1066-1500 Background.

Normans/French invaded. William imposed Norman law, gov't., & language on AS.

FEUDAL SYSTEM the foundation of Norman civilization. Based on the holding of land. King owned all land. (Queen of England still technically owns much of country). He granted areas to his lords who promised him their services. Lords gave portions to the knights who pledged to assist them in battle. Serfs were lowest on social scale. Paid goods & services to the lord in return for land they farmed & protection.

Two families ruled.

Normans 1066-1154 (descendents of William the Conqueror). French (govt) & Latin (church) the written languages until 1400s.

Plantagenets (1154-1485), beginning with Henry II.

Magna Charta. King John (1167-1216) Son of Henry II. Arbitrary rule led barons & knights to meet @ Runnymede & forced John to sign Magna Charta. King subject to rule of law.

Parliament. Edward I (1272-1307) called the first Parliament. Represented propertied classes--barons & clergy.

Hundred Years War (1337)--England tried to claim French crown. Eventually lost. Burned Joan of Arc in the war.

War of the Roses--dispute over crown between Yorks & Lancasters. The two houses joined in the Lancaster Earl of Richmond (Henry VII) & Elizabeth (a York). Formed Tudor dynasty.

Cultural & Social Influences

1. Education Oxford & Cambridge founded in 12th-13th centuries.

2. New class--merchantile--arose in Norman society. Mid-1300s, began to form guilds to protect associations of individual crafts. (American Medical Association, A. Bar A., etc. are guilds.)

3. Black plague. Bubonic plague. 1346-1349. Killed 40% of population. Spread through fleas. Pneumonic plague--same germ spread through the air. Breakdown of mores. More mobility of people. Self-emancipation of the serfs, who sought higher wages & freedom.

4. Vernacular. English lit. began to reappear. Middle English. Very different from Old English--product of mixing of languages.

5. Genres: 1. Romance Knight seeking honor or adventure or performing service for lover. Romantic love distinguishes this from Old English epic. Reflected actual court life where men outnumbered women. Admired them from a distance. Woman:lover = lord:vassal. Swear fealty to lady. "Courtly love." Woman idealized & distanced from lover. Male suffers to do deeds worthy of her. Marriage not the goal--she's married. Chivalric knight the hero. Esp. popular with aristocracy.

2. Devotional literature. religious focus (sermons, meditation)

Didactic literature. Teach or provide instruction on both religious or non-religious topics. (Allegorical dream vision & historical chronicle).

3. Lyrics--songs. covered any topic.

4. Drama--began w/mystery or miracle plays. Dramatizations of Biblical events concerned w/ the mystery of X's redemption.

Cycle of plays held outdoors in spring festivals. Morality plays appeared; concerned w/the struggle between the forces of good (pulls toward heaven) & evil (pulls toward hell) for man's immortal soul. Man is conceived in sin & born graceless.