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Traditional English Village

Published by: University of North Georgia Press Dahlonega, Georgia

British Literature

Track Name

Medieval Age:

Studying this will enable you to, 

• Describe the migration and/or invasion of successive groups into Britain;

• Analyze the ways that Anglo-Saxon literature assimilated Christian themes;

• Compare how various groups and individuals used the story of King Arthur for political, religious, and revisionist reasons;

• Describe the languages used in Britain over time, leading to Chaucer’s use of English when composing his works;

• Analyze the similarities and differences between the Anglo-Saxon warrior code and the knightly (or chivalric) code in Middle English literature, especially in Malory;

• Analyze the similarities and differences among the portrayals of women in Anglo-Saxon, Anglo-Norman, and Middle English works;

• Analyze the ways that writers use the concept of courtly love, from Marie de France to Malory.


INTRODUCTION Medieval British literature exists because of the waves of successive groups that made the British Isles a melting pot of cultures, with each contributing a piece of the puzzle. The Middle Ages spans over 1000 years of history, which would be impossible to reproduce in much detail in a concise summary; the avid student of history would do well to pick up a textbook (or two) on British medieval history for a more complete picture of events. The purpose of this introduction is to give an outline of major events that affected literature, including who was in Britain at what time, and how literature responded to the changing times. To understand the context of medieval British literature, it is necessary to begin much earlier, in Roman times.

The Greats of Medieval British Literature

Reflections of a Society

The main themes expressed during this period was that of the English Aristocracy. 

Famous Quotes

Time and Tide Wait for No Man

- Geoffrey Chaucer

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