Saturday, May 5, 2007

1374 to 1387

1374. A dancing mania sweeps the Rhenish city of Aix-la-Chapelle in July and sends hordes of men and women into a pathological frenzy of dancing in the streets. The dancing continues for hours until the crowds are too exhausted or too injured to continue; the phenomenon will never be fully explained.

The Bruce. John Barbour. Scotland. 1375. Epic poem. Deeds of Robert Bruce, James Douglas, and the struggle for Scottish independence.

1377. Richard II becomes king of England.

1377. The Babylonian Exile of the Papacy that began in 1306 has ended January 17.

1378. A Great Schism that will divide the Catholic Church for 39 years begins as a pope reigns in Rome and an antipope reigns in Avignon.

Speculum Meditantis. John Gower. British. 1378. Poetry. Contest for men's souls between the seven vices and the seven virtues. "Mirror of Men" of all classes in contemporary life.

The House of Fame. Chaucer. British. 1379. Poetry. Unfinished dream. Capriciousness of Lady Fame. House of Rumor, Gossip; each retelling results in greater falsity.

1381. Wat Tyler's Rebellion creates anarchy in England as farm workers, artisans and city proletarians stage an uprising against the 1351 Statute of Laborers. Mobs sack palaces and castles, take hostages and choose Wat (Walter) Tyler as their leader in June. They converge on London. On June 13, they present a list of demands to Richard II, 14 years of age. He makes empty promises for the abolition of serfdom, restrictions on labor and trade and game laws, with ceiling on land rents and road tolls. The next day, Tyler is betrayed and killed.

1382. England repeals the reforms granted to Wat Tyler and reestablishes serfdom.

1382. The Black Death sweeps Europe. It will take an especially heavy toll in Ireland. By the end of the century it will have killed an estimated 75 million people, leaving some areas completely depopulated.

The Parliament of Fowls. Chaucer. British. 1382. Poetry. Does the lovely lady eagle choose the tercel who loved her longest, the tercel who loved her more truly, or the royal eagle who had Nature's approval?

Vox Clamanti. John Gower. British. 1382/84. Latin poetry. Vivid description of Tyler's Rebellion of 1381.

Troilus and Criseyde. Chaucer. British. 1385. Poetry. Chaucer's version has considerable individual characterization and humor.

The Legends of Good Women. Chaucer. British. 1386. Poetry. Stories about women who suffered and died because they were faithful in love while the men were treacherous.

The Canterbury Tales. Chaucer. British. 1387-1400. Tales. April pilgrimage to Becket's shrine. 30 pilgrims. Varying classes, occupations. Two stories going, two coming back. 24 tales completed with prologue. Style matches the teller; interaction of characters. Interludes.

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