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Unit 1

Unit 1. Anglo Saxon British Literature Ms. Carroll. Anglo-Saxon Period. Era of invasion Violent conquests Warfare and battle Value bravery and honor 6 th c. Augustine helped unite tribes Influence of Christianity Warrior code later seen in code of Chivalry.

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Unit 1

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  1. Unit 1 Anglo Saxon British Literature Ms. Carroll

  2. Anglo-Saxon Period • Era of invasion Violent conquests Warfare and battle Value bravery and honor • 6th c. Augustine helped unite tribes • Influence of Christianity • Warrior code later seen in code of Chivalry

  3. Old English Literature c. 650-1100 Old English refers to language of Anglo-Saxons 2 types of poetry: heroic and Christian Strong oral tradition Scops: court poets, told tribal history and tradition, usually sung with lyre or harp

  4. Characteristics • Alliteration • Caesura • Kenning • Repetition • Compounding • Litotes • Developed orally to entertain • Wove Norse/Celtic beliefs with Christianity

  5. Epic • Long narrative giving the story of heroic deeds accomplished by a hero of above average strength and ability • Hero undergoes perilous adventure for tribe or nation • Accomplishes goal usually with little aid • Classical epics involve friendly or hostile gods

  6. Presentation of Epics • Rich and diverse oral tradition • Based on history, folklore, and sagas told and perfected over time • Usually opens with invocation to muse and statement of theme • Then starts in medias res • Uses flashbacks, epithets, hospitality codes, and epic boasts

  7. Epic Hero • Defeat evil against all odds • He may die, but group will be saved • Honorable • Strength • Courage • Larger than life character • Represents something greater • Of significant birth (often doesn’t know it)

  8. Beowulf • Shows early British culture • Concept of Anglo-Saxon hero • Follows many of classic epic characteristics • Longest surviving British work • From before 10th century, told prior • Oldest British epic • Unknown author(s)

  9. Beowulf • Describes Scandinavian warrior of 6th c. • Grendel, a monster, terrorizes King Hrothgar, the Danish king • Beowulf, the young prince of the Geats, comes to the rescue

  10. Map of Area Beowulf / Geat Hrothgar/ Danes

  11. Dave Barry, on Beowulf: "If my memory serves me correctly (and I believe it does, because I am copying this from the encyclopedia) Beowulf is an Old English epic poem concerning a hero who freed the court of the Danish king Hrothgar from the ravages of the ogre Grendel and Grendel's mother and thus became king of the Geats. This raises questions, including: Why would anybody want to be king of the Geats? I mean, the word 'Geat' sounds like an insult, doesn't it? As in: 'Some stupid Geat put salami in the disk drive!' (Let me state, before I get a bunch of hate mail, that I myself am two-thirds Geatish.)"

  12. As you read… • Consider how Beowulf is an epic and how the character Beowulf is an epic hero • What does this epic reveal about the culture of the time? • What does it say about the nature of evil? • Where do we see Christian influences? Where do we see pagan influence of wyrd (fate)?

  13. Unit 1 Medieval Period British Literature Ms. Carroll

  14. Medieval Period Begins with Norman Conquest in 1066 Development of feudal system Spread of Church influence (Crusades) Chivalric code Although seen as ‘Dark Years’, many new things emerged

  15. Medieval Literature Development of Middle English Use of rhymed verse Popularity of Miracle Plays that eventually became Morality Plays (in 15th and 16th c) Canterbury Tales one of most famous from this period

  16. Geoffrey Chaucer1343-1400 Wrote Canterbury Tales From a middle-class family Trained to work in King Edward III court Served in army and in government Strong knowledge of literature of time

  17. Canterbury Tales One of first books printed by William Caxton, inventor of printing press Tells the story of 30 people on pilgrimage to shrine of Thomas Becket (in Canterbury) Originally to have 120 tales, but only 22 were finished

  18. Canterbury Tales “General Prologue” describes each pilgrim Chaucer presented his observations as a companion pilgrim, satirizing and commenting on people and problems of his age The 30 pilgrims show the best and worst of human nature

  19. Canterbury Tales Each tale matches teller’s character, experiences, interest, and purpose We will study “Pardoner’s Tale” and “Wife of Bath’s Tale”

  20. As you read… Pay attention to how Chaucer describes each pilgrim and in what way (positive or negative) he presents them. How do his views reflect the cultural values of the time? Are these still shared views today? What cultural values are revealed in the Tales? To what degree do the themes of the tales still resonate for us today?

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