The Medieval period produced a plethora of literary forms, both in England and in continental Europe. Quite frankly, Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and Boccaccio's Decameron are repositories of many of these. In many medieval works, we find considerable anachronism, lack of classical unity in favor of a vast synthesis, and a distinct mingling of tragic and comic elements.
The frame narrative is common, allowing authors to lend coherence to a variety of tales. Focusing on Chaucer's work, the frame serves as an Estates Satire, allowing him to critique society and individuals's failure to live up to the values of their estate in society.
The work goes on to include epic and mock-epic parodies, which imply a certain determinism in human events. In France, The Song of Roland is a notable epic, celebrating Charlemagne, denigrating Muslims, and providing propaganda for the Pope's call to go on Crusades.
Chaucer's work also contains many romances, which suggests a more open-ended potential in human affairs....
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