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The Outline of English Literature


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Министерство образования и науки Республики Казахстан
Кокшетауский государственный университет им. Ш. Уалиханова

An Outline of British Literature (from tradition to post modernism)



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Рекомендовано к печати кафедрой английского языка и МП КГУ им. Ш. Уалиханова, Ученым Советом филологического факультета КГУ им. Ш. Уалиханова, УМС КГУ им. Ш. Уалиханова.


Баяндина С.Ж. доктор филологических наук, профессор, декан филологического факультета КГУ им. Ш. Уалиханова
Батаева Ф.А. кандидат филологических наук, доцент кафедры «Переводческое дело» Кокшетауского университета им. А. Мырзахметова
Кожанова К.Т. преподаватель английского языка кафедры гуманитарного цикла ИПК и ПРО Акмолинской области

An Outline of British Literature from tradition to post modernism (on specialties 050119 – “Foreign Language: Two Foreign Languages”, 050205 – “Foreign Philology” and 050207 – “Translation”): Учебное пособие / Сост. Немченко Н.Ф. – Кокшетау: Типография КГУ им. Ш. Уалиханова, 2010 – 170 с.

ISBN 9965-19-350-9

Пособие представляет собой краткие очерки, характеризующие английскую литературу Великобритании, ее основные направления и тенденции. Все известные направления в литературе иллюстрированы примерами жизни и творчества авторов, вошедших в мировую литературу благодаря особым вкладам в ее развитие. Вторая часть пособия состоит из глоссария и примечаний, дающих необходимые литературоведческие, исторические, лингвистические и философские пояснения.

Все права защищены. Любое воспроизведение текста, целиком или частично, без разрешения автора запрещается и преследуется в соответствии с действующим законодательством.

ISBN 9965-19-350-9 © Немченко Н.Ф., 2011


Part I. Outline of the main historical periods and trends in literature 6
1. Old English Literature 6
1.1. Historical background. The Making of England. 6
1.2. Beowulf: The Oldest English Epic. 7
1.3. Old English Poetry: The Seafarer. The Wanderer. 8
1.4. Early Christian Literature: Bible story in Old English Verse. Caedmon,
Bede, Cynewulf, King Alfred. 9
2. Literature of the Middle Ages 13
2.1. Historical background from Alfred to Chaucer’s England. 13
2.2. The Romances. 14
2.3. Religious and Didactic Literature. John Wycliff. 16
2.4. Chaucer’s Life and Work. 18
2.5. The Canterbury Tales. 20
3. The Renaissance in England 22
3.1. Historical Background of the Renaissance. 22
3.2. Thomas More and the reformers. 23
3.3. Edmund Spenser. 25
3.4. Shakespeare's predecessors. The development of Drama. 28
3.5. Shakespeare’s comedies and tragedies. 30
4. The Early Seventeenth Century. The Puritan Age. 35
4.1. Political background of the Century: Puritans and Kings. 35
4.2. Francis Bacon: His Life and Works. 36
4.3. The Development of Modern Prose: Robert Burton. Sir Thomas Browne.
Ben Jonson. 38
4.4. John Milton: Milton’s Poetry. “Paradise Lost”. “Paradise Regained”. 40
5. The Restoration Period. The Age of Dryden and Pope. Neoclassicism. 45
5.1. Historical background. Changes after the Restoration. 45
5.2. John Dryden. Dryden as a Poet. Dryden’s Prose . 47
5.3. Poetry in the Early Eighteenth Century: Alexander Pope. 49
5.4. Daniel Defoe. 50
5.5. Jonathan Swift. 52
5.6. Joseph Addison and Richard Steele. 54
5.7. Samuel Richardson 55
5.8. Henry Fielding. 55
5.9. Samuel Johnson. 56
5.10. Richard Brinsley Sheridan. 56
6. The New Romanticism. 59
6.1. Historical background. Revolution and Literature. 59
6.2. Robert Burns. 60
6.3. The Lake poets: William Wordsworth. 61
6.4. The Lake Poets: Samuel Coleridge 65
6.5. William Blake 66
6.6. The Novel: Sir Walter Scott. 68
6.7. The Novel: Jane Austin. 70
7. New Currents in Romanticism. 72
7.1. Historical background. Revolutionary poets. 72
7.2. Lord Byron. 73
7.3. Percy Bysshe Shelley. 75
7.4. John Keats 77
8. Victorian Romanticism and Realism. Political and social conditions. 80
8.1. Historical background for Victorian poetry and Victorian novel. 81
8.2. Alfred Tennyson. 82
8.3. Robert Browning. 85
8.4. Charles Dickens. 86
8.5. William Makepeace Thackeray. 88
8.6. George Eliot. 89
8.7. Elizabeth Gaskell 90
8.8. The Bronte Sisters. 91
8.9. Thomas Hardy. 92
8.10. Lewis Carroll 94
8.11. Robert Louis Stevenson. 94
8.12. Rudyard Kipling. 96
8.13. Oscar Wilde. 97
9. The Twentieth Century Modernism and Post modernism. 99
9.1. Historical background. 99
9.2. Thomas Sterne Eliot 101
9.3. William Butler Yeats 103
9.4. Joseph Conrad 105
9.5. Herbert George Wells 107
9.6. George Bernard Shaw 108
9.7. John Galsworthy 109
9.8. Agatha Christie 109
9.9. Graham Greene 110
9.10. Iris Murdoch 113
9.11. Muriel Spark 115
9.12. James Joyce 117
9.13. David Herbert Lawrence 119
9.14. John Boynton Priestly 120
9.15. Aldous Huxley 121
9.16. John Fowels 123
9.17. Arthur Evelyn Waugh 124
9.18. William Golding 125
9.19. George Orwell 127
9.20. William Somerset Maugham 128
9.21. John Ronald Renel Tolkein 130
9.22. Kingsley Amis 131
9.23. Joanne Kathleen Rowling 132
Part II. English Literature Reference Book 135
Bibliography 169

Part I. Outline of the main historical periods and trends in literature

1. Old English Literature

1.1. Historical background. The Making of England.
1.2. Beowulf: The Oldest English Epic.
1.3. Old English Poetry: The Seafarer. The Wanderer.
1.4. Early Christian Literature: Bible story in Old English Verse. Caedmon, Bede, Cynewulf, King Alfred.

1.1. Historical background. The Making of England.

England was a dwelling place of men long before the dawn of history. Its preliterary history begins, about the close of the Bronze Age, with the occupation of nearly the entire island by the Joidels, a Celtic-speaking people from Europe. Later they were expelled by the Brythons, another Celtic-speaking people from the Continent. Some of them left traces that have lasted to our day – monuments, graves filled with rude implements, a few inscriptions. In the course of centuries they were absorbed by stronger races, sweeping in waves from the continent – the Celts, the Romans and, later, by the hordes of Angles, Saxons and Jutes. The old Greek and Roman culture was long in reaching the races that one day were to form the nations of modern Europe. Britain was a colony of Rome of Caesar’s invasion (55bc). The Roman legions withdrew at the beginning of the fifth century leaving a few Latin words in Old English, a few monuments to remind of colonisers who drained marshes, built roads, established a great export of trade. When the Romans left, they were forgotten by the Celts, who swarmed back from Scotland and Wales and who were conquered in the last half of the fifth century by the Angles, Saxons and Jutes who were at last to lay the foundations of the English nation. Anglo-Saxon or Old English period (from the 5th century to 1066) in the history of English literature is characterized by oral transmission, emphasis on strength, fame and glory, somber view of life which to Anglo-Saxons was a struggle against both nature and man. According to their belief Wyrd, the goddess of destiny ruled every man’s life. In this period of migrations and the clashing of tribes, there was little national feeling or culture. But these tribes had ballads and legends from which literature was to be made. There were no books; wandering minstrels visited various tribal centers and praised the reigning chief in song. Many influences went into the making of English literature. Celtic legends, partly pagan and partly Christian, influenced the development of the story of King Arthur and his Knights. Anglo-Saxon legends made up the texture of Beowulf. The history of English literature is not merely a chronicle of authors and their works. Thousands of songs have perished; only a few books have survived.

1.2. Beowulf: The Oldest English Epic.

The oldest English poem that has come down to us preserves some traces of the remote period when tribes migrated from place to place in northern Europe. The manuscript of Beowulf dates from the tenth century, but the poem itself is probably three hundred years older. It has references to historical persons and events in the early sixth century, when a King of the Danes raided the lower Rhine and was defeated by the Franks. The story of Beowulf consists of incidents brought together by the unknown author from many sources. These sources, perhaps, were songs. Minstrels (scops) who made these songs were highly honoured. The poem Beowulf is very far from being a primitive poem; it has many of the characteristics of a literary art and the life which it records is one of dignity and beauty. The first of the three “adventures” of the poem tells how the hero heard of a monster named Grendel that was ravaging the court of the Danish King Hrothgar. With a band of followers Beowulf sails to the Danish coast and makes his way to Heorot, the lofty hall of the King. The poet describes the beauty of this hall and the happiness of the noble King save for the terror caused by the monster. Beowulf is welcomed by the King, who invites him to the banquet. The meal is conducted in a very ceremonious fashion; minstrels sing of heroic deeds; the queen passes among the warriors. Unferth, the retainer, forces upon Beowulf a sort of wit combat. He mentions a swimming match in which Beowulf had been defeated. The prince replied that he had overcome many uncanny creatures of the sea and had won the race. At length the King and Queen retire and Beowulf and the warriors stay in the hall. The monster came and seized one of the thanes and devoured him, then reached for Beowulf. But the hero was ready. A terrible combat began and at the end Beowulf triumphed, for he tore off the arm and shoulder of the monster, and sent him deadly marked to the marsh. Next day the warriors rode out to the mere, where they saw the thick waters red with Grendel’s blood. On their return to Heorot, Hrothgar thanked the hero in stately words and Beowulf responded in the same fashion. Then they prepared for the evening’s banquet, when splendid gifts were presented to the hero and his men. Songs of heroic deeds were heard in the hall. After this the queen appeared and gave the hero a magnificent present, asking his favour for her sons. At length the revel ended and Heorot was still. The happiness of the Danes was brief. The mother of Grendel, a monster, comes in the night and slays a retainer to avenge her offspring. Heorot was on a narrow strip of shore. On one side was the sea, on the other was the impenetrable forest, filled with marshes and evil spirits. From this dark realm Grendel's mother came and challenged Beowulf. Beowulf accepted the challenge and after a dreadful battle he won victory. Then follows the episode of his life between his return from Hrothgar’s court and his last great adventure. For a time he was the trusted counselor of his King, defending him in battle. Later he served the young prince, then he became King and ruled long and wisely. When Beowulf was an old man, word was brought of the devastation caused by a fire-drake. The dragon flew over Beowulf’s realm, dropping fire that destroyed farm houses and villages. Now Beowulf had to save his subjects from the monster that brought terror at night. With eleven of his warriors he went to the hill in which dwelt the enemy. He reviewed his life, as folk-defender, and then went into the grim place alone. Against the fiery power of the drake he fought courageously. In the time of peril, Wiglaf, a thane, rushed bravely forward just in time to help his master give the final fatal blow to the monster, but Beowulf, mortally wounded, died by the hill. Something in the structure of the epic, the art with which it is put together, is apparent even from this short summary. Despite the fact that only three major adventures are given and the remaining details of the hero’s life being introduced by indirect means, the final effect is that of a unified story. We do not have in “Beowulf”, as in the Greek and Roman epics, the theme of the founder of a people. Beowulf is less important as a sovereign and law-giver than as a man who is afraid of no danger. But indirectly the poem tells much about the life of those who were to become the founders of England. Life at Hrothgar’s court is not primitive. There is good manner and dignity about the characters. The story of Grendel, a supernatural monster, is based on a folk legend but it seems no more of a tale than the witches in “Macbeth” or the ghost in “Hamlet”. Pagan superstitious are found together with traces of Christian theology; nevertheless, the poem doesn't present the realm of mere superstition, but of an ordered conception of life and man’s destiny. Fate is the ruler of life; the happiness of man is to be found not in external possessions but in duty and service to others. The poem gives pictures which are symbols of a life stern, yet far removed from barbarism.

1.3. Old English Poetry: The Seafarer. The Wanderer.

Old English poetry often reflects the griefs and changes of life. Few men in those days had settled homes; whole tribes migrated from place to place. Men didn’t seek developing a great farm or building up a business but a distant realm where their courage might win them fame. Fate seemed to rule man’s life; only the supremely good man could hope to overcome hard circumstances. Thus the oldest English poetry is often mournful, filled with memories of a happier past. That this sense of threatening fate and the hardships of life did not dampen the courage of these sturdy people is proved by their poetry as well as by their deeds. In the poem “The Seafarer” the speaker is apparently an old sailor who describes the dangers of his life, but draws a sharp contrast between a peaceful, and prosperous life on land and the stern joy that thrills one who has surrended himself to the mystery of the sea: "He ever has longing who is lured by the sea". The poem describes this longing for the wide stretches of the waters, but there is none more thrilling than this old English song of the sea by a poet whose name is not known. The deep melancholy of the song “The Wanderer” is reflected in the description of the singer’s travels in many lands; he trails the track of the exile; no treasure he has but heart-chilling frost. In such a mood he falls asleep and seems to see, in his dream, his long dead lord. When he awakens, nothing is before him save the waves, with the sea-birds bathing and beating their wings, frost and snow falling: Where are the horses? Where are the heroes? Alas the bright wine-cup alas the burnie-warriors! Alas the princes’ pride! How passes the time Under the shadow of night as it never had been! Over the trusty troop now towers full high A wall adorned with wondrous dragons The strength of the spear has destroyed the earls, War greedy weapons, Wyrd inexorable; And the storms strike down on the stony cliffs, The snows descend and seize all the earth In the dread of winter.

1.4. Early Christian Literature. Bible story in Old English verse. Caedmon, Bede, Cynewulf. King Alfred.

The ancient Celts or Britons believed in a form of nature worship which assigned deities, both good and evil, to places and things. Their most important men, called Druids, were both priests and statesmen. To be a member of this class long and patient preparations were necessary. Great quantities of verse, containing religions and political matter and legends, had to be memorized. Some elements of this old faith are reflected in later English Literature. The oak and mistletoe were sacred elements in their worship. The invaders of Britain who came from Northern Germany and drove out the Celts brought with them the old Teutonic faiths. Odin, or Woden was their chief god; his name is preserved in “Wednesday”. Another powerful deity was Thor, god or rain and thunder, whose name remains in “Thursday”. Other Teutonic deities have given names to “Thursday”, “Friday” and possibly “Saturday”. Some traces of the old faith are found in such customs as Harvest-home (Thanksgiving), May-day (Easter) an the like. In the year 597 a Roman priest named Augustine came to northern England with a group of missionaries and began the work of converting the English to Christianity. Canterbury became the center of this movement which gradually spread throughout the land. Thirty years later Paulinus came to northern English, and a similar center of Christian teaching was founded at York. The story of the conversion of Edwin, King of Northumbria, is told by Bede, a great historian of the early English church. Paulinus called upon King Edwin to become a Christian. A great assembly was called and an old counselor made a speech in favour of the new faith that could teach the people of whence and whither they were going, explain more of the unknown. This new faith seemed deserving to be followed. England became Christian. With the coming of priests from Rome, who were scholars as well as missionaries, a great impulse was given to learning and to the writing of poetry and prose based on the new faith. Alcuin, one of the most learned of these early scholars and teachers, tells of the daily life at York. Grammar and rhetoric were taught, the elements of law and some classical literature. The English churchmen collected and copied manuscripts, founded libraries, taught young men. Travelers and merchants presented costly manuscripts brought from Europe to the monastic libraries; by the end of the eighth century the library at York was nearly equal to that at Rome. King Alfred was a translator, and took deep interest in promoting learning. Bede, one of the greatest of the scholars of his time, refused high office because he couldn’t bear to leave his beloved manuscripts. For thirty years he studied the Bible, wrote treatises, perfected himself in learning. At the end of his great “History of the English Church” he records the scholar’s prayer: “And I pray Thee, good Jesus, that, as thou hast mercifully granted to me sweetly to drink in the words of Thy Knowledge, so Thou mayest grant me of Thy goodness some day to come to Thee, Fountain of all Wisdom, and to appear continually before Thy face”. Bede lived in the 8th century, and his history of the church is as valuable as the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle for the infatuation it gives of these early times. The venerable Bede was educated at the monasteries and lived in the monastery at Jarrow devoting his life to teaching theology, Hebrew, Greek and Latin. His writings are characterized by a concise style and are full of piety. The most important of them are “De Natura Rerum” (a work on physical science), “Historia Abbatum” (a history of the abbots). He was particularly noted for Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation written in Latin. About a century later it was translated into Anglo-Saxon by King Alfred the Great. In Bede's Chronicle many stories about poets and learned men among them there is an account of the poet Caedmon, who had been a servitor at the monastery at Whitby in Northumbria. He had no learning and his evenings were spent with companions who used to sing to accompaniment of the harp. One night he went to sleep in the cattle-shed. In a vision an angel came to him and said, “Caedman, sing something”. The angel told him that he should sing “the beginnings of created things”. In his dream the words of the famous hymn ascribed to him were put into his mouth, and so vivid was the dream that when he awoke he could remember every detail: "Now shall we praise the Warden of Heaven, The might of the Master and his manifold thought" The nine lines of this hymn he recited to his companions, who brought him into the presence of abbess. Here in the company of many learned men, he told of the vision and sang his hymn. They told him some portion of the sacred history and asked him to render it in song. Next morning he returned and through the same divine inspiration he was able to render what had been told him in excellent verse. So the servitor was taken into the company of learners, where he received instruction in the sacred stories. And he converted into sweetest song all things he could learn by hearing. His theme was the creation of the world and the whole story of Genesis and of the sojourn of Israel people in Egypt and their entrance into the Promised Land. He sang also of Christ’s life and passion, of the coming of the Holy Chost and of the apostles, of the terror of the judgement and of hell. Many others made songs after, but none could equal him, for he learned not of man, but through divine inspiration. Many centuries after the death of Caedmon and his biographer Bede, an Old English manuscript was discovered which contained poetic versions of large parts of the books of Genesis, Exodus and Daniel. Parts of the poems are very dull; other parts are intensely dramatic, such as the account, in Genesis, of the fall of Satan and his angels. In Exodus, the story of the passage through the Red Sea and the destruction of the Egyptians is told with great vigor and imagination. The style of these Biblical paraphrases is often heroic, like Beowulf and the battle pieces in the Chronicle. The leading characteristic of Old English versification is the use of alliteration instead of rime. Each line has a break in the middle and contains four stresses, or accents. Two or three of the accented syllables begin with the same consonant, or with the same vowel. The number of syllables in a line varies; there must be four stressed syllables, but there may be any number of unstressed syllables. Old English poetic style is further marked by the frequent use of what are called “Kennings”, or metaphors, in which the name of the thing is replaced by a compound word or phrase describing one of its qualities. Thus the King is called the “ring giver”; the sea is “the whale’s road” or “the gannet’s bath”. King Alfred, a famous monarch, who ruled Wessex in the ninth century was not only a statesman and military genius who warred successfully on the Danes and firmly established himself as the King of all England, but also a man remembered for his great services to English learning. He wanted to develop a truly national spirit. The literature and learning flourished brilliantly in the north. Much was destroyed by the Danes later and all England seemed about to lapse into barbarism. Alfred was a zealous patron of learning, he established a court school and brought to it British and foreign scholars. Alfred found time, in spite of the perplexing problems of his heroic life, to become a humble learner himself, to arouse the spirit of learning in others, and to establish schools. He gathered about him a group of scholars, and they busily translated into English tongue many books of history, philosophy and geography. He himself made translations of such works as the “Consolations of Philosophy” by Roman statesmen, “The History of the World: Pastoral Care” by Pope Gregory the Great. Another Anglo-Saxon poet Cynewulf or Cynwulf who lived in the 8th century is thought to have been a Northumbrian minstrel. Historians attribute to him such works as "Christ", the epic of Salvation, "The Tales of the Apostles" (stories of the travels and missionary work of the apostles), "Helene" (the story of the finding of the true Cross by Helena, mother of Constantine and Juliana, a saint's legend). This is an outline of the earliest English literature. The language is strange, though a little study of it reveals that it is indeed intimately related to the language that is spoken today. The versification is not less strange. But the verse is heroic, with a sturdy rhythm that suited those strong, simple men, the pioneers of a great race. Both because of its grave beauty and because this is the foundation on which English literature has been built, students should know something about this fine old epic. To understand the spirit that permeates English literature one needs to understand the spirit of Beowulf. This noble epic was the first great poem in English. The world today may need more than ever the indomitable spirit of service and hatred of cruelty and tyranny that can be found in Beowulf’s words as he went forth to his last battle: “I have lived through many Wars in my youth; now once again, Old folk-defender, feud will I seek, Do doughty deads, if the dark destroyer Forth from his cavern come to fight me.

