Ker, W. P. - Medieval literature by Alejandro Zerpa - issuu
We will begin by consideringseveral Latin works essential to an understanding of medieval love literaturein the vernacular: poems by the Roman poet Ovid (43 B.C.
Medieval literature, Author: Alejandro Zerpa, Name: Ker, W
In his critique, C. S. Lewis presupposes that the author and audience of the poem would not have known much about the Green Man, that this ancient motif was only the agent of an exciting story, but where is the evidence for this lack of cultural knowledge on the part of the contemporary audience? On what grounds it is assumed that medieval peoples were not aware of their various cultural inheritances? Since there seems to be more evidence to the contrary, even in the text itself, let us start from the opposite assumption: that people of that day encountering this poem would have recognized the Green Man as the ancient vegetation spirit. Of course, this does not mean the author and audience were secretly pagans. Nor are we uncovering a buried treasure of an earlier time reflected in this late work. But neither is this motif merely ornamental. Its use matches the literary needs of the author to express an essential element of the poems theme, and since this poem has all the trappings of popular culture rather than esoteric discourse, the authors expectation must be that the audience will understand the resonance intended.
Entries should be alphabetized as on a List of Works Cited and shouldbegin with a (consult the and/or your for correct formats!)The annotation should be a brief summary of the primary thrust of the article,essay or book (your medieval text/author --praise for or a critique of the article, essay or book).
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The power of the motif is such that, when Hollywood adapts science fiction literature into film, the resulting movie often incorporates the Frankenstein motif even if the original literature did not--such as the adapation of Isaac Asimov's I, Robot and associated stories into the 2004 movie i, Robot starring Will Smith. (The latter adaptation is particularly striking in that Asimov's original short stories in the I, Robot collection usually depict robots positively as a foil to morally flawed humanity, a departure and antithesis to the Frankenstein motif found in earlier works like R.U.R.)
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In most cases, however, the spirit of medieval allegory proved fatal, the genuinely abstract characters are mostly shadowy and unreal, and the speeches of the Virtues are extreme examples of intolerable sanctimonious declamation.
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One similarity between the two works is that Odd is also connected with the seasonal myth. Late in his career Odd wanders into the forest and dressing in birch bark becomes the Barkman. He stays dressed like this for years and in this guise eventually becomes a servant of the King of Russia, though he claims to be weak and worthless. After beating the kings best men at all sports and drinking and poetry, the bark dress is peeled away to reveal a handsome, well-dressed and princely Odd beneath (75-94). This motif of the reborn Barkman is familiar from James Frazers and constitutes one of the main stories linked with the resurrecting of ancient Europe. Another similar use of this motif in late medieval literature is in the popular lay , a retelling of the Orpheus myth but greatly mixed with Celtic and Germanic motifs. Orfeo, after wandering in the woods for many years and winning back his wife, Heurodis, from the Fairie King, returns to his court where he is stripped and cleaned and re-emerges as the king of the land. The widespread use of this motif testifies to its currentness in late medieval culture.