Old and Middle English: Personal and Religious Voices and Historical Texts

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Personal and Religious Voices

First Fragment of Literature- Caedmon՚s Hymn

  • Setting- monastery of Whitby
  • Plot- Caedmon was a lay worker in the monastery and finds the voice of god

Doer՚s Lament

  • First poem in history about unemployment
  • The seafarer and the wanderer: important texts about travelling.

Historical Texts

Venerable Bede՚s Ecclesiastical History of the English People

Written in Latin

The Dream of the Rood

About Christ and His Cross (Rood)

Long Poems

Beowulf

  • Setting: Germanic or the Baltic kingdoms
  • Generation of heroes, warriors and kings
  • Monster- Grendel
  • Beowulf՚s companion: Wiglaf
  • Rewritten in modern English by scot Edwin Morgan and Seamus Heaney

The Battle of Malden

Documentary of a battle of 991

Layamon՚s Brut

  • First national epic in English
  • Tells the story of king Arthur and his knights
  • Traced the foundation of Britain back to Brutus, the hero of the trojan wars

Love Poems

Le Roman De La Rose (The Romance of the Rose)

  • Values of chastity
  • Rose symbolizes the lady՚s love: pure and earthy

Lord Randal

  • Form: ballad and question answer dialogue
  • Ends in lord Randal՚s death

Alliterative Revival

  • Great presence of alliteration or alliterative verse
  • 1350 to early fifteenth century
  • Texts: winner and waster, pearl. Patience (all anonymous)

Winner and Waster

  • Debate form
  • Criticism of pope and priests

Patience

Biblical story of Jonah and the whale

Pearl

  • Dream-vision-narrator sees his dead daughter in a dream
  • The daughter now has perfect knowledge which the living doesn՚t

Fantasy

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

  • Sir Gawain is one of the knights of the round table, the followers of king Arthur
  • He is saved by his magic belt

Questions

Learning Questions
Learning Questions
Learning Questions
Learning Questions

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