-Generally considered to begin in 7th century A.D. with the invasion of Anglo?Saxons and end with the Norman Conquest of 1066.-Monks now concerned that Latin literacy was failing because the common language was Old English (mix of French, Latin, Dutch, and native Celtic dialects), so they begin translating their copied texts into the common language.
King Alfred the Great
-Shifted English educational system from studying only Latin to include Latin and Old English.-Because of this reform, many of the only 400 texts that still survive from the Old English period are actually school textbooks.-He himself translated several major religious works, including the Book of Psalms, from Latin to Old English.
Caedmon the Poet
-Caedmon was a late 7th?century Northumbrian shepherd who was inspired in a dream to compose a short hymn in praise of the creation.
-Caedmon created the first truly “English” poetry form by combining native Celtic verse with Christian themes. Caedmon’s poetry would now be classified as “Alliterative Verse.”
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-Uses it as the principle structuring device to unify lines of poetry, as opposed to other devices, such as rhyme. It is the repetition of a particular sound in the first syllables of a series of words or phrases.-Often includes a kenning: a figurative name for a thing, usually expressed in a compound noun.
-Beowulf: Author Unknown.
Thought to have been composed between 9th?11th century.-Considered the greatest epic hero poem in English. Narrates the battle of Beowulf, a prince of the Greats (southern Sweden), against the monstrous Grendel, Grendel’s mother, and a fire? breathing dragon.-The Anglo?Saxon Chronicle: Written in late 9th century.
Author unknown, but commissioned by King Alfred the Great as a written history of the Anglo?Saxons.-the single most important historical source for the period in England between the departure of the Romans and the decades following the Norman conquest. Much of the information given in the Chronicle is not recorded elsewhere.
Old English Influences
-During the Reformation, when monastic libraries were being dispersed, the manuscripts were collected by nobility and scholars, who saved most of the 400 remaining texts we have today.-The influence of the poetry can be seen in modern poets T. S.
Eliot, Ezra Pound and W. H. Auden, who are all known for their alliterative verse.-Tolkien adapted the subject matter and terminology of heroic poetry for works like The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings
Transition from Old English to Middle English
-Norman Conquest of 1066 largely removed the native ruling class, replacing it with a foreign, French-speaking monarchy, aristocracy, and clerical hierarchy.-This, in turn, brought about a transformation of the English language and the culture of England in a new era often referred to as “Norman England.”-English court and ruling class now spoke and wrote in French, Norman, and Latin, but lower-class commoners were continuing to transition from using Old English to Middle English (A mesh of Old English, French, Latin, and Norman).
Out with the Old and in with the Middle: The Beginning of the French Influences:
-Again, the English court and the ruling class were transitioning from Latin and Anglo-Saxon to Latin and French. The lower classes were transitioning from Old English (mix of languages) to Middle English (mix of Old English and French)-This period of trilingual activity developed much of the flexible triplicate synonymy (Different words with the same meanings) of modern English.-For instance, English has three words meaning roughly “of or relating to a king”:kingly from Old English, royal from French and regal from Latin.
Poetry and Prose from the Middle English Period:
•Didactic Poetry/Prose •Debate Poetry/Prose •Revival of Alliterative Poetry •Courtly Poetry/Prose
Didactic Poetry and Prose:
-Didactic: teaching a moral or spiritual-Often presented these moral lessons through presenting Bible stories or the stories of Saints’ lives in a narrative or poetic format.
Debate Poetry and Prose:
•Depicts a dialogue between two natural opposites (e.g. sun vs. moon, winter vs.
summer).•Often emotionally charged, highlighting the contrasting values and personalities of the participants, and exposing their essentially opposite natures.•On the surface, debate poems and prose typically appear didactic, but under this often lies a genuine dialogue between two equally paired opponents.
Revival of Alliteration Poetry:
• Hunts, feasts, battles, storms, and landscapes were often topics of these long, secular poems, but as the movement advanced, knights, quests, and courtly life became popular topics.- Ex: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (late 14th c.)
Courtly Poetry and Prose:
-Portrayed stories of courtly love and acts of chivalry in long poetic or narrative epics.
The Italian Renaissance:
-Began in 14th century with the “rebirth” of Greco- Roman ideals and emphasis on individual ability and artistic creativity.-With expansion of commerce, trade, and industry, Italian values of military prowess and a fixed hierarchy of Lords and Servants were gradually replaced with values of individual destiny and freedom in personal achievements.
Humanism and Individualism:
-Humanism was an intellectual movement in 14th-c. Italy that brought cultural and educational reform by emphasizing studies in the Humanities: grammar, rhetoric, history, poetry, ethics, the arts, and moral philosophy.-Individualism is the moral stance, political philosophy, or social outlook that stresses independence, self-reliance, and individual liberty to all men, no matter their class, background, or wealth.
Italian Renaissance Literature:
-Dante Aligheri, or “Dante,” (1265-1321) is considered the greatest Italian poet of the Renaissance. Best known for his monumental epic poem la divina commedia (The Divine Comedy), which is considered the greatest literary work written in the Italian language.-Because Dante lived in the early 14th century, he is considered a transitional medieval/renaissance writer. We can see themes from both periods in his works, which have themes of both man pursuing God and humanism, or man pursuing earthly pleasures.-Petrarch (1304-1374)-His work “Secretum Meum” (My Secret Book), points out that secular achievements did not necessarily preclude an authentic relationship with God.
