Middle English literature is a period of literature composed in the language of England during the mid-12th century to the late 15th century During this period literature was greatly influenced by French and Latin, as well as Italian and Middle Dutch, among other European languages. Although Middle English literature is not as commonly studied as its predecessors and successors, it is nonetheless a significant period in the history of English literature. This period of literature has the earliest surviving examples of English drama and poetry, as well as some of the earliest English prose narratives.
When discussing Middle English literature, many people think of Geoffrey Chaucer and the Canterbury Tales, a collection of stories written by him during this period. However, there are a wealth of other topics that can be explored when studying this period. Here are five of the best examples of interesting essay topics in Middle English literature:
1. The Influence of French and Latin on Middle English Literature: During this period, English literature was heavily influenced by French and Latin, and many words and phrases of these languages can be found in Middle English literature. This essay could analyze how foreign language influenced the writing of this period, how it shaped the language and literature, and how it affected the stories of the period.
2. The Role of Women in Middle English Literature: This essay could investigate the role of women in this period of literature and how it was either portrayed positively or negatively.
3. The Rise of Vernacular Literature: During this period, a vernacular literature started to emerge as more native English speakers wrote literature in their own language rather than Latin and French. This essay could analyze the rise of vernacular literature, its impact on literature of the time, and how it shaped the literature and language of Middle English literature.
4. The Significance of the Arthurian Romances: During this period, a popular genre of literature was the Arthurian Romances. This essay could analyze the influence and importance of these stories, their impact on the literature of the time, and the ways in which they shaped the culture and literature of Middle English literature.
5. The Social and Political Context of Middle English Literature: This essay could examine how the social and political context of this period affected the literature of the time, how it shaped the literature, and how it impacted the stories of the period.