Byzantine literature is the Greek literature of the Middle Ages, whether written in the territory of the Byzantine Empire or outside its borders. It forms the second period in the history of Greek literature after Ancient Greek literature. Although popular Byzantine literature and early Modern Greek literature both began in the 11th century, the two are indistinguishable. Many of the classical Greek genres, such as drama and choral lyric poetry, had been obsolete by late antiquity, all medieval literature in the Greek language was written in an archaizing style, which imitated the writers of ancient Greece; this practice was perpetuated by a long-established system of Greek education where rhetoric was a leading subject. A typical product of this Byzantine education was the Greek Church Fathers, who shared the literary values of their pagan contemporaries; the vast Christian literature of the 3rd to 6th centuries established a synthesis of Hellenic and Christian thought. As a result, Byzantine literature was written in a style of Atticistic Greek, far removed from the popular Medieval Greek, spoken by all classes of Byzantine society in their everyday lives.
In addition, this literary style was removed from the Koine Greek language of the New Testament, reaching back to Homer and the writers of ancient Athens. In this manner, the culture of the Byzantine Empire was marked for over 1000 years by a diglossy between two different forms of the same language, which were used for different purposes. However, the relations between the "high" and "low" forms of Greek changed over the centuries; the prestige of the Attic literature remained undiminished until the 7th century AD, but in the following two centuries when the existence of the Byzantine Empire was threatened, city life and education declined, along with them the use of the classicizing language and style. The political recovery of the 9th century instigated a literary revival, in which a conscious attempt was made to recreate the Hellenic-Christian literary culture of late antiquity. Simple or popular Greek was avoided in literary use and many of the early saints' lives were rewritten in an archaizing style.
By the 12th century the cultural confidence of the Byzantine Greeks led them to develop new literary genres, such as romantic fiction, in which adventure and love are the main elements. Satire made occasional use of elements from spoken Greek; the period from the Fourth Crusade to the Fall of Constantinople saw a vigorous revival of imitative classicizing literature, as the Greeks sought to assert their cultural superiority over the militarily more powerful West. At the same time there was the beginning of a flourishing literature in an approximation to the vernacular Modern Greek; however the vernacular literature was limited to popular devotional writing. All serious literature continued to make use of the archaizing language of learned Greek tradition. Byzantine literature has two sources: Orthodox Christian tradition; each of those sources provided a series of models and references for the Byzantine writer and his readers. In occasion, both sources were referred to side by side, for example when emperor Alexius Comnenus justified his actions of seizing church property to pay his soldiers by referring to the earlier examples of Pericles and the biblical king David.
The oldest of these three civilizations is the Greek, centered not in Athens but in Alexandria and Hellenistic civilization. Alexandria through this period is the center of both Atticizing scholarship and of Graeco-Judaic social life, looking towards Athens as well as towards Jerusalem; this intellectual dualism between the culture of scholars and that of the people permeates the Byzantine period. Hellenistic literature exhibits two distinct tendencies, one rationalistic and scholarly, the other romantic and popular: the former originated in the schools of the Alexandrian sophists and culminated in the rhetorical romance, the latter rooted in the idyllic tendency of Theocritus and culminated in the idyllic novel. Both tendencies persisted in Byzantium, but the first, as the one recognized, retained predominance and was not driven from the field until the fall of the empire; the reactionary linguistic movement known as Atticism supported and enforced this scholarly tendency. Atticism prevailed from the 2nd century BC onward, controlling all subsequent Greek culture, so that the living form of the Greek language was obscured and only found expression in private documents and popular literature.
