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Ch 4: Old and Middle English Literature: Help and Review

About This Chapter

The Old and Middle English Literature chapter of this College English Literature Help and Review course is the simplest way to master Old and Middle English literature concepts. This chapter uses simple and fun videos that are about five minutes long, plus lesson quizzes and a chapter exam to ensure students learn the essentials of Old and Middle English literature.

Who's it for?

Anyone who needs help understanding college English literature material will benefit from taking this course. You will be able to grasp the subject matter faster, retain critical knowledge longer and earn better grades. You're in the right place if you:

  • Have fallen behind in understanding medieval literature and Old and Middle English writings.
  • Need an efficient way to learn about work teams.
  • Learn best with engaging auditory and visual tools.
  • Struggle with learning disabilities or learning differences, including autism and ADHD.
  • Experience difficulty understanding your teachers.
  • Missed class time and need to catch up.
  • Can't access extra English learning resources at school.

How it works:

  • Start at the beginning, or identify the topics that you need help with.
  • Watch and learn from fun videos, reviewing as needed.
  • Refer to the video transcripts to reinforce your learning.
  • Test your understanding of each lesson with short quizzes.
  • Submit questions to one of our instructors for personalized support if you need extra help.
  • Verify you're ready by completing the Old and Middle English chapter exam.

Why it works:

  • Study Efficiently: Skip what you know, review what you don't.
  • Retain What You Learn: Engaging animations and real-life examples make topics easy to grasp.
  • Be Ready on Test Day: Use the Old and Middle English chapter exam to be prepared.
  • Get Extra Support: Ask our subject-matter experts any relevant question. They're here to help!
  • Study With Flexibility: Watch videos on any web-ready device.

Students will review:

In this chapter, you'll learn the answers to questions including:

  • What is Beowulf about, and what is its literary legacy?
  • How did Geoffrey Chaucer structure and style The Canterbury Tales?
  • What are some of the unique qualities found in chivalric romances?
  • How does Chaucer's 'The Miller's Tale' stand out as a medieval fabliau?
  • What is a medieval beast fable?
  • What religious fables can be found in The Canterbury Tales?

16 Lessons in Chapter 4: Old and Middle English Literature: Help and Review
Introduction to Medieval Literature: Old English, Middle English, and Historical Context

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.

Beowulf: Story, Characters, and Old English

2. Beowulf: Story, Characters, and Old English

In this lesson, we'll take a look at the Old English epic, Beowulf. We'll explore what happens, how it's written and why it has such a lasting legacy.

Introduction to Chaucer: Middle English and the Canterbury Tales

3. 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.

The Canterbury Tales General Prologue: Style, Structure, and Characters

4. 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.

The Knight's Tale and the Wife of Bath's Tale: Two Approaches to Chivalric Romance

5. 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.

The Miller's Tale: Chaucer's Fabulous Fabliau

6. 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.

The Nun's Priest's Tale: The Beast Fable of the Canterbury Tales

7. 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.

The Prioress's Tale and the Pardoner's Tale: Chaucer's Two Religious Fables

8. 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.

Arthurian Legend: Stories, Characters & Summaries

9. Arthurian Legend: Stories, Characters & Summaries

Arthurian legend tells the fictional story of King Arthur's reign in British royalty. It is a story filled with love, romance, and betrayal. Learn more about the origins of Arthurian legend, characters in these stories, and test your knowledge with a quiz.

Chaucer's The Wife Of Bath: Summary & Analysis

10. Chaucer's The Wife Of Bath: Summary & Analysis

'The Wife of Bath's Tale' is one of the stories written by author Geoffrey Chaucer in 'The Canterbury Tales.' Learn more about 'The Wife of Bath's Tale' and test your knowledge with a quiz.

Fabliau: Definition & Examples from Chaucer

11. Fabliau: Definition & Examples from Chaucer

Who knew the French could be so lewd? In this lesson, we'll learn about the fabliau - those vulgar, funny, and oftentimes obscene stories which were popular in France during the Middle Ages. We'll look to 'The Canterbury Tales' for three great examples.

Hrothgar: Character & Sermon

12. Hrothgar: Character & Sermon

In the epic poem, 'Beowulf', Hrothgar is King of the Danes and lord of the great hall, Heorot. After Beowulf kills Grendel and Grendel's mother, Hrothgar gives Beowulf a pep-talk of sorts--advice that can arguably be applied to anyone today.

Old English: Definition & Examples

13. Old English: Definition & Examples

Old English literature started with the Anglo-Saxons in the fifth century, and it provides the foundation for all English literature. Learn more about the history of Old English literature in this lesson.

Satire in The Canterbury Tales

14. Satire in The Canterbury Tales

We've all heard jokes about various strange groups walking into bars, but what about a bunch of pilgrims at an inn? Come explore the barbed humor of Chaucer's 'Canterbury Tales' in this lesson as we see how he uses laughs to highlight old class struggles.

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: Summary & Characters

15. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: Summary & Characters

In the days of King Arthur, while he and his knights are celebrating the New Year, a green knight brings a challenge to the Round Table. One of the knights must chop off the Green Knight's head with his own ax, only to have the challenge returned the following year to the day. This is a tale of Camelot. Find out what happens in this analysis of 'Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.'

Venerable Bede: Life & Works

16. Venerable Bede: Life & Works

Venerable Bede was a priest who lived from 672-735 A.D. He is also known as the first historian in the English language. In this lesson, we will look at his biography and life accomplishments.

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