Medieval period begins with the Norman invasion, lead by William the Conqueror.

The Normans

  1. were from Northwest of France,
  2. brought "Norman-French" to England,
  3. were superior soldiers and administrators,
  4. lacked inventiveness

The Anglo-Saxons

  1. provided the model for a more democratic society than the existing Norman one.
  2. the avenues of upward mobility were those of the church (Roman) and the court.
    1. the language of the church was latin
    2. the language of the court was Norman French

William the Conqueror

  1. became the most powerful leader in Europe.
  2. brought the Feudal system to England.
  3. is responsible for dividing up the land among his faithful followers.
  4. drew up the Doomsday Book which inventorized the land holdings of England.

Language and Culture

  1. England was heterogeneous and multilingual.
  2. French was the language of the prestige and of trade.
  3. The idea of Chivalry was French.
  4. The language of romance (poetry), was French. People favored chivalric romances, tales of love, enchantment and adventure.

The Medieval Church

  1. was the most powerful unifying force in Europe.
  2. Latin, the language of the church, was considered the language of the educated.
  3. the church was the dominant force in preserving and transmitting culture
  4. the abbeys and monasteries were centres of learning
  5. the church began to come under attack for abusing its power.

Middle Class England

  1. the emergence of the wool-making industry saw the beginning of the merchant class.
  2. 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

  1. England's population: 3,500,000 (this is after the Black Death)
  2. Members of the court: 8,000 - 10,000 (this includes the families of the lords) or roughly less than 0.5% of the population.
  3. Members of the ecclesiastical order (Church): 50,000 or about 2% of the population.
  4. City dwellers: merely 100,000 + were at all urbanized.

Significant Literature

  1. the popular ballad --> folk ballad
  2. the romance
  3. the acceptance of English as a language of literature

The Folk Ballad

  1. was a popular song
  2. four line stanza called a quatrain
  3. each stanza alternated eight syllable and six syllable lines.
  4. lines were iambic (a metre which consisted of an unstressed followed by a stressed syllable)
  5. rhyme: 2nd and 4th lines in each stanza
  6. narrative form with shifts from speaker to speaker.
  7. often uses a refrain or repeated last line of each stanza. Sometimes the refrain changes slightly with each repetition (incremental repetition)

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