Alexandria, the intellectual center, is balanced by the center of government. It is as a Roman Empire, its laws were Roman. The organization of the state was similar to that of the Roman imperial period, including its hierarchy and bureaucratic elite, it was in Alexandria. There the Septuagint translation had been made. At Alexandria the great Greek ecclesiastical writers worked alongside pagan rhetoricians and philosophers. On Egyptian soil monasticism thrived. After Alexandria, Antioch held great prestige, where a school of Christian commentators flourished under St. John Chrysostom and where arose the Christian universal chronicles. In surrounding Syria, we
Indian literature refers to the literature produced on the Indian subcontinent until 1947 and in the Republic of India thereafter. The Republic of India has 22 recognized languages; the earliest works of Indian literature were orally transmitted. Sanskrit literature begins with the oral literature of the Rig Veda a collection of sacred hymns dating to the period 1500–1200 BCE; the Sanskrit epics Ramayana and Mahabharata appeared towards the end of the 2nd millennium BCE. Classical Sanskrit literature developed during the first few centuries of the first millennium BCE, as did the Tamil Sangam literature, the Pāli Canon. In the medieval period, literature in Kannada and Telugu appeared in the 9th and 11th centuries respectively. Literature in Marathi and Bengali appeared. Thereafter literature in various dialects of Hindi and Urdu began to appear as well. Early in the 20th century, Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore became India's first Nobel laureate. In contemporary Indian literature, there are two major literary awards.
Eight Jnanpith Awards each have been awarded in Hindi and Kannada, followed by five in Bengali and Malayalam, four in Odia, four in Gujarati, Marathi and Urdu, two each in Assamese and Tamil, one in Sanskrit. Examples of early works written in Vedic Sanskrit include the holy Hindu texts, such as the core Vedas. Other examples include the Sulba Sutras, which are some of the earliest texts on geometry.. Ved Vyasa's Mahabharata and Valmiki's Ramayana, written in Epic Sanskrit, are regarded as the greatest Sanskrit epics; the famous poet and playwright Kālidāsa wrote one epic: Raghuvamsha. Other examples of works written in Classical Sanskrit include the Pāṇini's Ashtadhyayi which standardized the grammar and phonetics of Classical Sanskrit; the Laws of Manu is a controversial text in Hinduism. Kālidāsa is considered to be the greatest playwright in Sanskrit literature, one of the greatest poets in Sanskrit literature, whose Recognition of Shakuntala and Meghaduuta are the most famous Sanskrit plays.
Some other famous plays were Mricchakatika by Shudraka, Svapna Vasavadattam by Bhasa, Ratnavali by Sri Harsha. Poetic works include Geeta Govinda by Jayadeva; some other famous works are Vatsyayana's Kamasutra. The most notable Prakrit languages were the Jain Prakrit, Pali and Shauraseni. One of the earliest extant Prakrit works is Hāla's anthology of poems in Maharashtri, the Gāhā Sattasaī, dating to the 3rd to 5th century CE. Kālidāsa and Harsha used Maharashtri in some of their plays and poetry. In Jainism, many Svetambara works were written in Maharashtri. Many of Aśvaghoṣa's plays were written in Shauraseni as were a sizable number of Jain works and Rajasekhara's Karpuramanjari. Canto 13 of the Bhaṭṭikāvya is written in what is called "like the vernacular", that is, it can be read in two languages simultaneously: Prakrit and Sanskrit; the Pali Canon is of Indian origin. Pali literature however was produced outside of the mainland Indian subcontinent in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia. Pali literature includes Buddhist philosophical works and some grammatical works.
Major works in Pali are Jataka tales, Dhammapada and Mahavamsa. Some of the major Pali grammarians were Kaccayana and Vararuci; the Sangam literature is the ancient Tamil literature of the period in the history of south India spanning from c. 300 BCE to 300 CE. This collection contains 2381 poems in Tamil composed by 473 poets, some 102 of whom remain anonymous. Most of the available Sangam literature is from the Third Sangam, this period is known as the Sangam period, which refers to the prevalent Sangam legends claiming literary academies lasting thousands of years, giving the name to the corpus of literature; the Only religious poems among the shorter poems occur in paripaatal. The rest of the corpus of Sangam literature deals with human relationship and emotions. Sangam literature deals with emotional and material topics such as love, governance and bereavement; some of the greatest Tamil scholars, like Thiruvalluvar, who wrote on ethics, on the various issues of life like virtue and love, or the Tamil poet Mamulanar, who explored historical incidents that happened in India, lived during the Sangam period.
