British Literary History at Universität Regensburg

Flashcards and summaries for British Literary History at the Universität Regensburg

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Session 1: Medieval Literature

What are the implications of using “Old English” versus “Anglo-Saxon” to describe literature produced between the 5th and 11th centuries?

Exemplary flashcards for British Literary History at the Universität Regensburg on StudySmarter:

Session 1: Medieval Literature

How do period “labels” shape the reception of literature?

Exemplary flashcards for British Literary History at the Universität Regensburg on StudySmarter:

Session 1: Medieval Literature

What are the names of three Germanic tribes that invaded England in the fifth and sixth centuries? Where did they come from?

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Session 1: Medieval Literature

Who was responsible for the (re-)christianisation of England that took place in the fifth and sixth centuries?

Exemplary flashcards for British Literary History at the Universität Regensburg on StudySmarter:

Session 1: Medieval Literature

What was the linguistic impact of the (re)christianisation?

Exemplary flashcards for British Literary History at the Universität Regensburg on StudySmarter:

Session 1: Medieval Literature

In what kinds of cultural contexts were Anglo-Saxon works of literature originally performed? When were they written down?

Exemplary flashcards for British Literary History at the Universität Regensburg on StudySmarter:

Session 1: Medieval Literature

What is the meaning of canonization?

Exemplary flashcards for British Literary History at the Universität Regensburg on StudySmarter:

Session 1: Medieval Literature

What is an epic poem?

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Session 1: Medieval Literature

What is the name of the poetic metre used in Beowulf?

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Session 1: Medieval Literature

How does Beowulf reflect on the mixing of Christian and Pagan cultural practices?

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Session 1: Medieval Literature

What is the Bayeux Tapestry and what does it show?

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Session 1: Medieval Literature

What kinds of cultural and linguistic changes did the Norman Conquest usher in?

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Exemplary flashcards for British Literary History at the Universität Regensburg on StudySmarter:

British Literary History

Session 1: Medieval Literature

What are the implications of using “Old English” versus “Anglo-Saxon” to describe literature produced between the 5th and 11th centuries?

"Old English" suggests cultural continuity and presents a core Englishness; used by nationalists since 19th cent

while "Anglo-Saxon" is a reminder of the non-native origin of the language; the Angles and Saxons migrated to GB; this is the older term

British Literary History

Session 1: Medieval Literature

How do period “labels” shape the reception of literature?

Labels cause a strong bias, theyre never neutral, either inclusive or exclusive

They are useful to compare works of the same period

British Literary History

Session 1: Medieval Literature

What are the names of three Germanic tribes that invaded England in the fifth and sixth centuries? Where did they come from?

The Angles, Jutes, Saxons came from todays Denmark and Northern Germany

British Literary History

Session 1: Medieval Literature

Who was responsible for the (re-)christianisation of England that took place in the fifth and sixth centuries?

The re-christianisation was carried out by monks sent from Rome by pope Gregory the Great

British Literary History

Session 1: Medieval Literature

What was the linguistic impact of the (re)christianisation?

  • The monks introduced the Roman alphabet which then served as a medium of conservation of texts that had only existed in oral form; 
  • this standardized the English language; unlike with dialects in spoken English, the written English cannot be connected to a specific region

British Literary History

Session 1: Medieval Literature

In what kinds of cultural contexts were Anglo-Saxon works of literature originally performed? When were they written down?

Originally, AS literature was orally performed at public gatherings

They were written down in the 10th century by scribes

British Literary History

Session 1: Medieval Literature

What is the meaning of canonization?

canon = books that are thought to be culturally notable

canonization = key process of how we perceive lit from a certain period, selection by cultural institutions that chose most important works;

an inclusive and exclusive process; gives us insight into values and hierarchal structure of the period

British Literary History

Session 1: Medieval Literature

What is an epic poem?

A long narrative poem usually about the exploits of warriors and heroes


British Literary History

Session 1: Medieval Literature

What is the name of the poetic metre used in Beowulf?

Alliterative Verse

British Literary History

Session 1: Medieval Literature

How does Beowulf reflect on the mixing of Christian and Pagan cultural practices?

Its a pagan tale (monsters, warriors, Danes, warlords, heirs....)
containing Christian references (God-given goods, good vs evil, Cain and Able, Creator....) 



British Literary History

Session 1: Medieval Literature

What is the Bayeux Tapestry and what does it show?

70m long tapestry commissioned by the Normans after they conquered England and made by English craftsmen; embroidery of wool yarn on woven linen made in the 11th century

It shows events leading up to the Battle of Hastings 1066/ the Norman Conquest using multiple views > balanced depiction, not just propaganda

British Literary History

Session 1: Medieval Literature

What kinds of cultural and linguistic changes did the Norman Conquest usher in?

It turned England trilingual:

Latin for education in monastries

French for the aristocracy 

English spoken by most of the population

the literary culture becomes more European due to French influence 

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