2. Literature of the Middle Ages

2.1. Historical background from Alfred to Chaucer’s England.
2.2. The Romances.
2.3. Religious and Didactic Literature. John Wycliff.
2.4. Chaucer’s Life and Work.
2.5. The Canterbury Tales.

2.1. Historical background from Alfred to Chaucer’s England.

In the centuries that intervened between the death of the great Alfred in 901 and the birth of Chaucer, about 1340, England was transformed. In the earlier part of the period the Danes completed the conquest that Alfred and his successors tried to prevent. Alfred’s vision of a united England, strong through just laws, the development of the pursuits of peace, and an education in which all might share, was not yet to be realized. His native English genius seemed capable of achieving unity and order. Foreign enemies laid waste on the land ruled by incompetent monarchs. Learning and literature fell to a low level. In individuals or small groups the national spirit was strong, yet no leader powerful enough to unite all into one nation was at hand. So the Danes swept the country and as the year 1000 approached men looked for the end of the world. The end of the old world, the world of Beowulf and Caedmon and Alfred came in 1066, with the triumph of William of Normandy over the English King Harold at Senlac. The preceding conquests had left small trace, the conquerors were victorious, but were absorbed by the conquered. This was true, for within a few generations after they came, they gave up their possessions in France, called themselves Englishmen. They had astonishing powers of assimilation, having migrated from Norway to France; they were men of gigantic physical strength and high intellectual ability. They profited by contact with the civilization that France had developed. This civilization they transplanted to England, and as a consequence of this blending cultures, a new language, much nearer the English of today, came into being, together with new political and social institutions , new modes of looking at life, a new and more flexible mode of expressing ideas in language , and new literary forms were born. All these came vivid in the poetry of Chaucer. The effect of the collision of the two languages, French and English was to break down some of the differences between them. Many new words found their way into English, enriching it immeasurably. New verse forms, some of which gained high perfection in France, modified greatly the style and rules of poetry. Northern English was much more conservative than the language spoken in Chaucer’s London. London became the literary center as well as the commercial and political center of the Kingdom and the London dialect came to be a standard. Early in the Norman period, a number of chronicles were written. They are interesting for what they say about King Arthur. They also contain stories that were used later by Shakespeare and other Elizabethan dramatists. Some of them were in Latin, such as the twelfth century chronicle of Jeoffrey of Monmouth. Jeoffrey gives a highly romantic account of Arthur, taken, as he says, from an old “British Book”, in which Arthur appears as a world conqueror somewhat like Alexander or Julius Caesar. Many scholarly and religious books were written during these centuries; many lyric poems; many romances about Arthur and his Round Table. Some of these were in English; many were in French. In both languages they appealed to the better educated people of the court; but the common people had their ballads and went to see elaborate religious dramas which were played on festival days in all the larger towns. Some account of both these classes of literature, courtly and popular, enable us to understand Chaucer and his works. When Geoffrey Chaucer was born, about 1340, the third Edward was king of England. Only a few years earlier, in 1328, the independence of Scotland had been acknowledged. After the naval victory in 1340, Edward laid claim to the French throne. In the temporary peace which followed, English court life was brilliant with splendid entertainments. Amid the revels the gaunt specter of the Black Death stalked unceasingly, until (1349) nearly two thirds of England's population had perished. Then to the fresh troubles with Scotland and with France was added social discontent, culminating in riot and rebellion. The peasants attacked upon the corrupt clergy and many outrages were committed on the estates of the nobility, and murder became a commonplace. A hundred thousand men, led by Wat Tyler and Jack Straw, crowded the highways leading to London. The young Richard, who had come to the throne conferred with his subjects, but the relief he promised was long in coming; the leaders of the peasants were executed and Wycliff was forced into retirement until his death in 1384. To sum up, Chaucer's England was a nation just finding itself. It was an England torn by the struggles which nearly always accompany a sudden and important development of national life. It suffered grievously in the efforts to establish habits of living. But, it was also an England fond of amusement. It drew away from the chivalric romances that no longer expressed the life of the people, and set about creating a new literature. To this literature Geoffrey Chaucer contributed a great part.

2.2. The Romances.

The Normans introduced feudalism and chivalry into England. The nobles held great estates, granted by the king, and in return paid taxes and supplied forces for his wars. Leadership in the church and in intellectual matters belonged to these overlords, who lived according to French, rather than English standards. Farm work, trades, and household service belonged to the common people, mainly of Anglo-Saxon blood. People throughout the continent and England were divided not by national boundaries so much as by class distinctions. The courtly literature of France was well known in an English castle. The culture was also aided by the universal use of Latin as the language of diplomatic and learned correspondence and the language of the services of the church. Accompanying feudalism was chivalry. The knight was the ideal gentleman of medieval times. He was of high lineage and devoted himself to the search for individual distinction through his power of arms. He rode about seeking adventure, taking part in tournaments, winning the favour of ladies through his skill and devotion, rescuing those who were in distress. Readers of Tennyson’s “Idylls of the King” and of Scott’s medieval romances about the system of Knighthood. The themes of the romances were the three “matters”, or sources on which writers of the romances drew. To the first group of romances belongs the “Song of Roland” which was the most famous of about a hundred of romances that minstrels sang at Duke William’s court. The themes of the second group include the stories about King Arthur which are based on British (Celtic, not Anglo-Saxon) legends. They reached their highest perfection in the writings in the twelfth century. In them, Arthur is less important than he had been in the verse chronicles of Jeoffrey; the main interest centers in the adventures of the “greatest Knight of the world”, an honour held successively by Gawain, Lancelot, Perceval and Galahad. These romances are groups of stories built up round the adventures of these knights and were known in England as well as in France. They were a part of the entertainment and education of ladies and gentlemen of the court. Chaucer knew them well and made many references to them. In the fifteenth century Sir Thomas Malory compiled a sort of prose epic about the life and death of Arthur and the deeds of the knights of the Round Table, basing his account on the famous French romances, and his work is the source of most of their influence on modern English literature. The third group of romances deals with the “Matter of Rome the Great”. The romances contain stories of Thebes, Troy, Alexander, but the famous classical stories are coloured by chivalry and medieval ideas. Some of the Arthurian romances were translated from French into English. By the 15th century Sir Thomas Malory collected these stories about King Arthur and arranged them in stories in prose. The work was published in 1485 by Caxton, the first English printer, at Westminster (London), under the title "Sir Thomas Malory's book of King Arthur and of His Noble Knights of the Round Table". King Arthur possessed magic powers and was helped by Merlin, a wizard. Arthur is depicted as honest, wise and fair ruler. This epic reflects the evolution of feudal society, its ideals, beliefs. Malory's "Morte de Arthur" is the last work in English literature to depict dying feudalism. The book combines old stories of Arthur's expedition against Rome and the account of his death later. One of the stories "Gawayne and the Green Knight", written in Northern England by an unknown poet can serve an example of medieval ideas. The poem exalts the virtue of faithfulness to one's word, and is a good illustration of the way in which the romances inculcated love for the chivalric virtues. On New Year's Day Arthur and his Knights were at dinner in Camelot. The feast was interrupted by a gigantic knight, clad in green and riding a green horse, who said he had heard that Arthur's court was filled with brave Knights and that he had come to test their courage. He proposed an exchange of blows the condition being that the Knight who accepted the challenge should meet him at the Green Chapel in a year and a day to receive the return buffet. Gawayne accepted the challenge, and struck off the stranger's head with a single blow. The Green Knight picked up the head, held it in front of him, and rode off. A year later Gawayne, in spite of the protests of the friends, went to fulfill his agreement. At a castle he was splendidly entertained by a Knight who made with him an agreement that at the end of each day they would exchange whatever of value each had gained during the day. The host went hunting, and at supper gave to Gawayne the trophies he had won. Meantime Gawayne had been entertained at the castle by the host's wife, a lady of surpassing beauty, who had made love to him; he gave to his host the kiss he had accepted from the lady. This was repeated for three days, but Gawayne hid a girdle that the lady had given him to protect his life against all attacks . On New Year's Day he went to the Green Chapel, where he found his adversary. He was complimented on his punctuality, and received three blows, only one of which wounded him slightly. Then the strange Knight revealed himself as Gawayne's host, saying that the temptations had been planned as a test. Except in one detail, he had kept his word, so that Gawayne was wounded but slightly. The significance of the Romances lies in the fact that while the medieval romances profess to deal with matters of history, they give no accurate information about the early contest of the Britons with the Saxons and the Romans. They reflect, instead, medieval ideas of the gentleman, and Arthur became the ideal English hero. They were the novels of their day, read by ladies and gentlemen of the court, and they represent the aspirations of the time in matters of conduct just as Dante's Divine Comedy reflects the religious idealism of the same period. The great cathedrals of France and England also represent the desire of the soul to rise to something nobler than can be afforded by everyday life. Romance, divine vision and cathedral are not transcripts of the facts of life, but the expression of the longing of men and women of all times for what is perfect.

2.3. Religious and Didactic Literature. John Wycliff.

Besides the unity given to all Europe by the spread of feudalism and chivalry, there was the unity of religious faith. One church was more powerful than any political authority, with a ritual uniform not only throughout a nation but throughout Europe. Throughout the literature of the time we see reflected the dual forms of the perfect life. To some, the highest ideal was to be attained through action; the chivalric quest, substance of the romances, is the medieval interpretation of this ideal. To others, the highest perfection might be attained only through meditation and withdrawal from the world. Hermits were highly honoured. Typical of this literature of religious idealism is the fourteenth century poem known as "The Pearl". Its author is unknown. To some readers it is an allegory of the religious life, to others it is the cry of a desolate soul for a precious friend lost in death's night. Probably both views are correct: a father mourning for the loss of his daughter has a vision of her in Paradise and is comforted; such is the teaching of death to the Christian. The intense personal grief at first unsettles faith, but as time passes the suffering becomes idealized, and finally gives way to a new life of deeper vision and peace. Such was the experience of Dante, whose grief for the death of Beatrice whom he loved, at first plunged him into doubt and despair but at length became the means by which he attained a vision of God. "The Pearl" is a dream vision. The poet had lost his treasure, his daughter, his pearl beyond price. It fell in the grass and he cannot find it. In August when the grain is gathered, he sees a beautiful forest shining in the sun. In the midst of all this beauty he sees a maiden clad in white; to his joy he recognizes in her the last jewel of his heart. So he follows to where she shows him the heavenly city. Not only to religious idealism was the dream vision applied. Love allegories were as frequent as the thousand interpretations of theological or Biblical truth. Most famous was the "Romance of the Rose", written in France in the thirteenth century, translated into English by Chaucer and the model of many imitations. The lover goes out into the field on a May morning. After his wanderings he falls asleep, and in his sleep comes a vision of his lady and her servants. Such was the beginning of many poems which gave delight to youth in Chaucer's time. Wholly different is the story of a dream that came to a poet on Malvern Hill. The poem is called "Piers the Plowman". It's a vision of the world; of men and women everywhere. It's an attempt to sum up human experience. For long the poem was ascribed to William Langland, but later it has been shown to be the work of more than one man. It contains nearly three thousand lines. The poet has no vision of the eternal world beyond this life. He has moral purpose to set people to find Saint Truth. Truth is not to be found by long pilgrimages to distant lands. To work, each man in his degree, is the best way to Truth. Reproof of idleness, reproof of the sins of the church and the abuses of authority; reproof of the insincerity - these things fill the poem of "Piers the Plowman". It is full of a terrible indignation. The poet does not cover his satire with a light laugh, he has a great vision of humanity, not as an abstraction, but as a multitude of individuals and the leader, the guide of people is not a great statesman, but a humble plowman, intent on finishing his furrow. What Piers the Plowman saw in a vision is reflected in the work of John Wycliff, who was born in a wealthy family in about 1324, but became a preacher to the common people. He was accused of heresy; but his popularity as a defender of the King saved him. Wycliff began to write in English, directly to the people. That all might approach the Bible on an equal basis he turned to the immense task of making an English translation. Part of it, the New Testament, he did himself; the work was completed by his followers. Two centuries later, after printing had come in, the Bible had been printed in English and most editions showed some remains of Wycliff's work. Before the Reform and return to the Bible, started by Calvin and Luther, there were attempts to stop the decline of Pope's prestige and power, to bring about a spiritual revival inside the Roman Catholic Church. The English people resented sending money to the Pope in Avignon, who was under the influence of England's enemy, the King of France. The Roman Catholic Church owned one third of all land in England and was exempt of all taxes. It was in the midst of the reaction against the church that Wycliff came to challenge the Pope. In his work titled "Of Civil Dominion", Wycliff demanded a moral base for church leadership. He opposed the dogmas of the Roman Catholic Church by affirming that Christ and the Bible alone were the only authority for the believer. So he made the Bible accessible to the common people in their own language. Wycliff dedicated himself to study the Scriptures to defend the veracity of God's word. The most important of his publications were: "The Truth of the Sacred Scriptures", where he states that the Bible is the basis for faith but not the Pope; "The Pope's Power" deals with papacy as an occupation instituted by people and not by God. He stated that the Pope should get his position from his moral and Christian character and the Pope who does not follow Jesus Christ was an Antichrist. In "Apostasy" Wycliff condemned the Roman doctrine of the transubstantiation (changing of bread and red wine into "body and blood of Christ"), showing that the priest could not maintain the salvation of people by giving these things in the communion, as well as selling indulgences. He continues to condemn the dogmas in "Eucharist" saying that bread and wine maintain their original form and are only a sacrament in memory of the body and the blood of Christ. Wycliff founded a group of preachers called Lollards to preach his teaching all over England until the Parliament introduced punishment death penalty to those preachers-heretics. Nevertheless, the Lollards prepared the way to the great Reform in England. He died in 1384. John Huss, his follower, belonged to the group of Oxford University students called Bohemians, who on returning home, brought Wycliff's teaching. Later John Huss was burned to the stake and Wycliff's body was exhumed, his bones burned and his ashes thrown in the Swift River, but for being the principal founder of the Reform measures Wycliff is called "The Reform Morning Star".

