Lecture 1 The Anglo-Saxon Period_ The Anglo-Norman Period

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Lecture 1 The Anglo-Saxon Period_ The Anglo-Norman Period Powered By Docstoc
					 Lecture 1 The Anglo-
Saxon Period, The Anglo-
    Norman Period

   Part I Introduction to the
    appreciation of Poetry
       1. Types of poetry

          1. Types of poetry

Narrative poetry        Lyric poetry
       Narrative poetry

          Narrative poetry

epic           Ballad        romance
• Epics are long narrative poems that record the
  adventures of a hero whose exploits are
  important to the history of a nation. Typically
  they chronicle the origins of a civilization and
  embody its central beliefs and values. Epics tend
  to be larger than life as they recount heroic
  deeds enacted in vast landscapes. The style of
  epic is as grand as the action; the conventions
  require that the epic be formal, complex, and
  serious--suitable to its important subjects
• Ballads originally were meant to be sung or recited.
• Folk ballads (or popular ballads sometimes called) were
  passed on orally, only to be written down much later.
• literary ballads of known authorship. Literary ballads
  imitate the folk ballad by adhering to its basic
• repeated lines and stanzas in a refrain, swift action with
  occasional surprise endings, extraordinary events
  evoked in direct, simple language.
• Romance was a long composition,
  sometimes in verse, sometimes in prose,
  describing the life and adventures of a
  noble hero.
• The central character of romances was the
  knight, riding forth to seek adventures,
  taking part in tournaments, devoted to the
  church and the king.
• The code of manners and morals of a
  knight is known as chivalry.
             Lyric poetry
• In lyric poetry, however, story is
  subordinated to song, and action to
• subjective poems that express the feelings
  and thoughts of a single speaker .
• Lyric poetry is typically characterized by
  brevity, melody, and emotional intensity.
         major forms of lyrics
• Epigram,a brief witty poem,often satirical
• Elegy, a lament for the dead
• Ode, a long stately poem in stanzas of
  varied length, meter, and form.
• Aubade, a love lyric expressing complaint
• Sonnet, a poem of fourteen lines, an
  expression of emotion or an articulation of
         Elements of poetry
• Voice: speaker and tone. When we read or
  hear a poem, we hear a speaker's voice. The
  voice conveys the poem's tone, its implied
  attitude toward its subject, e.g. ironic tone of
• Diction, Poets choose a particular word. Its
  appropriateness is a function of both its
  denotation and its connotation, the best words in
  the best order.
• Imagery, an image is a concrete representation
  of a sense impression, a feeling, or an idea.
• Figures of speech. hyperbole or
  exaggeration, understatement,
  synecdoche or using a part to signify the
  whole, metonymy or substituting an
  attribute of a thing for the thing itself,
  personification, simile and metaphor,
  "saying one thing and meaning another,
  saying one thing in terms of another".
• Symbolism, any object or action that
  means more than itself, any object or
  action that represents something beyond
• Syntax, grammatical structure of words in
  sentences and the development of
  sentences throughout the poem.
• Sound: rhyme, alliteration and assonance
• Rhythm and meter
• Rhythm is the pulse or beat we feel in a
  phrase of music or a line of poetry.
  Rhythm refers to the regular recurrence of
  the accent or stress in poem or song.
• Meter is a count of the stresses we feel in
  the poem's rhythm. The unit of poetic
  meter in English is the foot, a unit of
  measure consisting of stressed and
  unstressed syllables.
                 Foot      Meter    Example
•   Rising feet iamb       iambic     prevent
                 anapest anapestic comprehend
•   Falling feet trochee trochaic football
                  dactyl dactylic      cheerfully
•   Substitute feet spondee spondaic knick-knack
                     pyrrhic pyrrhic (light) of the (world)
•   Duple meters: two syllables per foot: iambic and
•   Triple meters: three syllables per foot: anapestic and
    dactylic .
•   Number of feet per line
•   One foot    Monometer
•   Two feet    Dimeter
•   Three feet  Trimeter
•   Four feet   Tetrameter
•   Five feet   Pentameter
•   Six feet    Hexameter
•   Seven feet Heptameter
•   Eight feet  Octameter
 Part II. The Anglo-Saxon Period(449-1066)
(Old English literature, 5th-11th centuries)

