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ENGL201: ­Medieval English Literature and Culture

Unit 2: Anglo-Norman England and the Romances    

We will begin by situating ourselves in Anglo-Norman England, just after the Normans took possession of England in the decisive Battle of Hastings in 1066. Between the introduction of the Normans’ French language and the popularity of orally-transmitted Celtic legends and tales, England found itself in an environment ripe for cultural and linguistic exchange - and the literature from this period manifests this hybridity. In this unit, we will study the emergence of the new romance genre, from The Lais of Marie de France to the knightly adventures of Chretien de Troyes, identifying recurring themes and tropes and exploring the Anglo-Norman fascination with the Court of King Arthur.

Unit 2 Time Advisory
Completing this unit should take you approximately 43.5 hours.

☐    Subunit 2.1: 6.75 hours

         ☐    Subunit 2.1.1: 2 hours

         ☐    Subunit 2.1.2: 0.75 hours

         ☐    Subunit 2.1.3: 1 hours

         ☐    Subunit 2.1.4: 3 hours

☐    Subunit 2.2: 5.25 hours

        ☐    Subunit 2.2.1: 1 hour

        ☐    Subunit 2.2.2: 0.25 hours

        ☐    Subunit 2.2.3: 4 hours

☐    Subunit 2.3: 18 hours

        ☐    Subunit 2.3.1: 0.25 hours

        ☐    Subunit 2.3.2: 0.75 hours

        ☐    Subunit 2.3.3: 10 hours

        ☐    Subunit 2.3.4: 7 hours

☐    Subunit 2.4: 13.5 hours

         ☐    Subunit 2.4.1: 1 hours

         ☐    Subunit 2.4.2: 0.5 hours

         ☐    Subunit 2.4.3: 12 hours

Unit2 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:

  • explain why French became the dominant language of secular European literary culture;
     
  • identify the key characteristics of the French romance;
     

  • explain the use of the courtly economy theme in French romances, and compare and contrast this to the representation of the comitatus ethic in Old English literature;
     

  • describe the treatment of gender roles in Arthurian legend;
     

  • describe the characteristics of the audience of Ancrene Riwle; and
     

  • compare the traditional values of Christian morality with the representation of sexuality in the French romances.

2.1 Situating Ourselves in Anglo-Norman England   2.1.1 The Normans and Their Takeover of England   - Reading: The ORB: Online Reference Book for Medieval Studies: Steven Muhlberger’s Medieval England: “1066”; Fordham University’s Internet Medieval History Sourcebook: William of Malmesbury’s “The Battle of Hastings, 1066”; Catholic Encyclopedia’s “William the Conqueror”

Link: *The ORB: Online Reference Book for Medieval Studies*: Steven
Muhlberger’s *Medieval
England*: [“1066”](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Medieval-England.pdf) (HTML);
Fordham University’s *Internet Medieval History Sourcebook*: William
of Malmesbury’s [“The Battle of Hastings,
1066”](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/The-Battle-of-Hastings.pdf) (PDF);
*Catholic Encyclopedia*’s [“William the
Conqueror”](http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/William_the_Conqueror_(DNB00))(PDF)

Instructions: In *Medieval England*, read the chapter titled “1066.”
Also, read the *Catholic Encyclopedia* entry on “William the
Conqueror,” as well as a Medieval account of the effects of the
Norman takeover found in Malmesbury’s “The Battle of Hastings,
1066.”  

Reading these documents should take approximately 2 hours.  
    
 Terms of Use: The material above, “The Battle of Hastings,” is
available in the public domain. The article above, “William the
Conqueror,” is released under a [Creative Commons
Attribution-Share-Alike License
3.0](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/). You can find
the original *Catholic Encyclopedia* version of this article
[here](http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/William_the_Conqueror_%28DNB00%29).
The linked material above, *Medieval England*, has been reposted by
the kind permission of Steven Muhlberger and the original version
can be found
[here](http://www.the-orb.net/textbooks/muhlberger/1066.html). Please
note that this material is under copyright and cannot be reproduced
in any capacity without explicit permission from the copyright
holder. 

