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THE MIDDLE AGE AFTER CHAUCER - WILLIAM LANGLAND

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THE MIDDLE AGE AFTER CHAUCER

WILLIAM LANGLAND

-second great poet after Chaucer

-together with Canterbuy Tales created a full picture of social      life

-he copied legal documents

-he was married therefore he couldn't enter the church



- rich people paid him to pray for them

- PIERS PLOWMAN: it was written in 1462, 15 years after                     656j91g                      656j91g                      656j91g    

                     656j91g               Canterbury Tales

                   theme: how can man win salvation?

                     656j91g             By loving God and working honestly

difficult to understand because of the use of allegory

                   plot: the poem is divided into two visions:

                     656j91g         first one: the poet dreams of a large group                      656j91g          

                     656j91g                      656j91g    of people who meet on a plain 

                     656j91g                      656j91g      (it's a denunciation of corruption)

                     656j91g         second one: deals with search of truth and        

                     656j91g                      656j91g        perfection

this poem is written with strong french influence and old english technique

PROSE

-during the age of Chaucer, prose was not considered highly

-poetry was more important

-THE TRAVELS OF SIR JOHN MANDEVILLE: the only work in                  prose of the period. It talks about a series of imaginary journeys and incredible sights. This work became popular because it was written in simple and clear style.

RELIGIOUS PROSE

- the most important writer of religious prose was John Wycliffe

- in his works he attacked religion and the Church, in particular the interferences of Rome in English affairs

- John Wycliffe was a priest, he wrote sermons and letters in english which could be read by the nation

- he said that people should not obey popes who violate the gospel

- he was against the temporal power of the church; he said that the pope should not have the power of excommunication, the Church should return to a state of poverty and give its property to the state

- Wycliffe translated the Bible into English and spread religious knowledge

- he created on organization of poor priests who went around the country communicating his ideas

POETRY

- from Chaucer to the renaissance

- barren age because there was poverty of litterary production because the english language changed, it lost the final "e" and this caused problems with rhymes   

PROSE

- only one great work: Sir Thomas Mylory's Morte d'Artur

- it was a collection of legends

- the best known legend is Sir Galahad and the Holy Grail (il calice di Gesł)

- this work was printed by Caxton (the first printer of England)
- Caxton printed the Canterbury Tales too

DRAMA

The Barren age for literature was however very important for medieval Drama

-the origins of medieval plays/drama can be found in the ritual of the Church




- the Church used drama to teach religion to illiterate people

- Church/Miracle plays became too big for the Church and the theatre moved outside the church

                     656j91g CYCLES: miracle plays are grouped into 4 cycles,         

                     656j91g                 these cycles have the name of the

                     656j91g                towns where they were performed (f.e.                     656j91g               

                     656j91g                York...)

                     656j91g PAGEANTS: there was a carriage where the play    

                     656j91g                   was performed, this meant that the

                     656j91g                   play could  be performed in different                     656j91g                   

                     656j91g                  parts of the town

                     656j91g TRADE GUILDS:was a group of different

                     656j91g                      656j91g      trademen who took control of the       

                     656j91g                          pageants (f.e. bakers, painters, 

                     656j91g                      656j91g       butchers...)

MORALITIES

- its structure was complementary to miracle plays

- it was also a religious drama

- miracles were focused on biblical events and moralities on good and evil

- it was written for a more learned audience

- in accordance with medioeval love allegory

- the lines where rhymed, as in the miracles, but the atmosphere was more melancholy

THE BEST KNOWN MORALITY PLAY IS EVERYMAN (1500)

- it is the story of Everyman, informed by Death that he must die

- he looks for someone to go with him

- he is deserted by everyone (Beauty, Strength...)

- he is accompanied only by Good Deeds

- at the end of the play Good Deeds follow Everyman to the grave, and goes in front of everyman to explain to God the good things that Everyman has done during his life

INTERLUDES

- replaced moralities

- originally they were comic dialogues inserted into miracle plays to enrich the atmosphere

- interludes were very short, used allegory, used real characters, used humour or satire

- the best example was the Four P's by John Heywood

- Four P's: pedlar (venditore), palmer (lettore di palme), prayer (colui che prega), pothecary (farmacista). Each person had to tell a lie, the biggest lie won

- interludes created a link between medioeval drama and Elisabethan theatre







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