British Literature Survey

Essay by samiano November 2014

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Medieval Literature

Medieval Literature was written in Old English. It was an era of wars and cultural exchange. In 1066, the Norman Conquest took place, this led to French influences on old English.

Scandanavian impact was strong Old English Literature come from many people, places, and cultures.


[ religion, war, security ]

Only Christian Priests were literate in Latin Greek and other classical languages, therefore the content of literature of that time needed to be religious.

Ex: Beowulf; an epic poem, it runs through 3000 lines. It describes wars, values, and events in a new style ( new words, new images, new tone).

The notion of superhero, savior of the nation

Ex: Canterbury Tales of Geoffrey Chaucer ; first major in English Literature, a series of tales told by Pilgrims. Chaucer questions the society that is changing in ideas, life styles, and structures. Religion is now inferior to earthly legends.

Printing machine facilitated the circulation of religious knowledge ( short stories, plays, novels).

Medieval Literature was the beginning of change in themes, styles.



Historical Background:

Rebirth to 1500-1600, began in Italy ( art and architecture). In the 15th century England is now the superpower of Europe because it contributed to the discovery of new world, ex: Christopher Columbus, Copernicus and Galileo, and Magellan.

Renaissance was Global.

In England, the protestant reformation was made by Henry the 8th the church of England was formed to replace the , England is no longer Catholic. Henry is the head of state. Henry's daughter Elizabeth symbolize the Golden Age of England: political stability, economic power, and humanist concern ( human beings are important as well as Gods).

New concerns for life developed : geography, science, politics, religion, society, and arts.

Ex: The Authorized version of the Bible published...