The Middle Ages Essay

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The Middle Ages -The time between the fall of Roman Empire and Renaissance -Much of Europe was disorganized, fragmented -Catholic monasteries were islands of intellectualism as the world around them devolved into anarchy -Religion and feudism dominated life. Christian Europe was at war to recapture land possessed by Muslims (The Crusades) -Latin was the language of the church and intellectual universities (Knights, King Arthur, Holy Grail) *Robes came from religion costumes Geoffrey Chaucer Why was he important? -He was one of the first to write in “vulgar” English not Latin -He also wrote about common people, not God or Saints -His Canterbury Tales contain the stories of the pilgrims on their way to Canterbury -The characters cover a wide range of society (high, low) and are known for their unusual realism, humour and characterization. -Language of the time was Middle English -Enough words are still recognizable to us that we can read Chaucer with a glossary, helps to read out loud. -Note how consistent the spelling is compared to modern English! -Pronunciation had not yet drifted away from spelling. Early Renaissance – Sonnets The Sonnet was the dominant form of poetry in this era. Why? Classical models (as filtered through Italian Renaissance) Petrach (1304-1374) –Wyatt (translator poet, first English sonnets) What is a sonnet? -14 lines, usually iambic parameter in English (weak vs strong) -10 syllables in each line Petrachan (Italian) Octavo (8) + Sestet (6) abba abba + cde cde Traditionally, the 8vo introduced a problem and the sestet contained the solution!! Line 9 is the volta (turn), where the sonnet changed tone and direction and 1ov responds? to the proposition. Shakespearean (English) (Sonnet 18 is an example, Astrophal and Stella, 50) -An adaptation of the sonnet -3X

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