Monday, 22 August 2016

NEW ENGLISH LITERATURE AFTER THE CONQUEST

Native literature remained in a a prolonged silence for more than a century . Of course , there had grown , in the meantime , a kind of Anglo -Norman literature .That consisted of chronicles in rhymes .The revival of English literature was first heard through religious poetical works . The native tongues could express itself , under the rigours of foreign masters , only through religious matters initially . But those religious works were inspired by the literary ideal of the French .

The literary ideal of the French , however , was immensely different from that of the Anglo-Saxon . Anglo-Saxon literature was rather grave , reflective and pensive . But French literature was full of liveliness and gaiety . Anglo-Saxon literature mostly missed the finer element of humour or the sharp sense of wit . But French literature was immensely rich in wit and humour . Again , love , an elemental passion of life , was scrupulously absent in Anglo-Saxon literature , except in the three cases of short elegies . But love featured remarkably in French romance . Lastly , Anglo-Saxon poetry had but one metre-the alliterative . That single metre made Anglo-Saxon poetry monotonous and mechanical . The French lines , on the other hand , had the variety of different syllables and rhymes .

The earliest of those religious works was Poema Morale or Moral Ode , which was possibly written about 1170 . It was followed by the Ormulum or the Works of the Monk Orm , written about 1200 . The third important religious work was Cursor Mundi , written about 1320 . Another work pricke of conscience was possibly written in 1340 . Among those religious works , there was a fine prose piece , Ancrene Riwle , which might be taken as the best example of the prose of the time . The Life of Saint Brendan and The Life of Saint Dunstan were two other popular works of the period . All those religious works had thir inspiration in French religious poetry.


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