• The Britons, early inhabitants in the
  island, a tribe of Celts. Britain, the land of
• The Roman Conquest, in 55 B.C., Britain
  was invaded by Julius Caesar, the Roman
  conqueror; in 410 A.D, all the Roman
  troops went back to the continent and
  never returned. Thus ended the Roman
  occupation in Britain.
• The English Conquest
• At the same time Britain was invaded by swarms
  of pirates, three tribes from "Northern” Europe:
  the Angles, Saxons and Jutes, by the 7th
  century these small kingdoms were combined
  into a united kingdom called England, or, the
  land of Angles. And the three dialects spoken by
  them naturally grew into a single language
  called Anglo-Saxon or Old English, which is
  quite different from the English that we know
         Part III "Beowulf”
• I. Anglo-Saxon Poetry: English literature
  began with the Anglo-Saxon settlement in
  England. Of Old English literature, five
  relics are still preserved. All of them are
  poems, or, songs by the Anglo-Saxon
  minstrels who sang of the heroic deeds of
  old time to the chiefs and warriors in the
  feasting-hall. There is one long poem of
  over 3,000 lines. It is "Beowulf”, the
  national epic of the English people.
   II. The Story of " Beowulf”
• Beowulf is the nephew of Hygelac King of the Geats, a
  people in Denmark.
• News reaches him that Hrothgar, king of the Danes has
  built a great hall. But a terrible monster, Grendel, visits
  the hall from night to night and carries the warriors away.
• Beowulf sails for Denmark with fourteen companions and
  offers to fight the monster.
• he cuts off the head of the she-monster. There, too, he
  finds the body of Grendel .
• he becomes king and reigns over his people for fifty
• The fire dragon is killed at last, but Beowulf is hopelessly
  wounded and dead later.
    III. Analysis of Its Content
•  "Beowulf" is a folk legend brought to England by Anglo-
  Saxons from their continental homes. Its main stories
  ( the fights with monsters are evidently folk legends of
  primitive Northern tribes. They had to struggle against
  the forces of nature, which remained mysterious and
  unknown to them. They were brave but superstitious.
  Such is the background of the marvellous stories in
• Beowulf is a grand hero. He is faithful to his people. He
  goes alone, in a strange land, to rescue his people. He
  forgets himself in face of death, thinking only that it
  profits others. Though the poem was written in the tenth
  century, its hero was no doubt mainly the product of a
  primitive, tribal society on the continent.
    IV. Features of "Beowulf"
• The most striking feature is the use of
• the use of metaphors." Ring-giver" is used for
  king, "hearth-companions" for his attendant
  warriors, "swan’s bath"or “whale”s road" for sea,
  "sea-wood” for ship.
• the use of understatements, "not troublesome”
  for very welcome, "need not praise" for a right to
  condemn, give an impression of reserve and at
  time a tinge of ironical humour.
                Part IV Exercise

