Literary history is timeless. Writing works began as orals to be scribed long after they were created. These were later passed down through generations as stories, rhymes, poems, etc. After paper was invented by the Chinese, a new revelation was triggered. Around 1440, a man by the name of Johannes Gutenberg, invented the printing press. This mechanization of bookmaking drastically influenced society then and even till this day. Through this journey of English language and through its stages of development, many differences and similarities can be noticed within its topics, themes, and writing styles. Commencing with the Anglo-Saxon period (the nearly incomprehensible language of Beowulf), to the Medieval period (mixed with French and
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Epic poems have shown the influence of Christianity and Pagan beliefs, such as the freedom of decision making and fate handling matters of life and death. Christianity versus Pagan beliefs and gore and violence were both introduced during the Anglo-Saxon age. One literary section that embodies the violence and gore is "Beowulf." An example of the intense violence that was used is in Beowulf and reads "He came to, ripped him apart, cut his body to bits with powerful jaws, then drank the blood."
"Medieval" is a term that comes from the Latin meaning "middle age." During this time period, books were very expensive in medieval Europe, and so there weren't very many of them. Each book had to be written by hand by a trained scribe and that wasn't too convenient in regards to time of completion. The devout people of the Medieval Period, such as scholars and poets, often went on journeys to learn of new writing styles. Such journeys like the Crusades combined with devotion to the Virgin Mary, influenced the development of a unique literary topic called romance. This portrayed the values of knightly conduct known as chivalry. As a result, a new theme evolved. Courtly love, which involved the male [usually a knight] who would fall in love with a maiden and feel compelled to fight for her, spawned a new interest in romantic prose. The ideas of courtly love were publicized in numerous poems, ballads, writings and literary works of various authors of the Middle Ages. Geoffrey