The Charyapadas are cited as the earliest example of Assamese literature. The Charyapadas are Buddhist songs composed in the 8th to 12th centuries; these writings bear similarities to Bengali languages as well. The phonological and morphological traits of these songs bear strong resemblance to Assamese some of which are extant. After the Charyapadas, the period may again be split into Pre-Vaishnavite and Vaishnavite sub-periods; the earliest known Assamese writer is Hema Saraswati, who wrote a small poem "Prahlada Charita". In the time of the King Indranarayana of Kamatapur the two poets Harihara Vipra and Kaviratna Saraswati composed Asvamedha Parva and Jayadratha Vadha respectively. Another poet named Rudra Kandali translated Drona Parva into Assamese, but the most well-known poet of the Pre-Vaishnavite sub period is Madhav Kandali, who rendered Valmiki's Ramayana into Assamese verse under the patronage of Mahamanikya, a Kachari king of Jayan
Armenian literature begins around AD 400 with the invention of the Armenian alphabet by Mesrop Mashtots. Only a handful of fragments have survived from the most ancient Armenian literary tradition preceding the Christianization of Armenia in the early 4th century due to centuries of concerted effort by the Armenian Church to eradicate the "pagan tradition". Christian Armenian literature begins about 406 with the invention of the Armenian alphabet by Mesrop for the purpose of translating Biblical books into Armenian. Isaac, the Catholicos of Armenia, formed a school of translators who were sent to Edessa, Constantinople, Antioch, Caesarea in Cappadocia, elsewhere, to procure codices both in Syriac and Greek and translate them. From Syriac were made the first version of the New Testament, the version of Eusebius' History and his Life of Constantine, the homilies of Aphraates, the Acts of Gurias and Samuna, the works of Ephrem Syrus. In these first years of the 5th century were composed some of the apocryphal works which, like the Discourses attributed to St. Gregory and the History of Armenia said to have come from Agathangelus, are asserted to be the works of these and other well-known men.
This early period of Armenian literature produced many original compositions. Eznik of Kolb wrote a "Refutation of the Sects", Koryun the "History of the Life of St. Mesrop and of the Beginnings of Armenian Literature"; these men, both of whom were disciples of Mesrop, bring to an end what may be called the Golden Age of Armenian literature. The Golden Age was to large extent a commentary and exegesis of Hebrew and Christian literary tradition and the history of the Armenian Apostolic Church. Armenia is known to have been a nation occupied by nearby powers, such as the Sassanid Empire; the beginning of the Medieval era was marked by the Arab conquest of Armenia. The people started to talk of a great hero who would be able to liberate them and reestablish Armenian sovereignty. David of Sasun, known as Sasuntsi Davit', is the medieval Armenian equivalent of Hercules. For over a thousand years the legend of David was passed from grandfathers to their grandsons thanks to the Armenian oral tradition, it is difficult to classify his stories as ancient or medieval.
In 1873, the story was first written down by Archbishop Karekin Servantzdiants, who copied word for word the tale as told by a peasant storyteller from Moush named Grbo. Other versions of the tale from various regions of Armenia were copied down in the ensuing years, during the early Soviet era in Armenia, the stories were collated into a "unified version". One of the most famous treatments of the story was the verse rendition made by Hovhannes Toumanian in 1902, his poem only covers the story of David, only one of 4 parts of the story, although the central portion. The four portions of the story are named after their heroes: Sanasar & Balthazar, Lion-Mher, David of Sassoun, Mher the Younger. Sanasar is the father of Lion-Mher, the father of David, the father of Mher the Younger. Mher the younger is cursed to never bear progeny and his superhuman powers are too much for the world to handle, so he is enclosed in a mountain cave where he waits until the end of the world to come out and restore order.
Despite the Christian flavor of the epic, numerous fantastic creatures and evil, influence the action. One of the ancestors of the legendary David is the Lady Dzovinar, who agrees to marry the 90-year-old King of Baghdad in order to save her people. Sanasar and Balthasar were their two sons. Sanasar moves to Sassoun, the fortress-town of Armenia, now located in Turkey, he has the eldest of them being the Great Mher of Sassoun, with superhuman powers. Mher's veritable son is David of Sassoun. However, he gets another son from the Arabic queen of Egypt, he is known as Misra Melik, which means "The sovereign of Egypt". He is the figure of all of what the Armenians resented. Throughout the years the half-brothers fought, David chops his nemesis in half; the medieval period opens with comparative sterility. It was important in the 8th century, that of John Otznetzi, surnamed the "Philosopher". A "Discourse against the Paulicians", a "Synodal Discourse", a collection of the canons of the councils and the Fathers anterior to his day, are the principal works of his now extant.
