The oldest story in the English language, Beowulf is the Norse epic saga of good vs. evil and man vs. monster. The famous warrior battles invaders, monsters, and a fire-breathing dragon. This episode of Clash of the Gods examines Norse mythology’s greatest hero and the intriguing possibility that he may have been a real-life warrior. Recently unearthed burial mounds and ancient carvings suggest that the epic may have roots in reality. Distributed by A&E Television Networks. (45 minutes) Distributed by A&E Television Networks.
Readers of Beowulf have noted inconsistencies in Beowulfs depiction, as either heroic or reckless. Heroic Identity in the World of Beowulf resolves this tension by emphasizing Beowulfs identity as a foreign fighter seeking glory abroad. Such men resemble wreccan, exiles" compelled to leave their homelands due to excessive violence. Beowulf may be potentially arrogant, therefore, but he learns prudence. This native wisdom highlights a kings duty to his warband, in expectation of Beowulfs future rule. The dragon fight later raises the same question of incompatible identities, hero versus king. In frequent reference to Greek epic and Icelandic saga, this revisionist approach to Beowulf offers new interpretations of flyting rhetoric, the custom of "men dying with their lord," and the poems digressions."
One of the most consistent critiques levelled against Beowulf is that it lacks a steady narrative advance and that its numerous digressions tend to complicate if not halt the poem's movement. As those passages often look backward or far ahead in narrative time, they seem to transform the poem into a meditative pastiche. The Narrative Pulse of Beowulf counters this assertion, examining Beowulf as a social drama with a strong, forward-moving narrative momentum. John M. Hill discerns a distinctive 'narrative pulse' arising out of the poem's many scenes of arrival and departure. He argues that such scenes, far from being fixed or 'type' scenes, are socially dramatic and a key to understanding the structural density of the poem. Bolstering his analysis with a strong understanding of the epic, Hill looks at Beowulf in relation to other stories such as The Odyssey and The Iliad, epics that, though they may appear to have a certain narrative elasticity, use scenes of arrival and departure to create a cohesive social world in which stories unfold. As a new and comprehensive study of one of the most important Old English texts, The Narrative Pulse of Beowulf sheds new light on this famous poem and the epic tradition itself.
After nearly eight centuries and much research and writing on Marie de France, the only biographical information we know about her, with any degree of certainty, is that she was from France and wrote for the Anglo-Angevin court of Henry II. Yet Marie de France remains today one of the most prominent literary voices of the end of the twelfth century and was the first woman of letters to write in French. The chapters in this book are composed by scholars who have specialized in Marie de France studies, in most cases for many years. Offering traditional views alongside new critical perspectives, the authors discuss many different aspects of her poetics.
The Anonymous Marie de France offers a fundamental reconception of the person generally assumed to be the first woman writer in French, the woman now referred to as Marie de France. The Anonymous Marie de France recovers the central achievements of one of the most pivotal figures in French literature. It is a study that will be of enormous value to medievalists, literary scholars, historians of France, and anyone interested in the advent of female authorship.
This video covers the life of English author, poet, philosopher, courtier, and diplomat Geoffrey Chaucer to middle age. Chaucer's 14th-century saw him survive the Black Death as a child, the plague that wiped out a third of the population of Europe, and become actively involved, both as a soldier and later as a secret agent, in the 100 Years' War—a war that was to leave England devastated. Despite these man-made and natural catastrophes, English literature went through a short Renaissance, and the program hints as to why this might have happened while considering the leading role that Chaucer was to play in it. Terry Jones (Monty Python) stars.
Link out to literary criticism on The General Prologue from EBSCOs Literary Reference Center Plus.
The Wife of Bath's Tale
Gender and Romance in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales by Susan Crane
In this fresh look at Chaucer's relation to English and French romances of the late Middle Ages, Crane shows that Chaucer's depictions of masculinity and femininity constitute an extensive and sympathetic response to the genre. For content related to The Wife of Bath's Tale, see pages36-37; 87-91; 128-131; 151-156; and 163-164.