Do your reading, before class. Keep up because there is a ton of reading. The Fairy Queen is a killer, as
is Moore’s Utopia. Chaucer is going to take extra effort because it is written in Middle English.
In the early periods, English is not so much the dominant language. Multilingual culture. Bede, working in
several cultures and he knows it.
Roman conquest. Empire collapses and Romans withdraw. Germanic people, Angles, Saxons and
Jutes…move in. British simply refers to those who live in the British isles. English refers to the people
who become dominant, namely the Angles and Saxons.
Vikings also invaded. Remnant of Viking culture in northern Europe.
Culture that descends from the Anglo-Saxon kings, kingdom was south of Hadrian’s wall. Texts written in
: you probably cannot read, Beowulf. Chaucer is
Shakespeare writes in
Early Modern English
What we now speak is descended from these forms of language, but has changed much. Anglo-Saxon
literature, settled in England and are developing their own traditions and own language, it undergoes a
change as they interact with the new landscape and also the Celtic people.
: date of the invasion of William the Conqueror of Normandy…political shenanigans that lead up to
his kingship and his claim that he is the rightful inheritor. Battles King Harold, Battle of Hastings. William
replaces an Anglo-Saxon with a Norman establishment. Surveys the country, (so you know how to tax
people), Doomsday book. The language undergoes further shifts and developments, changed into
Middle English, the 11
century…Chaucer and the author of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Lots
of French and Latin introduced into the English vocabulary. Still many languages and many dialects of
even the same language.
The Great Vowel Shift
century, the pronunciation of the vowels changes. For example, “e” is
pronounced like “ay”.
Caedmon, the harp is passed around. Has a vision and is given the gift of song, becomes a singer, teller
of tales. Four stressed syllables and an indeterminate number of unstressed. Each half line has two
stresses in it and at least two stresses are signaled by alliteration.
means, this is not
Well-cultured to a tradition of poetry, a particular Anglo-Saxon line of poetry.
Oral formulaic poetry
Middle-English poet is called a
; “schope”, same word used for shape. He is the community
memory, charged with passing them on.