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The range of medieval taste in literature reflects a culturally diverse time period. Spanning from 5th century to the 15th century, medieval genres include tales of saint's lives, religious instruction, aristocratic romances, and eventually, more complex works like Chaucer's Canterbury Tales—just to name a few. This huge historical time period-often called the Middle Ages-has often been overgeneralized and simplified as a time between antiquity and the Renaissance. Early medieval readership was limited to clerics during the earlier part of this time period, but as cities grew, a middle class of bureaucrats joined the readership. Thus, one conclusion that can and should be made about the wide and diverse medieval taste in literature, is that in order to understand and appreciate 'medieval literature,' one must contextualize with more specificty, as opposed to generalizing this entire time period.
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