Thursday, March 19, 2009

1400 to 1499: Le Morte d'Arthur to "Till Eulenspiegel."

Sir Thomas Malory. British. 1460. Tales. Le Morte d’Arthur. Prose rendition of the legends of King Arthur. Printed by William Caxton. Malory’s purpose: to tell a good story. Some tales are not in the Arthurian tradition. The tone is nostalgic.

Luigi Pulci. Italian. 1470. Poetry. Il Morgante Maggiore (“The Great Morgante.”) Morgante, a giant, aids Charlemagne’s paladin, Orlando.

Anonymous. Medieval. 1481. Fable. “Reynard the Fox.” Cunniing fox vs. physically powerful wolf. Sly wit usually wins.

William Caxton. British. 1483. Compilation. The Golden Legend. Lives of the saints and other ecclesiastical commentaries. One of the most popular books published by Caxton.

Anonymous. German. 1483/1515. Stories. "Till Eulenspiegel." German peasant. Popular in legend as a player of pranks. Brutal tricks and practical jokes. Emphasizes tricks as revenge of a peasant upon townsmen who scorn him as inferior.

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