Thursday, March 5, 2009

1300 to 1399: Piers Plowman to The Travels of Sir John Mandeville

William Langland. British. 1362/87. Poetry. Piers Plowman. Langland was a contemporary of Chaucer. Alliterative. Piers, Peter/Jesus urges people to work toward salvation.

Anonymous. Chinese. 1368 (?). Novel. The Golden Lotus. Life and loves of His-men Ch’ing and his six wives. Naturalism. Realistic. Explicit eroticism.

Chaucer. British. 1369. Poetry. The Book of the Duchess. Elegy on the occasion of the death of Blanche, the first wife of John of Gaunt. Narrator reads Halcyon and Ceyx and then dreams. Black Knight laments that he met, married, lived in bliss, and lost in death the most perfect lady.

Pearl Poet. British. 1370. Poetry. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Alliterative. Beheading game and temptation to adultery. Greatest single Arthurian legend in English.

Sir John Mandeville. French/English. 1371. Travel. The Travels of Sir John Mandeville. Book of travels filled with fictitious marvels.

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