British Literature (Middle Age Renaissance) 5th century



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British Literature (Middle Age - Renaissance)
5th century


6th century (to 1350)

  • Christianity

  • monks in monasteries – mostly elegies, war poems, heroic epics

  • language – old English

  • Beda Venerabilis – one of first chronicles; Anglo-Saxon chronicle

  • Beowulf – the oldest medieval epic (anonymous)

- about knight who killed monster (Grandel) killed during a fight with a dragon

- describes society and life of ancient time


Middle English” period (1350-1550)

  • 2 languages – Norman French (spoken word) – brought by William the Conqueror

- Latin – written word

  • conflict between English and Norman French  “Middle English” language

  • romances brought by minstrels (pilgrims)

  • heroic and romantic stories x cruel reality (wars, illnesses, poverty)

  • in lit. religious texts, chronicles, heroic and love poetry and romances

  • book press

  • John Wycliff - theologian and translator of the Bible

  • Geoffrey ChaucerCanterbury tales – description of society

- humorous way

- pilgrims travel to a Canterbury and narrate tales for a joy


end of the16th century – renaissance

  • revolt against the church’s authority

  • inspiration from antique

  • Elizabethan Age

  • rights for individual freedom

  • sonnets, love poems

  • Christopher MarloweDr.Faustus

  • Francis Bacon – philosopher

  • William Shakespeare – born in Stratford

- the Globe – theater

- dramatist, sonnets

- inspiration from history + his time

- famous for – language, scenes of plays (one differs from another), strong characters

- historical drama – Richard III.

- comedies – As you like it



- tragedies – Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Othello

  • John Donne, Ben Johnson – dramatists


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