About the same time appeared the translations of the works of several of the Fathers of St. Gregory of Nyssa and Cyril of Alexandria, from the pen of Stephen, Bishop of Syunik, it was two centuries that the celebrated "History of Armenia" by the Catholicos John V the Historian came forth, covering the period from the origin of the nation to the year A. D. 925. A contemporary of his, Annine of Mok, an abbot and the most celebrated theologian of the time, composed a treatise against the Tondrakians, a sect imbued with Manicheism; the name of Chosrov, Bishop of Andzevatsentz, is honoured because of his interesting commentaries on the Breviary and Mass-Prayers. Gregory of Narek, his son, is the Armenian Pindar from whose pen came elegies, odes and homilies. Stephen Asoghtk, whose "Universal History" reaches down to A. D. 1004, Gregory Magistros, whose long poem on the Old and New Testaments displays much application, are the last writers worthy of mention in this period. The modern period of Armenian literature
19th century in literature
Literature of the 19th century refers to world literature produced during the 19th century. The range of years is, for the purpose of this article, literature written from 1799 to 1900. Many of the developments in literature in this period parallel changes in the visual arts and other aspects of 19th-century culture. Literary realism is the trend, beginning with mid nineteenth-century French literature and extending to late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century authors, toward depictions of contemporary life and society as it was, or is. In the spirit of general "realism," realist authors opted for depictions of everyday and banal activities and experiences, instead of a romanticized or stylized presentation. George Eliot's novel Middlemarch stands as a great milestone in the realist tradition, it is a primary example of nineteenth-century realism's role in the naturalization of the burgeoning capitalist marketplace. William Dean Howells was the first American author to bring a realist aesthetic to the literature of the United States.
His stories of 1850s Boston upper-crust life are regarded among scholars of American fiction. His most popular novel, The Rise of Silas Lapham, depicts a man who falls from materialistic fortune by his own mistakes. Stephen Crane has been recognized as illustrating important aspects of realism to American fiction in the stories Maggie: A Girl of the Streets and The Open Boat. Honoré de Balzac is credited with pioneering a systematic realism in French literature, through the inclusion of specific detail and reacurring characters. Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Leo Tolstoy, Gustave Flaubert, Ivan Turgenev are regarded by many critics as representing the zenith of the realist style with their unadorned prose and attention to the details of everyday life. In German literature, 19th-century realism developed under the name of "Poetic Realism" or "Bourgeois Realism," and major figures include Theodor Fontane, Gustav Freytag, Gottfried Keller, Wilhelm Raabe, Adalbert Stifter, Theodor Storm. "realist" writers included Benito Pérez Galdós, Nikolai Leskov, Guy de Maupassant, Anton Chekhov, José Maria de Eça de Queiroz, Machado de Assis, Bolesław Prus and, in a sense, Émile Zola, whose naturalism is regarded as an offshoot of realism.
