literature: the Middle English Period

The Middle English Period  1066-1500
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Slide 1: Tekstslide
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In deze les zitten 31 slides, met tekstslides en 10 videos.

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The Middle English Period  1066-1500

Slide 1 - Tekstslide

  • King Edward
  • Harold Godwinson
  • William, Duke of Normandy
  • Battle of Hastings
Edward the Confessor 1042-1066

Slide 2 - Tekstslide

Slide 3 - Video

Feudal System

Slide 4 - Tekstslide

Slide 5 - Video

The Domesday Book
  • record of everything everyone owned
  • rights and duties of every landowner
  • rights and duties of every court
important historical record

Slide 6 - Tekstslide

Slide 7 - Video

English Language
  • French;  language of Royal court
  • French:  language of ruling classes (nobility)
  • French:  language of business
  • English:  language of commoners
  • Latin: language of the clergy
  • 14th century: English became the dominant language again! This language is called Middle English
  • Huge impact of French on this language ( around 10,000 French words)

Slide 8 - Tekstslide

Slide 9 - Link

Slide 10 - Video

Magna Charta
  • 1215 King John (Plantagenets) forced by his barons to sign the Magna Charta
  • first English Law Book
  • limit to  the king's authority

Slide 11 - Tekstslide

Slide 12 - Video

Slide 13 - Video

The Hundred Years' War 1337-1453
  • the English claimed the French throne, leading to hostilities
  • after the war both the houses of Lancaster and York claimed the throne, leading to the Wars of the Roses ( 1445-1487)
  • The Tudors came to the throne

Slide 14 - Tekstslide

Slide 15 - Video

  • popular genres were: fables, ballads and romances
  • courtly love
  • Depiction of hero

Slide 16 - Tekstslide


In literature, a fable is described as a didactic lesson (teaching morals) given through some sort of animal story. In prose and verse, a fable is described through plants, animals, forces, of nature, and inanimate objects by giving them human attributes.

Features of a Fable

  • A fable is intended to provide a moral story.
  • Fables often use animals as the main characters. They are presented with anthropomorphic characteristics, such as the ability to speak and to reason.
  • Fables personify the animal characters.

Slide 17 - Tekstslide

The Fox Reynard
  • Beatrix Potter's Mr Tod and Roald Dahl's Fantastic Mr Fox were based on Reynard.
  • first version in Middle Dutch in 13th century:                            Van den vos Reynaerde

Slide 18 - Tekstslide

the Ballad
Ballads, no matter which category they fall into, mostly rely on simple and easy-to-understand language, or dialect from its origin. Stories about hardships, tragedies, love, and romance are standard ingredients of the ballad. 

Ballads seldom offer a direct message about a certain event, character, or situation. It is left to the audience to deduce the moral of the story from the whole narration.

Slide 19 - Tekstslide

Etymologically, romance comes from Anglo-Norman and Old French romanz, which means a story of chivalry and love. The word “romance” also refers to romantic love. As far as literature in concerned, the term has an entirely a different concept. It means romantic stories with chivalrous feats of heroes and knights. Romance describes chivalry and courtly love, comprising stories and legends of duty, courage, boldness, battles, and rescues of damsels in distress.

Slide 20 - Tekstslide

Courtly Love

Medieval literature includes several examples of courtly love. Sir Lancelot expresses this kind of love for Lady Guinevere in Arthurian legend, though he breaks the rules and takes Guinevere for his own.

 In Geoffrey Chaucer's The Knight's Tale, this type of love is depicted.

Slide 21 - Tekstslide

Geoffrey Chaucer
Geoffrey Chaucer (1343-1400) is the most famous poet from the Middle English period. He was a courtier and was sent on diplomatic missions in Europe. Later in life he also worked for the government. 

He wrote poetry and was well-respected.

Slide 22 - Tekstslide

The Canterbury Tales
  • link-in-frame story
  • Thomas Becket's tomb in Canterbury Cathedral
  • unfinished
  • General Prologue

Slide 23 - Tekstslide

Slide 24 - Video

Satire: The Monk
The Monk is one of the many figures in the General Prologue 
connected with the church. Monks were supposed to live 
inside a monastery, devoting their lives wholly to the service of God.

The monastery with its fields and gardens  provided the monks with all that they needed, and their day was to be divided between prayer and meditation. Chaucer's Monk is an 'outridere', whose duty it was to look after the monastic estates. Occasionally his job took him outside the monastery....

Slide 25 - Tekstslide

Slide 26 - Link

Chaucer criticizing the church
The Monk is rebellious, ignores rules, and lives and controls his own life. 

He hunts hares and rides horses instead of studying, praying, and working. He does not follow the rules of the monastery which say that monks should not hunt, be reckless, nor leave the monastery.

Slide 27 - Tekstslide

The Wife of Bath
  • gold digger
  • 5 marriages
  • enjoys sex

women were meant to be chaste. They were not to experience sexual pleasure.

Slide 28 - Tekstslide

There was a housewife come from Bath, or near,
Who—sad to say—was deaf in either ear.
At making cloth she had so great a bent
She bettered those of Ypres and even of Ghent.
Her kerchiefs were of finest weave and ground;(5)
I dare swear that they weighed a full ten pound
Which, of a Sunday, she wore on her head.
Her hose were of the choicest scarlet red,
Close gartered, and her shoes were soft and new.
Bold was her face, and fair, and red of hue.(10)

She’d been respectable throughout her life,
With five churched husbands bringing joy and strife,
Not counting other company in youth;
But thereof there’s no need to speak, in truth.
Three times she’d journeyed to Jerusalem;(15)
And many a foreign stream she’d had to stem;
At Rome she’d been, and she’d been in Boulogne,
In Spain at Santiago, and at Cologne.



    She could tell much of wandering by the way:
    Gap-toothed was she, it is no lie to say.(20)
    Upon an ambler easily she sat,
    Well wimpled, aye, and over all a hat
    As broad as is a buckler or a targe,
    A rug was tucked around her buttocks large,
    And on her feet a pair of spurs quite sharp.(25)
    In company well could she laugh and carp.
    The remedies of love she knew, perchance,
    For of that art she’d learned the old, old dance

    Slide 29 - Tekstslide

    Slide 30 - Video

    Slide 31 - Video