By Edward Albert
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Extra resources for A History of English Literature, Edition: 5th
The French Arthurian romances are drawn upon to create a prose romance of great length and detail. However diverse its sources, the book is written with a uniform dignity and fervour that express the very essence of romance and chivalry. It is a skilful blend of dialogue and narrative and is full of colour and life, while the style has a transparent clarity and a poetic sensitivity which make Malory our first great, individual, prose stylist. Remote in spirit from the everyday concerns of its age, the Morte d'Arthur stands outside the main stream of the development of English prose.
He is the first writer of the middle style. THE DEVELOPMENT OF LITERARY FORMS 1. Poetry.
2. John Gower, the date of whose birth is uncertain, died in 1408. He was a man of means, and a member of a good Kentish family; he took a fairly active part in the politics and literary activity of the time, and was buried in London. The three chief works of Gower are noteworthy, for they illustrate the unstable state of contemporary English literature. His first poem, Speculum Meditantis, is written in French, and for a long time was lost, being discovered as late as 1895; the second, Vox Clamantis, is composed in Latin; and the third, Confessio Amantis, is written in English, at the King's command according to Gower himself.