Leopoldo Alas Louisa May Alcott Hans Christian Andersen Machado de Assis Jane Austen Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer Elizabeth Barrett Browning Anne Brontë Charlotte Brontë Emily Brontë Georg Büchner Ivan Bunin Lord Byron Hall Caine Lewis Carroll Rosalía de Castro François-René de Chateaubriand Anton Chekhov Kate Chopin Samuel Taylor Coleridge James Fenimore Cooper Stephen Crane Eduard Douwes Dekker Emily Dickinson Charles Dickens Arthur Conan Doyle Alexandre Dumas, père Paul Dunbar José Maria Eça de Queirós José Echegaray George Eliot Ralph Waldo Emerson Gustave Flaubert Margaret Fuller Elizabeth Gaskell Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Nikolai Gogol Manuel González Prada Juana Manuela Gorriti Brothers Grimm Henry Rider Haggard Ida Gräfin Hahn-Hahn Thomas Hardy Francis Bret Harte Nathaniel Hawthorne Friedrich Hölderlin Heinrich Heine Victor Hugo Henrik Ibsen Washington Irving Henry James John Keats Rudyard Kipling Caroline Kirkland Jules Laforgue Giacomo Leopardi Mikhail Lermontov Stéphane Mallarmé Alessandro Manzoni José Martí Clorinda Matto de Turner Herman Melville Friedrich Nietzsche José María de Pereda Benito Pérez Galdós Marcel Proust Aleksandr Pushkin Fritz Reuter Arthur Rimbaud John Ruskin George Sand Mary Shelley Percy Shelley Stendhal Robert Louis Stevenson Bram Stoker Harriet Beecher Stowe Alfred, Lord Tennyson Henry David Thoreau Leo Tolstoy Ivan Turgenev Mark Twain Juan Valera y Alcalá-Galiano Paul Verlaine Jules Verne Lew Wallace H. G. Wells Walt Whitman Oscar Wilde William Wordsworth Émile Zola José Zorrilla Golden Age of Russian Poetry French literature of the 19th century.
1800s - 1810s - 1820s - 1830s - 1840s - 1850s - 1860s - 1870s - 1880s - 1890s - 1900s - 19th century#Literature History of modern literature#19th century Kailyard school 19th century in poetry
Nepal Bhasa literature refers to literature in the Nepal Bhasa language. The language has the fourth oldest literature among the Sino-Tibetan languages; the earliest known document in Newar is called "The Palmleaf from Uku Bahal" which dates from 1114 during the Thakuri period. The earliest dated stone inscription in Newari is dated Nepal Sambat 293. From the 14th century onwards, an overwhelming number of stone inscriptions in the Kathmandu Valley, where they are an ubiquitous element at heritage sites, are in Nepal Bhasa; the first books appeared in the 14th century. Haramekhalā (Devanāgarī: हरमेखला, a medical manual written in 1374 Nāradsmṛti a law book written in 1380 Amarkośa, a Sanskrit-Newari dictionary written in 1381 Gopālarāja Vaṃśāvalī, a history of Nepal written in 1389The first story book is Tantrākhyāna, the first one-act play is Ekadaśī Brata written by King Siddhi Narasingha Malla. Nepal Bhasa literature can be broadly divided into four periods. Classical Period Dark Period Renaissance Period Modern Period This was a golden age of cultural development and art and architecture in Nepal Mandala besides being a prolific period for Newari literature.
The literary genres prevalent during this era consist of chronicles, stories, scientific manuals dealing with astrology and medicine, didactic poems and drama. The kings and queens of the Malla dynasty were keen playwrights. Dance dramas written at the time continue to be performed during annual festivals. King Mahindra Malla is regarded as the first Newari poet. Other notable poets among the Malla kings include Siddhi Narsingh Malla, Pratap Malla, Ranjit Malla and Jaya Prakash Malla. Siddhi Narasingha Malla was the first Newari playwright, he wrote a one-act play entitled Ekādaśīvbrata in 1633 based on a Hindu story. His most famous work is Katti Pyakhan, shown annually at Patan Durbar Square; the queens Riddhi Laxmi, considered to be Nepal's first woman poet, Jaya Laxmi and Bhuvan Laxmi were prominent songwriters. Among the public, Jagat Keshari of Banepa in the east of the Kathmandu Valley is celebrated for a hymn dedicated to Goddess Chandeswari. In the part of the Classical Period, Rajendra Bikram among the Shah kings is famed for writing Mahasatwa Pakhyan, a play based on a Buddhist story.
Pundit Sundarananda is known for his epics while Amritananda, besides composing poetry, wrote a grammar of Newari. After the Gorkha conquest of Nepal in 1768 and the advent of the Shah dynasty, the Nepali language known as Khaskura or Gorkhali, began edging out Newari. Overt suppression was started by the Rana dynasty. In 1906, official documents written in Newari were declared illegal; the use of the language for business and literary purposes was forbidden. Books were confiscated and writers were jailed; as a result, not only literary creations but writing for general purposes ceased. A small number of hymns and religious stories were produced during this period. Notable writers of the era were Swami Abhayananda, Hari Bhakta Mathema, Man Bahadur Joshi and Bir Bahadur Malla. During this period, a new generation of writers emerged who asserted themselves by producing literary works defying government restrictions; the renaissance aimed to stimulate creative literature. The activities of this period laid the foundation for the future course of the language.
