorical effect
• A pararhyme
Rhyming/repeating the same or same-sounding sounds
On-call oncologist (in specific English dialects they sound the same)
Categories: English Literature