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BALLAD Its an anonymous oral form which is the combination of verse, song and dance, maybe.

It was originally a song, handed down from generation to other. In every country we find out differences for similar ballads. Its a phenomenon of the later Middle Ages. English Ballads originated between England and Scotland, in 15th and the 16th century: we can understand it because of the Scottish dialect in which a lot of ballads were written. A ballad is anonymous, handed down over generations by a singer, called minstrel. No one knows who wrote them, when it was exactly composed and where it originated from. No two versions of a ballad are exactly alike: every singer is both a transmitter of tradition and an original composer. In the 18th century ballads began to be written down. The 1st famous collection was Bishop Percys Reliques of ancient English Poetry in 1765. The medieval ballad was a popular form intended for and enjoyed by the common people. Its arranged in a series of four-line stanzas, a quatrain. It had rhyme scheme, the traditional ABCB: the 1st and the 3rd lines dont rhyme, the 2nd and 4th do. Because of the oral form there was alliteration: it helped memorabily, emphasizes relevant details, produces musicability. GEOFFREY CHAUCHER Geoffrey Chaucer is usually considered the father of English poetry. He was born about 1343 as the son of a rich wine merchant in London. He received a good education, studying the classics and speaking French, Latin and later also Italian. Chaucer grew up in close contact with the royal family and travelled freely from England to France. As a young courtier, Geoffrey followed Edward the thirds son to war in France and ransomed by the King himself in 1360. Back in England he returned to service at court and he became a trusted messenger and a diplomat: the King sent him on various missions and his journeys brought him also to Italy where he became interested in Dante, Petrarch and Boccaccio and so enlarged his readings. He was trusted by the crown, well-informed and well-oriented on the politics of the day. He was a public man as well as a poet: a civil servant, diplomat, administrator, Justice if the peace and member of the Parliament (representing Kent). The many ups and downs of his life never prevented him from writing. His acquaintances at Court, his diplomatic missions abroad, his frequent journeys throughout England an also his experience in the newly-born Parliament gave him the opportunity to meet a lot of people: lords, members of the clergy, merchants, students, commoners, each belonging to a precise social class or profession. He died in 1400 and was the first poet to be buried in the Poets Corner in Westminster Abbey. His production His literary production could be divided in three periods: the French, the Italian and the English. During the first period he got influenced by French poetry. He translated into English Le Roman de La Rose and the book of the Duchess, which is an elegy. In the Italian period he got busy with The House of Fame, Troilus and Criseyde, The Parliament of fowls and The legend of good women. For what concerns the English and the last period, it consists of The Canterbury Tales, which is unluckily unfinished. Geoffrey didnt have enough time to finish it however its his masterpiece.

A revolutionary poet He is a revolutionary poet as a matter of fact he wrote in vernacular, that is the common language of the people, introduced the iambic pentameter and the rhyme scheme The iambic pentameter= a line of poetry made up of 10 syllables in each line. The foot is at the basic of the meter and it consists of one unstressed syllable and one/two stressed syllable. The foot changes name in respect of his form: the pattern of the Iambic on consists of one unstressed syllable followed by a stressed one. The trochaic foot is the opposite. In one pentameter we have 5 feet. Rhyme scheme= two line with the same rhyme, the scheme is AA BB CC DD The iambic pentameter together wight the rhyme scheme make the rhyming couplet, called HEROIC COUPLET. He decided also to write in English, or better in the dialect of London (East England). Its something revolutionary because it meant that ordinary people could enjoy Canterbury Tales and their vivid characters.

CANTERBURY TALES The Canterbury Tales is a collection of stories written in Middle English by Geoffrey Chaucer at the end of the 14th century. The tales (mostly in verse, although some are in prose) are told as part of a story-telling contest by a group of pilgrims as they travel together on a journey from Southwark to the shrine of Saint Thomas Becket at Canterbury Cathedral. Thomas Becket was archbishop of Canterbury and was murdered by four knights in Canterbury Cathedral in 1170 because he defended the Chirch against the King, who was Henry II at the time Its mainly written in verse although there are parts in prose, and the predominant form is the rhyming couplet (two rhyming iambic pentameters). WHY A COLLECTION OF TALES? The 1st idea was certainly to write a collection of tales, as the title suggests. Writing tales was in fashion them especially after the French and the Italian models which, in their turn had looked back to ancient Greece and Rome in compliance with the new humanistic spirit. HIS PURPOSE was to give his countrymen a true mirror of England: as a matter of fact he had met many people in his life whose images he had stored in his memory for years. He needed a framework inside which to put the tales. He probably borrowed from Boccaccios Decameron the idea of a social event as a pretext for bringing various people together. He chose a typical event in England: the pilgrimage to Canterbury. GENERAL PROLOGUE The prologue of this work is called General prologue. Its spring and 29 people met in the Tabard Inn at Southwark (which is placed in the neighborhood of the Thames); they are from all London and they are planning to go to Canterbury. The host of Inn, Henry Baily, suggests that each pilgrim should tell stories on the way to Canterbury and two on the way back to London. The teller of the best tale will have a free dinner at the Tabard Inn on their return. The host himself will travel with the company as judge of this competition and Chaucer

himself is invited to join the company. The distance in miles from London to Canterbury is 60 miles or 96.54 kilometers. A detailed description is given. They belong to various social classes and there are only three women among them: a prioress, a nun travelling with her and a woman from Bath (south west England). All the other men represent the upper and middle classes, the clergy and the trades.

CHAUCERS PLAN It consisted of: A General Prologue followed by a series of stories and linking dialogues and commentaries. Each character would tell 2 stories on the way to Canterbury and 2 stories on the way back But The work in incomplete: it contains only 24 stories! THE PILGRIMS They belong to almost all the social classes of the time and they can be divided into three main groups: 1. The declining feudal world o A knight, his son, yeoman, pardoner 2. The Clergy o Prioress, nun, monk, friar, parson 3. The merchant class and the trades (the rising middle class of the time) INFLUENCES Boccaccios Decameron is a collection of stories told by a group of ten nobles who have fled the Black Death by shutting themselves up in a lonely castle. Chaucers Canterbury Tales were influenced by Boccaccios Decameron and they have basically the same structure.