2.1.2 Changes to the Social Structure: The New Aristocracy     - Reading: Lynn Harry Nelson’s “The Sundering of Society, 1350 - 1500” and Regia Anglorum Publication’s “Norman Social Organization and Feudalism”

Link: Lynn Harry Nelson’s [“The Sundering of Society, 1350 -
1500”](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/The-Sundering-of-Society.pdf) (PDF) and
Regia Anglorum Publication’s [“Norman Social Organization and
Feudalism”](http://www.regia.org/history/norman2.htm) (HTML)  
    
 Instructions: Read these two essays. In the essay titled “The
Sundering of Society, 1350 - 1500,” focus on the information under
the header “The Aristocracy,” which specifically traces the
development of the aristocratic class. In the essay “Norman Social
Organization and Feudalism,” pay special attention to the role of
the aristocrat in the Medieval social system.

Reading these documents should take approximately 45 minutes.

Terms of Use: “The Sundering of Society” is available in the public
domain. The original version is posted on The Virtual Library and
can be found
[here](http://www.vlib.us/medieval/lectures/sundering_society.html).
Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the
webpage above.

2.1.3 The Influence of the French Language and the Displacement of Old English     - Reading: Washington State University: Dr. Michael Delahoyde’s “Middle English”

Link: Washington State University: Dr. Michael Delahoyde’s [“Middle
English”](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Middle-English.pdf) (PDF)

Instructions: Read the short essay on “Middle English,” which charts
the transition to French-based language and literature as a product
of the Norman invasion.

Reading this document should take approximately 30 minutes.

Terms of Use: The “Middle English” essay above has been reposted by
the kind permission of Dr. Michael Delahoyde and the original
version can be found
[here](http://www.wsu.edu/~delahoyd/medieval/middle_english.html). Please
note that this material is under copyright and cannot be reproduced
in any capacity without explicit permission from the copyright
holder.
  • Reading: Wikipedia’s “The Norman Conquest of England”

    Link: Wikipedia’s “The Norman Conquest of England” (HTML)

    Instructions: Read this article, noting particularly the comments on the implications for language resulting from the Norman conquest of England.

    Reading this article should take approximately 30 minutes.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the terms of use and copyright displayed on the webpage above.

2.1.4 Changes to the English Language and Norman Rule from the English Perspective     - Reading: Yale University: James Ingram’s version of “The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle” and The ORB: Online Reference Book for Medieval Studies: Steven Muhlberger’s Medieval England: “Alfred”

Link: Yale University: James Ingram’s version of
[“](http://avalon.law.yale.edu/subject_menus/angsax.asp)[The
Anglo-Saxon
Chronicle”](http://avalon.law.yale.edu/subject_menus/angsax.asp)
(HTML) and *The ORB: Online Reference Book for Medieval Studies*:
Steven Muhlberger’s *Medieval England*:
[“Alfred”](http://www.the-orb.net/textbooks/muhlberger/alfred.html)
(HTML)  
    
 Instructions: Read the “Introduction” to “The Anglo-Saxon
Chronicle” as well as the sections on the “First Century,” “Eighth
Century,” and “Eleventh Century.” Also, read the brief chapter
titled “Alfred” for more historical context about life in the wake
of the Viking invasion.  
    
 Commissioned by Alfred the Great c. 890, “The Anglo-Saxon
Chronicle” records the history of the Anglo-Saxons in Old English.
Authored by monks from different monasteries, these annals offer a
unique and varied picture of Anglo-Saxon life.

Reading these documents should take approximately 3 hours.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

2.2 The Breton Lays   2.2.1 The Breton Storyteller and Oral Traditions     - Reading: The ORB: Online Reference Book for Medieval Studies: Steven Muhlberger’s Medieval England: “The Norman Settlement”; Carson-Newman College: Dr. L. Kip Wheeler’s “Map of Breton”; The Middle Ages’ “King Arthur”

Link: *The ORB: Online Reference Book for Medieval Studies*: Steven
Muhlberger’s *Medieval England*: [“The Norman
Settlement”](http://www.the-orb.net/textbooks/muhlberger/norman.html)
(HTML); Carson-Newman College: Dr. L. Kip Wheeler’s [“Map of
Breton”](http://web.cn.edu/kwheeler/IE_Centum_Breton.html)(HTML);
The Middle Ages’ [“King
Arthur”](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/King-Arthur.pdf) (PDF)  
    
 Instructions: First, read the chapter titled “The Norman
Settlement” for historical context about the presence of Bretons in
England. Then look at Dr. Wheeler’s “Map of Breton” for a visual,
and read the brief introduction to the map on this same page. Also
read the essay titled “King Arthur,” which traces the influences of
prominent Arthur folklore back to Breton oral tradition.

Reading these documents and looking at the map should take
approximately 1 hour.  
    
