Language and Literature is always considered as a gateway through the style and ethics of a period and society. Mediaeval culture is a rich epoch to be evaluated in the light of this consideration. It is the time when the Latin was the language used for manuscripts and the literary works were under careful evaluation of Christian Churches. Much of the literature was prevailed through word of mouth and recorded on paper later in the forms of Welsh legend and Celtic myths. The legends were told in the form of stories carrying the romantic tilt with the courtly of courtly love. King Aurthur and his legends contributed to much of the content of the literature of medieval England. Historia Regum Britanniae, 'Black Book of Caernarvon', Historia Brittonum, the Annales Cambriae, the Chronicon Anglicanum and the Welsh Mabinogion are some of the products of the time that presents a fair picture view of the culture and norms of the time. Moreover, with the induction of French language in the literature, the medieval literary adopted and reflected the primary values of social and cultural norms of England in the writings. The transformation of language from French to English ported the same traits to the medieval literature at the end of fourteenth century.
Meanwhile, the sect of narrative literature in the form of epic poems was also deeply influenced under the impression of the ethics of England. The names of Trouveres and Minstrels worth to be quoted to depict the literary portal. Beowulf the epic poem is the most prominent literary product that is the exquisite piece of eighth century that contain references of the events of the fifth century. The anonymous inscription determined the casual allusion and emphasis on oral diction against recording in writing. Although, the legend offers an insight on the social norms and cultural attributes that are woven into the legend of the poem. Lateron, the work of Chaucer such as Canterbury tales is an obvious depiction of the setting and culture of the time. Pertaining to the fact that literature of the time were prominently inspired by the famous preceding authors. The lement of teaching virtous values with contemporary literature was obvious
Precisely, it can be concluded that the literature of Medieval England had an established influence of the culture and social values of that time in the literary readings. A detailed observation of the same through the various segments of literature will further witness the insight. The literary specs can be classified into the illustrated categories to depict the types of writing and their subsequent depictions of the ethos of the time.
- Women’s literature
- Religious; The concept of piety were seemed to be addressed in the literary readings of the time in a very secular mode. The religious doctrines developed in the mode of hymns and theological conceptions aim to address the mass for the sake of cultivating the synergy of the social values with the doctrines of the Church. The attempts are evident in the reading of Greek and Roman pagan authors. The sins that of the society were loathed for immorality focusing over the Deadly depravities that were preached as deadly sins. The basic concept of religion was determined with the essence of courage, devotion and dedication to the lord. In fact, the complete array of traits of social and cultural attributes had the foundation over the same element. The religious readings were conceived in different dimensions, but always proffered for guidance for worldly affairs. The French revolution, war and political suppression of the time not only compressed the cultural segmentation, but also brought the mass near the lord by promising results with submissive chastity, obedience to God, self-sacrifice.
- Secular: The element of love was addressed in this stye of literature. Emphasis was being laid to focus on individual traits and topics. Courtly love was a topic of choice due to the influence of romanticism. Courtesy and politeness were typical traits that were posed in the poetry and prose of medieval times as essential of a gentleman. The other prominent theme was of political genre out of the influence of the French revolution. The speech or compliments that were quoted in the content of the time falls in the category of flirting in present days. However, at that time it was considered as an element of courtesy depicting gentlemeness. The trait can be witnessed in the poetry of Gawain, who portrayed and appraise the beauty of a lady who is the wife of some one else. However, the devotion of his feeling towards a single lady depicts its intensity. However, based on the fact that such relationship or aspiration were not inclined towards physical or sexual relationship , the courtship borrowed its valued space.
- Women’s literature; The females of the medieval times had to face inequality and gender difference as an element of social and cultural trait. The only place left for their shelter was the religious segment that lent them ample space for self recognition. Hence, the platform of religion was the foundation that females of the time used for expression of the thoughts and reflection. Perhaps it was the reason that much of the work of the time in the segment of women’s literature was remarked as unorthodox by the readers and critics. Some of the females dared to show the glimpse of courtly love and social norms in their writings which displays the complete secular concept of love and society of the time from the perception of females.
- Allegory: Literary devices or allegory where the basic tool that were used to convey feelings and expressions. The medieval literature amply presents the social and cultural norms in the capacity of love, hatred and revenge, loyalty, marriage, religion, warriorship and power through the use of the illustrated factor. Courage and romanticism were deeply embedded features of medieval literature that upkeep the liking of heroic attributes at the time. The traditions can be traced in the literary products of Sir Gawain and the Green Knightthat ponder over the Arthurian romance to profess the standard behavior of the time in the capacity of courage, love and chastity.
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