Word Associations

After reflecting upon our previous meeting and the assigned readings, I noticed something interesting about my associations with certain terms or phrases that were used in class or the texts. This was all triggered by that first discussion question in class on Tuesday: what does medieval mean to you? Gastle’s chapter touched upon some other relevant, related concepts that generated wildly different connotations in my head. For example, when someone says “Old English” or “Anglosaxon,” I immediately think of texts like Beowulf or Caedmon’s Hymn. When the term “medieval” is bandied around, my mind goes straight to knights and courtly love and Arthurian literature. This is probably, in large part, due to the BBC show Merlin.  Another phrase I’ve come across is “the Dark Ages” and I imagine literal darkness, the Bubonic plague, and the “bring out your dead!” scene from Monty Python. The “Middle Ages” trigger history lessons about the Crusades and the Monarchy and various wars. All of these concepts were covered in Gastle’s chapter on historical context and it was interesting to see how they worked together to create the backdrop of the literature we will be studying this semester. What are everyone else’s associations and connotations regarding these terms? What do you think the literature we read will focus on the most? What ideas and concepts are you looking forward to? It’s probably overdone, but I personally am excited for anything about knights.

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