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Part II The Anglo-Norman period


AngloPart II The Anglo-Norman Period (1066(1066-1485) I. The Norman Conquest

1).politically,a feudalist system was established in England 2).religiously, the Rome backed Catholic Church had a much stronger control over the country 3).in language, English was spoken by the common Engish people; French became the official language 4.)with the introduction of the culture and literature of France, Italy and other European countries came into England 1. The Danish Invasion Alfred the Great阿尔弗烈德大帝 was king of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Wessex from 871 to 899. Alfred is noted for his defence of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of southern England against the Vikings, becoming the only English king to be given the epithet "the Great".[1] Alfred was the first King of the West Saxons to style himself "King of the Anglo-Saxons". Details of his life are described in a work by the Welsh scholar and Bishop, Asser. Alfred was a learned man who encouraged education and improved his kingdom's legal system and military structure.( The King succeeded in driving off the Danes. The King started the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. ) Anglo2. The Norman Conquest ended the Anglo-Saxon established the feudalism 3. The Influence of the Norman Conquest on the English Language The Anglo-Saxons, low position; English, despised thing.French words of Warfare and chivalry, art and luxury, science and law, began to come into the English language By the end of the 14th century, when Normans and English intermingled, English was once more the dominant speech in the country. But now it became something different from the old Anglo-Saxon.

II. The Literature of Anglo-Norman Period Literature AngloThe literature which they brought to England is remarkable for its bright, romantic tales of love and adventure, in marked contrast with the strength and somberness of Anglo-Saxon poetry. During the following centuries Anglo-Saxon speech simplified itself by dropping of its Teutonic inflections, absorbed eventually a large part of the French vocabulary, and became the English language. English literature is also a combination of French and Saxon elements. (传奇文学去妨碍了传统的英雄史诗成为这一时期额主导叙事模式。作为中世纪骑士制度的 一种精神产物,传奇文学是英国封建社会发展到成熟阶段的一种社会理想的体现) )

A: Romance The literature for the upper class.
The prevailing form of literature in the feudal England was the Romance. Romance: It was a long composition, sometimes in verse, sometimes in prose, describing the life and adventures of a noble hero. (term) Its essential features are: 1. It lacks general resemblance to truth or reality.



2. It contains perilous adventures more or less remote from ordinary life. 3. It lays emphasis on supreme devotion to a fair lady. 4. The central character is a knight of noble family described as riding forth to seek adventures, taking part in tournaments, of fighting for his lord in battle. He is devoted to the Church and the king. (the knight code) Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is considered the culmination of Romance. The value of romance: Its careful interweaving of one episode with another, the various suspense and surprise as the story unfolds itself, the psychological analysis of the character Sir Gawain has paved the way for the novel writing.



Language style: simple and very straightforward. But nevertheless, the story could not be devoid of defects, for example: sometimes the reader can sense the superstition and supernatural elements. During this period, especially in the second half of the 14th century, the four great works are: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, The Pearl, Piers the Plowman, and Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Popular literature also drew on themes of romance, but with ironic, satiric or burlesque intent. Romances reworked legends, fairy tales, and history to suit tastes, but by c.1600 they were out of fashion and Miguel de Cervantes famously satirised them in his novel Don Quixote Knight: originally meant no more than a household servant, living in the lords hall and to serve him in war, and when necessary to fight for the king. Later, the great barons give lands to knights on condition that they should be ready to fight when called upon. Thus, the feudal system of hierarchy was formed. Knights were at the lowest level of the nobility (upper class); and literature about knights called chivalric literature. The system called chivalry. (1)Classes The great majority of the romances fall into groups or cycles, as a. the “matters of Britain” (adventures of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table) b. the “matters of France”, tales centering about Charlemagne and his peers c. the “matters of Greece and Rome”, an endless series of fabulous tales about Alexander, and about the fall of Troy (2) The Class Nature of the Romance The theme of loyalty to king and lord was repeatedly emphasized in romances. The romances had nothing to do with the common people. They were composed for the noble, of the noble, and in most cases by the poets patronized by the noble. (3) Arthurian romances There were many cycles of Arthurian romances, chief of which are those of Sir Gawain and Green Knight. Explanation of Sir Gawain and Green Knight. The story of Gawain contains four sections, 2530 lines, derived from Celtic legend. It is written in an elaborate stanza combining meter and alliteration. At the end of each stanza, there is a rimed refrain.





