A guide to Medieval Literature

Manuel Campos


Medieval Period literature is a broad subject, encompassing essentially all written works available in Europe and beyond during the Middle Ages.

Characteristics of the Movement

  1. Latin was a common language for medieval writings.
  2. The literature of that time was composed of secular and religious writings.
  3. A notable amount of medieval literature is anonymous.
  4. Literature of the time is based on oral traditions.
  5. The Invention of biography can be attributed to this time period.
  6. Much of medieval literature relied on allegory to convey morals.
  7. The writers of the medieval period were clerics and theologians and that’s the reason why most of the early medieval literature was of religious nature.
  8. Much of the people of the time were illiterate, only people associated with the church and who were high-born could read and write.
  9. Some hymns of the time were written in old English.
  10. Some of the writings of the time are based on myths as in the case of  Beowulf.

Writers and Literary Works

Beowulf is an Old English epic poem consisting of 3,182 alliterative lines. It may be the oldest surviving long poem in Old English and is commonly cited as one of the most important works of Old English literature. A date of composition is a matter of contention among scholars; the only certain dating pertains to the manuscript, which was produced between 975 and 1025.

La Divina Commedia, Dante Alighieri is a long narrative poem by Dante Alighieri, begun c. 1308 and completed in 1320, a year before his death in 1321. It is widely considered to be the preeminent work in Italian literature and one of the greatest works of world literature

Other Literary Movements and Periods

If you want to learn more about literary periods and movements, consider visiting some of these posts:

  1. Literary Periods and Movements
  2. A Beginner’s Guide to Comedy and Tragedy
  3. A Guide to Postmodernism in Literature
  4. A Guide to Modernism in Literature
  5. A Guide to the Beat Generation in Literature
  6. The Beginner’s Guide to Realism in Literature
  7. A Guide to Naturalism in Literature
  8. A Guide to the Bloomsbury Group in Literature
  9. A Guide to Existentialism in Literature
  10. A Guide to Transcendentalism in Literature
Manuel Campos, Docente de Inglés

About manuel Campos

I am Jose Manuel, English professor and creator of EnglishPost.org, a blog whose mission is to share lessons for those who want to learn and improve their English

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