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Changes Of French Literature During The Middle Ages

2957 words - 12 pages

As the Middle Ages progressed the French people emerged, united by a sense of togetherness and the development of a common culture. This nascent society would create a national personality whose thoughts were expressed innovatively through its writing. French literature began to be defined by a combination of intellectual, rational, effective, clear, and structured writing with emotional, erratic, creative, and liberated writing. Although these characteristics appeared in all forms of writing, they were especially present in poetry. This new way of writing and perspective of poetry led to influences in society at the time, as well as in the writings of future eras. And since the Middle Ages was a time in which there was much political and economic change and success, writing was impacted enough by the world that it also underwent transformations and was defined by a blossoming.
France was not the only place in the world whose literature was developing and changing in influential and creative forms. However, French literature underwent the most changes and eventually influenced other places. France started developments that spread to places like England and Italy. It is to be noted, however, that many other places had great artists. For example, there were Dante and Petrarca from Italy. This also did not occur only in Europe, as literature also thrived in the Arab and Oriental worlds. Nevertheless, the importance of France is that that is where the changes began, and that is where the most abundant changes are found. In the Middle Ages poets in France undertook a new style, with new thematic elements influenced by feudalism, courtly love, and the troubadours who pushed the movement further. The new flourishing poetry would impact society just as society impacted it.
In the eleventh century, literature began to be written in the vernacular, the native Old French language rather than Latin. There were two French languages at the time: Langue d’Oïl (Old French, spoken in northern France), and Langue d’Oc (Occitanian, spoken in southern France). Provencal was the most common dialect of Occitanian and was the language the troubadours used. It allowed for French culture to be conveyed in a very rhythmic and poetic manner, which is why it worked so well for troubadours to sing in. They let listeners enjoy the more artistic expressions rather than the content of the writing. The vernacular gave way to different forms of expressing ideas, and thus people are affected not only by what one is saying but also how one is saying it. Dante was more influenced by the creativity and mastery used in difficult pieces rather than those that focused more on mood and content; the stylistic elements are what created the biggest impact. In about the fifteenth century, as the focus of French society began to shift north, so did the language; Langue d’Oïl began to take over Langue d’Oc. And through this shift in language began a shift in the characteristics of...

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