Page 1 : Journal prompts for Bryson: Based on the material in this chapter, what do you consider the most important changes in the English language? How did society and language change together? List and discuss three things that you learned about the English language from reading Bryson that you did not know before and that surprised you. Feel free to comment on any other aspect of the reading you find interesting, including Bryson’s style, his intended audience, and his approach to the material. Chapter 4, “The First Thousand Years,” from Bill Bryson’s Mother Tongue: The English Language Page 2: Joseph Glaser’s Middle English Poetry in Modern Verse. Begin with the “Introduction” (pp. ix-xiii); then read the narrative poem Athelston, pages 173-96. The brief introduction on page 173 mentions some themes that might have interested the poet (for example, “envy,” “false counsel” and so forth). Pick one (or more, if you like) of these themes and explain in your Journal how the author of Athelson incorporated the theme[s] into his story. Of course, you can write about and comment on any aspect of these readings that interest you. Page 3: Why was Hastings such a decisive battle? What problems did William the Conqueror face in trying to rule England and Normandy? How did his method of ruling England change, ca. 1070? the reign of William II Rufus. Why was it so important to him to dominate Normandy, Scotland, and Wales? Why did his contemporaries consider him a tyrant? How did they react to his rule? And, looking forward to chapter 2, what were the consequences of the hatred William Rufus aroused for his successor, Henry I? Why does Crouch consider the rule of Henry I “revolutionary”? Page 4: Consider the political problems caused by the close ties between England and Normandy for both William Rufus and Henry I; and Henry I’s efforts to compensate for his brother’s tyranny and win support. What promises did Henry I make in his coronation charter—and did he keep them? How did he gain the support of his magnates? What problems did he create for the kings who followed him? What did he try to do about another major problem, the succession to the throne? Page 5: Pick one (or more, if you like) of these themes and explain in your Journal how the author of Athelston incorporated the theme[s] into his story. If you wish, as you are thinking through what you want to argue in your first History paper, you may use your journal to draft some ideas about the nature, role, and effect of tyranny in the story of Athelston. Page 6: Pick one of the short poems in “Worldly Lyrics” or “Snatches” and write about it in your Journal. Write an entry in your journal explaining why you chose that poem and how you interpret it. What do you think it is about? Who might have song or recited it? On what occasion?
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