Angels in Medieval Literature
Angels played many roles in medieval literature: they were defenders of justice, bringers of dire warnings, givers of dark tasks, and bringers of good news.
William Caxton: The First Printer of English Literature
Caxton became the first person to print books in English for popular consumption, and in so doing, he shaped the nature of English popular literature for years to come.
New Archival Evidence Raises Questions About Geoffrey Chaucer’s Rape of Cecily Chaumpaigne
Tuesday, October 10th was a momentous day in the field of Chaucer studies.
Geoffrey Chaucer’s Day-Jobs
Geoffrey Chaucer is one of the most famous poets of the Middle Ages, but like many struggling writers today, he held several day-jobs. Here are some of the many jobs that Chaucer had over the course of his life.
Are Fairy Tales Medieval?
The answer is more complex than you might think.
King Arthur’s Lovers
Arthur himself is not quite so chaste and honourable as popular culture tends to imagine. He too takes several lovers, and he acts rather terribly in his affairs.
Did Medieval People Believe in Fairies?
Today fairies are typically relegated to the realm of children’s stories or superstitions, but in the Middle Ages, some individuals believed that fairies were real and that they had the power to impact human lives in material ways.
The Wicked Grandmas of Medieval Literature
Grandmothers today tend to be understood as kindly and caring, but in the Middle Ages, some of the evilest characters of the literary world were the grandmothers.
A Few Ways Medieval Christianity Anticipated the Reformation
While the shift was monumental in many ways, some of the reforms Henry VIII made were actually anticipated in medieval Christianity.
Women Writers in Medieval England
Many today assume that women were uneducated and unlettered in the Middle Ages. An overview of just a few of the female writers from medieval England shows otherwise.
Omens were a staple of medieval superstition and a great reflection of medieval folk beliefs.
Medieval Advice for Pregnant Women
The wonderful and bizarre pieces of advice offered to pregnant women by a group of medieval peasant women.
Holiday Gifts in the Middle Ages
Christmas in the Middle Ages looked quite different than it does today, but gifts still played a role. Read on to find out what gift-giving looked like during the holidays in the Middle Ages.
The Destruction of Medieval Manuscripts
Thousands of medieval manuscripts have been destroyed across history: here are some of the reasons why.
The Magical Kings of Medieval England
While magic and historical figures seem like polar opposites to many today, in the Middle Ages, they were frequently connected. Medieval historical records even contain several accounts of former kings who used magic in their reigns: one king magically constructed hot baths, while the other used magic to build a bridge over the English Channel.
Ghosts in Medieval Literature
Looking to get into the Halloween spirit? Check out a few of the ghosts that the medieval literary world has to offer.
Everyday Magic in the Middle Ages
In the Middle Ages magic was an accepted and common part of many people’s lives.
Minding your Manners in the Middle Ages
Did medieval parents care about manners?
Children’s Literature in the Middle Ages: What did medieval children read?
What did children in the Middle Ages read? Was there even such a thing as medieval children’s literature?
What are Merlin’s Prophecies?
A look at Merlin and his prophecies, which anticipated many of the events that would happen over the course of England’s history.
Piers Plowman and the Great Uprising of 1381
The Great Uprising of 1381 saw a group of dissatisfied peasants and their supporters march on London with demands that the king abolish serfdom and a new poll tax. The revolt remains one of the most widespread insurrections in English history, and it was inspired, in part, by the famous medieval poem Piers Plowman.
A Medieval Guide to Avoiding the Next Pandemic
One example from medieval England told readers all they needed to know to avoid getting sick during the next pandemic.
Witch Hunts in Medieval England: The Trial of Walter Langton
In 1301 Walter Langton, Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, was accused of using sorcery to acquire a large fortune and gain the favour of the king. His lengthy and inconclusive trial shows that accusations of witchcraft made at this time were often motivated by politics rather than fear
The Original King Lear
Most people today know the story of King Lear from Shakespeare’s tragic play. But the original story actually comes from the medieval period, and it actually has a very happy ending.
Pagan Survivals in Medieval Holiday Celebrations
Many of the most signature parts of Christmas in the Middle Ages (and today) actually come from pagan rather than Christian traditions. So, if you want to find out how you can make your Christmas and end of year celebrations just a little bit more pagan, read on!