About This Chapter
Below is a sample breakdown of the Old and Middle English Literature chapter into a 5-day school week. Based on the pace of your course, you may need to adapt the lesson plan to fit your needs.
|Day||Topics||Key Terms and Concepts Covered|
|Monday||Overview of Medieval History and Literature||Historical highlights of the Early and Middle Ages; early Old English poems, including Caedmon's Hymn and Beowulf|
|Tuesday||Geoffrey Chaucer and The Canterbury Tales||Biography of Geoffrey Chaucer, Middle English language and literary structure of The Canterbury Tales|
|Wednesday||The Canterbury Tales: Chivalric Romance||Characters and summaries of 'The Knight's Tale' and 'The Wife of Bath's Tale'|
|Thursday||The Canterbury Tales: Beast Fables and Fabliaus||Definition of a fabliau; characters and overviews of 'The Nun's Priest's Tale' and 'The Miller's Tale'|
|Friday||The Canterbury Tales: Religious Fables||Characters and summaries of 'The Prioress's Tale' and 'The Pardoner's Tale'|
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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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