English Literature Until 15 Th C.

Topics: The Canterbury Tales, King Arthur, Anglo-Saxons Pages: 11 (2921 words) Published: October 17, 2012
1. Explain meaning of terms and their relevance to Eng Literature (examples, people, time span):

Old English/Anglo-Saxon – language (many different dialects) and culture of Anglo-Saxons, 7th -11th c., lit.: The Ruin, Beowulf, Seafarer etc; Bede, Caedmon, St Columba, St Augustine, Alfred the Great; Early Medival times, migrations, arrival of Christianity, Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Viking Invasion, Germanic heritage, Christian ideology, memory of Roman Empire (myth of origins, Brutus), Celtic elements, traditions (druids, runes, magic), heroic code

Orature – oral transmission of narratives, Beowulf (until it was written down), riddles, chanson de geste, used by scopes, troubadours

Middle English - 12th - 15th c., Norman Conquest – William the Conqueror, French as a language of nobility, Matter of Britain and Englishness, Arthurain myth, lit.: Laustic, Brut, Sir Gawain, Canterbury Tales; Marie de France, G. Chauser, Layamon, feudal system, Doomsday Book, the Plantagenets, crusades, chivalry, courtly love

Mead-hall, scopes and their place in culture – OE period, mead-hall was a place of meeting, telling stories and celebrating, a court of early nobleman (eg in Beowulf), scopes were bards/poets (on courts or travelling), their function was not only to entertain but also preserve oral tradition and history

ubi sunt qui ante nos fuerunt and sic transit gloria mundi, transitoriness – Where are those who were before us, Thus passes the glory of the world, OE existentialism – constant violence and uncertainity of Anglo-Saxon times The Wanderer, The Seafarer, Ecclesiastical History of the English People, The Ruin, everything passes

the Heptarchy – the Anglo-Saxon seven kingdoms (Northumbria, Essex, Wessex, Sussex, Mercia, Kent, East Anglia), 500-850 AD (constant political instability until unification under Egbert)

kenning – OE, whale-road (sea), sleep of the sword (death), shadow-walker (Grendel) in Beowulf, a condensed metahpor made of usally 2 nouns

alliteration – OE, repetition of sound in first syllable of a word in a poem, Beowulf (and many other)

variation – OE, repetition in different words of an element of a sentence, clause or phrase, Beowulf

OE elegiac, gnomic, heroic, religious poetry – heroic/elegiac: Beowulf, The Battle of Maldon, religious/heroic: The Dream of The Rood, elegiac: The Seafarer, The Wanderer, Wulf and Eadwacer, Wife's Lament, gnomic (wisdom poetry): Maxims, the Exter Book, the Vercelli Book; giedd – song, poem, word, riddle, maxim, proverb, sentence; existentialism, life as a struggle, hostility of nature, mare vitae, life as a journey, exile, suffering as blessing,

the Exeter Book - 10th c, the biggest known collection of Old English literature, riddles

wyrd – OE 'fate', fatalism, instability, man cannot change or control fate, Beowulf

Northumbrian reinassance and monastic culture – Northumbrian revival, 7th - 8th c., Insular art (Lindisfarne Gospels), Bede (Ecclesiatical History of the English People, works on theology, cosmology, Latin grammar), idea of English nation (as a chosen one), northumbrian monasteries as intellectual centres and places of intellectual exchange (with monasteries on the continent)

Insular art – Hiberno-Saxon art, insula – island, 7th -12th c., illuminated manucsripts, metalwork, stone crosses (Ruthwell Cross), celtic geometric motives, interlace, northumbrian revival

Franks Casket - 7th c. chest decorated with narrative scenes of Adoration of Magi, myth of Romulus and Remus, Germanic legend and Anglo-Saxon runes, shows all the roots of Anglo-Saxon culture (Christianity, Geramanic traditions, Roman Invasion)

Double entendre riddles – riddles that can be understood in two ways, riddles from Exeter Book

Logo-centrism and pansemiotism – focus on the Holy Logos and the power of words; everything is meaningful, nothing happens without a reason – divine plan

Anglo-Norman – language (together with Latin) and culture of upper...
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