 Terms of Use: The “King Arthur” article is licensed under the [GNU
Free Documentation
License](http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html). The original version
can be found
[here](http://www.themiddleages.net/people/king_arthur.html). Please
respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages
above.

2.2.2 What Is a Lai? Matters of Form, Subject, and Audience in the New Genre   - Reading: Carson-Newman College: Dr. L. Kip Wheeler’s “Literary Terms and Definitions”

Link: Carson-Newman College: Dr. L. Kip Wheeler’s
[“](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/LAI.pdf)[Literary
Terms and
Definitions”](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/LTD222.pdf) (PDF)  
          
 Instructions: Read the definition of *lai*.

Reading this text should take less than 15 minutes.

Terms of Use: “Literary Terns and Definitions” is copyrighted by Dr.
L. Kip Wheeler with permission granted for non-profit, educational,
and student reproduction. The original version can be
found [here](http://web.cn.edu/kwheeler/lit_terms_L.html).

2.2.3 Marie de France’s Lanval and the Birth of the Romance Genre   - Reading: The Saylor Foundation’s “Marie de France’s ‘Lanval’ and the Birth of the Romance Genre”; University of Florida: Judith P. Shoaf’s Translation of Marie de France’s The Lais of Marie de France: “Lanval”; Washington State University: Dr. Michael Delahoyde’s “Romance”; Carson-Newman College: Dr. L. Kip Wheeler’s “Medieval Romance”

Link: The Saylor Foundation’s [“Marie de France’s ‘Lanval’ and the
Birth of the Romance
Genre”](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/ENGL201-2.2.3-Lanval.pdf)
(PDF); University of Florida: Judith P. Shoaf’s Translation of Marie
de France’s *The Lais of Marie de France*:
[“Lanval”](http://www.clas.ufl.edu/~jshoaf/Marie/)  (PDF);
Washington State University: Dr. Michael Delahoyde’s
[“Romance”](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Romance.pdf) (PDF);
Carson-Newman College: Dr. L. Kip Wheeler’s [“Medieval
Romance”](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Literary-Terms-and-Definitions-medieval-romance.pdf) (PDF)  
    
 Instructions: Click on the first link above and read The Saylor
Foundation’s text for some background about “Lanval” and the birth
of the romance genre. Then, click on the second link above, and read
the brief translator’s note found on *The Lais of Marie de France*
website. This note should provide an introduction to the text and
should be read with care. Then, read Shoaf’s translation of
“Lanval,” one of the 12 short narratives found in *The Lais of Marie
de France*; click on “Lanval” in the list of files on the webpage to
access this material. Also read Dr. Delahoyde’s review of “Romance,”
as well as Dr. Wheeler’s definition of “Medieval Romance” for more
basic information on the genre.  

 Like many Anglo-Norman lais, “Lanval” incorporates magic and other
marvels, and it aims at entertaining rather than instructing its
audience.

Reading these documents should take approximately 4 hours.  
    
 Terms of Use: “Literary Terms and Definitions” is copyrighted by
Dr. L. Kip Wheeler with permission granted for non-profit,
educational, and student reproduction. The original version can be
found [here](http://web.cn.edu/kwheeler/diagram_4English.html). The
material above has been reposted by the kind permission of Dr.
Michael Delahoyde and the original version can be
found [here](http://www.wsu.edu/~delahoyd/medieval/romance.html). Please
note that this material is under copyright and cannot be reproduced
in any capacity without explicit permission from the copyright
holder. Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on
the webpages above.

2.3 The Romances   2.3.1 Chretien de Troyes and the Invention of the Verse Romance   - Reading: W.W. Norton and Company’s The Norton Anthology of English Literature: “King Arthur”

Link: W.W. Norton and Company’s *The Norton Anthology of English
Literature*: [“King
Arthur”](http://www.wwnorton.com/college/english/nael/middleages/topic_2/welcome.htm)
(HTML)  
    
 Instructions: Read the entry on “King Arthur” for a basic
introduction to the genre of Medieval romance. As you read, pay
attention to the mention of Chretien de Troyes and his use of the
new genre of verse romance.