•     Answer the following questions.
    1. What are the main incidents of the poem
    2. What are the main characteristics of Anglo-
        Saxon literature?
     1.Main incidents of Beowulf
①. Beowulf’s fight with the monster
 Grendel in Hrothgar’s hall.
②. Beowulf’s slaying of Grendel’s mother in
 her lair.
③. Beowulf’s return in glory to his uncle, and
 his succession to the throne.
④. Beowulf’s victory in death, 50 years later,
 over the fire dragon.
   2. Main Characteristics of Anglo-Saxon
       literature (old English Literature)
①. a verse literature in oral form.
②. the creators for the most part are unknown.
③. two groups of English poetry: pagan poetry
 represented by Beowulf and religious poetry by
 Caedmon and Cynewulf.
④. in the 8th century, Anglo-Saxon prose
 appeared represented by Venerable Bede and
 Alfred the Great
              Part V
The Anglo-Norman Period(1066-1350)
• I. The Danish invasions:
•     About 787, the English began to be troubled
  by hands of Danish vikings. King Alfred the
  Great(849-901) succeeded in driving the Danes
  off with force. King Alfred set himself to the task
  of encouraging education and literature. He
  translated some works from Latin himself. More
  important as a literary work is the Anglo-Saxon "
  Chronicle", which begins with Caesar's conquest
  and is a monument of Old English prose.
• II. The Norman Conquest:
•      The French-speaking Normans under Duke
  William came in 1066. After defeating the
  English at Hastings, William was crowned as
  King of England. It was called the Norman
•      William the Conqueror ruled England with a
  high hand. He confiscated the lands of the
  English lords and, regarding whole England as
  his own. bestowed large patches of land to his
  Norman barons. The Norman barons in turn
  divided their lands among their own knights. The
  Norman Conquest marks the established of
  feudalism in England.
• III. The Influence of the Norman Conquest on the English
• After the Norman Conquest, the general relation of Normans and
  Saxons was that of master and servant. The Norman lords spoke
  French, while their English subjects retained their old tongue: For a
  long time the scholar wrote in Latin and the courtier in French. There
  was almost no written literature in English for a time, Chronicles and
  religious poems were in Latin. Romances, the prominent kind of
  literature in the Anglo-Norman period, were at first all in French.
• By the end of the fourteenth 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. The structure of the language remained English, and the
  common words were almost all retained, though often somewhat
  modified in form. But many terms employed by the Normans were
  adopted into the English language. The situation is typified by the
  use of the English "calf", "swine" and "sheep” for the animals when
  tended by the Saxon herdsmen, and of the French "veal", "pork" and
  "mutton" for the flesh served at the noble's table.
• Part VI The Romance
• I. The Content of Romance:
• The most prevailing kind of literature in feudal England
  was the romance. It was a long composition, sometimes
  in verse, sometimes in prose, describing the life and
  adventures of a noble hero. The central character of
  romances was the knight, a man of noble birth skilled in
  the use of weapons. He was commonly described as
  riding forth to seek adventures, taking part in
  tournaments, or fighting for his lord in battle. He was
  devoted to the church and the king. The code of
  manners and morals of a knight is known as chivalry.
  One who wanted to be a knight should serve an
  apprenticeship as a squire until he was admitted to the
  knighthood with solemn ceremony and the swearing of
• II. The Romance Cycles: The great majority of the
  romances fall into groups or cycles, as the" matters of
  Britain" (adventures of King Arthur and his Knights of the
  Round Table), and the "matters of France” (Emperor
  Charlemagne and his peers), and the matters of
  Rome" (Alexander the Great and so forth). The romance
  of King Arthur is comparatively the more important for
  the history of English literature. It has its origin in Celtic
  legends, its beginning in Geoffrey of Monmouth's
  "History of the Kings of Britain" and Layamon's "Brut “,
  its culmination in “ Sir Gawain and the Green Knight",
  and its summing up in Thomas Malory”s "Mort
  D’Arthur"(in English prose).
•     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.
• Part VII "Piers the Plowman"
•      Amid the darkness and barrenness of the Middle
  Ages, there was one work which shows the existence, of
  English popular literature. It was "Piers the Plowman", a
  long poem of over 7,000 lines, written by William
  Langland (1332-1400). It was written in the old
  alliterative verse: each line contained three alliterative
  words, two of which were placed in the first half, and the
  third in the second half.
•      Piers is a peasant, whose simple, honest, and
  straight-forward character.
•      Piers the Plowman "is one of the greatest of English
  poems. It is written in the form of a dream vision, and the
  author, tells his story under the guise of having dreamed
  it. This was a usual method in medieval literature. The
  poem is also an allegory which uses symbolism to relate
  truth. But, in the main," Piers the Plowman" is a realistic
  picture of medieval England. Its artistic merit may be
  shown by its portraits of the Seven Deadly Sins: Pride,
  Lechery, Envy, Wrath, Avarice, Sloth, Glutton.
• Part VIII Outline of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
• Sir Gawain and the Green Knight contains four “fits” or
  sections. In the first fit, King Arthur is holding at Camelot
  his Christmas feast of 15 days with all his knights of the
  Round Table. The second fit begins with a lengthy
  description of the passing of the four seasons, from
  spring through summer and autumn and back to winter
  again, and Arthur makes a feast to send Gawain off on
  his journey. The third fit tells of the three days of
  Gawain’s sojourn at the castle. The fourth fit begins with
  a description of the stormy snow weather on the New
  Year’s Day as Gawain gets ready to go to the Green
• Though there are no descriptions of battles or jousts, the
  two main motifs in the story, the tests of faith, courage
  and purity and the human weakness for self-
  preservation, that point to the nobility as well as the
  humanness of the hero, provide the poem with
  unmistakable traits of chivalric romances, plus some
  strong Christian colouring.
• However, the heroic adventures of sir
  Gawain and King Arthur as related in the
  poem were sought after and carried out
  rather for adventures’ sake than any truly
  worthy cause, and in this sense the
  romance in its true significance falls short
  of a poem like Beowulf where the heroic
  deeds were performed to help the hero’s
  kinsfolk out of their distress or to protect
  them from disaster.
•      Part IX Exercises
    1. Fill the following blanks.
    1. In the year 1066, the Normans defeated the Anglo-Saxons at the
            battle of __________. Hastings
    2. In the 14th century, the two most important writers are
            ______________ and Langland. Chaucer
    3. Today Chaucer is acclaimed not only as “the father of English
            Poetry” but also as “the father of English fiction”. His
            masterpiece is ___________. The Canterbury Tales
    4. The fifteenth century has been described as the barren age in
            English literature. But it is the spring tide of English
            ________. ballads
    5. In the 15th century, there is only one important prose writer
            whose name is _____. He wrote an important work called
            Morte D’Arthur. Thomas Malory
    2. Choose the best answer for each statement.
      1. In 1066, _______ led the Norman army to invade and defeat England.
•        a. William the Conqueror          b. Julius Caesar
•        c. Alfred the Great               d. Claudius
      2. In the 14th century, the most important writer is _______.
•        a. Langland                   b. Wyclif
•        c. Gower                      d. Chaucer
      3. The prevailing form of Medieval English literature is the ________.
•        a. French                     b. Latin
•        c. romance                     d. science
      4. The story of “ ____________” is the culmination of the Arthurian
          a. sir Gawain and the Green Knight
          b. The story of Beowulf
          c. Piers the plowman
          d. The Canterbury Tales
      5. William Langland’s “__________” is written in the form of a dream
•        a. Kubla Khan                       b. Piers the Plowman
•        c. The Dream of John Bull           d. Morte D’Arthur
3. Answer the following Questions.
 1. What is the influence of the Norman
     Conquest upon English Language and
 2. What are the essential features of romance in
     the Medieval English literature?
 3. Make comments on the romance “ Sir
     Gawain and the Green Knight”.
• Keys:
1. the influence of the Norman Conquest upon
  English Language and literature:
• ①. chivalry was introduced into England
• ②. three languages existed in England. The
  Normans spoke French, the lower class spoke
  English, and the scholars and clergymen used
• ③. the literature was varied in interest and
  extensive in range.
• ④. the prevailing form of literature is Romance.
2. the essential features of romance in the
     Medieval English literature:
•      It was a long composition, sometimes in
     verse, sometimes in prose, describing the life
     and adventures of a noble hero.
• ①.The central character of romances was the
     knight, a man of noble birth skilled in the use of
•     ②. it exaggerates the vices of human nature
     and idealizes the virtues.
•     ③. it contains adventures far from ordinary
•     ④. it emphasizes devotion to a lady.
3. Make comments on the romance “ Sir Gawain and the Green
• ①. Romance was a long composition, sometimes in verse,
   sometimes in prose, describing the life and adventures of a noble
• A.The central character of romances was the knight, a man of noble
   birth skilled in the use of weapons.
• B. it exaggerates the vices of human nature and idealizes the
• C. it contains adventures far from ordinary life.
• D. it emphasizes devotion to a lady.

