The Middle Ages

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Fiction and Medieval History

Fiction is literary invented or imaginative writing, instead of real facts usually written as prose. Medieval history/Middle Ages lasted from the 5th to the 15 century. Medieval history is divided into the Earl, High and Late Middle Ages. It started with the fall of the Western Roman Empire. One of the methods used in the theory of medieval literary genres to differentiate epic from romance is the level of historicity which the officers and the consumers of medieval writings connected to their discussions.

The Mixture of Fact and Fiction

History describes past events as they happened. It gives a clear representation of the concept of fact with what was once reality. The medieval history books consider history as a form of art and the ornaments evidence. This writing was a mixture of fact and fiction. According to Fleischman (1983), history is made every day. During the nineteenth century, history was full of facts, fiction, reality and myth. Generally, it meant major events such as revolutions and wars. The medieval writings history was a mixture of facts and fiction with conspicuous guidelines to divine interventions, such as the Trojan War and the founding of Rome. The Middle Ages returned with a religious perspective. History became the queen of social sciences during the nineteenth century. It re-organized and reformulated the concept of history which was in the theory form for the first time and a scientific method proposed. It was separated then from the literary fictions.

The Impact of Books in the Middle Ages

In the Middle Ages, books were exclusive and authoritative. People believed that what was written was true and most of them knew only the Bible that gave the truth about the world. A surprise hit them during the 12th century when books full of imaginations started to appear. The vision of books among the Monks was not different about science and philosophy. They assumed that the writings of the paths of planets and the human soul were ancient truths just like the word of the bible (Mendlesohn & Farah, 2008). On the other hand, Fiction is kept separate from non-fiction. When we read fiction we expect to be entertained by just a good story and we accept that what is written in a novel deviates from an accepted fact. The bible wasn't the only book to receive imaginations and extensions. The medieval history was narrated with fictional tales that created coherence between legends that had been passed down through history.

The Blend of History and Fiction

The historical core contains treats of known events which are still present in the collective memories. Another view through a long process of geographic and temporal displacement, become equally impartial from its historical securing and overlaid with imaginations that it was gotten by a twelfth-century French public fiction. In the Middle Ages, history and fiction were occurring in the imaginations prominent (Mathews & Richard, 2002). The starting point for our research is the popular beginning of the middle ages sometimes contradictory common places and important images that need not add up to a common picture of the period and which proves resistant to attempts at corrections of the Middle Ages. The common conception of the Middle Ages is most based on elements from the Late and High Middle Ages such as the time span from the thirteenth to the fifteenth centuries. Addition of some elements that belong to the Early modern period rather than the Middle Ages (Mendlesohn and Farah 2008). It is clear now that we are not dealing with history but with a temporal imagination.

The Knight and the Middle Ages

Mendlesohn & Farah (2008) begins the list of his pilgrims with the knight because the knight is the highest ranking pilgrim, most typical and perfect embodiment of the middle ages. Members of the clergy, in comparison, are part of a continuous series that extends from Antiquity to the High Ages and beyond, therefore not uniquely medieval (Mendlesohn & Farah, 2008). In contrast, the medieval knight process began in the tenth and eleventh centuries and transformed the warriors of old into a qualified fighter, the moral paragon of the High Middle Ages. The practised ideal is therefore typically medieval an observed fact linked to the emergence of the medieval knight.