Reading this document should take approximately 15 minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

2.3.2 King Arthur’s Court, Celtic Origins, and the Figure of the Chivalric Knight in Romans d’Aventure   - Reading: Washington State University: Dr. Michael Delahoyde’s “Arthurian Romance” and “Courtly Love”

Link: Washington State University: Dr. Michael Delahoyde’s
[“Arthurian
Romance”](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Arthurian-Romance.pdf) (PDF) and
[“Courtly
Love”](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Courtly-Love.pdf)
(PDF)  
    
 Instructions: Read both brief essays for an introduction to the
King Arthur folklore, as well as some historical information about
the development of these stories. In the essay on “Courtly Love,”
pay special attention to the appearance of courtly love in Medieval
literature, especially in the literature of Chretien de Troyes.

Reading these documents should take approximately 45 minutes.

Terms of Use: The materials above have been reposted by the kind
permission of Dr. Michael Delahoyde and the original version can be
[here](http://www.wsu.edu/~delahoyd/medieval/arthurian.html) and
[here](http://www.wsu.edu/~delahoyd/medieval/love.html),
respectively. Please note that this material is under copyright and
cannot be reproduced in any capacity without explicit permission
from the copyright holder.

2.3.3 Chrétien de Troye’s “Yvain, le Chevalier au Lion,” the Class System, and Anglo-Norman Values   - Reading: W.W. Norton and Company’s The Norton Anthology of English Literature: “Chrétien de Troye” as well as “Illustrations”; The Saylor Foundation’s “Chretien de Troye’s ‘Yvain, le Chevalier au Lion,’ the Class System, and Anglo Norman Values”; Project Gutenberg: De Troye’s “Yvain, le Chevalier au Lion”

Link: W.W. Norton and Company’s *The Norton Anthology of English
Literature*: [“Chrétien de
Troye”](http://www.wwnorton.com/college/english/nael/middleages/topic_2/chretien.htm)
(HTML) as well as
[“Illustrations”](http://www.wwnorton.com/college/english/nael/middleages/topic_2/illustrations.htm)
(HTML); The Saylor Foundation’s [“Chretien de Troye’s ‘Yvain, le
Chevalier au Lion,’ the Class System, and Anglo Norman
Values”](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/ENGL201-2.3.3-Yvain.pdf)
(PDF); Project Gutenberg: De Troye’s [“Yvain, le Chevalier au
Lion”](#2H_4_0005) (HTML)  
    
 Instructions: Click on the first link above, and read the short
introduction under the header “Chrétien de Troyes” in *The Norton
Anthology of English Literature* for a bit of context. Click on the
third link above to review The Saylor Foundation’s introductory
text, and then read “Yvain, le Chevalier au Lion” (also known as
“Yvain, the Knight of the Lion” in English). Also, look at
Illustration \#3, “Yvain Rescuing the Lion” and Illustration \#4,
“Duel Between Yvain and Gawain”—both taken from Princeton
University’s manuscript of “Yvain, le Chevalier au Lion.”  
    
 In Chrétien de Troye’s 12th-century “Yvain, le Chevalier au Lion,”
we encounter a number of stereotypical elements of the Medieval
romance genre, including knightly adventure and King Arthur’s Court.

Reading these documents should take approximately 10 hours.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

2.3.4 Geoffrey of Monmouth’s “The History of the Kings of Britain” and the Appeal of King Arthur’s Court   - Reading: The Camelot Project at the University of Rochester: J.A. Giles’s Translation of Geoffrey of Monmouth’s “The History of the Kings of Britain” and Fordham University’s Internet Medieval History Sourcebook: Scott McLetchie’s Translation of Gerard of Wales’s “The Discovery of the Tomb of King Arthur, from On the Instruction of a Prince”

Link: The Camelot Project at the University of Rochester: J.A.
Gile’s Translation of Geoffrey of Monmouth’s
[“](http://www.lib.rochester.edu/Camelot/geofhkb.htm)[The History of
the Kings of
Britain”](http://www.lib.rochester.edu/Camelot/geofhkb.htm) (HTML)
and Fordham University’s *Internet Medieval History Sourcebook*:
Scott McLetchie’s Translation of Gerald of Wales’s [“The Discovery
of the Tomb of King Arthur, from On the Instruction of a
Prince”](http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/1223gerald-arthurtomb.html) (HTML)  

 Also also available in:  
 ([PDF)](http://www.yorku.ca/inpar/)  

([Kindle](http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0015HZHRS/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_1?pf_rd_p=486539851&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=0899790194&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=106NESA3AP7GYFZAJRAY))

Instructions: Read the passages from Monmouth’s “The History of the
Kings of Britain.” To view in PDF format, please follow the “PDF”
link above; select the link “Arthurian Series” from the column at
the left, and then find in the main frame the link to the assigned
text. Note that only sections of importance to the Arthurian myth
are featured, rather than Monmouth’s entire text. Also read the
brief piece, Gerald of Wales’s “The Discovery of the Tomb of King
Arthur,” for another Medieval example of the endurance of Arthurian
legend.

