Mystery plays were presented on the porch of the cathedrals or by strolling players on feast days. Miracle and mystery plays, along with moralities and interludes, later evolved into more elaborate forms of drama, such as was seen on the Elizabethan stages. Another form of medieval theatre was the mummers' plays, a form of early street theatre associated with the morris dance, concentrating on themes such as saint george and the Dragon and Robin hood. These were folk tales re-telling old stories, and the actors travelled from town to town performing these for their audiences in return for money and hospitality. 22 Mystery plays and miracle plays are among the earliest formally developed plays in medieval Europe. Medieval mystery plays focused on the representation of Bible stories in churches as tableaux with accompanying antiphonal song. They developed from the 10th to the 16th century, reaching the height of their popularity in the 15th century before being rendered obsolete by the rise of professional theatre. 23 Nineteenth-century engraving of a performance from the Chester mystery play cycle.
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Chaucer is best known today for The canterbury tales, a collection of stories written in Middle English (mostly written in verse although some are in prose that are presented as part of a story-telling contest by a group of pilgrims as they travel together. Chaucer is a crucial figure favourite in developing the legitimacy of the vernacular, middle English, at a time when the dominant literary languages in England were French and Latin. The multilingual nature of the audience for literature in the 14th century can be illustrated by the example of John Gower (c. A contemporary of William Langland and a personal friend of geoffrey chaucer, gower is remembered primarily for three major works, the mirroir de l'Omme, vox Clamantis, and Confessio amantis, three long poems written in Anglo-norman, latin and, middle English respectively, which are united by common. 20 Women writers were also active, such as Marie de France in the 12th century and Julian of Norwich in the early 14th century. Julian's revelations of divine love (circa 1393) is believed to be the first published book written by a woman in the English language. 21 Margery aunt kempe (c. 13) is known for writing The book of Margery kempe, a work considered by some to be the first autobiography in the English language. Major Scottish writers from the 15th century include henrysoun, dunbar, douglas and Lyndsay. The works of Chaucer had an influence on Scottish writers. Medieval drama edit main article: Medieval theatre In the middle Ages, drama in the vernacular languages of Europe may have emerged from religious enactments of the liturgy.
Piers is considered by many critics to be one of the early great works of English literature along with Chaucer's Canterbury tales and essay Sir Gawain and the Green Knight during the middle Ages. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a late-14th-century middle English alliterative romance. It is one of the better-known Arthurian stories, of an established type known as the "beheading game". Developing from Welsh, Irish and English tradition Sir Gawain highlights the importance of honour and chivalry. "Preserved in the same manuscript with Sir Gawayne were three other poems, now generally accepted as the work of its author, including the intricate elegiac poem, pearl. 19 geoffrey chaucer (c. known as the father of English literature, is widely considered the greatest English poet of the middle Ages and was the first poet to have been buried in poet's Corner of Westminster Abbey.
This is the earliest form which is comprehensible to modern readers and listeners, albeit not easily. Middle English Bible translations, notably wycliffe's Bible, helped to establish English as a literary language. Wycliffe's Bible is the name now given to a group of Bible translations into middle English that were made under the direction of, or at the instigation of, john Wycliffe. They appeared over a period from approximately 1382 to 1395. 18 piers Plowman (written. 13601387) or Visio willelmi de petro Plowman ( William's Vision of piers Plowman ) is a middle English allegorical narrative poem by william Langland. It is written in unrhymed alliterative verse divided into sections called "passus" ( Latin for "step.
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16 Works were still written in Latin and include gerald of Wales 's late-12th-century book on his beloved Wales, Itinerarium Cambriae, and following the norman Conquest of 1066, Anglo-norman literature developed in the Anglo-norman realm introducing literary trends from Continental Europe, such as the chanson. However, the indigenous development of Anglo-norman literature was precocious in comparison to continental Oïl literature. 16 geoffrey of Monmouth (c. 1155) was one of the major figures in the development of British history and the popularity for the tales of King Arthur. He is best known for his chronicle historia regum Britanniae (History of the kings of Britain) of 1136, which spread Celtic motifs to a wider audience.
11 who wrote in Norman-French, is the earliest known poet from Jersey, also developed the Arthurian legend. 17 ) At the end of the 12th century, new layamon in Brut adapted Wace to make the first English language work to use the legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the round Table. It was also the first historiography written in English since the Anglo-saxon Chronicle. Middle English edit Interest in King Arthur continued in 15th century with Sir Thomas Malory 's le morte d'Arthur, (1485) a popular and influential compilation of some French and English Arthurian romances. It was among the earliest books printed in England by caxton. In the later medieval period a new form of English now known as Middle English evolved.