•    ②. derived from Celtic legend, in form, the combination of French
    and Saxon element;
•    ③. written in stanza combining meter and alliteration
•    ④. at the end of each stanza, a rimed refrain.
•    ⑤. two motifs, the testing of faith, courage, and purity; proving of
    human weaknesses for self-preserving.
•    ⑥. the heroic adventures of sir Gawain and King Arthur as related
    in the poem were sought after and carried out rather for adventures’
    sake than any truly worthy cause. The language is simple and
Excerpt of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
• Since the siege and the assault was ceased at Troy,
• 2) The walls breached and burnt down to brands and
• 3) The knight that had knotted the nets of deceit
• 4) Was impeached for his perfidy, proven most true,
• 5) It was high-born Aeneas and his haughty race
• 6) That since prevailed over the provinces, and proudly
• 7) Over well-nigh all the wealth of the West Isles.
• 8) Great Romulus to Rome repairs in haste;
• 9) With boast and with bravery builds he that city
• 10) And names it with his own name, that it now bears.
• 11) Ticius to Tuscany, and towers raises,
•   12) Langobard in Lombardy lays out homes,
•   13) And far over the French Sea, Felix Brutus
•   14) On many broad hills and high Britain he sets,
•   15) Most fair.
•   16) Where war and wrack and wonder
•   17) By shifts have sojourned there,
•   18) And bliss by turns with blunder
•   19) In that land's lot had share.
•   And since this Britain was built by this baron great, /
•   Bold boys bred there, in broils delighting, /
•   That did in their day many a deed most dire. /
•   More marvels have happened in this merry land /
•   Than in any other I know, since that olden time, /
•   But of those that here built, of British kings, /
•   King Arthur was counted most courteous of all.

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