2.4. Chaucer's Life and Work.

Chaucer was both a literary man and a courtier. On the one hand he was a poet; on the other a diplomat, controller of the King's customs. Born about 1340 in London, he received what education his parents were able to give him in that city. In 1359 he was in France, armed as an esquire, and was taken prisoner by the French. The following year he was ransomed by the King. By 1366 he was married and was promoted to the rank of Esquire in the King's Household. During the next few years Chaucer lived a busy life, with considerable travel, and with many marks of favour from the King. In 1372 he was a commissioner somewhere on the English coast of a market to which Italian merchants might bring goods for trade. Later he received a life pension from his patron, John the Gaunt. During the next few years he was abroad on missions to Flanders, France and Italy. The new King, Richard II, confirmed him in his office of Controller of the Customs and was allowed a deputy, so that he gained the leisure that he needed for his literary work. In 1386 he was Knight of the shire for Kent. The new King, Henry IV, gave him a new and larger pension. In the same year Chaucer rented a dwelling in the garden of St. Mary's Chapel, but he was not destined to live there very long, for on the 25th of October, 1400, he died. This is a short outline of Chaucer's busy life. For the most part, our knowledge is based on old account books and government records, meager material for reconstructing the biography of one of the greatest of Englishmen. He held honourable positions, and enjoyed the favour of three monarchs. But useful as this life was, it would not be studied today were it simply the life of Geoffrey Chaucer, a successful man of affairs. In one of his later poems he speaks half-humorously of his habit, when his day's work in the office was done, of going home and sitting over his books as though he were a hermit. His works show acquaintance with Latin authors, and the romances, the works of the great Italian writers: Dante, Petrarch and Boccaccio. Chaucer's earliest poems show that he was studying the style and verse of contemporary French poets. The following group of poems did much to establish Chaucer's fame. Most of them are influenced by contemporary Italian writings. The first is "Troilus and Criseyde" written between 1375 and 1385, a long and very dramatic poem based on a work of Boccaccio, but two-thirds of it are considered to be Chaucer's own. In 1382 he wrote "The Parliament of Fowls", in honour of the betrothal of Anne of Bohemia to Richard II. As the title indicates, the poem deals with an assembly of birds, on St. Valentine's Day, to choose their mates. Some time after 1382 Chaucer wrote a poem called "The Legend of Good Women". The saints in this poem are those who are faithful to the god of love and this poem consists of a series of stories about women who were "good" in this special sense. The poet begins by telling us that he loves books above everything else, except in the month of May. He spends a day in the meadows, chiefly in observation of the daisies. The god of love appears, leading by the hand a beautiful woman who wears a crown of daisies. Following her are nineteen ladies scarcely less beautiful than their queen. The god of love reproaches Chaucer for having written some things against women, as in his Troilus, and commands him to repent by writing a "glorious legend" in honour of women faithful in love. "The House of Fame" was written some time between 1379 and 1384. Once more he uses the dream form; in a vision he is taken to a magical temple on whose walls he sees depicted the story of Troy. Then an eagle bears him to the House of Fame, where the goddess bestows favours without consistency. To some she grants fame, to others who have performed the same works she refuses. The story is told with a rather cynical humour, a kindly satire that marks his style. Geoffrey Chaucer is considered to be the most important writer of the Middle English period and one of the greatest of all English poets. His contribution to the vernacular tradition in English literature cannot be overestimated. Chaucer is also recorded in the Oxford English Dictionary as the first author who used common English words; common speech and his works belong to the earliest manuscript sources of Middle English. Chaucer is known for metrical innovation, he invented the rhyme, used the five stress line that became one of the standard poetic forms in English. 2.5. The Canterbury Tales.

It was when he was growing tired of his stories of "good" women that Chaucer hit upon the plan of writing a series of tales, with a pilgrimage to Canterbury as the background which was to give them a certain unity. In the medieval period collections of tales were immensely popular. The ancient but ever modern "Arabian Nights", the "Decamerone" of Boccaccio are widely known. Boccaccio describes a company of ladies and gentlemen who had fled from the city of Florence to escape the plague. Thus, Chaucer's plan of forming a collection of his favourite stories was merely a literary convention of the time. The novel had not yet been invented and therefore it is the greater triumph that Chaucer, through his genius, was able to bind together his stories in such a way as to suggest the unity of plot, which serves to connect the stories. It was a stroke of genius that suggested to him the idea of describing one of the pilgrimages then so popular, working at the stories as if they were the means of whiling away the tedious hours of travel. By this means he gained an air of reality that is one of the never-failing charms of the "Canterbury Tales". The work appears to be a transcript from real life. Pilgrimages of every kind were extremely common in Chaucer's time. They were made to satisfy vows taken in order to secure relief from diseases; religious vows, or vows made in expiation of sins. Sometimes such journeys were taken to secure change of scene. It is said that even Henry IV planned to go on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem because he felt that he had not secured the crown by legitimate means. In the Prologue to the Tales, Chaucer tells us about a company of pilgrims on their way to the shrine of Thomas Becket. After they have enjoyed their supper at the Tabard Inn, Harry Baily, their good host, proposes that they should while away the time by telling stories. Each pilgrim was to tell two stories on the way to the shrine and two on the return journey; the host was to be the judge and the winner of the contest was to have a fine supper at the Tabard at the expense of the others. About a hundred years ago this inn was still standing on the site of the Tabard and part of the road was used by the pilgrims. The start of the journey was made at day-break, and the best of the tales of the first day was the spirited romance told by the Knight about the love of two youths for the fair Emily. The next day, entertainment was first provided by the Man of Law, who tells of Constance, of the false accusations directed against her, of wicked mother-in-law. Next the Shipman tells a rather disreputable tale, quite in keeping with his character. Then Chaucer begins a delighted parody on some of the conventional romances of the time and then a long prose tale about Melibeus and his wife Prudence after which the Monk recounts a number of "tragedies" about people who fell from prosperity to bad fortune. They are so alike and so gloomy, that Harry Baily loses patience and orders the Nun's Priest to entertain the pilgrims. The tale of the cock and the hen follows. 21 stories are told during the journey which is not even half of the stories each pilgrim was to tell. There is no account of the experiences of the company at the shrine, or any story of the award of the prize and of the prize and of the supper. But however incomplete the poem is, the perfection of the plan is appreciated. Through the Prologue and the connecting links each pilgrim seems real and since these men and women come from all walks of life, the opportunity for skillful characterization is immense. So vivid are the portraits that it seems impossible not to believe that Chaucer had definite men and women in mind. In English literature before Chaucer's day there had been no such a transcript of actual life. Viewed through the mist of years, the march of the deathless nine and twenty becomes a stately progress. Knight and Squire and Shipman; the fat Monk and the garrulous Wife of Bath, the meek and lovable Parson and many more hold hands in a common fellowship and they represent, in a way, all England. Chaucer's life and work show how great was the interest that he took in books and life. To the astonishing amount of reading he joined keen observation of the life about him, a sense of the infinite variety of human personalities and an abounding humour. Like all the greatest writers Chaucer is distinguished for his abounding vitality. In part his mastery is due to the evenness of his temperament. He has no violent passions; one is almost tempted to say that he never feels very deeply. Passages of pathos are rare. For the most part he avoids tragic. He is the poet of merry England, distinguished for his wholesome and sane view of life. Perhaps it is because of this easy-going temper that he shows so little indignation against the abuses of the day. His keen insight detects the evils in the church, the pretense, the charlatanry of the science of his day; but he has no zeal for reforming the world. The Puritans conceived life as a pilgrimage from this world to the next. So did Chaucer, but it is the scenery of the road, not the mysteries of life, in which he is interested. There are many ethical lessons, but they are incidental, to be extracted or left alone at the reader's pleasure. He is interested in this world, in its abundant life, in its infinite variety. He looks about him and rejoices because he sees that life is good.

3. The Renaissance in England.

3.1. Historical Background of the Renaissance.
3.2. Thomas More and the reformers.
3.3. Edmund Spenser.
3.4. Shakespeare's predecessors. The development of Drama.
3.5. Shakespeare’s comedies and tragedies.

3.1. Historical Background.

The century and a half that separated the death of Chaucer in 1400 from the accession of Elizabeth in 1558 marks the passing of England from feudalism to the full tide of Renaissance. Humanism spread in Western Europe in the 14th century but it had not moved the intellectual life of England until the end of the 15th and the beginning of the 16th century because England was involved in wars with France (The Hundred Years' War), civil war (Wars of the Roses). After this time through the work of the Dutch humanist Erasmus and other scholars who taught at Cambridge the influence of classic arts was introduced into England. Among the first English poets who were influenced by Italian and Greek writers was Sir Thomas Wyatt. He translated Petrarch's sonnets into English and with Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, wrote English poetry in the sonnet form. Surrey also translated two books of Vergil using blank verse for the first time in English poetry. Most of the English monarchs during this time have been the subject of splendid historical dramas: Henry IV, Henry V, Henry VI and Richard III. In those plays we find a series of spectacles that will help us to live in imagination in these times. Malory was collecting his stories of the old Arthurian romances, Caxton was printing the best of English literature. Erasmus and More were awakening the interest of Englishmen in the riches of the literature of Greece and Rome. Ballads about Robin Hood were made and sung. In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries in Italy, certain great men began to take an interest in the classics and to encourage the search for lost manuscripts. Under their patronage the study of Greek was introduced and scholars learned to read manuscripts of great poems and dramas and prose works that had long been unknown. The result was a great impulse to the new learning which is called Humanism. Humanism in this narrow sense refers to the rediscovery and the study of the treasures of Greek and Latin literature. Literature, philosophy and history are still referred to as the humanities, the studies which have to do with man in relation to the life to come. The theological bias of the Middle Ages was giving way to interest in the things in this world. Men began to study the achievements and the ideals of Greece and Rome, to compare their own civilization with these old civilizations and to imitate their art, literature and their way of looking at life. So great was the influence of this movement that this period is called Renaissance – “new birth”. It was an age of giants: Drake, Sidney, the great Queen herself, Francis Bacon. In literature it was the age of Marlowe, Spenser and Shakespeare. Printing carried learning and literature to wider circles. The treasures of the classics disclosed a new philosophy of life, based on the idea that man should develop all his powers for action and knowledge and all his capacities for enjoyment of earthly existence. Accompanying this intellectual movement was a new interest in the phenomena of nature. Since ancient times little scientific advance had been made. Magic and various forms of superstition had influenced ideas of medicine. The age of Renaissance marked a series of brilliant studies carried out by Galileo, Kepler, Newton. Lord Bacon wrote a book on the necessity for gathering facts and observing phenomena in order to find out the secrets of nature “for the glory of God”. The discovery of the infinite possibilities of the study of external nature gave men’s minds new outlooks, disclosing an immense prospect. To the Middle Ages this life was a little station in the passing of the soul to eternity. To the Renaissance this idea was transformed and the little station appeared to be having a lot of possibilities. There was much beauty about. It was possible to live, to think of improving the present. This curiosity manifested in the journeys of explorers, investigations of astronomers, extended to the intellectual and emotional life of men. Plato’s dialogues of love and beauty were studied. Love was the theme of poetry, of the new prose fiction, of the new comedy. Richness of dress, entertainment, new homes illustrate the chief value of this period- love of life for its own sake. There was poverty and brutality too. Men killed their fellows, human life was cheap, diseases had more victims than wars. Other civilizations, before the time of Shakespeare, had loved life. But what was different then? For the Elizabethans the world of man meant his emotional and spiritual world as well as material possessions. Marlowe thought it was fine to be a king but he also said that emperors and kings are obeyed only in their provinces while the Kingdom of the mind is of infinite extent. He spoke of the soul “still climbing after knowledge infinite”, just as Shakespeare speaks of man’s infinite possibilities, making him like a god. To this multifarious life literature responded sensitively. Literature took on new vitality, Oxford became a center of humanism, and some of the graduates carried out into active life an enthusiasm for the classics that gave them the title of “Oxford Reformers”. Sir Thomas More, who became Lord Chancellor, was a leader in this group and in his Utopia he described an ideal commonwealth distinguished by a national system of education, the advocacy of toleration in religion and the cooperation of all citizens for the common good. The spirit of reform was also present in William Tyndale’s translation of the new Testament. His purpose was to make the Bible familiar to the common laborer.

3.2. Thomas More

New social and economic conditions demanded a new ideology as Catholic dogmas could not satisfy minds any more. The Protestant religion came into being in many European countries and National Churches were established (the English Church in England). The new ideology proclaimed the value of man irrespective of his social standing and origin. The new ideology attached great importance to intellect, experience, knowledge. This new ideology was called humanism. It took the art and science of Ancient Greece and Rome for its grounds. That's why the term 'Renaissance' (that is the revival of learning) appeared. The most important of the first English humanists is Sir Thomas More. Thomas More was born in London and studied at Oxford, after which, like his father and grandfather before him, he became a lawyer and later, a judge. Very soon he acquired the reputation of being strict, but just and incorruptible, a brilliant Latin scholar and wittiest man of his time. He became a member of Parliament in 1504, and very soon brought upon himself the displeasure of Henry VII persuading the members of Parliament not to give the king the huge sum of money he demanded. After the crowning of Henry VIII he came into great favour and made a rapid career as a statesman, at the same time writing works of a political, philosophical and historical character, and also Latin verse. During a diplomatic mission to Flanders he began writing "Utopia", which was printed in Belgium in 1516 under the supervision of his close friend Erasmus. (The famous satire by Erasmus, "Praise to Folly", was dedicated to More). In 1529 More was made Lord Chancellor of England (chancellor- the highest judge of the House of Lords). By that time Henry VIII decided to divorce his first wife, the Spanish princess Katherine of Aragon, and marry Anne Boleyn, her lady-in-waiting. It was apparent that England and Spain were becoming serious rivals in oversea expansion, and the king's first marriage had lost its political sense. The Catholic religion forbids divorce, which only the Pope of Rome can grant, but he refused it to Henry VIII. After that the king decided to put an end to all relations with the Pope and proclaim himself head of the Church of England. Besides, such an action would give Henry VIII an admirable opportunity to increase his wealth by confiscating the estates of the Church, which was probably his main motive. More was a devout Catholic, and opposed this plan. Moreover, he understood that such measures, by strengthening the tyranny of the king, would make the life of peasants much worse, would increase the number of paupers and vagabonds, and would enrich the courtiers and financial speculators. In 1532, after Henry's second marriage, Th. More refused to take the oath to the king, this meant his recognizing Henry VIII as head of the Church of England. From the official point of view this refusal was treason, and Th. More was condemned to death. Efforts to reconcile him with Henry VIII failed, and he was beheaded. Mounting the scaffold on Tower Hill, he said to an officer: "I pray you, Master Lieutenant, see me safe up, and for my coming down I shall shift for myself." As he put his head on the block he moved his beard aside remarking that his beard had done the king no offence. As humanist and author Th. More is famous for his book "Utopia", which means in old Greek 'nowhere'. The work, written in Latin, is divided into two books. Book 1 contains a conversation between Th. More himself and a veteran sailor Raphael Hythloday, who was a traveling companion of the famous Amerigo Vespucci. The conversation deals with social and economic conditions in Europe and in England. More speaks about typical social evils of his country: the idleness of the gentry, the uselessness of the clergy, the vices of the monarchy itself. He arrives at the conclusion that a society based on private property can't be just and prosperous. Book 2 is dedicated to Hythloday's description of the island of Utopia, which he visited during one of his journey. It is a state that has achieved absolute social and economic harmony by replacing private property by common property. Nobody is too rich or too poor. Everybody works 6 hours a day and then has a rest and educates himself. There is no money in Utopia. People get all necessary things and food for their work. Every official is elected. Nobody is punished for his religion. Different religions are allowed. Criminals are punished by slavery. They are never punished by death. Utopia wages wars only when it is necessary to defend the country. Thomas More was the first author in Europe to formulate communistic principles as the basis for society. The very words 'utopian', 'utopist' originate from his book "Utopia".

