Praxis 0041: Old & Middle English

  1. The Old English period in Literature spanned what time period?
  2. The Middle English Period in Literature spanned what time period?
  3. Summarize Beowulf.
    An epic poem about a hero, Beowulf, who helps the king of the Danes (Hrothgar) who are under attack by a being named Grendel. Beowulf slays Grendel, then Grendel's mother attacks the hall and is killed. Beowulf goes home to Sweden and becomes king of the Geats. Fifty years later, Beowulf fights and slays a dragon but it fatally wounded and dies.
  4. The Old English period saw the rise of what kind of poetry?
  5. Name at least two content areas characteristic of the Old English period.
    • 1. Strong belief in fate.
    • 2. Juxtaposition of church and pagan worlds.
    • 3. Admiration of heroic warriors who prevail in battle.
    • 4. Express religious faith and give moral instruction through literature.
  6. Old English is also know by what name?
  7. Name at least three styles or genres typical of Old English literature.
    • 1. Oral tradition of literature
    • 2. Poetry dominant genre
    • 3. Unique verse form
    • 4. Caesura
    • 5. Alliteration
    • 6. Repetition
    • 7. 4 beat rhythm
  8. Define caesura.
    A complete pause in a line of poetry or musical composition, generally identified by punctuation, but sometimes less obvious.
  9. Define alliteration.
    The repetition of a particular sound in the first syllables of a series of word or phrases.
  10. Name the 3 effects Old English had on society.
    • 1. Christianity helps literacy to spread.
    • 2. Introduces Roman alphabet to Britain.
    • 3. Oral tradition helps unite diverse peoples and their myths.
  11. Who was Petrarch?
    An Italian writer (1304-74) who invented the sonnet.
  12. Name the two types of sonnets, and define the differences between them.
    The Italian (or Petrarchan) sonnet is in iambic pentameter deivided into an octave and a sestet. The English (or Shakespearean) sonnet consists of 3 quatrains and a couplet.
  13. Who wrote The Divine Comedy?
    Dante, an Italian writer who lived 1307-1321
  14. Who wrote The Decameron?
    Boccacio, an Italian writer who lived 1313-75
  15. Who wrote The Canterbury Tales?
    Geoffrey Chaucer, a British writer who lived 1343-1400
  16. When was the printing press invented?
    1450-Middle English period
  17. Summarize The Divine Comedy.
    An epic poem written by Dante, is divided into 3 parts: Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise. It is written in first person about Dante's journey through the 3 realms of the dead. It ends with Dante seeing the Trinity of God and his enlightenment and understanding of Christ's divinity and humanity.
  18. Summarize The Decameron by Boccacio.
    An allegory encompassing 100 tales by ten young people, who spend their days taking turns telling stories. The stories are bawdy tales of love that range from erotic to tragic. There are tales of wit, practical jokes, and life lessons. Basic plots include making fun of clergy and tales of traveling merchants.
  19. Summarize The Cnterbury Tales by Chaucer.
    A collection of stories (verse and prose) as told by a ficitonal group of pilgrims traveling to Canterbury Cathedral. The winner of the story-telling contest would receive a free meal back at Southwark on their return home.
Card Set
Praxis 0041: Old & Middle English
Old English and Middle English