About This Chapter
Literature in Old English & Middle English - Chapter Summary
This chapter's lessons review medieval literature and their historical context. Our instructors focus on Geoffrey Chaucer and several of the stories that comprise The Canterbury Tales. After completing these lessons, you should be familiar with:
- Old English and Middle English
- The historical context of medieval literature
- Style, structure and characters of The Canterbury Tales
- Chivalric romance in The Knight's Tale and The Wife of Bath's Tale
- The Miller's Tale
- The Nun's Priest Tale
- Religious fables in The Canterbury Tales
These lessons average about five minutes in length, and you can watch them on a computer, tablet or smartphone as your schedule allows. Lesson quizzes and a chapter exam let you assess your learning, and a clickable Timeline makes it easy to pop back to specific parts of the lesson for review.
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 The 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 AP English Literature: Help and Review course
- AP English - Literary Analysis Intro: Help and Review
- AP English - Interpreting Literature: Help and Review
- Influences on the English Language
- Rhetorical Devices in AP English: Help and Review
- Genres in Literature
- Types of Fiction
- Types of Nonfiction
- Analytical Writing Strategies
- Strategies for Reading Technical & Functional Texts
- AP English - Prose: Help and Review
- AP English - Types of Poetry: Help and Review
- Literature of the English Renaissance
- Romantic Prose in British Literature
- English Literature in the 17th & 18th Century
- The Romantic Poetry Movement in English Literature
- Literature of the Turn of the Century
- Modernist Authors in English Literature
- Nonfiction Selections in English Literature
- The Oral Tradition
- AP English - American Literary Periods and Movements: Help and Review
- AP English - Examples of American Literary Analysis: Help and Review
- AP English - English Literary Periods and Movements: Help and Review
- AP English - Examples of English Literary Analysis: Help and Review
- Grammar Review in AP English: Help and Review
- AP English - Essay Basics - Types of Essay: Help and Review
- Essay Writing Conventions for AP English: Help & Review
- Beginning the Writing Process in AP English: Help and Review
- Writing & Structuring an Essay in AP English: Help and Review
- Writing Revision and Skill Development in AP English: Help and Review
- Reading Comprehension for Test-Taking
- About the AP English Literature Test