Wednesday, 26 October 2016

NEW SPIRIT INTRODUCED BY CHAUCER / CHAUCER AS THE HARBINGER OF A NEW LITERARY AGE

Chaucer belonged to the medieval age - a dark age - an age dominated by the kingly authority , the Catholic Church and the are ignored and trampled down by the feudal structure of the then society . Literature , as the mirror of that feudal society , was centred around homiletic songs , and knightly romances . Man , rather the average individual man , had no place in that literature of feudal dominance .

Chaucer came in such an age . His varied experiences of strain and stress and suffering made him wiser of his and society . Moreover , his personal involvement in servitude , captivity and feudal atrocities as also his intimate acquaintance with foreign literary masters added to his knowledge  and experience . All those factors formed his literary magnitude as well as magnificence .

And Chaucer brought a new leaf to the old and worn out feudal literature . He introduced a new spirit into the literature of his age by his rare creative excellence . That led the way to the flowering of the Renaissance in English literature a century after. Chaucer appeared to have acted here as the very harbinger of the great moderns .

Chaucer's age was of the medieval authoritarianism . Royal absolutism , Catholic rigours and baronial arrogance , as already  asserted , marked the age. Yet , England was then in a transitional phase . The dark age of medievalism was in its last phase. So long down -trodden masses began to rise and protest against the tales of injustice and wrong . The Peasants revolution brought that glaringly on the surface . The triple authority of the crown , the Catholic Church  and the peers was in an utter discord . The overbearing attitude  of the church  and the peerage was curbed by the king out of this individual personality and capabilities . Corruption in the high officers of the church  and covetous licence among the mighty lords were exposed and defied and even thrashed by the king for his own interest.  There were new trends to oppose and criticise old beliefs, notions and views . It was a changing phase in England .

Chaucer  emerged in that phase of transition . He played a major part in paving the road to that transtion from medievalism to modernism by the wonder of his creative literature . Herein lies the essence of a master , who , though of the old world , remains with the great moderns .

Indeed , English literature  was awakened in the second half of the fourteenth century from the stagnation of stereotyped medieval literature . That was made possible due to genius of a great literary master Geoffrey Chaucer . English literature , in course of its advancement from tge old English period to the Middle English , reached a height of excellence in Chaucer's  hand , in his mighty literary works of a lasting fame .

Medieval English literature , prior to Chaucer , mainly consisted of Christian homilies , sermons and lives , Romans , allegorical poems , in addition to religious and ethical prose writtings . These are all more or less stereotyped literary accounts of some saints , nuns , chivalrous knights and lovely ladies . Individual traits in men are all missing in them . Characters are only known as princes , knights ,  lovely ladies , priests , innkeeper's , shoe maker's , different guildsmen , and so on . But Chaucer brought lliveliness and individuality to preceding barren medieval literature . 



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