middleage 2

By Joshua Stevens,2014-07-24 01:55
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middleage 2

    Old English and Middle Ages

    thI. Historical background (450-15 century)

    the Iberians ( 3000-2000B.C.)

    the Celts from west of France (400 B.C)

    Welsh and Irish language and culture

    ; 3 conquests/invasions thth--- Roman (4 to the 6 cen.): politics of self-government, transportation system,

    cities, Latin language and Christianity (little remained)

    th--- English/Anglo-Saxon Conquest ( Angles, Saxons, Jutes 7-1066)

    A. Germanic tribes from the east: Scandinavia, Denmark and Germany B. the Pagans/heathens异教徒

    C. enslaved the Celts and drove others to Wales, Scotland and Ireland D. began feudalism, paing way for new social strata: serfs农奴freemen自由民

    --thanes乡士--earls爵爷kings王爷 farmers农民

    E. a medley of different races/ethnic groups; of multiple influences and different

    cultural and political orders

    [In 597 St. Augustine from Rome brought Christianity. Within 100 years the whole England was Christianized. Heathen people with their paganism withdrew to remote areas. There was a mixture of paganism and Christianity.]

---Norman Conquest ;in 1066 by William, Duke of Normandy from Northern


    thA. further established feudalism, and ended the slave system in 14 cen.

    B. powerful Popedom教皇制 established (1/3 of land, political right, wide moral

    degeneration of the clericals--- e.g. penances or pardons 赦罪令

    thC. highly centralized royal power, but conceded in the 13 cen. with establishment

    of parliament (1215 the Magna Carta/King John)

    D. communication with the outside world: diplomatic relations, development of

    trade and increasing strength for tradesmen and skilled professionals E. influence from outside world in ideology

    F. coexistence of 3 languages:

    Latin, the clerical and learned;

    French, noblemen and royal court;

    A-S native English/ Celtic dialect (vernacular) for the common

    th [Not until the 13 century did English enter the world of official discourse 官方

    th. 1258 Henry III issued a proclamation布告 in 3 languages, 14 cen., 用语

    parliament and court allowed English.]

    ; Major cultural/social aspects of the period 1. socially:

    a) transition from tribal /early feudal society --- centralised royal government;

    b) the establishment of feudal system and the gradual decline;

    c) social hierarchy 等级制 formed;

    d) town’s or city middle-class appeared (traders/merchants, craftsmen, gilds)

2. politically:

    a) tribal system

    b) 3-cornered government: Crown: Barons: Church;

    thc) Crown: Parliament (from 13 c);

3. Economically:

    a) agricultural to manufacturing (wool, weaving, mass movement from the


    thb) foreign trade started to reach a scale in 16 century

    c) the Black Death in 1349 killed off over 1/3 of the population, labor dear;

    high-pay work in cities

4. religiously:

    from paganism to Christianity, esp. since 597 Augustine;

    Roman Catholicism predominant

(The Dark Age: blind belief of Roman Catholicism and after-life; stagnant

    philosophical and artistic development; a period of miracles and witchcraft)

II. Literature (secular)

    ---the Old English (until A-S period) and Middle English (after 1066) ---beginning: tales passed on orally by gleemen or minstrels 吟唱诗人until

    Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey (c. 800 B.C.)

; Old English Period : Beowulf, an Epic

     A. the most important existent work; the national epic of Anglo-Saxons

    B. written in 7-8 cen.

    C. partly-historical and partly-legendary D. Not about England but their homeland in Denmark

     E. epic form: a long verse narrative on the exploits of a national hero, Beowulf

    F. the primitive people’s heroic struggle against hostile forces of the natural world

    under a wise leader

    G. pagan elements + Christian coloring: Fate”, “God’, “Lord”

    J. alliteration and Germanic language

; Middle English Literature

A. Romance 罗曼史

    ---Roman, French matters for subjects: Trojan War, Charlemagne, Roland and the

    knights; chivalric ;

     ---English romance: King Arthur and his round-table knights;

    Sir Gawain and the Greenknight” (1360-1370),

    Le Morte d’Arthur” by Sir Thomas Malory

    B. Religious writings and translations (from Hebrew to Latin):

    Langland’s “Piers the Plowman”

C. Poetic form: alliterative poetry头韵诗

    metrical poetry韵律诗

III. Geoffrey Chaucer (1340-1400)

    Father of English poetry /literature

; 3 periods of creation:

    Romaunt of the Rose, translation French

    Italian (after Dante Divine Comedy, Petrarch and Boccaccio, Decameron):

    The House of Fame,

    The Legend of Good Women,

    Troylus and Criseyde

    British (1386-1400) The Canterbury Tales

; Contributions:

    A. the first to present a comprehensive and realistic picture of the English

    society of his time and created a whole gallery of vivid characters from all

    walks of life in his masterpiece The Canterbury Tales

    B. introduced from France the rhymed stanzas of various types to replace the Old

    English alliterative verse

    C. the first to use the rhymed couplet of iambic pentameter/heroic couplet

; Canterbury Tales:

    The story: 29 pilgrims, and the poet on the way to Canterbury, stopped at an inn. At

    the proposal of the host of the Tabard Inn each was to tell 4 stories on the way

    to and back from Cant. Host be the guide and judge, the best teller gets a free

    supper at the cost of all the rest upon their return to the inn. Should have been

    120 stories, but only 24 completed and preserved, 2 incomplete, 2 unfinished.

Theme: influenced by the early Italian Renaissance, he affirms man’s right to

    pursue earthly happiness and opposes asceticism 禁欲说; praises man’s

    energy, intellect, and love of life; exposes and satirizes the social evils, esp. the

    religious abuses

    structure: General prologue (occasion, characters); a separate prologue between

    two stories

characterization: vivid portrayal of individualized 个性化characters of the society

    and of all professions and social strata except the highest and the lowest

    1. shows respect for the two landed gentry, the plowman and the parson;

    2. satirizes all the religious people (except the parson)who are guilty of sins:

    Pride, Wrath, Envy, Lust, Gluttony, Avarice, and Sloth

    3. shows a growing sense of self-importance of the trades/ towns people,

    reflecting the changing social status, esp. in towns and cities

Style: lively, vivid Middle-Age English, satire, humour, Heroic Couplet;

    of unequal merits

the 3 famous tales:

    A. the Wife of Bath’s tale of an Arthurian knight

    B. the Oxford clerk’s of a patient young lady

    C. the Franklin小地主’s about a wife’s full submission to her husband

Key information for Memory

     3 conquests

     Beowulf (A-S national epic/Old English literature/native subject/alliteration)

     “Sir Gawain and the Greenknight”, anonymous

     William Langland’s Piers the Plowman, religious

     Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales

     romance; heroic couplet; alliteration; epic; metric poem

Reference questions for Unit 2:

    1. What is Renaissance? How and why did it come about?

    2. What is the development of drama? What were the original forms and content

    and practice of drama?

    3. Why did drama flourish in Elizabethan age? Who are the major playwrights of

    the time?

    4. Who is Marlowe? What contributions did he make to English drama?

    5. Who is Shakespeare? What famous and great plays (history, comedy, tragedy)?

    What features?

    6. What did Jonson write about? Representative work?

7. Prepare the excerpt from Hamlet (p.31-32). What is it mainly about? What

humanist idea can you find in the soliloquy?

8. Macbeth (p.44-48).

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