RHYME (from Old French, rime meaning "series," in turn adopted from Latin rithmus and Greek rhythmos): Also spelled rime, rhyme is a matching similarity of sounds in two or more words, especially when their accented vowels and all succeeding consonants are identical. For instance, the word-pairs listed here are all rhymes: skating/dating, emotion/demotion, fascinate/deracinate, and plain/stain. METER: A recognizable though varying pattern of stressed syllables alternating with syllables of less stress. Compositions written in meter are said to be in verse. There are many possible patterns of verse. Each unit of stress and unstressed syllables is called a "foot." GENRE: A type or category of literature or film marked by certain shared features or conventions. The three broadest categories of genre include poetry, drama, and fiction. These general genres are often subdivided into more specific genres and subgenres. For instance, precise examples of genres might include murder mysteries, westerns, sonnets, lyric poetry, epics, tragedies, etc. STANZA: An arrangement of lines of verse in a pattern usually repeated throughout the poem. Typically, each stanza has a fixed number of verses or lines, a prevailing meter, and a consistent rhyme scheme. A stanza may be a subdivision of a poem, or it may constitute the entire poem. Early English terms for a stanza were "batch," "stave," and "fit." REFRAIN: A line or set of lines at the end of a stanza or section of a longer poem or song--these lines repeat at regular intervals in other stanzas or sections of the same work. Sometimes the repetition involves minor changes in wording. THEME: A central idea or statement that unifies and controls an entire literary work. The theme can take the form of a brief and meaningful insight or a comprehensive vision of life; it may be a single idea such as "progress" (in many Victorian works), "order and duty" (in many early Roman works), "seize-the-day" (in many late Roman works), or "jealousy" (in Shakespeare's Othello). The theme may also be a more complicated doctrine, such as Milton's theme in Paradise Lost, "to justify the ways of God to men," or "Socialism is the only sane reaction to the labor abuses in Chicago meat-packing plants" (Upton Sinclair's The Jungle). A theme is the author's way of communicating and sharing ideas, perceptions, and feelings with readers, and it may be directly stated in the book, or it may only be implied. MOTIF: A conspicuous recurring element, such as a type of incident, a device, a reference, or verbal formula, which appears frequently in works of literature. For instance, the "loathly lady" who turns out to be a beautiful princess is a common motif in folklore, and the man fatally bewitched by a fairy lady is a common folkloric motif appearing in Keats‘ works.













The theme of the story:
The story seems to show the testing of faith, courage and purity, and the proving of human weakness for self-preservation. The two motifs provide the poem with unmistakable traits of chivalric romances, plus some strong Christian coloring.

Significance of the color Green



Given the varied and even contradictory interpretations of the colour green, its precise meaning in the poem remains ambiguous. In English folklore and literature, green was traditionally used to symbolizes nature and its associated attributes: fertility and rebirth. Stories of the medieval period also used it to allude to love and the base desires of man. Because of its connection with faeries and spirits in early English folklore, green also signified witchcraft, devilry and evil. It can also represent decay and toxicity. When combined with gold, as with the Green Knight and the girdle, green was often seen as representing youth's passing. In Celtic mythology, green was associated with misfortune and death, and therefore avoided in clothing. The green girdle, originally worn for protection, became a symbol of shame and cowardice; it is finally adopted as a symbol of honour by the knights of Camelot, signifying a transformation from good to evil and back again; this displays both the spoiling and regenerative connotations of the colour green.

B: The Ballad


Literature for the lower class.

A ballad is a story told in song, usually in 4-line stanzas, with the second and fourth lines rhymed. (term) The subjects of ballads are various in kind, as the struggle of young lovers against their feudal-minded families, the conflict between love and wealth, the cruelty of jealousy, the criticism of the civil war, and the matters of class struggle. Of paramount importance are the ballads of Robin Hood.

C : William Langland
Piers the Plowman (1)It is a long poem of over 7,000 lines. The poem set forth a series of wonderful dreams, through which we can see a picture of feudal England. It opens with a description of the author’s visionary wandering in the Malvern Hills, where he fell asleep, dreaming of a fair field full of people. Some were industriously employed in ploughing and sowing, only the idlers might waste the fruits of their labor. Langland's Piers Plowman is one of the strangest and one of the greatest poems of the Middle Ages. As spiritual allegory and social satire, it is not comparable with any other poem. Its chain of dream visions relates not only to the practical problems of medieval life, but also to the whole gamut of Christian attitudes towards God. Langland is sometimes plain and forthright, sometimes clumsy and obscure, but these limitations are utterly outweighed by his gifts for both comedy and lyricism and by moments of real sublimity. (2) Satirize corruption among clergyman and the secular authorities (3) Upholds the dignity and value of labor (4) It takes the form of a dream vision, a favorite device of medieval poems 总 括

Literature achievement in Middle English Period
1.Romance: ( for noble ) 2.Ballads: ( folk literature) (oral)( for English people) 3. Poetry:

1) William Langland (popular literature) 2) Chaucer ( the founder of English literature) 1. Romance: It is the most prevailing kind of literature in England on feudal period. It is a long composition, in verse or in prose. It describes the life and adventures of a noble hero. The central theme is loyalty to king and Lord. The code of manners and morals of a knight is Chivalry. The most important romance is king Arthur and his knights of the Round Table. 2. Ballads: a. It is the most important form of English folk literature. b. It is a story told in song, usually in 4-line stanzas with the second and fourth line rhymed. c. It is a literature of common people,( mainly the literature of the peasants) from them one is able to understand the outlook of the English common people in feudal society. d. It flourished in England in the 15th century. e. The most important ballads in England are Robin Hood . 3. Poetry William Langland: a. life: b. content: 1.attack on the corruption of the rich and the wickedness of clergy 2.the political situation of the time 3.search for truth 4. attack on the seven Deadly Sins: (pride, lechery (色欲) ,envy, wrath, Avarice, glutton, sloth) c. Social significance: 1.a classic of popular literature 2.kindled the toiling people’s sense of human dignity and equality before God 3.arousing revolutionary sentiment d. artistic features: 1.It is written in the form of a dream vision. 2.It is an allegory which relates truth through symbolism. But in the main, it is a realistic picture of medieval England. 3. The poem uses satire in his description of social abuses caused by the corruption 4.The poem is written in alliteration. 5.language style: lively speech of the countryside , blunt and unpolished words.


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