Medieval literature

Within the history of universal literature, the contributions generated in the Middle Ages have served much to leave records of what the societies of this era were like, their culture, their moral and social patterns, as well as the literary styles used to tell real or fabulous stories of that moment in the history of humanity. The development of medieval literature takes place in Europe, starting with the fall of the Roman Empire and ending with the arrival of the Renaissance. Medieval literature initially had a theocentric view of the world because it placed God at the center of the universe and its themes were linked to religion, chivalrous deeds and love. In spite of this, texts have been found that are not linked to the religious theme in this period.

Medieval literature

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What is medieval literature?

Medieval literature is all the written manifestation that took place in the Middle Ages, which begins after the fall of the Roman Empire until the beginning of the Renaissance. The place where literature developed was the European continent. It was characterized by generating works that were mostly by unknown authors, which covered topics related to morals and religion, chivalry stories, religious texts, among others. It was initially written in Latin and later in the national languages of some countries.

Characteristics of medieval literature

Among the most representative characteristics of medieval literature we can mention the following:

Antecedents of medieval literature

From the antecedents of medieval literature we can cite the following:

Historical context

Medieval literature begins in 476 A.D. and ends with the Renaissance at the end of the 15th century.

Medieval history can be divided into three stages, in which literature took part. These are:


The themes of medieval literature were of two types, religious writings and secular writings.

The religious writings were known as Mester of Clergy and contained texts centered on God and the values of the Catholic Church.

The lay writings were also called Jugglary Mester and were not as abundant as the religious, but they were part of the literature of this time and they told stories of chivalry and love.


The literary genres used in medieval literature were epics, lyrics, narrative and theatre.


The most prominent representatives of medieval literature were:

In Spain

In England

In Italy

In France

Works of medieval literature

Among the most outstanding works of medieval literature, we can mention some from Spain, Italy, France and other European countries such as:

Written by Gabriela Briceño V.

How to cite this article?

Briceño V., Gabriela. (2019). Medieval literature. Recovered on 23 February, 2024, de Euston96:

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