The Nepal Bhasa movement dates from this period. The renaissance marked the advent of private printing presses and the end of handwritten books. In 1909, Nisthananda Bajracharya published the first printed book in Newari, Ek Bishanti Prajnaparamita, a Buddhist text. Another major change was the adoption of Devanagari script to write the language instead of Nepal alphabets because of the availability of Devanagari printing type. In 1913, Siddhidas Mahaju composed a Newar version of the Hindu epic. Jagat Sundar Malla worked to promote education. In 1925, Dharmaditya Dharmacharya published Buddha Dharma wa Nepal Bhasa, the first magazine in Newari, from Kolkata, India. Authors worked to standardize the grammar and spelling, new literary styles and genres were embraced. A grammar of the language, the first in modern times, was published in 1928; the most important figures of this era were: Nisthananda Bajracharya Siddhidas Mahaju Jagat Sundar Malla Yogbir Singh Kansakar Shukraraj Shastri Dharmaditya DharmacharyaThese writers spearheaded the revival of the language.
Among the leaders of the renaissance, Mahaju and Kansakar are honored as the Four Pillars of Nepal Bhasa. The 1940s marked the beginning of the modern period in Newari literature. During this period, new genres like short stories, essays and plays emerged; the years 1941–1945 are known as the jail years for the large number of authors who were imprisoned for their literary or political activities. They were a productive period and resulted in an outpouring of works. Chittadhar Hridaya, Siddhicharan Shrestha and Phatte Bahadur Singh were among the prominent writers of the period who were jailed for their writings. While in prison, Hridaya produced his greatest work Sugata Saurabha, an epic poem on the life of the Buddha. Shrestha wrote a collection of poems entitled Seeswan among other works. Singh was sentenced to life imprisonment for editing and publishing an anthology of po
Sumerian literature is the earliest known literature and it was written in the Sumerian language during the Middle Bronze Age. The Sumerians invented one of the first writing systems, developing Sumerian cuneiform writing out of earlier proto-writing systems by about the 30th century BC; the Sumerian language remained in official and literary use in the Akkadian and Babylonian empires after the spoken language disappeared from the population. Most Sumerian literature is written in left-justified lines, could contain line-based organization such as the couplet or the stanza, but the Sumerian definition of poetry is unknown, it is not rhymed, although “comparable effects were sometimes exploited.” It did not use syllabo-tonic versification, the writing system precludes detection of rhythm, rhyme, or alliteration. Quantitative analysis of other possible poetic features seems to be lacking. Important works include: A Creation and Flood Myth Three epic cycles: Two Enmerkar legends: Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta Enmerkar and En-suhgir-ana Two tales of Lugalbanda during Enmerkar's campaign against Aratta: Lugalbanda in the Mountain Cave Lugalbanda and the Anzud Bird Five stories in the Gilgamesh epic cycle: Gilgamesh and Huwawa Gilgamesh and the Bull of Heaven Gilgamesh and Aga Gilgamesh and the Netherworld The Death of Gilgamesh The Lament for Ur A series of long poems about the exploits of the goddess Inanna Inanna and the Mes Inanna and Ebih Inanna and Shukaletuda Inanna and Gudam Inanna and An The Descent of Inanna into the Underworld The Dream of Dumuzid Akkadian literature Ancient Egyptian literature Cuneiform law Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature Sumerian creation myth Samuel Noah Kramer.