It is thought that Chrétien de Troye drew from Geoffrey of
Monmouth’s “The History of the Kings of Britain,” a
pseudo-historical chronicle of the lives of the kings of the
Britons, written c. 1136.

Reading these documents should take approximately 7 hours.

Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

2.4 Religion and the Romance Genre     2.4.1 Developments in Religious Communities in the Anglo-Norman Period   - Reading: The ORB: Online Reference Book for Medieval Studies: Steven Muhlberger’s Medieval England: “The Church under the Normans”; W.W. Norton and Company’s The Norton Anthology of English Literature: “The First Crusade”; Godfrey Daimbert and Raymond Daimbert’s “Letter to the Pope (1099)” and The Duke of Lorraine’s “Letter to the Archbishop of Cologne (1197)”

Link: *The ORB: Online Reference Book for Medieval Studies*: Steven
Muhlberger’s *Medieval England*: [“The Church under the
Normans”](http://www.the-orb.net/textbooks/muhlberger/norm_church.html)
(HTML); W.W. Norton and Company’s *The Norton Anthology of English
Literature*: [“The First
Crusade”](http://www.wwnorton.com/college/english/nael/middleages/topic_3/welcome.htm)
(HTML); Godfrey Daimbert and Raymond Daimbert’s [“Letter to the
Pope”](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Daimbert-letter.pdf)
(PDF) and The Duke of Lorraine’s [“Letter to the Archbishop of
Cologne”](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Letter-to-the-Archbishop-of-Cologne.pdf)
(PDF)

Instructions: First read the chapter from *Medieval England* titled
“The Church under the Normans.” Read *The Norton Anthology of
English Literature*’s “The First Crusade.” Also, read the two
letters from the Hanover Historical Texts Project for Medieval
perspectives on the Church in the wake of the Norman invasion.

Reading these documents should take approximately 1 hour.  
    
 Terms of Use: The materials above, “Letter to the Pope” and “Letter
to the Archbishop of Cologne,” are available in the public domain.
Permission is granted for educational purposes. Please respect the
copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

2.4.2 The Influence of Romance Literature on Religious Writing   - Reading: University of Central Arkansas: Dr. Jonathan A. Glenn’s “Notes on Middle English Romance”

Link: University of Central Arkansas: Dr. Jonathan A. Glenn’s
[“Notes on Middle English
Romance”](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Notes-on-Middle-English-Romance.pdf) (PDF)

Instructions: As you read, consider Dr. Glenn’s articulation of the
relationship between romance and religion.

Reading this document should take approximately 30 minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: The material above has been reposted by the kind
permission of Dr. Jonathan Glenn and the original version can be
found [here](http://www.lightspill.com/schola/nando/romance_notes.html). Please
note that this material is under copyright and cannot be reproduced
in any capacity without explicit permission from the copyright
holder.

2.4.3 “Ancrene Riwle” and the Knightly Figuration of Christ   - Reading: University of Rochester: Robert Hasenfratz’s Edited version of “Ancrene Wisse” and Hermitary’s “‘Ancrene Wisse’: A Medieval Guide for Anchoresses”

Link: University of Rochester: Robert Hasenfratz’s Edited version of
[“Ancrene
Wisse”](http://www.lib.rochester.edu/camelot/teams/hasenfratz.htm)
(HTML) and Hermitary’s [“‘Ancrene Wisse’: A Medieval Guide for
Anchoresses”](http://www.hermitary.com/articles/ancrene.html)
(HTML)  
    
 Instructions: Read the “Introduction” to “Ancrene Wisse,” which
provides valuable information about literary and monastic history.
Also, read the “Author’s Preface” as well as “Part One” and “Part
Two.” Note that the translation is provided in the footnotes,
although you will also want to look at the frame of original copy
found here for a sense of the initial text. Also, read the summary
found on the Hermitary website, which provides an excellent
introduction and overview of the primary text.  
    
 The text “Ancrene Wisse” is a revised version of the original text
titled Ancrene Riwle. The Ancrene Riwle, or Guide for Anchoresses,
is a manual on monastic life for young women choosing to enter the
sisterhood, written c. 1215.

Reading these documents should take approximately 12 hours.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.