3.3. Edmund Spenser

There are many other examples of the varied intellectual activity of the first half of the 16th century. They show how the classics brought new ideas, how the corruptions of government were realized, how broader educational plans were projected, how the wit and comedy interest of the Latin plays helped to form a true type of English comedy. But the work on the new English poetry that was destined to exert a greater influence than any other was a collection of poems by Richard Tottel’s Miscellany. It is composed of about 300 poems by various writers. The poems in Tottel’s Miscellany are on many themes: the praise of country life, the hardships of the courtier’s lot, the joys and woes of lovers. This book passed many editions. All these elements are combined into a beautiful and harmonious whole in the poetry of Spenser. In that poetry we find the presentation of the ideal common wealth, the ideal training, love of the classics, the English Bible, the richness of the poetry of the Italian Renaissance, the satire and a philosophy of love. Like that of many other great writers, the life of Edmund Spenser finds its most significant record in his poetry. In comparison with this record, the position he held, the money he made, the places he lived in are unimportant. He was born in London in 1552, got his education at Cambridge University. He had plans for a career in service of the state, but the circumstances sent him to Ireland as secretary to Lord Grey. Except for his short visits to London he remained in Ireland until in 1598 he was driven from his home by an insurrection and compelled to flee to London where he died in 1599. The most important of his poetry to be considered is “The Shepherd’s Calendar” and “The Faerie Queene”. “The Shepherd’s Calendar” contained twelve pastoral poems and this book ushered in great period of Elizabethan poetry. The pastoral type of poetry differs from epic and dramatic poetry. It deals with rural life and what may be called unofficial persons, as distinguished from the life of courts and the deeds of heroes. Its conventions are those of a time when civilization was in the pastoral stage, when wealth was reckoned in sheep and cattle, before cities and complex forms of government had developed. Acadia, a part of Greece, devoted to pastoral life, became famous as a place where man led this idyllic existence. In the Bible David, the shepherd King, was also a poet; priests, were also called shepherds by Christ; Latin poet Vergil wrote a number of idylls, or little pictures of pastoral life. But Vergil’s shepherds were not real shepherds but his friends and the events and scenes became a form of allegory. Spenser’s chief contribution to the pastoral lay in his idea of writing a “calendar”, a series of twelve poems, one of each month. Thus a seasons motif runs through a set of poems, giving a certain unity. Unity of interest is also gained through a love story: Colin (who is Spenser himself) loved Rosalind, the widow’s daughter. Who this Rosalind actually was and whether Spenser’s love was a real experience or only a poetical compliment to some lady of the court, are still uncertain points. Besides the seasons-motif and the love interest, Spenser introduced a good deal of sharp criticism of religious conditions in his time. Many of his shepherds are churchmen in disguise. Thus the allegory becomes satirical. Other passages praise Elizabeth as the great queen of Shepherds, or praise the poetic art. All these themes, the seasons, unrequired love, satire of contemporary men and matters, thoughts on poetry- are blended into a work of great variety and charm. Good judges recognized the voice of the authentic poet. Spenser himself knows his power, as his Epilogue shows- Loe! I have made a Calender for every yeare, That steele in strengh, and time in durance, shall outweare; And, if I marked well the starres revolution, It shall continue till the world’s dissolution To teach the ruder shepherd how to feede his sheepe And from the falsers fraude his folded flocke to keepe. In one of his eclogues in the Calender, Spenser spoke of his ambition to write a poem on a loftier theme. Like Vergil, he would turn from pastoral to epic and in about 1579 he began his work upon his Faerie Queene. Years were to pass before he should publish the first part of this epic; it was destined never to be completed, but for the remainder of his life he was meditating upon or writing his great work. Epic poetry in the Renaissance was regarded as idealized history to which were added portraits of ideal ruler, or the ideal courtier. Such a poem differed from the romances in that its theme was the origin of a nation and the virtues on which the continuance of the nation depended. The Queen of Faerie herself was, of course, Elezabeth. She was a member of the Tudor family, which came to power with Henry VII in 1485. Now the Tudors were Welsh, that is, they belonged to the ancient British people as distinguished from Anglo-Saxons or Normans. Thus with the Tudors England might be regarded as passing to the control of its original possessors. Arthur, it will be remembered, was a British, not a Saxon, or Danish or Norman King. There was a belief that Arthur was not dead but would return to rule England. It seemed as if the prophecy were at last fulfilled: Arthur, in the person of this Queen in whose veins flowed the blood of the former rulers of the land, had returned. So the main theme of Spenser's epic becomes clear. He glorifies the reign of Elizabeth as the return of England to the race of Arthur. In addition he writes of the virtues on which national and individual character should rest. There were to be twelve books, each of them devoted to the adventures of a Knight representing a cardinal virtue. Prince Arthur is Magnificence; Guyon represents Temperance; Calidore stands for Courtesy, etc. On each of twelve days on which the Faerie Queene holds a feast, a Knight is sent forth to perform a task which depends upon his possession of the virtue attached to his name. In Book one, a fair maiden named Una appears at court and asks for a champion to rescue her father and mother, king and queen of Castle Mortal, from a Dran. Red Cross is assigned this task and they go forth to find and slay the monster. Red Cross is misled by wicked personages representing Error and Hypocrisy, he falls into sin, is rescued by Prince Arthur and at last rescues the inhabitants of Castle Mortal (the human race) from the wickedness of the Dragon (Satan). Thus he becomes the type of Christ, saving the human race from the consequences of the first sin. In the second book Guyon, representing Temperance, is sent to destroy a wicked enchantress who enslaves men through base desires. He is tempted by Phaedria, a lovely lady who typifies Idleness; by Mammon, who stands for lust for wealth and fame, and by other forms of intemperance like Wrath, Sensuality, evil ambitions of all sorts and which are the enemies with no power over the man in whose soul the rational principle, or true temperance is in control. Other books are devoted to Chastity, Friendship, Justice and Courtesy. In the book of Justice there is much political allegory, the events being the defense of Spenser's patron, Lord Grey, the defense of the Queen for permitting the execution of Mary of Scotland and the intervention of England in their struggle for liberty. Such an outline gives a little idea of the infinite variety of Spenser's poem. Historical events, episodes familiar to the reader of the Arthurian romance, allegories, scenes drawn from Ovid and other classical writers, the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle, a national idealism such as English literature had not previously known. It was clothed in language of great beauty. The stanza, consisting of eight iambic pentameter lines followed by a twelve-syllable line, or alexandrine, sent itself musical effects unknown before. Spenser is a master of the magic that lies in lovely words joined in musical sequence. For this reason he was called the poet's poet, for almost every major English poet since his time has felt his charm and drawn upon his work. Only Shakespeare could rival Spenser in variety of themes and in the mastery of inexhaustible richness of poetic expression. Yet the difference between these two great poets of a great era is immense. Shakespeare was a master of the secrets of the individual soul. He analyzed the springs of character, the motives of a man's action and the effects of action on his personality. Spenser, on the other hand, dealt with types, not individuals. To him, as to Plato, the subject for contemplation is the idea of perfect justice, perfect holiness and self-control as incarnated now and again in human beings. 3.4. Shakespeare’s predecessors. The development of Drama.

The first London playhouse, called the Theatre was opened in 1576 and from this date the history of Elizabethan drama begins. The Age of Shakespeare was a time when the wildest romance was reality. The world was being turned upside down: it was no period of settled life and opinions; the daring of the navigators was matched by the daring of the men of thought. The dramas of Shakespeare are of universal appeal, as much loved today as when Elizabethan audiences first saw them, but they reflect accurately the vitality and enthusiasm of the age that produced them. The themes and structure that characterize them grew out of experiments by a group of writers who were at work in the decade before Shakespeare began his active career. Shakespeare's immediate predecessors were Lyly, Greene, Peele and Marlowe. John Lyly wrote a number of comedies of a new type. They had few incidents and the plot was very simple. Often it was an old classical story, such as the story of the youth Endymion who fell in love with the goddess of the moon. But Lyly wrote it in such a way that the audience identified Endymion with the Earl of Leicester who dared to love the great Elizabeth. His plays were written in a very graceful style with many witty sayings that people liked to quote. Robert Greene wrote two interesting works: “Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay” and “James the Fourth”. The first one tells of the tricks played by two English magicians and a love story about an English prince and the fair maid of Fressingfield. The prince sends his friend to woo the maiden for him, but the young people fall in love with each other and the royal lover gives up his claim. “James the Fourth” has little to do with the Scotish King, but tells of Dorothea, the heroine and her fortitude in the midst of hardships brought upon her by enemies. She has many adventures disguised as a page and reminds us somewhat of Shakespeare’s Rosalind or Viola. George Peele in one of his plays tells the old classical story about Paris, who awarded the golden apple to the goddess Venus and brought on the Trojan War. The greatest of Shakespeare’s predecessors, Christopher Marlowe was born in 1564 and died in 1593. Despite his tragically short life he wrote a group of plays which illustrate better than those of any of his fellows, the Renaissance passion for high and difficult things. In “Doctor Faustus” (1588) we have the story of a man who sold his soul to Satan in return for skill of magic. The aspiring mind is its theme; it speaks of the new thirst for intellectual power. Faustus seeks knowledge of the mysteries of the universe; he brings to life the beautiful and the great of the ancient world. But when through magic he evokes the spirit of Helen of Troy, whose beauty caused the Trojan War, he exclaims in transport: “Was this the face that launched a thousand ships And burnt the topless towers of Ilium?” Marlowe's "Tamburlaine" has a romantic idea of the glory of the power and wealth that Tamburlaine, a Scythian conqueror experienced. Up to the time of Tamburlaine, written in 1587-1588 there had been a few so called tragedies, but they are said to have been lifeless performances with no character and not interesting to the audiences. With “Tamburlaine” Marlowe started Elizabethan audiences off their feet. Marlowe breathed new life into English tragedy and paved the way to the greatest English dramatist, Shakespeare. Marlowe’s play “The Jew of Malta” is a study of the thirst for enormous wealth. Barabas, the rich merchant, counts his gold and receives news of the landing of his ships bringing to him treasures from every part of the globe. The play shows how the wealth of Barabas in unjustly taken from him, how he plots revenge and is at length destroyed by the horror he plans for others. To fit these stirring themes Marlowe devised a verse in every way remarkable. Blank verse had been used before his time, but not with his charm. His lines are like music fitted to the splendors of his imaginary and the energy of his thought. Blank verse or iambic pentameter had been used some twenty years before Marlowe, but according to the Greek standard the lines consisted of a 12 syllable line with six feet which made poems sound monotonous in English and it was Marlowe who created the English measure of ten unrhymed syllables, beautiful, flexible and versatile. Marlowe introduced a new conception of romance; his heroes do not fight monsters or rescue fair maidens. His hero is the world conqueror. The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus is considered to be the best of Marlowe's achievements. As the play it is placed immediately after Tamburlaine. The most tragic scenes are the scene where Faustus conjures up Mephistopheles, the scene in which he speaks to Helen of Troy and Faustus' last hour on Earth. This play is timeless because its subject matter is still interesting today. Marlowe was criticized for being an atheist, accused of blasphemy in his portrayal of Helen. She is shown as a goddess able to pure Faustus' soul, which God cannot do; she is more powerful than the Virgin Mary. In this way Marlowe questioned the validity of the church. Though this new thinking about the church was part of the spirit of Renaissance due to king Henry VIII's reformation, the church resented the fact. There were other dramatists in those ten years before Shakespeare began to write and some of them were of high ability. So we should think of him not as an isolated genius, apart from his fellows. In 1589 or 1590 the youthful Shakespeare left his native Stratford to seek his fortune in London. He had a fair education, but was not a university man, and therefore the law and the church were not open to him. Without political influence he could hardly have found a career at court. There were no magazines, no great newspapers, and no publishing houses where he might hope to find employment. Authorship as a profession from which a man might earn an income was unknown. A few men got pensions from the government or from some patron in return for literary work, but such a source of income was precarious. It was thought that poetry and other imaginative literature should be the products of a gentleman’s leisure hours, to be circulated in manuscript among his friends, not published and sold. Nevertheless, the small group of men to which Lyly, Peele, Greene, Marlowe belonged were already opening up a new profession that of writing plays for the stage. They were called the “University wits”. A few years later, when Shakespeare had attained success one of them wrote scornfully of Shakespeare as an “upstart crow beautiful with our feathers”, which indicates that they were not willing to admit him to the union.

3.5. Shakespeare’s comedies and tragedies.

When Shakespeare began to write is not known. He found employment at the theater; he became an actor and later owned shares in a company organized to produce plays; he soon became prosperous. Shakespeare’s first comedies belong to the same period. The first “Love’s Labour’s Lost” shows the influence of Lyly in its witty dialogue, slightness of story and attention to style. In “The Comedy of Errors” there is an abundance of plot, for the story deals with the misadventures of two pairs of twins. The third of the early comedies “The Two Gentlemen of Verona” is quite different. Here the influence of Greene and Peele is uppermost. There is plenty of stories; a double love romance was the basis of it; the story is serious, almost tragic in spots. The “two gentlemen” are friends, but one deserts his own lady-love to court the betrothed of the other. In his infatuation he plots against his friend, has him banished and the friend becomes leader of a band of outlaws. Shakespeare's comedies rely on minor characters for farce and boisterous humour. About 1593 Shakespeare turned to a new type of historical drama. One is the drama of the English Kings which dealt with his closing years and death. “Richard II” is a tragedy of the downfall of the King; it seeks to arouse the pity of the spectators for the misfortunes of the hero. Another early play with tragic tendency is King John, which does not mention Magna Charta but does emphasize the troubles of the King with his nobles. Even more strong is the play of “Richard III”, which shows how the Duke of Gloucester rose to power through the murder of all who stood in his way; how he became King for a time, until at length his violence turned against him and he was slain. “Richard II” suggests the later tragedy of “King Lear” while Richard III is very similar to Macbeth. Very different from these plays is the tragedy of “Romeo and Juliet”, written about 1594. This is a dramatization of one of the most famous stories of the time. The play tells the story of lovers who belong to families at feud with each other. They meet by chance and fall in love. Romeo is put in a position where he cannot avoid a duel with a kinsman of Juliet. Her parents want her to marry a man whom she hates. To escape she seeks the help of a priest who is skilled in the use of herbs. A drink is prepared which was to produce a trance resembling death. Romeo is to be summoned to rescue her, but the fates again intervene and death comes upon the lovers in the tomb of the Capulets. It is the tragedy of fate made sad by the death of these two innocent ones. It may be said that the period of the maturity of Shakespeare’s genius extends from 1549 to 1606, from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” to “Macbeth”. His first comedies had been but slightly connected with actual life. In the plays in which Falstaff, Pistol and Fluellen appeared we see how Shakespeare gave reality to the romantic past by means of persons and episodes not usually accounted in history. No matter how wildly romantic the main plot of plays like “As You Like It” and "Twelfth Night" may be, we feel that the persons who move through the scenes are very real. “A Midsummer Night’s Dream" is an amazing example of skill in plot construction. There are three groups of characters: the Athenian lovers, the fairies drawn from English village types and English villagers. The serious love plot is not stressed, but is purposely shadowy and fairylike. The play achieves unity despite of the great differences that separate one group of characters from another, because it is indeed a fairy play, fit for the madness of Midsummer night. We reach the climax of Shakespearean comedy in “Much Ado about Nothing”, “As You Like It” and “Twelfth Night”. The three plays are very similar in general plan. A love story, which in each case has elements that seem to promise a tragic outcome, is the basis of the plot. In “Much Ado”, Benedick and Beatrice are led to fall in love with each other through a joke, while Hero in love with Claudio is for a time separated from him by a false charge, and is supposed to die of grief. In the end everything is cleared up and there is a double marriage. In "Twelfth Night", the heroine, Viola, is shipwrecked. Disguised as a page she enters the service of the romantic Orsino, who fancies that he loves the beautiful Olivia, Olivia scorns the suit, but falls in love with the page. The situation becomes very complex until Orsino finds out that his page is really a charming girl, with whom he promptly falls in love, while Viola’s twin brother is just in time to supply Olivia with a husband and prepare for a double wedding. In “As You Like It”, the banished Rosalind, accompanied by her friend Celia, disguises herself as a shepherd and takes up her abode in the forest of Arden. Orlando, also banished, in love with Rosalind goes to Arden, meets the young shepherd and tells of the love. In the end the disguise is thrown off and the lovers are united. A lover is found for Celia too and a double wedding is again in the end. But besides these adventurous and often very serious stories, there is an abundance of purely comic interest. The melancholy Jagues, the delightful clown Touchstone, the blundering village officers like Dogberry and Verges are full of mirth without end. Shakespeare’s comedy is both romantic and realistic. It abounds in story and in events that were found in old romances but the people who take part in these events are real. Only one tragedy appeared from 1594 to 1601. “Julius Caesar” is a historical tragedy in which Shakespeare dramatized one of the most thrilling periods in Roman history, but he displayed his marvelous powers as a tragic dramatist to the utmost in “Hamlet” (1602), “Othello” (1604), “King Lear”(1605) and “Macbeth” (1606). Few persons who have really lived have been the subject of so many books and essays as Shakespeare’s imaginary Prince of Denmark. If we add to this great amount of criticism and analysis the interest inspired in thousands of audiences through the 400 years of the play’s stage history we realize that no King, no military genius, no statesman has ever interested so many people as this creation of Shakespeare’s genius. Hamlet’s story was not original with Shakespeare. In sagas and chronicles it was well known. In its bare outline the plot is improbable and sensational enough. A King has died suddenly and the queen has married a brother who has succeeded to the throne. From college in Germany the King’s son has returned suspicious of his mother and uncle and indignant that his father seems so soon forgotten. The ghost of the father appears and commands Hamlet to slay the new King as the murderer. Hamlet delays, apparently to get proof. By the device of a play in which the King is murdered by his brother, the necessary proof is secured. But Hamlet still delays, feigning insanity. By chance he kills an old counselor who gets in his way and is banished to England. He kills his companions who plot to murder him and then returns to Denmark to find that the girl he had loved has committed suicide. He is challenged to a duel by her brother, who is the son of the counselor slain by Hamlet. In this duel, the King plans Hamlet’s death by means of a poisoned drink and a poisoned sword. As a result of this plot, the queen, the king, Ophelia's brother, Laertes, and Hamlet himself die. It is a tragedy of revenge in which the action is set in motion by appearance of a ghost. The Elizabethans found no difficulty in believing in the reality of the ghost. It is not merely a story of a King murdered but in the suggestion of all the perplexities that may confront an individual or a generation; the sense that life is not simple but complex; that action, though necessary, may be difficult. Shakespeare plays upon the emotion, the fears and hopes of humanity. The play is filled of "thoughts beyond the reaches of our souls”. In “Othello” Shakespeare tuned once more to the Italian prose tale, such as he has used in “Romeo and Juliet”. These stories deal not with Kings and princes but with citizens. “Othello” lacks the rich philosophy that is found to be a chief source of interest in “Hamlet”. It approaches Greek tragedy in the stern simplicity of its structure. The story is brutal. Othello, a Moor in command of the Venetian forces, is led by Iago, an officer in his service, to believe that his wife, Desdemona, is unfaithful. Driven to distraction he murders her and on learning his mistake, he kills himself. It is such a story as in a modern newspaper might be published in all its sensation and sordid details. But Shakespeare gave to his characters a magnitude that lifts the action out of the vulgar and sensational into the realm of great and purifying tragedy. “King Lear” in some respects is the greatest of Shakespeare’s tragedies. As in his other plays the story was familiar. Lear was an ancient British King. According to the legend he planned to give his kingdom to his three daughters. Their portions were to be awarded in proportion to the love for him expressed by daughters in a speech at court. The elder daughters made flattering speeches and are rewarded, but Cordelia, the youngest, displeases the old King and is banished. He lives for a time with Cordelia’s sisters, who cruelly mistreat him, and at last Cordelia arrives with an army to restore her father to the throne. At this point Shakespeare’s version of the story differs from that of chronicles and the old play. In the sources Lear and Cordelia are successful and regain their kingdom. In Shakespeare’s tragedy Cordelia is defeated and slain and her father dies of a broken heart. This ingratitude of his two daughters intensifies the tragic effect and even the humour of the antics of the Fool, who employs his wit to show Lear his folly and who disappears in the middle of the play when Lear becomes insane from brooding on his wrongs. Fundamentally the tragedy is one of pity. Lear was foolish but not criminal. As he says he was more sinned against than singing. When the old King is driven out into the storm by his daughters he feels that the terror of the tempest that howls through the wilderness is but a faint reflection of his mental torture. Nothing in the whole range of English literature can match in pathos the scene in which Lear wakes from his sleep, his madness gone, and recognizes the daughter he had deeply wronged and begs her forgiveness. Yet such a view of the tragedy is not complete. It has deeper meaning than pity. It is a commentary on what it is to be a King. In his prosperity Lear thought he was a great man because every one bowed to him and flew to execute his slightest wish. When he gave away his power, he thought still to have the respect and duty of all who surrounded him, but instead he was scorned. In his insanity he harps on this: “To say ‘ay’ and ‘no’ to everything I said was no good divinity”. And again, “they told me I was everything; ‘tis a lie." “Thou hast seen a farmer’s dog bark at a beggar?” “Ay, sir,” Gloster replies. “And the creature run from the cur? There thou mightiest behold the great image of authority; a dog’s obeyed in office. “High office may give authority even to the most unworthy. To be truly great, one must find other standards. At the end of the play Lear lost the old confidence. He wants only the love of Cordelia. Earthly dignity, a multitude of retainers, admirers who assent to his every word – these things that he once thought so important to his happiness he cares nothing for any more. He has become as a little child, fit to enter the Kingdom of heaven. The commentary on worldly power is carried further in the last of his great tragedies, “Macbeth”. Here the theme is like that of Richard III except that Macbeth is greater in imaginative power and in the complexity of his character. Richard is merely ruthless, the man who has developed smashing will power without any ethical restraints and without any imagination. Macbeth unites the imagination of a poet with the intense longing for power that is shown in so many men of the Renaissance. He has served his King faithfully, only to find the path to power blocked. He is met by three witches. They promise him empire and disappear. The King comes to Macbeth’s castle. Lady Macbeth, blinded by what seems the gift of fate, equal to her husband in ambition and lacking his scruples, urges him to murder his king. Macbeth plots and carries out other murders only to find his sufferings increased. The tragedy is in the suffering for one’s sins. In these plays Shakespeare subjected to criticism the fundamental idea of Renaissance – the development of the individual. To earlier writers the romantic expansion of personality had seemed happy and successful life. But in Shakespeare’s tragedies we have a deeper view. Shakespeare acquired fame and an income that would even today be regarded as very great. He returned to his native Stratford, bought property and entered very fully into the life of town. He was kindly and helpful to the family, he honoured his father, and the great Queen himself honoured him; he was respected by lords at court and by humble men to whom he gave his friendship and lent money in time of need. His contemporary Ben Johnson, the greatest dramatist of the time, said about Shakespeare’s genius the following: ”He was not of an age, but for all time”. Shakespeare thought that the greatest drama is but a shadow of the infinite thing that is human life. To our reading of the drama we must bring our imagination, so that this shadow of reality may become a symbol of the real meaning of life. In his plays he created a world of imagination in which every phase of human life finds its counterpart. No set of biographies can be so real, not even the widest personal experience can present such a world as the world of Shakespeare’s imagination. As he waves his magic wand to disperse the creatures of the masque in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” Shakespeare utters these words: “Our revels now are ended. Our actors, As I foretold you, were all spirits and Are melted into air, into thin air; And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, The solemn temples, the great globe itself, Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff As dreams are made on and our little life Is rounded with a sleep” Life itself teaches us the full meaning of the quoted words. Reality is not a matter of brick, bonds and stocks, flesh and blood. Shakespeare wrote not only plays. His sonnets captivated not only his contemporaries, they continue to charm readers now by the force of feeling, depth of idea, grace of form. The sonnets were mostly dedicated to his patron, the Earl of Southampton. Shakespeare is the author of 36 plays, 2 poems, 154 sonnets. His creativity is the top of art culture of Renaissance and it is still the top of world literature.

