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Discuss the Basic Features of Middle English Literature Essay

  • Submitted by: saily23
  • on June 26, 2014
  • Category: English
  • Length: 473 words

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Below is an essay on "Discuss the Basic Features of Middle English Literature" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

The Middle English period, born from the incisive events and aftermath of the Norman Conquest in 1066, terminates at the end of the 15th century. This period develops through the hybridization of the prestige vernacular of Old English with the vernacular of French. French literary modes flood in and re-characterize English literature through French octosyllabic and rhymed poetic forms. The Middle English period features a host of firsts in English literature, such as the first romance, Breton lay, fabliau, sonnet, drama, autobiography, novelesque prose fiction, and the first woman writer in English (some of these influence and inspire later centuries and cultural movements, such as the Renaissance, Romanticism, Gothicism, and Pre-Raphaelites) .
French romances and allegories provided the basis for translations and adaptations, but the literature of the period used also native resources (the Arthurian literature). An important part of it were texts comprised of religious literature. In the literature of the later Middle Ages, English became a „potent literary vehicle”. It was still in a transitional stage, but its status (in respect to French or Latin) was rising. The Middle Ages literature inherited from Antiquity three types of style:
• High – presented a variety of forms and syntactic structures, had nominal tendencies of amplification and emphatic modification, had a dramatic way of showing complex images. It utilised both aspects of language: interaction and providing context.
• Low – narrative was primary, formality of diction contrasted with plainness of style, more frequent was the verb phrase and commonplace phrases were used.
• Middle – detailed, conceptual, had an intricately worked-upon register.

2. Discuss the differences between Old English literature and Middle English literature?
During Old English period of the literature, Latin was used more often in writing than Anglo-Saxon dialects. Numerous literary works were passed on orally and...

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