English Literature for Boys and Girls: Chapters 6 and 7

Chapter 6

The chapter starts out saying the Arthur of Literature is different than the Arthur of History. The Arthur of Literature did a lot of magic stuff, that actually didn’t happen (obviously). A long time ago, some people living in France came to England, and they were believed to be the first English. A while later, after England became bustling with people, the Saxons attacked the English, who fled to Brittany (in France).

With them, they took their stories, so they would not be lost. So all the stories that were told in England were also told in Brittany. In 1066, William the Conquerer invaded England, and became the Norman Ruler of England. Soon, William conquered most all the land, and collected many stories from the places he conquered. The most popular stories were those of King Arthur.

The Normans added to these stories, eventually making the stories we have today, which are almost totally fictional.

In the reign of Henry the 1rd (:P), there lived a monk named Geoffrey, who wrote an entire history of the Kings of England. He focuses a lot on Arthur, the main part of his book. Geoffrey loved Arthur, and wrote many stories about him.

Chapter 7

This chapter is about a man named Layamon, who translated Arthur into English, and wrote many poems about Arthur. Poetry back then is not like poetry now. Then, it was more about using the same letter, word group, accent or alliteration. An example they give is

“the way was long, the wind was cold,”

As you can see, way, long, wind, and cold are accented, and that would be considered poetry then. Most of the chapter is a poem, describing Arthur’s death, and at the end of the poem, Layamon considers British and English to be the same thing, even though Arthur once fought against the British.

 

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