4. The Early Seventeenth Century. The Puritan Age.

4.1. Political background of the Century: Puritans and Kings.
4.2. Francis Bacon: His Life and Works.
4.3. The Development of Modern Prose: Robert Burton. Sir Thomas Browne. Ben Jonson.
4.4. John Milton: Milton’s Poetry. “Paradise Lost”. “Paradise Regained”.

4.1. Political background of the Century: Puritans and Kings.

The romantic dramas of Shakespeare, Spenser and the utter literature of the Elizabethan age had suited very exactly a time when new continents were being discovered, new kingdoms were being mapped out and there seemed no limit to the great deeds of daring men. In the early half of the seventeenth century this romantic spirit continued, although it was manifested in somewhat different ways. Politically the growing individualism manifested itself in the conflict between the King and the Parliament, ending in the triumph of the principle that the people are supreme. The more intense followers of the Puritan view separated not only from the English Church but from the mother country itself and colonies were founded in America. In the world of science there appeared the idea that through collaboration men might master the secrets of nature and in 1662 the Royal Society, an organization of scientists that laid the foundation for the enormous scientific achievements of the modern world was formed. In literature there was a falling away from the romantic exuberance of the sixteenth century. More of realism and classic restraint is apparent in the dramatic and critical works of Ben Jonson and poetry, even the lyric, sought perfection of form rather than intensity of feeling. In Milton, the greatest writer of the century, second in literature only to Shakespeare, we find a union of classical and romantic elements so splendid with intellectual greatness that in his poetry we reach the climax of the English Renaissance After the death of Elizabeth in 1603 the unity of national feeling which had kept religious and political controversy in check, and had made all classes passionately loyal to their sovereign, gave place to warring sects. James I and his son Charles could not get on with the Parliament. The Puritans looked with disfavor on the corrupt life in court, refusing to grant money to the King, sought to curtail all amusements, tried to impose rigid moral standards on all the people and finally seized the political power. The Civil war between the Royalists and the Parliamentarians broke out, which lasted from 1642 till 1649. King Charles was supported by the old nobility and by the Church. The Parliamentary army, headed by Oliver Cromwell, consisted of representatives of the bourgeoisie and the gentry (new nobility) and working people, who had realized that the taxes they paid to the king were used not for national purposes. The Bourgeois Revolution (sometimes called the Puritan Revolution) triumphed: Charles I was beheaded and for some years the House of Commons ruled to be succeeded by Oliver Cromwell, called Lord Protector instead of King. In 1660 the monarchy was restored. Charles II and James II ruled for 28 years striving for arbitrary rule. The Parliament passed a Bill of Rights and an Act of Toleration which established constitutional government and liberty of thoughts. The attempt of the Puritans was religious as well as political. They sought to establish a Kingdom of the saints upon earth. The sectarian conflicts that grew with astonishing rapidity resulted in exaggerating the separation of court and people. The drama was limited to the court. It became increasingly corrupt and sensational. Masques and entertainments were produced at outrageous cost, still further infuriating the Puritans. On the other hand, the Puritans were eager to put an end to all amusements, to convert England into a church, to prevent the reading of every book except sermons and the Bible. In place of frank and free interest of in all things human was substituted intense searching of conscience. The problem of sin, predestination and atonement were studied with a passion unknown in Europe since the time of Dante. As a result, an English Dante recorded in a great epic a view of God’s dealings with men. Milton’s “Paradise Lost” is more than an epic of Puritanism, but it could not have been conceived and written except for the movement which had been gathering headway throughout Europe since the Reformation, a movement of which English Puritanism was one phase. The political struggle involving the broad masses of the English population led to the publication of new pamphlets and political pamphlets, and laid the foundation of journalism and the periodical press. During the Renaissance poetry has been the most popular form of literature. During the Revolution prose became very popular because it was easier to write on social and political problems in prose.

4.2. Francis Bacon: His Life and Works.

Francis Bacon united the sixteenth and the seventeenth centuries. Born in 1561 he was past forty when Queen Elizabeth died. He was a favourite with the Queen and with the Queen’s favourite, the Earl of Essex, although when Essex plotted against his sovereign and was arrested and tried, Bacon helped the government to convict the traitor. His most conspicuous worldly success came late in life and in the times of James, not Elizabeth. His greatest philosophical work appeared after the accession of the new King. The accession of James brought Bacon in favour. He was knighted in 1603. For many years Bacon managed to stay in favour of the King and to retain the confidence of the Commons. His influence over the King caused resentment in the Parliament. Despite Elizabethan qualities in his character, he differed markedly from the group to which Spencer, Marlowe and Shakespeare belonged. He distrusted drama, poetry, the enthusiasm for friendship. He placed no confidence in the great Greek philosophers who had so influenced the earlier humanism. He did not conceive of England as fairyland or Arcadia, he wished to see life made comfortable through the study of nature and the discovery of means "for the relief of man's estate". Outwardly, Bacon's life was a tragedy in the old sense. He climbed to the pinnacle of fame and then, in an instant, plunged to the utmost depths of shame and misery. The son of Sir Nickolas Bacon, Lord Keeper of the Great Seal under Elizabeth and nephew of the Lord Chancellor Burghley, Francis was predestined to a political career. But his father left him little money and Burghley turned a deaf ear. So he studied law; he travelled, studied the art of success. His first essays, on subjects like Expense, Health, Discourse (how to converse agreeably), Followers and Friends, Suitors (meaning applicants for jobs), Studies, Ceremonies and Respects (how to conduct oneself in the presence of the great) and Honour and Reputation constitute his own success in literature. There is something astonishingly modern, parallel to many things that we observe today, about what Bacon named the Architecture of Fortune. Bacon's way was long and difficult because of the corruption which made great place depend more on influence than on merit. It was not until 1607 when he was nearly 50 that Fortune smiled at him. He became Lord Keeper of the Great Seal and with his appointment to the Lord Chancellorship in 1617 he reached the summit of power. For these positions he had won experience through his service as member of Parliament where his oratory made a profound impression. He was a chief adviser to the King but in a few brief years, he was sentenced by the House of Lords to pay a fine of forty thousand pounds, to be imprisoned in the Tower. He was accused of receiving gifts in cases. To this practice, which was common, he confessed. This sentence was due to the awakening of the public conscience, of which Bacon was the victim; in part it was due to the determination of his enemies to destroy him. He died April 9, 1626. At his funeral the greatest minds of his time collected their eulogies of him and published a volume containing 32 eulogies which showed their reverence and awe. Bacon did not propose a philosophy of his own, but rather a method to develop philosophy and science. He stated that the philosopher should proceed through inductive reasoning: from fact to axiom and law rather than from deductive syllogisms to interpret nature. Through the use of his methods, Bacon put forward ethical system distinguishing duty to community from duty to God and claimed that any moral action is the action of the human will which is governed by beliefs and passions and men should direct their will towards good and no universal rules can be made because situations and men's characters and mind differ. In his essay on atheism he writes that philosophy inclines man's mind to atheism but depth in philosophy brings men's minds to religion. "Knowledge is power" - this statement of Bacon is a well-known aphorism. He pointed out at the three inventions of the humankind that changed the world: printing, gun powder and compass. His theory of learning is considered to be a map pointing the way to citizenship in the Kingdom of Knowledge. There are three elements for any scholar: 1. Industrious observations, by which he meant collecting facts, observing the phenomena of nature and life, seeing things as they are. 2. Grounded conclusions, by which he meant the interpretation of facts. Interpretation, if valuable, is based on exact observation, not on guessing or theorizing. 3. Profitable inventions and discoveries. The value of knowledge is in the relation to life. These are the principles on which any scientific research is based nowadays. The most widely known of Bacon's works, the "Essays" appeared in three editions. They abound in witty sayings, aphorisms and proverbs that are packed with worldly wisdom, but at the same time they are compact and require careful reading. Bacon's insight into the deeds of men was intellectual, not spiritual. The essays cover a wide range: Peace, Wisdom, Boldness, Religion, Politics, love, friendship, gardens, entertainments, etc. The one great theme of all Bacon's thought and writing was the advancement of learning. The book under the title "The Advancement of Learning" marks an epoch. The Royal Society was a direct outgrowth of Bacon's ideas. That society influenced greatly the whole subsequent course of scientific investigation to this day. No brief sketch suffices to give an idea of the immense intellectual activity of this extraordinary man. "Thus I have made", he writes at the end of his book, "a small globe of the intellectual world, as truly and faithfully as I could discover; with a note and description of those parts which seem to me not constantly occupate, or not well converted by the labour of man". Like Columbus or Galileo, he dealt with a world. This is what he meant by saying that he had taken knowledge to be his province. His dominion over the intellectual world was magnificent for the advance of human civilization. Bacon's prose is distinguished for its eloquence and for its emphasis on matter rather than on style. He did not use rhetorical figures or fine phrases for the sake of literary effect. He was a learned man and wrote not for ordinary reader. Many words in his vocabulary are not words in common use; he introduced many quotations from Latin literature. The prose of learning, or scientific writing, represented by Bacon, contributed to the development of the extended scope of prose: essays, biography, history, letters, scientific writings.

4.3. The Development of Modern Prose: Robert Burton. Sir Thomas Browne. Ben Jonson.

Other notable prose writers of this period besides Bacon were Robert Burton, Sir Thomas Browne and Ben Johson. Robert Burton (1577-1640) Little is known about the life of the author of "The Anatomy of Melancholy" (1621) except that for more than 40 years he was a quiet Oxford scholar. His great book reveals much of his personality. It is fundamentally a scientific inquiry into the definition, causes, symptoms and properties of melancholy. It is based on an astonishing amount of reading and introduces quotations from many languages. It is a fascinating study of certain aspects of human nature; it contains much humour. Sir Thomas Browne (1605-1682) was the author of several of the most distinguished books of the century. He was a country physician who took great interest in books, was a man of immense learning in the classics, in scientific writings of all ages and in the history and intellectual currents of his own time. His "Religio Medici" written about 1635 is a sort of autobiography which deals primarily with the religion of a doctor. It reveals a personality that was rich and deep. "Now for my own life", he says, "it is a miracle of thirty years, which were not a history but a piece of poetry and would sound to common years like a fable". He continues: "The world that I regard in myself, it is the microcosm of my own frame that I cast my eye on; for the other, I use it but like my globe, and turn it round sometimes for my recreation. Men that look upon my outside, persuing only my condition and fortunes, do err in my attitude, for I am above Atlas's shoulders. The earth is a point not only in respect of the heavens above us, but of that heavenly and celestial part within us. That mass of flesh that circumscribes me limits not my mind. There is surely a piece of divinity in us; something that was before the elements, and owes no homage into the sun". Besides this book, Browne wrote two others of importance. One he called "Vulgar Errors", it is an examination of many popular superstitions. The other named "Urn Burial" is an essay on modes of burial and contains many reflections upon death, fame, immortality. The writings of Burton and Browne, like those of Bacon, represent what we may call learned, or scientific prose. Ben Jonson (1573-1637) Although he was only nine years younger than Shakespeare and was associated with him in many ways, Ben Jonson represents many characteristics as contrasted with the exuberant romanticism of the Elezabethans. His stepfather was a bricklayer, but Ben got a good education and became a very learned man. He served in the British army, returned to London to become an actor and a writer of plays. He took part in a series of literary quarrels, became a sort of literary dictator and was famous for his wit combats with Shakespeare and others at the Mermaid Tavern. He was the leader of a company of wits and writers known as the "Tribe of Ben" and was called "rare Ben Jonson" and made the Mermaid as famous as Chaucer's Tabard Inn.
Jonson’s work as a drama is maybe said to be contrasting in his method with that of Shakespeare. As we know Shakespeare used old and familiar stories, romantic in plot, abounding in unusual and unreal situations. Into these situations he put people of extraordinary personality, highly individualized, complex, not simple in character. Jonson, on the other hand, preferred to write of everyday life. His people are types, representatives of thousands of others, not specialized or complex in character. This doesn't mean they are not real. On the contrary, Jonson gives a far clearer idea of the London of the time of Elizabeth and James than Shakespear. In his first great comedy, “Every Man in His Humour”, he introduces a group of people each of whom exhibits some eccentricity, or “humour”. He puts these various types into action, he invents a plot designed to exhibit their peculiarities. To do this he could not use the old stories but had to make plots of his own, suited to his characters. The method introduced satire. In his comedies, such as “Velpone” or “The Alchemist” he passed judgment on some of the follies and vices of his time. “Volpone” is the study of greed. The chief character is a personification of avarice in its most despicable form. He gives out word that he is about to die that he is ready to leave his great wealth to the persons who win his attention in his dying moments. So various people, all inordinately greedy come with presents to the servant of Volpone. Some of them will sacrifice even personal honor at the opportunity of winning the old master’s wealth. In the end, Volpone meets disaster. In “The Alchemist” the vice is similar and is coupled with credulity. To get rich, people will believe any wild tale to bring them to sudden wealth. The alchemist, who is a crafty imposter, trades on stupidity of people who believe he possesses the power of turning base metals into gold. In his comedies, Jonson ridiculed the follies of his own time. Great as is Ben Jonson, he lacks Shakespeare’s universality, broad sympathy and emotional appeal. There is no romantic love story. He used the method of restraint. Jonson strove to stop the tide of sensational romanticism that infected the drama of the seventeenth century, but he strove in vain. Marlowe and Shakespeare disregarded the classical unities of time and place, Ben Jonson deliberately made his plays classical thus making drama satirical, but cold and devoid of sympathy to man; he gives incomplete picture of life. The decline of the drama is evident. The audience changed. Instead of the crowd of people of every rank that thronged the theaters in Shakespeare’s prime, gallants and jaded men of fashion were predominant. The people were thinking of other things. The rising tide of Puritanism, the rebellion against immorality and careless living, all produced their effect. Dramatic production went on unchecked, but the old inspiration had departed. Divorced from life, the drama lost is authority of great literature. In 1642 Parliament closed the theaters and a great chapter in the history of English drama was ended.

