About This Chapter
NES ELA: Literature in Old English & Middle English - Chapter Summary
Use the resources in this chapter to refresh your memory on Old and Middle English literature. Study for the NES ELA exam with lessons on the following topics and works:
- Historical context and language use in medieval literature
- Chaucer's use of Middle English and The Canterbury Tales
- The Canterbury Tales General Prologue
- Selected stories from The Canterbury Tales
This chapter is broken down into a series of short video lessons that clearly and concisely explain topics you'll need to know for the NES ELA exam. Watch the lessons as many times as you'd like, or skip to specific points with the timeline tags. Test your knowledge at the end of each lesson with a short self-assessment quiz covering the major lesson points.
NES ELA: Literature in Old English & Middle English - Chapter Objectives
The NES ELA exam is part of the teacher certification process in some states. You'll answer 150 multiple-choice questions on reading, literature and communications. The practice questions in this chapter will give you an idea of the types of questions you'll be asked on the exam.
Use the lessons in this study guide to get ready for questions on Old and Middle English literature in the Analyzing and Interpreting Literature subarea of the NES ELA exam. This exam section accounts for approximately 23% of the total test score. You'll be asked to demonstrate your proficiency in analyzing the thematic, formal and stylistic characteristics of various periods in literature, as well show a working knowledge of the historical, political and social factors that impact and shape literature.
1. Introduction to Medieval Literature: Old English, Middle English, and Historical Context
We'll go over some quick medieval history to situate some of the major literary works of the time period. We're going from Caedmon and Beowulf, writing in Old English, all the way up to Sir Thomas Malory's collections of the Arthur myths in late Middle English.
2. Introduction to Chaucer: Middle English and the Canterbury Tales
In this lesson, we'll introduce medieval writer Geoffrey Chaucer. We'll take a look at his life, his most famous works, including 'The Canterbury Tales,' and we'll spend some time learning how to read Middle English.
3. The Canterbury Tales General Prologue: Style, Structure, and Characters
In this lesson, we'll go over the General Prologue to Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. We'll take a look at some of the most interesting pilgrims and establish the frame narrative for the rest of the work.
4. The Knight's Tale and the Wife of Bath's Tale: Two Approaches to Chivalric Romance
In this lesson, we'll outline some of the key features of the medieval genre of chivalric romance. Then we'll talk about two very different tales that are examples of this genre: The Knight's Tale and the Wife of Bath's Tale.
5. The Miller's Tale: Chaucer's Fabulous Fabliau
In this lesson we'll talk about the medieval genre of fabliau, which is full of wonderfully low-brow humor. We'll also discuss the plot of the Miller's Tale, a fabliau about a carpenter and his straying wife.
6. The Nun's Priest's Tale: The Beast Fable of the Canterbury Tales
In this lesson, we'll go over the medieval beast fable genre and take a look at the Nun's Priest's Tale, one of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales that is illustrative of the genre.
7. The Prioress's Tale and the Pardoner's Tale: Chaucer's Two Religious Fables
In this lesson, we'll take a look at The Prioress's Tale and The Pardoner's Tale to get a better sense of the types of tales told by religious members of the pilgrimage party.
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Other chapters within the NES English Language Arts: Test Practice & Study Guide course
- About the NES Test
- NES ELA: Structure, Analysis & Word Meanings
- NES ELA: Strategies for Acquiring New Vocabulary
- NES ELA: Influences on the English Language
- NES ELA: Figures of Speech & Meaning
- NES ELA: Reading & Comprehension Strategies
- NES ELA: Organization of Written Works
- NES ELA: Climax & Plot in Written Works
- NES ELA: Themes in Written Works
- NES ELA: Points of View in Literature
- NES ELA: Strategies for Reading Informational Texts
- NES ELA: Strategies for Reading Persuasive Texts
- NES ELA: Strategies for Reading Technical & Functional Texts
- NES ELA: Genres in Literature
- NES ELA: Analyzing & Interpreting Nonfiction
- NES ELA: Analyzing & Interpreting Literary Fiction
- NES ELA: Types of Literary Fiction
- NES ELA: Analyzing & Interpreting Literary Drama
- NES ELA: Analyzing & Interpreting Poetry
- NES ELA: Analyzing & Interpreting Prose
- NES ELA: The Renaissance in English Literature
- NES ELA: English Literature in the 17th & 18th Century
- NES ELA: Romantic Prose in English Literature
- NES ELA: The Romantic Poetry Movement
- NES ELA: Victorian Literature
- NES ELA: Turn-of-the-Century Literature
- NES ELA: Modernist Authors in English Literature
- NES ELA: Nonfiction in English Literature
- NES ELA: The Oral Tradition
- NES ELA: Noun & Verb Usage in the English Language
- NES ELA: Phrases & Clauses in English
- NES ELA: Types of Sentences in English
- NES ELA: Modifiers in the English Language
- NES ELA: Grammar Conventions
- NES ELA: Comma Rules
- NES ELA: Spelling Rules
- NES ELA: Precision & Clarity in Writing
- NES ELA: Effective Composition Writing
- NES ELA: The Writing Process
- NES ELA: Research Writing
- NES ELA: Narrative Writing Strategies
- NES ELA: Expository Writing Strategies
- NES ELA: Persuasive Writing Strategies
- NES ELA: Analytical Writing Strategies
- NES ELA: Effective Listening Strategies
- NES ELA: Public Speaking Strategies
- NES ELA: Viewing & Presenting Images