The Knights Tale, from The Canterbury Tales, Retold in Modern English Prose

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Marriage was very different in the medieval ages. Married couples were not allowed to live together because it was viewed as a sin. With all of this income from basically every person in society the Church was extremely well-off, and to keep the Church as wealthy as possible they did not have to pay any taxes. It is said that The Church was wealthier than any king in the world during this time period, and they saved most of their money. However, the money that they did spend was on their structures such as churches or cathedrals.

The actual structure of the Church was the center of all community activities. People would perform plays and there were always markets held outside of the Church. The Church was viewed as having the answers to everything and anything that would happen, especially when something bad happened. If there was a bad storm or an outbreak of disease, the church was supposed to know why.

The language of the Church, Latin, was the only common language spoken in all of Europe. Anyone who did not know Latin would not be able to communicate. This just proves how important the Church truly was. They determined the language of an entire continent. The Church held entirely all of the power in medieval times, and was very well-respected. Most scholars associate the start of the medieval period with the fall of the Roman Empire in AD. After the Romans withdrew, Germanic tribes invaded and spread their influence into England. Oral Poetry : There are not many recorded works from the Old English Period primarily because of the scarcity of people who were literate mostly limited to clergy members.

Oral poetry mainly carried Christian themes since nothing was written down until there was heavy Christian influence we do not know if these religious undertones were part of the original work , and often centered on the adventures of great heroic figures. It was passed down over generations, which caused it to be continuously changed with each retelling. We may never know many great works of oral poetry, however, it played a large role in impacting later written works. Early Middle English Period Germanic Heroic Poetry : It started out being performed orally in alliterative verse but was later written down by scholars or clergymen.

Oftentimes it was used to describe current events, and touched on themes, which invoke the ancient code of honor that obliges a warrior to avenge his slain lord or die beside him. They show the aristocratic heroic and kinship values of Germanic society that continued to inspire both clergy and laity. Anglo Saxon Literature: Elegy : It is typically mournful or sad. It can be in the form of a funeral song o a lament for the dead. Middle English Literature: Romance, Courtly Romance : This was the most popular genre in the Middle English period; it had a particular story structure that depicted the integration, disintegration, and reintegration of a central hero.

Usually the hero underwent a test or challenge that alienated them from society. It was the principal narrative genre for late medieval readers and centrally concerned with love but it developed ways of representing psychological interiority with great subtlety. Though they began in France, their transition into English literature came about from simplified and translated versions of the original French works. Often, Romances, whether written for aristocratic audiences or lower class audiences, had to do with a knight attempting to win the love of a woman of much higher class, by showing the depth of his character through acts of morality, nobility, and bravery.

Allegory : An extended metaphor—where something is standing for something else. It is a depiction of a common theme.

Medieval and Renaissance Literature | British Literature Wiki

An allegory tells a story that has characters, setting, and other symbols that serve both a literal and figurative purpose and point out a theme about human life. For Example, Piers Plowman or Everyman. Estates Satire : Represents the 3 estates, the clergy, the nobility, and everyone else. It satirizes society with the purpose of presenting the flaws of something in an exaggerated way with the intent of drawing attention to create a solution for it.

It examines society by groups based on class, occupation, function, status and other designations. For Example: The Canterbury Tales. Middle English lyrics : A type of secular poetry. They were generally love poems although some were about social satire or the celebration of earth and humanity; they were very passionate and not about God.

The lyrics do not tell a long story not an epic, odyssey, ballad but rather about a single thought or image. They have a very contemporary rhyme scheme and subject matter.

“The Canterbury Tales” retold.

The first autobiography was The Book of Margery Kempe. Drama : For the most part, drama rose to popularity in the later medieval period Early dramas were typically very religious in theme, staging and tradition. Performance of plays outside of the church became popular around the 12th century when they became more widely accessible to the general population. Plays were usually performed by a professional acting company that traveled from town to town on wagons and moving stages.

The Canterbury Tales - A Retelling

Most theater companies were exclusively male. Morality Play : A type of drama that emerged around and became increasingly popular through out the century. They taught lessons about morality and human nature and used allegorical characters to portray the struggle that a person goes through to achieve salvation and the forces of good and evil. A morality tale could have had either a serious or a comic plot.

Depiction of a mystery play performance. Religious Prose: Sought to explain the great truths of god, humanity, and the universe through an analysis of Christian beliefs, focuses on sin, penance, and love. There are few examples of secular work during the Medieval period as a result of the influence of religion within society.

After the waste of winter, it is delightful to hear birdsong once more in the streets. The trees themselves are bathed in song. It is a time of general renewal and restoration. The sun has passed midway through the sign of the Ram, a good time for the sinews and the heart.


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This is the best season of the year for travelers. That is why good folk then long to go on pilgrimages. Les Contes de Canterbury. Folio classique, no. Downes, Stephanie. Geoffroy Chaucer: Les Contes de Cantorbery. Geoghegan, Arthur Gerald, trans. Pickering, Julier, E. Marteau, Robert, trans.

Milhaud, Darius. Bergner, Heinz, ed. Droese, Detlef, trans. Geoffrey Chaucers Werke. Esch, Arno, trans. Canterbury Geschichten. IT 23, pg. Holzinger, Michael, ed.

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Kemp, Friedhelm, trans. Koch, John, trans. Lehnert, Martin, trans. IT 17, pg. IT 19, pg.

IT 20, pg. IT 24, pg. Mythos Medea Leipzig: Reclam, Mehl, Dieter, trans. Geoffrey Chaucer, Canterbury Tales Obst, Wolfgang, and Florian Schleburg, trans. Troilus and Criseyde Frankfurt am Main: Insel, Plessow, Gustav Louis, trans.


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Schirmer, Ruth, and Walter F. Schirmer, trans. IT 27, pg. Zauner, Erich, adapt. Zauner, Erich, trans. Bidi Setsoafia, H. Owusu, P.


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Reprints translation]. Prae 3 , pg.

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