4.4. John Milton: Milton’s Poetry. “Paradise Lost”. “Paradise Regained”.

John Milton (1608-1674) The life of Milton touches three periods in English history. When he was born, Shakespeare was still writing plays filled with the last glow of Elizabethan romanticism. His middle years saw civil war and he returned aside from poetry in order to contribute his aid to the cause of liberty. Before he completed his great epic, the Restoration had brought a period of cynical reaction. When he died a new school of English literature was dominant destined to rule for a century and producing work that differed greatly from that which had gone before. These changing times were all reflected in Milton’s work. His life and his writings are inseparably connected. His father was a law stationer, the child was born in the atmosphere of poetry and learning and from his earliest years he was encouraged in noble studies. His formal schooling was gained at St. Paul’s. Even as a boy he sat up very late at night and composed many copies of verses. At Cambridge he was a very good student. Yet he was human enough and once wrote to a friend that he preferred independent study mingled with the freedom of house life. “I have time now to give to the tranquil Muses. My books, my very life claim me wholly. When I am weary, the pomp of the theatre with its sweeping pall awaits me… I do not stay indoors always. I do not let the spring slip by unused. I visit the neighboring parks or the noble shade of some suburban place.” After he had returned from Cambridge he was living in his father’s country place at Horton near London. He was unwilling to enter the church or study law and his father was wise enough not to force him to decide on his career hastily. Here in Horton Milton wrote poems “L’Allegro”, “Il Penseroso”, a masque named “Comus” and a pastoral elegy “Lycidas”. “Comus” was a distinguished example of many masques that were produced at court in the 17th century. The masque differs from the drama in that it is lyric, has little action, is presented by amateur actors and usually adapts some classical theme to the celebration of some great occasion, such as a state wedding. There was opportunity for the introduction of a considerable number of ladies and gentlemen of the court, and dance and song increased the beauty of the performance. The story of “Comus” tells of the way in which the lady, lost in the woods falls in the power of an enchanter. Her brothers search for her and she is at last rescued, having been protected by her own purity. The noble lines in praise of chastity and the power of virtue, the noble insistence of the freedom of the mind showed the ethical values of Milton's. “Lycidas” is the finest of English pastorals. Following the old Greek traditions Milton identifies the poet and the shepherd; with this symbolism he combines classical and Christian elements and they are expressed in such a beautiful language that “Lycidas" has been called the high-water mark of English literature. In a letter to an unknown friend Milton speaks about his delay in entering upon his life-work. This, he says, is not due to lack of ambition; he has the desire of honor and reputation and immortal fame. He decided to perfect his preparation for “inward ripeness “ by a period of study and travel in Italy. In 1638 he began his journey; he remained for a time in France and Italy, he went to the country of Dante and Petrarch, the ancient house of Vergil. Here he writes a series of love sonnets, meditates an epic about the Trojan ships that passed along Kentish coast… and the colonists who settled at last in America under British laws. His studies were interrupted by the news of the approach of civil war. He promptly returned to England, thinking it ignoble to be traveling at ease while his countrymen were fighting for freedom. Milton’s defense of English liberty was done with pen, not with the sword. He wrote a few sonnets which were addressed to various leaders and were on the subject connected with the struggle for liberty. Soon after his return from Italy, Milton began teaching a few pupils and he thought much upon the character of liberal education. Some of his thoughts were put into a pamphlet “On education”, published in 1641. Here be defined a liberal education as “that which fits a man to perform justly, skillfully and magnanimously all the offices, both private and public, of peace and war”. So the purpose of education is citizenship- service of the state, whether through holding office in the state or as a private in the ranks. Throughout his life Milton was a defender of intellectual freedom. If political freedom was bound up, there was religious freedom and freedom of thought and speech. In the prose tract named “Areopagitica” (1644) Milton defended the liberty of press. Yet freedom to him did not mean unrestrained individualism, nor loose and irresponsible thinking. “To be free,” he said,” is the same thing as to be pious, to be wise, to be frugal and abstinent, to be temperate and just, and to be magnanimous and brave.” Once more he lays emphasis on magnanimity, greatness of mind. The great man is broad- minded, rejecting the blandishments of pleasure and the pomp of power. Such freedom is to be attained only through discipline. That is why Milton defended in several tracts the action of Parliament in the execution of Charles, for he held that in a free nation the king rules not by divine right but as a servant of the people. Milton held the office of Latin Secretary in Cromwell’s government from 1649 to 1660. His chief duty was to carry on the diplomatic correspondence which was in Latin. The work was exacting and his eyes began to fail under the strain. In 1652 he became totally blind. In 1660 the monarchy was restored and for a time Milton was in danger because he had published a tract giving plan for establishing a “free commonwealth”. People were wild with delight at the return of the old days, all the restraint of the Puritanism years disappeared, they were like blind to the follies of Charles II. In such a time Milton had to leave to return to his studies and the work he had long intended to write. About 1658 when Milton was a widower living alone with his three daughters he began in total blindness to dictate his “Paradise Lost”. The subject- matter can be given in Milton’s own lines at the beginning of the poem: “ Of man’s first disobedience, and the fruit Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste Brought death into the world, and all our woe, With loss of Eden, till greater Man Restore us, and regain the blissful seat, Sing, Heavenly Muse…” In form the poem is an epic in twelve books, containing a total of 10,563 lines. It is written in blank verse of wonderful melody and variety. The theme of the Fall and Redemption of Man had long been used in literature. The religious plays of the later Middle Ages had constituted a mighty cosmic drama, treating the fall of Lucifer, the creation of the world and of man, the fall of man, the God’s purpose with his people and finally the coming of Christ with his life on earth, his suffering, resurrection and the last judgement. With the Reformation the old theme took on new life. The action of Milton’s epic cover the time from the rebellion of Lucifer in heaven to the expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise. The great events are the war in heaven, the flight through chaos, the creation of the world and of Satan’s plot against Adam and Eve. In the manner of the ancient epic, Milton begins in the midst of the action, after the defeat of Satan and his expulsion to the hell. Then Satan and Beelzebub rouse the fallen angels from their stupor on the lake of fire and summon them to a council. As a result, Satan is deputed to make his way through chaos to where they have learned God has created a new world; the plan is for him to destroy this world or its inhabitants and thus get revenge on God. The remainder of book Two is devoted to the description of the way in which the fallen angels employed themselves during their leader’s absence and to an account of Satan’s laborious flight through chaos. Book Three and Four tell of Satan’s journey through the spheres to the Sun and to the Earth, where he learns the conditions on which Adam and Eve may remain in Eden. The four following books recount the visit of Raphael to Adam, then the Angels tell Adam about the war in Heaven. In the ninth book there is a dramatic account of the temptation of Eve by Satan, of her fall and of the participation of Adam in his sin. Satan returns to hell to report of his victory and the tragedy is complete. The last two books are devoted chiefly to Michael’s visit to Adam who sees a series of visions of the consequences of his sin in the events of Old Testament history, at the end we are told of reconciliation of Adam and Eve and their fate. As for the thought and the subject-matter of the poem, it cannot bring sympathy or much interest. Yet it is much more than a theology epic expressed in verse. Aside from its metrical magic, the incomparable richness of imagination, the variety of story and characters, it is the philosophy of life. The story is but a symbol, a means by which to visualize the abstract and the unseen. The issues which the poem deals with are living realities and human nature. In Milton’s Satan we have a study of the unconquerable will. Driven like Macbeth to madness by his torturing thoughts, Satan understands his place and that he can make a hell of heaven and heaven of hell. Then he looses his original brightness, descends to forms of toad and snake and though he wins apparent victory over Adam, yet he is damned, not by the eternal, but by himself. Four years later Milton published his last great poems, ”Paradise Regained” and “Samson Agonistes”. The first deals with the temptation of Christ by Satan. In a sense it is a counterpart of the great epic, for here Satan meets the “Greater Man”. It is more debate than epic and though it possesses great merits will never have the imaginative and emotional power of the earlier work. “Samson Agonistes” is written in a form of a Greek tragedy. Milton's tragedy differs from Greek in many ways: little action takes place; the chorus interprets Samson's emotions. When the action begins, Samson is in prison of the Philistines. His friends come to comfort him, his father proposes to find ransom for him. Some people who come mock at him and his misery, his wife among them. At last the messenger of the Philistines summons him to the temple of Dagon, chief god of the Philistines, where the crowd is waiting to make merry over the misery of their enemy. The main idea of the tragedy lies in the slow arousing of the hero's spirit. At first he is ashamed and abased of his sin and then by some secret impulse he goes to the temple, shouts of the joyful crowd are heard and a moment later a crash follows as if the city is swallowed by an earthquake. Next to Shakespeare, Milton is the greatest poet England has so far produced. Shakespeare deals with universe that is in the individual, in his soul. Milton deals with the universe in which man is the chief inhabitant. His hero is the human race, fighting against forces of evil. From his own nature Milton seems less warmly human than Shakespeare. To a certain extent there is truth in Wordsworth’s statement that Milton's soul was like a star and dwelt apart. Yet the remaining part of Worldsworth’s poem is also true for Milton’s genius is fully conscious of its great gift, a language superbly adequate to the expression of the loftiest matters and he is fit to be the inspiration of every citizen: Thy soul was like a Star, and dwelt apart; Thou hadst a voice whose sound was like the Sea; Pure as the naked heavens, majestic, free, So didst thou travel on life’s common way, In cheerful godliness; and yet thy heart The lowliest duties on herself did lay.

5. The Restoration Period. The Age of Dryden and Pope. Neoclassicism.

5.1. Historical background. Changes after the Restoration.
5.2. John Dryden. Dryden as a Poet. Dryden’s Prose .
5.3. Poetry in the Early Eighteenth Century: Alexander Pope.
5.4. Daniel Defoe.
5.5. Jonathan Swift.
5.6. Joseph Addison and Richard Steele.
5.7. Samuel Richardson
5.8. Henry Fielding.
5.9. Samuel Johnson.
5.10. Richard Brinsley Sheridan.

5.1. Historical background. Changes after the Restoration.

The change from one ideal of life to another is always gradual, like the change in the seasons. So was England after the Restoration in 1660. The theatres were open again. The old plays were revived but men became conscious of change. They responded less eagerly to the idealism of the Elizabethan period. The dramas of Shakespeare seemed the work of genius but they seemed in need of pruning and restraint. “Othello was regarded as a monstrous tragedy. That according to the rules of justice should be rewarded by the return of his throne. Hamlet was complained of because he fought a duel with Laertes who was beneath him in rank and because such vulgar creatures as the grave diggers were permitted to appear on the same platform with a prince of blood. They began to improve “Shakespeare and new versions with happy endings appeared. For nearly a hundred years following the Restoration there was a reaction against the romanticism that had been the chief characteristic of literature. Violent emotions, undue enthusiasm were to be repressed. Elizabethans had been interested in story and character. They had not thought much about strict rules of form. The new age preferred types –the typical lover, the typical heroine. Writers and critics confined their imagination within the limits of a formal garden. Yet great service was rendered by the writers of the Restoration period. Prose, in particular, because effective in the modern sense. The modern essay was created and also a modern novel, destined to take a new interest in literary criticism, that is, in the analysis of a piece of writing in an effort to discover the reasons for its success or failure. Thus, English thought of the 18th century reacted against loose morals of the Restoration period, emphasis was laid on restraint and classical tradition, formalism and critical attitude to life. With the Roman writers of the time of Augustus Caesar as models of proper writing this period is referred to as the Augustan Age of English Literature or neoclassicism. It is characterized by two new forms, the essay and the novel, and by the first newspapers and periodicals. The popular subjects appealed not to emotion but intellect and were for the most part satirical, didactic and argumentative. The result of this choice is seen in scientific investigations and scientific literature. The Royal Society was founded in 1662 to study natural phenomena. The same period in the history of English literature is sometimes called The Enlightenment or The Age of Reason. The Enlightenment spread later to the Continent. The characteristic features of this movement all over Europe were much the same: a) deep hatred of feudalism and its survivals; the enlighteners rejected Church dogmas and caste distinctions; b) a love of freedom, a desire for systematic education for all, a firm belief in human virtue and reason; c) a concern for the fate of the common people and of the peasants in particular. This period saw a remarkable rise in literature. People wrote on many subjects and made great contributions in the fields of philosophy, history, natural sciences and the new science of political economy. Writers widely accepted those literary forms, in particular prose forms, which were understandable to the people as a whole. Contact between writer and democratic reader was established by Joseph Addison and Richard Steele, the famous English essayists who started and directed several magazines, for which they wrote pamphlets and essays (an essay is a composition of moderate length on any subject, usually written in prose. The writer does not go into details, but deals in an easy manner with the chosen subject, and expresses his personal opinion with regard to it). In 1709 Steele issued a magazine, “The Tatler”; it was followed by others: “The Spectator” (1711), “The Guardian” (1713), and “The Englishman” (1713). In the latter political problems were discussed. Periodical newspapers, which had been published since the Civil War and now had daily issues, also helped to spread information among the general public. Copies of current newspapers were kept in the coffee-houses. The latter came into being as soon as coffee, chocolate, and tea were introduced as common drinks. Many people went there regularly to learn the latest news, and the coffee-houses eventually became centres of political and literary discussion. The number of coffee-houses and their role in influencing public opinion increased during the 18th century, and they became practically the second home of the intellectual Londoner. Each rank and profession, each shade of religious and political opinion had its own coffee-house. Men of letters and the wits criticized the latest literary works and discussed political problems there. University students, translators, printers and other people crowded in to join the discussion. English literature of the period may be characterized by the following features: a) The period saw the rise of the political pamphlet and essay, but the leading genre of the Enlightenment became the novel. Poetry and the heroic age of Shakespeare gave way to the prose age of the essayists and novelists. The prose style became clear, graceful and polished. The poets of the period did not deal with strong human passions, they were more interested in the problems of everyday life, and discussed things in verse. b) The hero of the novel was no longer a prince but a representative of the middle class. This had never taken place before: so far, the common people had usually been depicted as comic characters. They were considered incapable of rousing admiration or tragic compassion. c) Literature became very instructive: problems of good and evil were set forth. Writers tried to teach their readers what was good and what was bad from their own points of view. They mostly attacked the vices of the aristocracy and many of them praised the virtues of the then progressive bourgeois class. The literature of the age of the Enlightenment may be divided into three periods: The first period lasted from the “Glorious Revolution” (1688-1689) till the end of the seventeen thirties. It is characterized by classicism in poetry. The greatest follower of the classic style was Alexander Pope. Alongside with this high style there appeared new prose literature, the essays of Steele and Addison and the first realistic novels written by Defoe and Swift. Most of the writers of this time wrote political pamphlets, but the ablest came from the pens of Defoe and Swift. The second period of the Enlightenment was the most mature period. It embraces the forties and the fifties of the 18th century. It saw the development of the realistic social novel represented by Richardson, Fielding and Smollett. The third period refers to the last decades of the century. It is marked by the appearance of a new trend: Sentimentalism, typified by the works of Goldsmith and Sterne. This period also saw the rise of the realistic drama (Sheridan) and the revival of poetry. To sum up, the following features of the 18th century prose that contributed to the development of modern prose: Addison and Steele portrayed characters through minute realistic description, but they lacked plot; Defoe and Swift told realistic stories with plot, but they lacked emotions and love motive; Richardson and Fielding brought plot, emotion and character portrayal to their works approximately to the technique of modern novel.

5.2. John Dryden. Dryden as a Poet. Dryden’s Prose.

The greatest writer of the period from 1660 to 1700 was John Dryden. He was born in 1631, educated at Cambridge and went to London shortly before the death of Cromwell in the hope of obtaining a government position. When Cromwell died he wrote an elegy in his memory, but after the Restoration he welcomed the new King in a long poem. The most important of his early poems is “Annus Mirabilis” (The Wonderful Year), which described the naval victory over the Dutch, the great fire in London, and the great plague, all events occurring in 1666. Dryden’s life is almost without incident. He depended upon his writings for income, and soon after the Restoration began writing plays. He wrote comedies, heroic dramas and tragedies. “All for have” is an adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Antony and Cleopatra” to the new rules and "Don Sebastian", a tragedy written late in his career. In 1670 he became poet laureate and turned his attention to writing about matters of interest to the government. Some of his best writings was in defense of the King. After the Revolution of 1688 drove James from the throne Dryden lost his laureateship and was compelled to depend upon his pen as a means of living. He died in 1700. Dryden wrote a few odes and lyrics, but the greater part of his poetry was written in the heroic couplet. He did much to make this form of verse effective, because he attained great skill in making each couplet complete in itself. In this way he gained epigrammatic effect, displaying wit, satire and a power of crisp expression that lent itself admirably to portraiture. Dryden's influence on literature development made him the founder of modern English prose. The most striking feature was the shortening of sentences: Whereas E. Spencer had about fifty words in a sentence, in J. Milton's works there can be found over ninety words and the sentences in J. Dryden prose writings - twenty five. Dryden freed the prose from the parenthetical phrases, complicated structures. In poetry he introduced short, clearly understood lines of the classical couplet. Dryden lay the foundation for literary criticism and satiric verse. His principal poems were satires and translations. The satires “Absalom and Achitophel” and “The Medal” dealt with political matters. The first of these was based on the Biblical story which was used as an allegory of contemporary politics. Shaftesbury and Buchingham plotted to get control of the succession to the crown on behalf of the Duke of Monmouth (Alsalom) who was a Protestant, instead of the King’s brother, the Catholic Duke of York, who afterwards became James II .The old story of Absalom against David corresponded very exactly to the situation in England and Dryden made the most of it. The poem does not seem interesting now, but people at that time recognized in the portraits of the characters satirical sketches of Buchingham and Shaftesbur. For a time Shaftsesbury was imprisoned, but he was soon released, and his friends had a medal struck in honor of the event. This gave occasion for another satire, named “The Medal “, a pamphlet in verse. In this period men were coming to use poetry as a means for saying what nowadays would be put in the form of newspaper and magazine articles. Their purpose was not to express imaginative beauty but to present arguments and to satirize opponents. Dryden’s poems were answered by others from the opposing camp, and an exchange of these verse pamphlets followed. The same tendency to use verse in place of prose is to be seen in two famous poems of religious controversy written by Dryden. At first Dryden defended the Anglican church and when he because a Catholic he was defending the Calvinists. During the last year of his life, Dryden turned his attention to translation. The greater part of Virgil and many selections from Ovid and other Latin authors contain some of his best work. At the time Dryden wrote, it was becoming the fashion to criticize the work of early English writers, Dryden wrote in classicism, but this did not prevent him from appreciating good work wherever found. Thus he said of Chaucer “Here is God’s plenty “and comparing Shakespeare’s work with that of Jonson, he remarked, “I admire Jonson, but I love Shakespeare “. Dryden wrote prose of the type that we use today. He thought of his reader, not of himself. Clearness, absence of strain and conversational quality are delightful things to meet after dealing with the intricate design of the sentences in most prose writers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The prose of the period 1700-1740 is characterized by the absence of romantic elements. Love plays no part in this prose, all exaggeration, except for humorous or satirical effect is avoided. Good manners, restrained and elevated sentiments are stressed. It was a period of sanity and order in life, deprived of the exuberance of the Elizabethans and the fanaticism of the Puritans.

