2. Romance

Romance (1200-1500)

Romance

(1200-1500)

I The background---Political and Social

Social class and economy

Feudalism developed fast after the Norman Conquest.

Two classes: landlords and peasants

Church government and king’s officers’ government.

The Hundred Years’ War (1337—1453) drafted many soldiers and levy extra taxes– the burden became heavier.

The Black Death (1349-1350) brought the scarcity of labour.

Statute of Labourers: work at low wages

Poll tax

Rising in 1381: Wat Tyler and John Ball

The Black Death

Knighthood and Code of Chivalry

noble—page—squire—knight

Code of Chivalry: to protect the weak, to fight for the church, to be loyal to his lord and to respect women of noble birth

Culture

Three languages existed together:

1)Native English—descending from the Anglo-Saxons. The language of the peasants and the lower class people.

2)Norman-French—language of the nobilities. It is used in court, manors, law courts and schools.

3)Latin– language of the clergy and scholars.

English Language

The English language in this transitional stage from Old English to modern English, through some four centuries (from 12th to 15th) of the development and change, has generally been known as Middle English.

Romance

The most prevailing kind of literature in feudal England.

A long composition, sometimes in verse, sometimes in prose, describing the life and adventures of a noble hero.

Pattern: a knight seeking adventures and fighting for his lord.

Chivalry

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