The Mind of the Middle Ages, A.D. 200-1500: An Historical Survey

By Frederick B. Artz | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IX
Literature (I)
THE EPIC TRADITION
LYRIC POETRY
CHIVALRIC ROMANCE

THE SURVIVING literature of the early Middle Ages in the West is all in Latin; only beginning with the eighth century has some vernacular literature been preserved. From this time on, all mediaeval literature may be regarded as Janus-headed: one mouth speaks types of Latin literature, out of the other proceeds the vernacular literatures. Back of both, however, there is a common civilization and very much of a common mentality. It has long been the custom to divide mediaeval literature by the languages in which it happens to be written.1 A more reasonable classification is one that separates it into literary genres: the epic, the lyric, romances, the drama, the short story, history and biography, and symbolic literature. In such a classification it becomes clear that not only is the division of literature into genres more fundamental than the arbitrary division by languages, but also that such a division by literary forms corresponds, in a rough fashion, to its division by social classes. The cloister, the cathedral school, and the universities produced primarily devotional, historical, philosophical, and scientific works. From the home of the chieftain and, later, from the castle, came the epic, to be followed by the aristocratic love lyric and the chivalric romance. The town and its bourgeois world early

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The Mind of the Middle Ages, A.D. 200-1500: An Historical Survey
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface to First Edition vii
  • Acknowledgments x
  • Contents xi
  • Illustrations xiv
  • Acknowledgments xiv
  • Part One - The Dominance of the East 1
  • Chapter I - The Classical Backgrounds of Mediaeval Christianity 3
  • Chapter II - The Jewish and Early Christian Sources of Mediaeval Faith 39
  • Chapter III - The Patristic Age, 2nd-5th Centuries 64
  • Chapter IV - Byzantine Civilization 95
  • Chapter V - Islamic Civilization 132
  • Chapter VI - The Latin West, 5th-10th Centuries 179
  • Part Two - The Revival of the West, 1000-1500 223
  • Chapter VII - Learning (I) 225
  • Chapter VIII - Learning (II) 270
  • Chapter IX - Literature (I) 320
  • Chapter X - Literature (II) 355
  • Chapter XI - Art and Music 384
  • Chapter XII - Underlying Attitudes 419
  • Epilogue 443
  • Notes 456
  • Bibliographical Notes 503
  • Index 559
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