5.3. Poetry in the Early Eighteenth Century: Alexander Pope(1688-1744).

Romantic love in poetry finds no place. In the previous centuries there was fear of the “low” or common. This fear led poets to avoid words that seemed prosaic. Coffee was “the fragrant juice of Mocka’s berry brown”, a spade was “an implement of husbandry”, a boot was “the shining leather that encased the limb”. The poets of the early eighteenth century shunned the personal, subjective element that makes romantic poetry vivid. As a result there are few sonnets and lyrics, but many odes and more heroic couplets. In fact the couplet was exactly suited to the ideal of poetry. It was well marked in rhythm; if expressed wit in epigrams. Much of the poetry of the time was moral or philosophical exposition put in rhyme. These characteristics belong to what is called pseudo-classicism. The writers of the time were well-satisfied with themselves and with their world. They stressed “kinds” of literature and special rules, which were supposed to correspond to the rules of Aristotle and the following genres appeared: the ode, the satire, the panegyric. The authors prided themselves on their classical knowledge. They made great use of phrases borrowed from Horace, Virgil and other ancient writers and of classical allusions. The chief duty of the poet, they said, was to imitate classics. The life of Pope contained few incidents outside his literary career. He was an invalid for life and since he was a Catholic, he was denied the privilege of participation in politics. But he was the first English author to make a great financial success only through his writings as he was a man of intellectual power and constant industry. Pope’s view of poetry is found chiefly in his “Essay on Criticism” which shows the influence of Horace. The essay was written in heroic couplets of admirable point and vigor. The three cardinal principles of his advice to poets are to follow nature, to use the ancients as standards and to pay chief attention to the manner of expression. The ideal is to imitate that which is within the bounds of possibility in nature, rather than to imagine “impossible” and extravagant situation and scenes like the romanticists. “To copy nature,” he says, "is to copy those rules discovered by Aristotle and Horace". “An Essay on Criticism” was published on 1711 and was well received by the readers. The work was an attempt to identify his positions of a critic and a writer. The poem is a response to the debate on the problem if poetry should be natural or written according to certain rules of classical poets. It begins with a discussion of standard rules, commentaries on the authority of classical poets. Further he discusses the laws to which a critic should adhere and the moral qualities and virtues of the ideal critic. All Pope’s poetry is an application of these principles. In “The Rape of the Lock” Pope treated a trivial subject with mock-heroic solemnity. A noble lord, in a fit of playfulness, clipped a lock of hair from the head of a fair lady. She resented the liberty and a quarrel followed. In his poem Pope undertook to laugh at the young people in good humor. There is also imitation of epic style. Though it all runs as a merry satire of the follies of people of fashion; this sketch of life and manners is by no means complimentary. From 1713 to 1726 Pope was engaged mainly upon his great translation of the "Iliad" and "Odissey" of Homer. In them he did not reproduce Rome’s language; he transformed them into the language the world of the eighteenth century. His heroes talk and act like the politicians and generals of Pope’s time. His adaptations of classic material to pseudo-classic tastes, gave his work success. He made a fortune, bought an expensive villa on the bank of the Thames and kept on writing. Toward the end of his life he returned to the verse-essay, producing his “Essay on Man” and “The Moral Essay”. They contain nothing original, but they are excellent summaries of the thought of the time. Next to Shakespeare, A. Pope is the most frequently quoted of English poets. In part it is due to his power to sum up in a couplet a moral, or ethical statement or an observation on life. In part it is due to his gift for satire. His satire is compared to a rapier and the perfect form of expressing his ideas to a "rocking-horse meter". The debate whether Pope can be considered a true poet because of the lack of imaginary and emotions is still going on but the fact that he taught writers careful vocabulary usage and correctness of form is universally acknowledged. In his "Essay on Man", a philosophical poem, the subject matter of which is ways of God to man. Its idea is best shown in some of the lines: "All nature is but unknown to thee; All chance, direction which you canst not see, All discord, harmony not understood; All partial evil, universal good. And spite of pride, in erring reason's spite, One truth is clear, Whatever is, is right".

5.4. D. Defoe(1661-1731)

D. Defoe was born in London the year before or after the Restoration. He was born in a family of nonconformists, dissenters. Dissenters were those who refused to accept the doctrines of an established or national Church, those Protestants who dissent from the Church of England. D. Defoe’s father, a butcher, was wealthy enough to give his son a good education. He was sent to a school where the instruction was given in English, not Latin and thus was taught simple English for which he later became famous. Defoe had experience in many occupations, traveled in Spain and France. When the Protestant king, William III, was placed on the throne (1689), Defoe started writing pamphlets praising his policy. This was the beginning of Defoe’s career. In his “Essay on Projects” Defoe anticipated the greatest public improvements of modern times: higher education for women, the protection of seamen, the construction of highways, and the opening of savings-banks. He urged the establishment of a special academy to study literature. Owing to the fact that William III was supported by the Whig party, he was continually attacked by the Tories, who called him Dutch William. Some Tories attacked him in a satirical poem “The Foreigners”, in which they declared that the English race should be kept pure. Contending against this idea, Defoe wrote a satire in verse, “The True-born Englishman” (1701), in which he proved that true-born Englishman do not exist, since the English nation consists of Anglo-Saxons, Danes, Normans, and others. He said: “A true-born Englishman is a contradiction in speech, an irony; in fact, a fiction.” Defoe was thanked by the king for this pamphlet. During the reign of Queen Anne persecution of the Dissenters began and Defoe wrote a pamphlet “The Shortest Way with the Dissenters” (1702) in which he attacked the Tories. The irony was subtle and the Tories didn’t understand at first what Defoe meant when he said that the Dissenters should be “captured and tortured and burnt”. And when they realized the biting satire of the pamphlet Defoe was sentenced to stand in the pillory on a public square. People supported Defoe, gathered round him, threw flowers to him and carried him from the square on their shoulders. But that was the end of his political career. Later he served both parties: the Whigs and the Tories. Defoe was a journalist, edited a periodical called Review of the Affairs of France. As a journalist he had a good sense of news, discussed public and political affairs in special articles. Defoe proposed to improve the English language by making the literary style more simple, he wrote about the education of women. Defoe’s poem “Trueborn Englishman” went through many editions. His fiction writing “Journal of the Plague Year” was such a realistic account of the Great Plague that is seemed Defoe was witness to that fact, which cannot be true, because he was a year old at the time of the disaster. Defoe belongs to the authors whose fame rests only on one novel and this novel with Defoe is the immortal “The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe”. The story was about Alexander Selkirk, a Scottish sailor, who quarreled with his captain and was put on a deserted island where he lived alone for four years and four months, but Defoe made his hero spend twenty-six years on an uninhabited island. Defoe didn’t attempt to write of a supernatural or marvelous adventures of a lost man on an inhabited island. His shipwrecked hero regarded the situation as a problem to be solved. Thus Robinson Crusoe becomes an epitome of the development of civilization. He wrote the story in the style that lay the foundation of journalism and modern novel as a natural way of speaking without the fineries of the earlier style and he carried through his writings the attention to minute detail, realistic descriptions of events and characters. Defoe wrote over two hundred and fifty works very different in subject matter – social conditions, development of business, human behaviour, travels and ghosts. In the 19th century only in London his “Robinson Crusoe” was published over a hundred times, it is translated into all languages of the world. This world-wide popularity is due not only to his style of real life speech. Defoe makes the reader accompany Robinson Crusoe in his adventures from the moment of the shipwreck till his return. Defoe’s other works of fiction are: “Memoirs of a Cavalier” (a soldier’s adventures); “The Life, Adventures and Piracies of the Famous Captain Singleton” (adventures of a journey across Africa); “Moll Flanders” (a story of a criminal).

5.5. Jonathan Swift (1667-1745)

J. Swift’s name is associated in readers' minds with “Gulliver’s Travels”, an adventure story which appeals not only to children but is enjoyed by adults. Swift was born in Ireland of English parents. His life can explain much, heredity and environment were responsible for the ideas and style of his works. His father died before J. Swift was born and his childhood and youth were filled with poverty that left the impressions of bitterness in his soul. He was educated at Trinity College in Dublin. He owed his education to his uncle, who made the boy feel his dependence and later Swift said that his uncle treated him like a dog. It may have been the reason why Swift developed a misanthropic character. After leaving college Swift became secretary to Sir. William Temple, an English statesman, who was interested in the debate about the merits of ancient and modern writers. The idea of this controversy was the basis for his "Battle of the Books", a mock heroic prose. Homer and other classic writers are presented fighting with modern writers in a story which reminds of the tales of chivalry - "An Account of a Battle between the Ancient and Modern Books in St. James Library”. During his service as secretary to Sir. William Temple, Swift had a bitter experience of a dependant, which made his life intolerable. After Sir. William's death Swift took holy orders - went to a little parish in Ireland and his duties often brought him to London where he quarreled with the Wiggs, became a Tory and wrote political pamphlets to the party. He turned his satire against the Wiggs in the journal he edited, "The Examiner", the official Tory publication. Among his pamphlets the most influential was "The Conduct of the Allies". "A Tale of a Tub" is a satire on the various religious beliefs told as an allegory. It is the most amusing of his satires, where he ridicules with bitter irony various forms of pretence, pedantry in literature and religion and this work was the cause of his break from the Wiggs. In 1713 Swift was made dean of St. Patricks Cathedral in Dublin and a year later, when the Tories were not in power after Queen Anne's death, he returned to Ireland in bitter despair about his failure. When the English government oppressed Ireland with unjust laws Swift supported Irish people by giving part of his income for the poor. Swift's "Drapier's Letters" and "Modest Proposal" were caustic satires meant to improve the living conditions of the Irish, whose children died of starvation in thousands, who were ignorant and destitute. Such outrageous proposals as "to serve one-year-old Irish children as a new dish on the tables of the great English Lords" were misunderstood and Swift was considered brutal. It took him some time to prove that he was a friend to the Irish people. Swift's "Journal to Stella" was begun in 1710. Stella is said to be the private name of his pupil, Esther Johnson. It is not known whether they were secretly married or not, but judging by his famous every day letters to her - manly, tender, exquisitely touching, it was a strange love but the only affection in his lonely life. After her death in 1728 the only tie his reason had with the cruel, injust world broke, Swift was hopelessly insane till he died leaving his property for a lunatic asylum. He was buried beside the coffin of Stella in his cathedral. His own epitaph reads: "Here lies the body of Jonathan Swift D.D., dean of this cathedral, where burning indignation can no longer tear at his heart. Go, traveler, and imitate if you can a man who was an undaunted champion of liberty." Of all Swift's writings "Gulliver's Travels" is the masterpiece for which he is well-known nowadays. Gulliver makes four voyages to strange countries. He first comes to Lilliput, which is inhabited by a race of men about six inches high. A rival race of small people tries to persuade him to help them obtain power. Swift treats them with contempt because their quarrels seem ridiculous. Through his hero, Gulliver, Swift pretends to praise England and her institutions but the effect is quite the contrary. Irony means are hidden in compliment; the words are used in the meanings the opposite to the meanings of their common usage. The emperor is described in such a way as to show the littleness and insignificance of all kings and the shallow and pompous high society. The officials in court caper on a tight rope. The war breaks because of a dispute as to how to break an egg - at a small or a big end. This is the way Swift shows the real pettiness of human race in general. These two parties, Bigendians and Littleendians, are typical of the time. Their quarrels over little things illustrate political and religious conditions and matters of the time. In the description of the second journey, to the country of giants, Brobdingnag, the people here are sixty feet tall and the affairs of ordinary humans are petty and insignificant. The cats are the size of oxen, the dogs - the size of elephants. The host's baby seizes Gulliver and tries to swallow him. Then the hero fights with two huge rats. A monkey catches him and carries him onto the roof of the house. In the third journey to the flying country of Laputa, the court consists of musicians and scientists. Their feet never touch the firm ground, they are idealists with foggy brains, "up in the air" all the time. Here is a typical professor at the academy at Lagado: "He had been eight years upon a project for extracting sunbeams out of cucumbers... He did not doubt that in eight years more he should be able to supply the governor's gardens with sunshine at a reasonable rate." The last adventure brings Gulliver to the country of horses "Houyhnhnms". Horses are shown superior to men. Human race degraded to serfdom and gets a contemptuous title of Yahoos, beasts. They are embodiments of all the detestable qualities of humankind. Swift was fighting with his pen against blind optimism and stupidityof society and government. The tremendous force of his intellect, his style and wit won him the fame of the greatest and the most tragic authors in English literature.

5.6. Joseph Addison (1672-1719) and Richard Steele (1672-1729)

J. Addison was an English scholar who distinguished himself in politics. He got a good classical education at Oxford. He excelled in classics, especially in Latin verse. Addison’s first major work, a book of the lives of English poets, was published in 1694. The translation of “Virgil” was published the same year. He traveled in Europe thinking of a diplomatic career but after the death of William III he lost his employment and had to return to England. Addison wrote poems praised by critics and the leaders of the country. The poem "Campain" was dedicated to the victory of John Churchill, the first Duke of Marlborough over France and Spain in the battle of Blenheim. In this way he attracted the attention of the Whigs and made a good political career holding the office of Secretary of State. Some of his writings were devoted to advice on good manners for the gentlemen and to the literary criticism. In 1713 Addison’s tragedy “Cato” was produced and was highly praised by both the Whigs and the Tories. It was followed by a comedy, “The Drummer”. The play was a success not only in England but in Europe and America as well. Many quotations from the play inspired the American revolution – “Give me liberty or give me death”. Today he is remembered as an essayist: 42 essays for “The Tatler” and 274 for “The Spectator”. Addison deserved much love and esteem of his contemporaries as a true gentleman free from cowardice, cruelty, ingratitude or envy. He was distinguished by humane virtues and dignity. Sir. Richard Steele, a school mate and friend of Addison, was the opposite of his friend. He served in the army, but could manage to get only the rank of Captain. Steele was an amiable and lovable human person. His plays were rather popular at the time but now they are forgotten. The cooperation of these two writers in periodical journalism was unique; it was a great step in journalism development and it was made through their publication of "The Tatler" and "The Spectator". "The Tatler" appeared three times a week and consisted of letters which were sent to them from coffee houses in London where men gathered to discuss various topics: political affairs, essays on poetry and drama, essays on gallantry, pleasure and entertainment. The essays were conversational in style, ironical about fashions, women's follies, affectation in behaviour, vanity. "The Spectator" was edited by Addison whereas "The Tatler" - by Steele. Very often one could find character sketches of country gentlemen, like Sir. Roger. These sketches gave detailed realistic analysis of types of character and lay foundation for the novel of manners. Swift was far superior to Addison and Steele in intellectual power, but he was so indignant with men that he repelled them. Men feared Swift and loved Addison and Steele for their kind humour and tact. Addison's "Sir. Roger de Coverley" proves that we deal with the author who is a humourist of high rank. This humour makes the reader smile at Sir. Roger, such humour is aimed at making the world better and kindlier. Addison's humour and natural and elegant style brought to the Spectator thousands of readers every day; it was a prose model unsurpassed for centuries.

5.7. Samuel Richardson (1689-1761)

Samuel Richardson was born in Derbyshire. When he was young some of the young ladies in neighbourhood asked him to conduct their love correspondence; the fact can explain that his own novels later were written in form of private letters. All his life he was a printer and only when he was about fifty, quite by chance, an idea occurred to him to tell a connected story by means of letters. As a result "Pamela", a modern novel in four volumes was published. The secret of the novel's success with the public depends of the writer's interest in his characters. The heroine was a servant in a wealthy family. The young master falls in love with her. The difference of their social rank seems to present a real difficulty for the lovers which they overcome and get married. The novel is very sentimental, it has dramatic unity and climax. The letters render intimate thoughts, the narration is didactic, sometimes overloaded with morality. Richardson wrote about simple, natural, domestic life. Two other long novels followed "Pamela" - "Clarissa Harlowe", but the latter had a tragic end. The second noted novel was "Sir. Charles Grandison" in which Richardson put forward his idea of the perfect gentleman’s virtues. Ladies-devotees worshipped Richardson; from all parts of England and Europe he got letters, and some most enthusiastic made pilgrimages to interview the author, the genius, who knew the secrets of the heart.