The Sumerians: Their History and Character. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0226452388. Thorkild Jacobsen; the Harps that Once...: Sumerian Poetry in Translation. Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0300072785. JSTOR j.ctt32bjgs. Piotr Michalowski. "Ancient Poetics". In M. E. Vogelzang. Mesopotamian Poetic Language: Sumerian and Akkadian. Styx. Jeremy Black. Reading Sumerian Poetry. Cornell University Press. ISBN 978-0801435980. Jeremy Black; the Literature of Ancient Sumer. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199296330; the Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature Catalogue of literary works at the Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature
Middle English literature
The term Middle English literature refers to the literature written in the form of the English language known as Middle English, from the 14th century until the 1470s. During this time the Chancery Standard, a form of London-based English became widespread and the printing press regularized the language. Between the 1470s and the middle of the following century there was a transition to early Modern English. In literary terms, the characteristics of the literary works written did not change radically until the effects of the Renaissance and Reformed Christianity became more apparent in the reign of King Henry VIII. There are three main categories of Middle English Literature: Religious, Courtly love, Arthurian, though much of Geoffrey Chaucer's work stands outside these. Among the many religious works are those in the Katherine Group and the writings of Julian of Norwich and Richard Rolle. After the Norman conquest of England, Law French became the standard language of courts and society; the Norman dialects of the ruling classes mixed with the Anglo-Saxon of the people and became Anglo-Norman, Anglo-Saxon underwent a gradual transition into Middle English.
Around the turn of the thirteenth century, Layamon wrote in Middle English. Other transitional works were popular entertainment, including a variety of lyrics. With time, the English language regained prestige, in 1362 it replaced French and Latin in Parliament and courts of law. Early examples of Middle English literature are the Havelock the Dane. In the fourteenth century major works of English literature began once again to appear, including the works of Chaucer; the latter portion of the 14th century saw the consolidation of English as a written language and a shift to secular writing. In the late 15th century William Caxton printed four-fifths of his works in English, which helped to standardize the language and expand the vocabulary. After the Norman conquest of England, the written form of the Anglo-Saxon language continued in some monasteries but few literary works are known from this period. Under the influence of the new aristocracy, Law French became the standard language of courts and polite society.
As the invaders integrated, their language and literature mingled with that of the natives. The Norman dialects of the ruling classes became Anglo-Norman, Anglo-Saxon underwent a gradual transition into Middle English. Political power was no longer in English hands, so the West Saxon literary language had no more influence than any other dialect. Middle English literature is written in the many dialects that correspond to the history and background of the individual writers. While Anglo-Norman or Latin was preferred for high culture and administration, English literature by no means died out, a number of important works illustrate the development of the language. Around the turn of the thirteenth century, Layamon wrote his Brut, based on Wace's twelfth century Anglo-Norman epic of the same name. Layamon's language is recognisably Middle English, though his prosody shows a strong Anglo-Saxon influence remaining. Other transitional works were preserved as popular entertainment, including a variety of romances and lyrics.
With time, the English language regained prestige, in 1362 it replaced French and Latin in Parliament and courts of law. Early examples of Middle English literature are the Ormulum, Havelock the Dane, Thomas of Hales's Love Rune; the Mercian dialect thrived between the 8th and 13th centuries and was referred to by John Trevisa, writing in 1387: "For men of the est with men of the west, as it were undir the same partie of hevene, acordeth more in sownynge of speche than men of the north with men of the south, therefore it is that Mercii, that beeth men of myddel Engelond, as it were parteners of the endes, understondeth better the side langages and southerne, than northerne and southerne understondeth either other…" It was with the fourteenth century that major works of English literature began once again to appear. The Kildare Poems are a rare example of Middle English literature produced in Ireland, give an insight into the development of Irish English; the latter portion of the 14th century saw not only the consolidation of English as a written language, taking over from French or Latin in certain areas, but a large shift from theological or religious subject matter to include that of a more secular nature.
Vernacular book production saw a growth in the number of books being copied, both secular and religious. Thus, the latter portion of the 14th century can be seen as one of the most significant periods in the history of the English language; the reputation of Chaucer's successors in the 15th century has suffered in comparison with him, though Lydgate, Thomas Hoccleve, Skelton are studied. At this time the origins of Scottish poetry began with the writing of The Kingis Quair by James I of Scotland; the main poets of this Scottish group were Robert Henryson, William Dunbar, Gavin Douglas. Henryson and Douglas introduced a note of savage satire, which may have owed something to the Gaelic bardic poetry, while Douglas's version of Virgil's Aeneid is one of the early monuments of Renaissance literary humanism in English, it was a vibrant time for religious drama as well: many morality plays and miracle plays were produced, some scripts survive today. Sidrak and