The History of English - Middle English (c. - c. )

 

middle english period literature

Sep 14,  · The Middle English period was a time rich in literature and the arts, and it ranged from approximately A.D. In this lesson, we'll look at some of the key characteristics and literary. Texts in Middle English (as opposed to French or Latin) begin as a trickle in the 13th Century, with works such as the debate poem “The Owl and the Nightingale” (probably composed around ) and the long historical poem known as Layamon's “Brut” (from around the same period). Most of Middle English literature, at least up until the. See also Middle English writings. Anonymous Many of the works of literature from the Middle English period are anonymous and obviously the authors are not listed here. There are anthologies of Middle English literature (see below) in which the works in question – or extracts of these – are to be found, e.g The Owl and the Nightingale, The Fox and the Wolf (both poems in the popular.


Characteristics Of Middle English Literature | English Summary


The Norman Conquest worked no immediate transformation on either the language or the literature of the English, middle english period literature. But even before the conquest, rhyme middle english period literature begun to supplant rather than supplement alliteration in some poems, which continued to use the older four-stress line, although their rhythms varied from the set types used in classical Old English verse.

By the end of the 12th century, English poetry had been so heavily influenced by French models that such a work as the long epic Brut c. The Brut exists in two middle english period literature, one written shortly after and the other some 50 years later.

That the later version has been extensively modernized and somewhat abridged suggests the speed with which English language and literary tastes were changing in this period. The Proverbs of Alfred was written somewhat earlier, in the late 12th century; these proverbs deliver conventional wisdom in a mixture of rhymed couplets and alliterative lines, middle english period literature, and it is hardly likely that any of the material they contain actually originated with the king whose wisdom they celebrate.

The early 13th-century Bestiary mixes alliterative lines, three- and four-stress couplets, and septenary heptameter lines, but the logic behind this mix is more obvious than in the Brut and the Proverbsfor the poet was imitating the varied metres of his Latin source.

More regular in form than these poems is the anonymous Poema morale in septenary couplets, in which an old man delivers a dose of moral advice to middle english period literature presumably younger audience.

By far the most brilliant poem of this period is The Owl and the Nightingale written afteran example of the popular debate genre. The two birds argue topics ranging from their hygienic habits, looks, and songs to marriage, prognostication, and the proper modes of worship. Middle english period literature nightingale stands for the joyous aspects of life, the owl for the sombre; there is no clear winner, but the debate ends as the birds go off to state their cases to one Nicholas of Guildford, a wise man.

The poem is learned in the clerical tradition but wears its learning lightly as the disputants speak in colloquial and sometimes earthy language. Like the Poema moraleThe Owl and the Nightingale is metrically regular octosyllabic coupletsbut it uses the French metre with an assurance unusual in so early a poem. The most idiosyncratic of these is the Ormulum by Orman Augustinian canon in the north of England.

Other biblical paraphrases are Genesis and ExodusJacob and Josephand the vast Cursor mundiwhose subject, middle english period literature, as its title suggests, is the history of the world. The earliest examples of verse romancea genre that would remain popular through the Middle Ages, appeared in the 13th century.

King Horn and Floris and Blauncheflour both are preserved in a manuscript of about Floris and Blauncheflour is more exotic, being the tale of a pair of royal lovers who become separated and, after various adventures in eastern lands, reunited.

Not much later than these is The Lay of Havelok the Danea tale of princely love and adventure similar to King Horn but more competently executed. Many more such romances were produced in the 14th century.

These relatively unsophisticated works were written for a bourgeois audience, and the manuscripts that preserve them are early examples of commercial book production. The humorous beast epic makes its first appearance in Britain in the 13th century with The Fox and the Wolfmiddle english period literature, taken indirectly from the Old French Roman de Renart.

In the same manuscript with this work is Dame Siriththe earliest English fabliau. Another sort of humour is found in The Land of Cockaygnewhich depicts a utopia better than heaven, where rivers run with milk, honey, and wine, geese fly about already roasted, and monks hunt with hawks and dance with nuns.

English literature. Article Media. Info Print Print. Table Of Contents. Submit Feedback. Thank you for your feedback. Load Previous Page. The early Middle English period Poetry The Norman Conquest worked no immediate transformation on either the language or the literature of the English. Influence of French poetry By the end of the 12th century, English poetry had been so heavily influenced by French middle english period literature that such a work as the long epic Brut c.

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middle english period literature

 

English literature - English literature - The early Middle English period: The Norman Conquest worked no immediate transformation on either the language or the literature of the English. Older poetry continued to be copied during the last half of the 11th century; two poems of the early 12th century—“Durham,” which praises that city’s cathedral and its relics, and “Instructions for. Sep 14,  · The Middle English period was a time rich in literature and the arts, and it ranged from approximately A.D. In this lesson, we'll look at some of the key characteristics and literary. See also Middle English writings. Anonymous Many of the works of literature from the Middle English period are anonymous and obviously the authors are not listed here. There are anthologies of Middle English literature (see below) in which the works in question – or extracts of these – are to be found, e.g The Owl and the Nightingale, The Fox and the Wolf (both poems in the popular.