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Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
The history of the month of May and the celebrations of May Day became interesting to me while I was doing some reading for a course entitled ''Medieval Heritage." I found a vast amount of material which pertained to this subject, yet historians and scholars are still baffled as to the origin of the Maytime festivities. This spring event seems to have been lost in the antiquities of the centuries. I therefore felt that a thesis showing the development of May Day Medieval Literature from early references to the end of the sixteenth century might be interesting and advantageous to others who have wondered about the heritage of an almost forgotten holiday. It seemed logical to begin this thesis with an "Introduction" to some May Day references as they have appeared for years in literature. The first chapter states the assumed history of the origin of May Day; followed by a chapter devoted to "Geoffrey Chaucer's Reflections of May Day Lore"; and Chapter III reviews the English May Day celebrations as they reached their height of popularity during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The poem, "The Lusty Month of May," speaks for itself as it undoubtedly exemplifies the true spirit found in the medieval May observances. I wish to express grateful acknowledgement to the members of my graduate committee: Dr. Roberta C. Stout, for her suggestions in the early planning stages of my thesis; Mr. Marion F. Coulson, for his helpful criticisms on the writing of my thesis; and Mr. Marc T. Campbell, for his kindness in loaning and securing library materials which were needed for this thesis. To Dr. Ralph V. Coder, chairman of my committee, I am especially grateful for his patient, constructive guidance and his faith in my ability to accomplish the task of writing a thesis. I am equally appreciative of my parents and brother and all of the many friends who have all offered their steadfast confidence and encouragement which became a source of inspiration.
Copyright 1966 Virginia Kay Hogsett
Hogsett, Virginia Kay, "May Day in Medieval Literature" (1966). Master's Theses. 984.