9 Oral tradition was very strong in early English culture and most literary works were written to be performed. 10 11 Epic poems were thus very popular, and some, including beowulf, have survived to the present day. Beowulf, is the most famous work in Old English and has achieved national epic status in England, despite being set in Scandinavia. Nearly all Anglo-saxon authors are anonymous: twelve are known by name from Medieval sources, but only four of those are known by their vernacular works with any certainty: Cædmon, bede, alfred the Great, and Cynewulf. Cædmon is the earliest English poet whose name is known. 12 Cædmon's only known surviving work is Cædmon's Hymn, which probably dates from the late 7th century.
Chronicles contained a range of historical and literary accounts, and a notable example is the Anglo-saxon Chronicle. 13 The poem Battle of Maldon also deals with history. This is the name given to a work, of uncertain date, celebrating the real Battle of Maldon of 991, at which the Anglo-saxons failed to prevent a viking invasion. Classical antiquity was not forgotten in Anglo-saxon England and several Old English poems are adaptations of late classical philosophical texts. The longest is King Alfred 's (84999) translation of boethius ' consolation of Philosophy. 15 Late medieval literature: edit main article: Middle English literature The linguistic diversity of the islands in the medieval period contributed to a rich variety of artistic production, and made British literature distinctive and innovative.
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500570 de excidio et Conquestu Britanniae. Various Celtic languages were spoken by many of British people at this time and among the most important written works that have survived are y gododdin and the mabinogion. From the 8th to the 15th centuries, vikings and Norse settlers and their descendents colonised parts of what is now modern Scotland. Some Old Norse poetry survives relating to this period, including the Orkneyinga saga an historical narrative of the history of the Orkney islands, from their capture by the norwegian king in the ninth century onwards until about 1200. 7 Old English literature:. 6581100 edit main article: Old English literature first page facsimile of beowulf Old English literature, or Anglo-saxon literature, encompasses assignment the surviving literature written in Old English in Anglo-saxon England, in the period after the settlement of the saxons and other Germanic tribes in England (. 450, after the withdrawal of the romans, and "ending soon after the norman Conquest" in 1066; that is,. These works include genres such as epic poetry, hagiography, sermons, bible translations, legal works, chronicles, riddles, and others. 9 In all there are about 400 surviving manuscripts from the period.
by the kingdom of England under the Acts of Union of 15However, it was not until 1707 with a treaty between England and Scotland, that the kingdom of Great Britain came into existence. This merged in January 1801 with the kingdom of Ireland to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Until fairly recent times Celtic languages continued to be spoken in Scotland, wales, cornwall, and Ireland, and still survive, especially in parts of Wales Subsequently, the impact of Irish nationalism led to the partition of the island of Ireland in 1921, which means that literature. 3 Works written in the English language by welsh writers, especially if their subject matter relates to wales, has been recognised as a distinctive entity since the twentieth-century. The need for a separate identity for this kind of writing arose because of the parallel development of modern Welsh-language literature. 4 Because Britain was a colonial power the use of English spread through the world, and from the nineteenth-century in the United States, and later in other former colonies, major writers in English, including Nobel laureates, began to appear beyond the boundaries of Britain and. 5 6 The coming of the Anglo-saxons: 449c.1066 edit The other languages of early Britain edit latin literature, mostly ecclesiastical, continued to be written in the centuries following the withdrawal of the roman Empire at the beginning of the fifth-century, including Chronicles by bede (672/3735.
The article, literature in the other languages of Britain focuses on the literatures written in the other languages that are, and have been, used in Britain. There are also articles on these various literatures: Latin literature in Britain, anglo-norman, cornish, guernésiais, jèrriais, latin, manx, scottish gaelic, welsh, etc. Irish writers have played an important part in the development of literature in England and. Scotland, but though the whole of Ireland was politically part of the United Kingdom between January 1801 and December 1922, it can be controversial to describe Irish literature as British. For some this includes works by authors from Northern Ireland. Contents British identity edit The nature of British identity has changed over time. The island that contains England, scotland, and Wales has been known as Britain from the time of the roman statement Pliny the Elder (c.
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Main article: English literature, british literature is literature in the, english language from the. United Kingdom, isle resumes of Man, and, channel Islands. Anglo-saxon old English ) literature is included, and there is some discussion. Latin and, anglo-norman literature, where literature in these languages relate to the early development of the. English language and literature. There is also some brief discussion of major figures who wrote. Scots, but the main discussion is in the various.