The Ideal Knight

The behaviour that makes the medieval knight attractive is his ability to join the contradictory elements of savage and strength. In real life, the knights would have been able to live to this idealistic and the paragons remained a medieval fantasy (Mathews & Richard, 2002). Now the term 'moral warrior' appears to modern writers as fantasy and it is found everywhere. However, the medieval knight suffers from an aristocratic background and his role within the cult of courtly love. If the author chooses a chivalric protagonist he must try and render him acceptable to his audience. Likely it is achieved by having the hero live in exile and present him as an enlightened and democratic frame of mind; After all, we are writing imaginations. Courtly love is a necessary constituent element of a courtly existence. It is less prominent in heroic imaginations and brings a problem due to the modern-day descendant and counterpart called romantic and is globally accepted (Fleischman, 1983). However, writers of heroic fantasy omit the courtly love element. The knight also serves as an example of a non-alienated man. Analysis done by Marxist showed the increasing alienation of man from his surroundings and his fellow human beings. Comparing medieval man to his modern descendant was not yet alienated by neither political nor professional or personal relationships (Mendlesohn & Farah, 2008).

The Medieval Knight and Modern Warfare

As a warrior, the knight depends on his physical strength and martial skills and faces his enemies, unlike the modern soldier who is trained to kill from a safer distance.

The Authenticity of Medieval Life

Protagonists of (heroic) fantasy, like the medieval knights, are in direct control of their weapons, magic and the chain and their effect is visible to everyone. The consequences of protagonists are seen as presenting a type of person whose needs affect the society and the environment which is totally opposite to modern man whose actions fall flat most of the time. In addition, a medieval man is closer to nature. The modern man is not screened and protected from the effects of climate or even wildlife. The direct contact makes medieval life authentic. Heroic imaginations exploit this desire while omitting the most withdrawn aspects and thus providing a certain level of ideas.

An Ordered Society

The popular view of the Middle Ages perceives a time of a clearly and hierarchically ordered community which is seen in direct and causal relationship to the medieval theory which are three estates, followed by the oratories such as the clergy. The lowest estate known as laboratories comprises of peasants, agricultural workers and craftsmen which is the last group of pilgrims. The archetypal model suggests that each person knows his or her assigned place within society, but also a personalized relationship between members of the society (Mathews & Richard, 2002). The knight, as the highest ranking pilgrim, leads the storytelling competition with a respectful romance. He also tells something about how he sees respect. The tales of the first estates, two representatives are respectful romances but it is interrupted and not therefore finished. Tale of Sir Thomas gives the most accurate idea of what a popular medieval romance looked like, however, it stands out all more clearly and much of it is strongly fantasy for the modern reader.

The Relationship Between Fantasy and the Middle Ages

In conclusion, the relationship between fantasy and the middle ages is characterized as follows. First, the popular view of the middle ages is not free from contradictions, shows them as an age lacking the negatives effects brought by the rise of the modern state, technology and industrialization (Mendlesohn & Farah, 2008). The Middle Ages are pre-technological and pre-industrial therefore authentic without reaching the level of total savagery. Assumptions made that we are only separated from Middle Ages by just a gap of technology and bureaucracy. If we ignore technology and bureaucracy, we find ourselves taken about six or seven hundred years back. Anthropological constancy over the centuries is violated in works of literary fantasy and as a result, the human protagonists become accessible to modern people and not as people from other eras. (Fleischman, 1983). Secondly, the conception of the Middle Ages provides a less ready-made recognizable framework for the succeeding world. Such a world can set highlights and concentrate on aspects that are of close interest to him. Thus everything will be occupied in by the audience clued to the general medieval nature of the secondary world. Third, the presentation of the Middle Ages as an ordered contrast with the isolation and incoherence knowledge in modern society. Fantasy partakes the medieval dream of order and gives its audience the vision of a harmonious society. Last, the strategies of romance in works of fantasy portray itself as a tradition whose representatives are medieval romance and imports strategies of romance and elements. The elements attracted the attention of scholars doing research about the relationship between fiction and the Middle Ages.

Works Cited

Fleischman, Suzanne. "On the representation of history and fiction in the Middle Ages." History and theory 22.3 (1983): 278-310.

Mathews, Richard. Fantasy: The liberation of imagination. Psychology Press, 2002.

Mendlesohn, Farah. Rhetorics of fantasy. Wesleyan University Press, 2008.

November 13, 2023

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Medieval Europe

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