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Re: NATLANG: Middle English Stories

From:Peter Bleackley <peter.bleackley@...>
Date:Monday, October 13, 2003, 8:54
Staving Arthaey Angosii:

>What are some common themes in Middle English period stories?
Swiving. The most famous text of the ME period is the Canterbury Tales, and from what I've read of them, they're seriously bawdy.
> We're >supposed to try to make the subject matter, as well as the language, as >authentic to period as we can. I don't know anything about what was >written during that time -- all I know is I probably can't write about my >conculture, ne? ;)
The Knight's Tale - two knights fall in love with the same woman, and organise a huge mock battle for her hand. One prays to Mars that he will win the battle, the other to Venus that he will get the girl. The first wins the battle, but is mortally wounded falling from his horse, and so the girl marries the second. The Miller's Tale. An astrologer, Nicholas, lodging with an old carpenter John, devises an evil scheme to distract the carpenter's attention so that he can sleep with his much younger wife, Alison. He tells the carpenter that he has foreseen a repeat of Noah's flood, and that to prepare for it, he must build three boats, one for each of them, in the roofspace of his house. They will sleep in the boats and when the flood comes, escape through the roof. The effort of building the boats exhausts the carpenter, and he falls fast asleep in his boat. Alison and Nicholas sneak downstairs for their night of passion. However, Alison has another admirer, Absalom, who comes around to serenade her in the middle of the night. Annoyed by this, Alison promises to give him one kiss if he'll go away. She then sticks her backside out of the window so he ends up kissing that. Later, he comes back seeking revenge. When he asks for another kiss, Nicholas sticks his backside out of the window, but Absalom sticks a red hot poker up it. His cries of "Water!" wake John, who, thinking the flood has come, starts hacking his way through the roof with an axe and rambing on about Noah's flood, and thus ends up a local laughing stock. The Reeve's Tale. Two Cambridge students go to buy flour for their college, but are cheated by the miller. That night they set out to get their revenge. One sneaks into the miller's duaghter's bed and seduces her. The other moves a cot from the end of the miller's bed to the end of his own, so that when the wife gets up in the night she will get into his bed when she comes back. He seduces her, and she tells him where the miller has put the flour he has stolen from them. However, when the other student leaves the daughter's bed, the rearrangement of the furniture leads to him getting into bed with the miller. That's as much of the Canterbury Tales as I've read. Pete


Joe <joe@...>