Middle English literature is a period of writing mainly from the 14th to the 16th centuries, spanning the years between the Norman Invasion of 1066 and the printing revolution of about 1500 This was a period of great change in England and literature reflects many of the developments, from the decline of French language in favor of English, to the emergence of a unified nation behind a common ruler.
The best essay topics related to Middle English literature explore the literature of the time period and its development over the centuries. Here are five great essay topic ideas:
1. An Analysis of Middle English Poetry: This essay topic would focus on analyzing examples of Middle English poetry and examining their influence on later literature. Topics could include Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales”, the work of the Gawain poet, and the poetry of Robert Henryson.
2. A Historical Perspective on Middle English Literature: This essay would focus on the historical context of Middle English literature and how it was shaped by the political and religious landscape of the time period. Topics could include the impact of the Hundred Years’ War on literature, or the influence of the Protestant Reformation.
3. A Comparison of Middle English and Early Modern English Literature: This essay would compare the two eras of literature, considering the similarities and differences between the two. Topics could include the changes in language and syntax, or the increasing popularity of the vernacular.
4. Themes in Middle English Literature: This essay would explore the recurring themes in Middle English literature and how they were shaped by the political and social landscape of the time. Topics could include the role of chivalry, religious symbolism, or the concept of courtly love.
5. An Exploration of the Instruments of Middle English Literature: This essay would look at the techniques that writers used during the Middle English period, such as alliteration, metre, and allegory. The essay could explore how these techniques evolved over time and affected later literature.