Hoel Essay

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A Short History of English Literature Chapter I. The Anglo-Saxon Period (the earliest time---1066) 1. Social background: the making of England; the invasion of Roman Empire in 4th AD ; the attacks of Danish Vikings, etc 2. Literature: Beowulf , the earliest literature, the national epic of the Anglo-Saxon, one of the striking features - the use of alliteration *epic------a long narrative poem in elevated style presenting characters of high position in a series of adventures which form an organic whole. The earliest epic: Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey *alliteration------In alliterative verse, certain accented words in a line begin with the same consonant sound. Chapter II. The Medieval Period (1066---15th century) 1. Social background: the Norman conquest under William, Duke of Normandy, battle of Hastings in 1066; the mark of establishment of feudalism 2. Literature: Langland ; English Ballad; Romance; Chaucer *Langland------“Piers the Plowman” and allegory *allegory------a form of extended metaphor in which objects, persons and actions in a narrative are equated with the meanings that lie outside the narrative itself. It attempts to evoke a dual interest, one in the events, characters and setting presented, and the other in the ideas they’re intended to convey or the significance they bear. For example, ideas of patience, purity, and truth are symbolized by the persons who are characters in the story. *ballad------the most important department of English folk literature; a story told in song, usually in 4-line stanzas, with the second and fourth lines rhymed. Of paramount importance are the ballads of Robin Hood. *Romance------the most prevailing kind of literature in feudal England; a long composition, sometimes in verse, sometimes in prose, describing the life and adventures of a noble hero. The romances had nothing to do with the common people. They were composed

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