Medieval period begins with the Norman invasion
, lead by William the Conqueror
- were from Northwest of France,
- brought "Norman-French" to England,
- were superior soldiers and administrators,
- lacked inventiveness
- provided the model for a more democratic society than the existing Norman one.
- the avenues of upward mobility were those of the church (Roman) and the court.
- the language of the church was latin
- the language of the court was Norman French
William the Conqueror
- became the most powerful leader in Europe.
- brought the Feudal system to England.
- is responsible for dividing up the land among his faithful followers.
- drew up the Doomsday Book which inventorized the land holdings of England.
Language and Culture
- England was heterogeneous and multilingual.
- French was the language of the prestige and of trade.
- The idea of Chivalry was French.
- The language of romance (poetry), was French. People favored chivalric romances, tales of love, enchantment and adventure.
The Medieval Church
- was the most powerful unifying force in Europe.
- Latin, the language of the church, was considered the language of the educated.
- the church was the dominant force in preserving and transmitting culture
- the abbeys and monasteries were centres of learning
- the church began to come under attack for abusing its power.
Middle Class England
- the emergence of the wool-making industry saw the beginning of the merchant class.
- Guild system was formed to help assure fair wages for workers.
Soceity as a whole: a very small percentage of society was considerred gentil (between 4 and 4.5 percent of society
- England's population: 3,500,000 (this is after the Black Death)
- Members of the court: 8,000 - 10,000 (this includes the families of the lords) or roughly less than 0.5% of the population.
- Members of the ecclesiastical order (Church): 50,000 or about 2% of the population.
- City dwellers: merely 100,000 + were at all urbanized.
- the popular ballad --> folk ballad
- the romance
- the acceptance of English as a language of literature
The Folk Ballad
- was a popular song
- four line stanza called a quatrain
- each stanza alternated eight syllable and six syllable lines.
- lines were iambic (a metre which consisted of an unstressed followed by a stressed syllable)
- rhyme: 2nd and 4th lines in each stanza
- narrative form with shifts from speaker to speaker.
- often uses a refrain or repeated last line of each stanza. Sometimes the refrain changes slightly with each repetition (incremental repetition)