This went against what Dante had taught several years earlier. Petrarch argued instead that God had given humans their vast intellectual and creative potential to be used to their fullest in service to God and as a means of worship.
From Italy to England:
-War of the Roses, which was a series of civil wars for the throne of England between 1455 and 1485, preoccupied and isolated the ruling classes of England even further. -The House of Tudor subsequently ruled England and Wales for 117 years. We call this period of the English Renaissance “the Tudor era.”-The Tudor Rose: A combination of the red rose of the House of Lancaster and the white rose of the House of York: Hence, “The War of the Roses”
-Began with the Tudor victory in 1485.-Also aided by the invention of the printing press around 1440 by a German named Johannes Gutenberg. The mechanization of bookmaking led to the first mass production of books in history in assembly line-style.
-A single Renaissance printing press could produce 3,600 pages per workday-Edmund Spenser (1152-1599) is considered England’s greatest Renaissance poet, best known for The Faerie Queene, an epic poem and fantastical allegory celebrating the Tudor dynasty and Elizabeth I. It follows several Knights in an examination of several Christian virtues-The Faerie Queen found political favor with Elizabeth I and was consequently a success, to the extent that it became Spenser’s defining work.-most famous dramatist: William Shakespeare (1564-1616).-Attributed to about 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems.-Shakespeare produced most of his known work between 1589 and 1613. His early plays were mainly comedies and histories, -He then wrote mainly tragedies until about 1608, including Hamlet, King Lear, Othello, and Macbeth-In 1593 and 1594, when the theatres were closed because of plague, Shakespeare published two narrative poems on erotic themes, Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece.In his last phase, he wrote tragicomedies, also known as romances (Ex: The Tempest and A Winter’s Tale).
-Scholars are not certain when each of the 154 sonnets was composed, but evidence suggests that Shakespeare wrote sonnets throughout his career for a private readership.
English Renaissance Literature:
-Most influential English humanist of the Renaissance was Sir Thomas More (1478-1535).-In Utopia, Thomas More describes the daily lives of a utopian island society with its religious, social, and political qualities. Again, by focusing on a perfect human society, Sir Thomas More displays early traces of humanism in 15th and 16th- century England.
The kind of word choices a writer makes.
The order those words assume in sentences.
A figure of speech involving a comparison between unlike things using like, as or as though.
A comparison between essentially unlike things without an explicitly comparative word such as like or as.
According to DiYanni, the theme of a parable or a fable is much easier to recognize than the theme of most fiction. Why is this so and what elements of fiction lead us to recognize the theme?
The theme of a parable and fable are easy to identify because it is always the lesson and moral respectively. Fiction is much harder to identify in that the theme is rarely presented at all.
Readers are required to abstract the theme from the detail of the characters and action.
In “A Worn Path,” why is the grandmother walking such a long way into town and who does she encounter along the way that threatens her?
The grandmother walks the long way into to town to get medicines for her grandson. She encounters a black dog first and then a white hunter man and his dog.
The hunter threatened Phoenix with his gun.
What does the grandmother gain after encountering this person and what is the last thing this stranger tells her? Why is this ironic?
Phoenix gains a nickel that the stranger dropped and she picked up when he wasn’t looking. The last thing that the stranger tells her is, “I’d give you a dime if I had any money with me” (pg. 94).
This is ironic because he did have money. It fell out his clothes. And, unknown to him, Phoenix did end up with his money after all.
Even though it is not stated explicitly, what do you believe is the theme of Eudora Welty’s “A Worn Path”? What elements of this story provide evidence for this theme?
It was hard for me to identify the theme of this Welty’s story. Something that stood out to me in the story was Phoenix’s determination throughout the story.
Even she could not remember her purpose for her travels, the determination was ingrained in her. She had to get to town and she wouldn’t let anyone stop her from doing so. It was also a selfless determination. She was determined to get to town, not to benefit herself. She had to get there to help her grandson. I think the theme is the expression and example of selfless determination.
Name and describe the five types of irony that DiYanni mentions.
Verbal Irony – We say the opposite of what we mean.
Irony of Circumstance and Irony of Situation – The writer creates discrepancies between what seems to be and what is. Dramatic Irony – The discrepancy between what characters know and what the readers know. Ironic Vision – An overall tone that suggests how a writer views his or her character and subject.
n D.H. Lawrence’s “The Rocking-Horse Winner,” what is the phrase that Paul hears in whispered tones and unsaid words in the house and what is his plan to help his mother’s “needs”?
The continual whisper that Paul hears throughout the house is “There must be more money!” Paul plans to help his mother’s needs by getting lucky.
What does Paul’s mother believe about luck?
Paul’s mother believed that luck was what would bring money. She believed that one is born lucky.
And, if one is lucky, he will always gain more money somehow. According to his mother, one cannot know why one person is lucky and another isn’t.
There is a particular symbolic element in Lawrence’s short story that represents the same insight that Solomon shares in Ecclesiastes 1:1-9. What is Solomon’s insight and how is this represented in “The Rocking-Horse Winner”?
Paul’s labors were all but vain. He toiled and toiled for that which was vain (money), for that which has not eternal value.
But, in all that he gained, it was never enough or satisfying. He was in continual labor to gain more and more, until it drove him to the grave.
What happens to the whisperings after Paul brings his mother some luck? What finally happens to Paul and why is this ironic towards his mother?
When Paul finally provides his mother with some luck, the whisperings became louder than ever. Paul finally drives himself crazy and dies.
This is ironic to the mother because it proves greater than ever that she is an unlucky person.