Anglo-Norman literature

Anglo-Norman Literature

Anglo-Norman literature

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Anglo-Norman literature is literature composed in the Anglo-Norman language developed during the period 1066–1204 when the Duchy of Normandy and England were united in the Anglo-Norman realm.


The Norman language came over to England with William the Conqueror. Following the Norman conquest, the Norman language became the language of England's nobility. During the whole of the 12th century Anglo-Norman (the variety of Norman used in England) shared with Latin the distinction of being the literary language of England, and it was in use at the court until the 14th century. It was not until the reign of Henry VII that English became the native tongue of the kings of England. The language had undergone certain changes which distinguished it from the Old Norman spoken in Normandy, as can be seen from graphical characteristics, from which certain rules of pronunciation are to be inferred. An Anglo-Norman variety of French continued to exist into the early 15th century, though it was in decline at least from the 1360s, when it was deemed insufficiently well-known to be used for pleading in court. Great prestige continued to be enjoyed by the French language, however; in the late 14th century, the author of the Manière de language calls French:

...le plus bel et le plus gracious language et plus noble parler, apres latin d'escole, qui soit au monde et de touz genz mieulx prisée et amée que nul autre (quar Dieux le fist si douce et amiable principalement à...... ...

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