Lecture 2: Middle English Poetry/ Chaucer

Lecture 2: Middle English Poetry/ Chaucer

Class III Middle English part II

– The hero of old English became a man of romance.
– Women began to appear more in poetry, first as objects of desire but later as strong characters.
– French and Italian literatures influenced English writers.
– A sense of national identity was being made.
– The greatest national myth is the story of “King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table”.
– English was developing as a language and a culture.
– “The Ancrene Rules” is a book of religious advice for women written by a man.
– Geoffrey Chaucer is the first great English poet.
– He remains a point of reference even today.
– His famous texts “Toilus and Criseyde” (use a story from classical Greek), “The House of Fame” (use Latin and Italian models), and “The Canterbury Tales”, with which he aimed to compete with great European literature.
– “The Canterbury Tales” is a mirror of its times, and a great collection of comic and ironic views of the life it describes.
– Chaucer gives a wide picture of late 14th century England.
– Texts from CHAUCER.

1- Who in her way of smiling was very unaffected and modest;…
And all was sentiment and tender heart. (‘The Nun’s Tale’)
2- And therefore, at the king’s court, my brother,
Each man for himself, there is no other. (‘The Knight’s Tale’)
3- But Although he was a philosopher,
Nevertheless he had only little gold in his coffer.
4- What is this world? What do men ask for?
Now with his love, now in his cold grave
Alone, without any companionship.