5.8. Henry Fielding (1707-1754)

H. Fielding was born in Somersetshire and got his education at Eton and the university of Leyden in Holland. He produced theatrical comedies ("The Tragedy of Tragedies, or Tom Thumb"), satires ("Pasquin"). In 1748 Fielding became justice of the peace for Westminster and in this position he tried to eliminate such social problems as ruffianism. This problem became the subject matter in his novel "Amelia" and in a pamphlet "An Enquiry into the Causes of the Late Increase of Robbers". In 1752 Fielding founded a journal - "The Covent Garden Journal" and wrote essays on political and social problems. His first novel, "Joseph Andrews" was intended to be a parody on S. Richardson's "Pamela", but his skillful depiction of the characters, drawn from all levels of society, makes "Joseph Andrews" an outstanding work in the matters of portrayal and plot development. The best example of H. Fielding's ability as a novelist is "Tom Jones". The novel is an illustration of the comic epic in prose. The book contains the author’s digressions in the form of essays on art, literature written in formal style. Fielding is as realistic as Defoe but he insists that his novel is a true history. Fielding is also one of the greatest humourists of the 18th century and a master of plot. His works present a wonderful variety of characters from all walks of society. In his last novel “Amelia” he gives an amazingly interesting portrait of a woman. Hypocrisy as the social evil becomes the object of Fielding’s satire in all his works. Nevertheless Fielding’s ideas were wholesome, he deals with open air of the countryside, simple, plain lives of common men and women who are not much concerned with psychology and philosophy. Fielding had a great influence on later novelists, who though found other domains in literature, haven’t advanced on the general characteristics of the novel as a genre, developed by the eighteenth century authors like Fielding, Defoe, Swift.

5.9. Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

The end of the 18th century marked a new period in the development of literature. A. Pope's intellect, witticism, polished language played a significant part in the realization of the quiet, peaceful Augustan ideals. A new philosophy of human rights was born in a circle of English writers and the personality of Samuel Johnson was the moving spirit of this circle, though his writings may seem to arouse no interest today. Johnson's literary standards were the standards of Pope as to correctness of style and morality. He didn't sympathize with liberalism in politics or with romanticism. Johnson was a powerful adherent of classicism. His position in literature was gained not so much by his works as by his ability of a great conversationalist and his personality. At the age of eighteen he entered Oxford but couldn't take his degree and left the university because of extreme poverty. In 1737 Johnson came to London without money even for a lodging and for some years struggled hard to find work. He worked for "Gentleman’s Magazine" and at this time wrote two satirical poems - "London" and "The Vanity of Human Wishes". Ten years later the leading booksellers hired him to compile a "Dictionary of the English Language"; the work was finished ten years later. At the same time he wrote on manners and morals for two periodicals, "The Rambler" and "The Idler". During the rest of his life he produced "Lives of the English Poets", the most important contribution to English literature in the form of literary criticism. For his contemporaries Johnson was a man of great character who wouldn't bear insult from his superiors but always assisted those who were not fortunate, poor and helpless. He was consulted on all kinds of subjects. According to his biographer, James Boswell ("Life of Johnson"), Johnson influenced much of the prose written a hundred years after his death.

5.10. Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751-1816)

Richard Brinsley Sheridan was born in Dublin in 1751. His father, Thomas Sheridan, was an actor, who wrote a book to prove that oratory and elocution are the most important subjects in the education of a real gentleman. His mother, Frances Sheridan, was the author of a successful comedy and a successful novel. Literature and the theater lay about Richard from his earliest days. In 1770 Thomas Sheridan settled in the fashionable health-resort city of Bath, where he opened an academy for oratorical education. It was there that Richard, aged nineteen, met Miss Elizabeth Liley, aged seventeen, an accomplished professional singer and a raving beauty. They were married in April, 1773. The most obvious way to earn some money was to write a play. The "Rivals" was produced at Covent Garden Theatre, London, on January, 17, 1775, with very dubious success. For eleven days its author worked hard at revising it. From its second performance on January 28 to the present day it has been a success of the English and American stage. In November Sheridan scored another success with a comic opera, "The Duenna". In September, 1776, he succeeded Garrick as manager of Drury Lane Theatre, and that theatre saw, on May, 1777, the triumphant first performance of "The School for Scandal". In 1779 was produced "The Critic", or "A Tragedy Rehearsed". In 1780 Sheridan was elected to Parliament where his gifts as an orator and his intelligent good sense made him a very influential figure. Sheridan deliberately set out to write comedies that should provoke laughter rather than tears, that should have the wit and animation of restoration comedy while scrupulously avoiding its indecencies. "The School for Scandal" is one continuous sparkle of wit. Its plot is most ingeniously handled. The story of Sir Peter Teazle and his high-spirited young wife, who so narrowly escapes disaster; the reclamation of the prodigal and dissipated but essentially good-hearted Charles Surface, and the showing-up of his hypocritical brother Joseph, who pretends to be "a man of sentiment" like the heroes of sentimental comedy; the satire of scandal-mongering; all these themes are inextricably knit together into a single action. The screen scene in the Fourth Act, the most famous dramatic situation in the whole of English comedy, brings Lady Teazle to her senses at the same moment that the unstable edifice of Joseph Surface's hypocritical moral sentiments comes tumbling about his ears - along with the screen. "The School for Scandal" is the author's masterpiece, in which Sheridan contrasts two brothers, Joseph Surface the hypocrite, and Charles Surface the good-natured reckless spendthrift. Charles is in love with Maria, Sir Peter Teazle's ward, and his affection is returned; and Joseph is courting her for her fortune, while at the same time making love to Lady Teazle. Sir Peter, an old man who has married a young wife six months before, is made miserable by her frivolity. Sir Oliver Surface, the rich uncle of Joseph and Charles, returns unexpectedly from India and decides to test the characters of his nephews before revealing himself. He visits Charles in the character of a money-lender, and Charles, light-heartedly sells him the family pictures, but refuses to sell at any price the portrait of the ill-looking fellow, who is Sir Oliver himself, and thus wins the old man's heart. Meanwhile Joseph receives a visit from Lady Teazle in his library and insidiously attempts to seduce her. The sudden arrival of Sir Peter obliges Lady Teazle to hide behind a screen, where she is put to shame by having proof of Sir Peter's generosity to her, though he suspects an attachment between her and Charles. The arrival of Charles sends Sir Peter in turn to cover. Sir Peter detects the presence of a little French milliner, and takes refuge in a cupboard. The conversation between Joseph and Charles proves to Sir Peter that his suspicion of Charles was unfounded, and the throwing down of the screen reveals Lady Teazle. Scarcely had the revelation of Joseph's hypocrisy accomplished when Sir Oliver visits him in the character of a needy applying for assistance, which Joseph refuses on the plea of the stinginess of his uncle. This completes the exposure of Joseph. Charles is united to Maria, and Sir Peter is reconciled to Lady Teazle.

6. The New Romanticism.

6.1. Historical background. Revolution and Literature.
6.2. Robert Burns.
6.3. The Lake poets: William Wordsworth.
6.4. The Lake Poets: Samuel Coleridge.
6.5. William Blake.
6.6. The Novel: Sir Walter Scott.
6.7. The Novel: Jane Austin.

6.1. Historical background. Revolution and Literature.

The new Romanticism resulted from changes in modes of life and thought. In the earliest period, these changes were connected with the passing of medievalism and the discovery of new worlds. Great progress had been made in England since the old days when Kings ruled by Divine Right. The Revolution of 1688, while it established the supremacy of Parliament did not create a Parliament that was truly representative of the whole people. The great lords and landowners controlled the election; the common man had no more voice in government than in the days of Henry V. Along with this, there was complete indifference to poverty and the sufferings that came with it. Pope’s idea of the universe – “whatever is, is right “ – was typical. The poor man, taxed heavily, without representation in Parliament, with little chance to own property, with no choice of vocation, had to suffer. But as the eighteenth century went on signs of change were manifest. Rousseau’s insistence on the dignity and worth of man has been very important. He held that man before the advent of civilization had been perfect, from this perfection he had degenerated. But a return to natural ways of living, he thought, would restore the golden age. This faith in the so-called perfectibility of man because a cardinal principle with theorists influenced by Rousseau. In the book “The Social Contract”, the great French philosopher states that all men are equal, all have certain rights, that government is merely a convenience, based on an agreement, in which the partners are all people. The revolutions in America and in France were tremendous events that altered the course of history. A different and a vaster revolution was also in progress, destined to touch the daily life of millions of people. This great transformation has been called the Industrial Revolution. Toward the end of the century machinery for spinning and weaving was invented. The development of steam as a source of energy reacted upon every form of manufacture. Since the machines were property of a few men or groups of men who employed labourers, problems of the relation of capital and labour because new factors to add to the complexity of life. A similar transformation took place in farming, where great landowners employed labour and drove tenants and small landowners away. Towns increased in population. People lived on the wages they received or did not live at all. Child labour, crowded houses, poverty and crime were evils that drove many people to despair. Sympathy for the hard life of the poor man, the feeling that the worth of the individual should not depend upon worldly rank had immediate influence on the literature of the period. After the reign of George IV the spirit of political reform came to the English Parliament. The most important of them were the revision of criminal laws which before were severe (for stealing a shilling a man could be sentenced to death); Catholics could hold government offices and sit in Parliament; middle class had more freedom in business; large manufacturing cities in the north had more representatives in Parliament; slavery was abolished in 1833; child labour law stopped using the labour of children under 9 years old and older children had only an eight hours working day. This new spirit could not but exert its influence on literature. The poets found a new world of imagination and sympathy. This new world lay in many spheres: nature; history and legends of old times; the brotherhood of man. Each of these supplied themes that inspired the prose and poetry of a new romanticism.

6.2. Robert Burns (1759-1796)

The poetry of Burns represents a complete break with the ideals of the Augustans. For one thing Burns wrote about simple themes, topics that Pope and his school would not have regarded as fit subjects for poetry. Pope wrote about fashionable life, Burns put into finely polished verse theories about dogs, mice, the field daisies, the life of peasants. In his poetry the language of unlettered men took the place as simple. Burns also wrote about love in a series of poignant lyrics such as English poetry had not known since the Elizabethan period. Finally he expressed a sense of the dignity of simple life. He asserted that the true greatness of his native Scotland was to be sought in such a life as he described in his poems. In poem after poem he also sang the brotherhood of man and their alienable rights. The boyhood of Burns was spent on farms rented by his father. He had almost no formal education and had access to few books but his father taught him how to educate himself. Inability to make a living made him plan to emigrate to Jamaica and his first book of poems was printed to raise money for his travel. This book made such impression on the people that he gave up his plan and went to Edinburgh instead. Here he became a popular hero and started collecting material for additional poems. Two years later he married Jean Armour and settled on a farm. He made improved his financial condition and was compelled to take a miner government office in 1791. The last live years of his life were filled with tragedy: he was very poor, suffered greatly from illness and his poetic gift failed him. Among his many poetic gifts Burns had the power of looking straight at men and events and telling just what he saw. He avoided the conventional method of the poets who wrote earlier in the century. Instead of describing a particular forest, Pope for example, had in mind an idealized or typical forest. As a result we get no impression of reality. With Burns it was not so. Whether the poem touches some personal experience on his Scottish farm or combines nature descriptions, portraiture and narrative, he never fails to suggest reality. He learned, or the knowledge was born in him to keep his eyes on the object. This object he describes is not the class to which it belongs or a dreamlike creation of his fancy. To descriptive power Burns added the power to tell a story in verse. Here, too, his work shows the transition from one age to another. The passionate treatment of love had been out of poetry since Elizabethan times and were restored in English literature now in: "Highland Mary", "I Love My Jean", "Farewell to Nancy", "To Mary in Heaven". Burns is a master in describing passion of the moment. The spirit of the revolution, sympathy for the oppressed was voiced in Burn's poetry. Burns wrote touching lines about animals and birds and these poems show that his imagery wasn't obtained from books but from his own life and observation. But it is always man who stands in the foreground and Nature is employed only in the background for human emotions. The Scotish people treat him as a national hero and make pilgrimages to his birth place. He touched their hearts by using the Scottish dialect, the words which he first heard from his mother. Shakespeare's audience consists mainly of the cultured people whereas Burn's audience is common majority of people of simple hearts. Yet both types of audience sing his songs even now "Auld Lang Syne", "Coming through the Rye", "Scots Wha hae wi' Wallace Bled". The supreme gift of Burns was the gift of song. This impulse to song died during the time of Dryden and Pope, so the songs of Burns are a rebirth, preluding a second Elizabethan period.

6.3. The Lake poets: William Wordsworth(1770-1850).

Romanticists made emotion and not reason, the chief force of their works. Some poets were seized with panic and irresistible desire to get away from the present industrial revolution. They wished to call back “the good old days”, the time long before the mines and factories cane when people worked on “ England’s green and pleasant land”. These poets are called the Lake Poets after the Lake District in the north-west of England where they lived. The Lake District attracted the poets because industry had not yet invaded the part of the country. Their motto was: “Close to Nature and from Nature to God”. The poets William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Robert Southey belonged to this group. In sharp contrast with the tragic life of Burns is the calm and meditative career of Wordsworth. The two men differed as greatly in temperament as in the scenes in the drama of life. Burns was intense, tragic, he also brought to life a humor which illuminated with a kindly glow the tender moments while he always showed in pitiless light of hypocrisy. Wordsworth after a period of romantic revolt against the wrongs of society settled into a conservatism that took small account of what men actually were suffering and achieving. Burns got his insight not only by gift of nature, but by his actual life among Scottish peasants; while Wordsworth was a detached observer of human life, his real life being within himself, a world of speculation and thought. The boyhood of Wordsworth was passed in places of great natural beauty. He was an athletic youth, a lover of skating, mountain-climbing, swimming and rowing. Nature was alive to him, the world was filled magic enchantment. After four years at Cambridge, during which he made several vacation journeys through parts of England, he was uncertain as to his career. Late in 1791 when he went to France where the Revolution was in progress he took a deep interest in the cause of the people. There was a conflict going on in Wordsworth’s mind which reflected the conflict in the thought of the period. Romantic love of the past, the glory of institutions which had stood, like old castles, while generations had come and gone; all the richness of tradition and legend, of chivalry, of brave knights came in conflict with a new sense of the misery of poverty, of the injustice, of the awful waste of talents killed because they had no means of realization. Before he had thought this way though the dilemma he was called home and later came under the influences that directed his life into different channels. The first of these influences was personal. A small inheritance made it possible for him to live without entering a profession. His sister Dorothy kept house for him and powerfully influenced his thought. Of her the poet said that she opened his eyes to the beauty of simple things. Shortly afterwards he met Coleridge. The friendship that sprang up between the two men resulted in the publication, in 1798, of one of the most remarkable books in English literature, the “Lyrical Ballads”. The remainder of Wordsworth’s life is written in his poetry, not in deeds or in external events of any kind. The remaining half century of his life he spent in the beautiful English lake region with Dorothy and Mary Hutchinson, whom he married in 1802. The last seven years of his life he was poet laureate. S. Coleridge, his friend, and Wordsworth talked of many things in those days when “it was bliss to be alive, and to be young was very heaven”. The revolution in France, the rights of man, the nature of poetry, were subjects for eager debate. They agreed on the last subjects that the verse of Pope and his followers could not be called poetry. They objected to its themes and its “rules”. So they resolved to write some poems that should be everything that poetry of the conventional type was not. There were to be two themes which were to be the sources of all true poetry: the poetry of simple objects and aspects of nature and the poetry of the supernatural. Poetic truth was to be attained through seeing the miraculous in common things. Wordsworth's poetry, springs from “emotion recollected in tranquility”. That is the poet does not look on a scene or object or pass through an emotional experience and then sets down immediately to write about his observations. In his lines to daffodils, for example he says that their full beauty is appreciated, not at the moment of seeing, but afterwards, in vacant or pensive mood when recollecting its beauty, his heart fills with pleasure and “dances with the daffodils”. So with his poem about Tindern Abbey. This poem is not a description of the old abbey which he had visited some years before, when he was still moved by the French Revolution. He says that during his absence the beauty of the scene has been to him an unconscious influence for good. In moments of contemplation he has gained from this recollection a deeper insight into the mysteries of life. Now, as he returns he realizes that he has changed. The wild joy he formerly took in nature has gone; yet he is aware of a new beauty, a feeling for humanity and a consciousness of a divinity in nature and man. These ideas need emphasis since they affect the greater part of Wordsworth’s poetry. In another poem, “Expostulation and Reply” he speaks about the senses as the sources of much of our knowledge, these were the only sources. There's nothing except through the senses. But to Wordsworth there is another source, equally authentic – the knowledge that we gain through intuition and reflection. These are powers, he says, which are independent of the senses and which give us, of themselves, a transcendental or super-sensual knowledge: Nor less I deem that there are Powers Which of themselves our minds impress; That we can feed this mind of ours In a wise passiveness. In “Tindern Abbey”, Wordsworth speaks of a serene and blessed mood in which all the burden and mystery of the world are lightened so that unconscious of the external world of sense with “an eye made quiet by the power of harmony and the deep power of joy… we see into the life of things”. Such a view of the use of nature as a means to the perception of truth Wordsworth expresses in many poems. He did not see in the beauty of the flower merely a symbol of the short life of all beauty. He did not like Burns identify the tragedy of the field mouse destroyed by his plow with the tragedy of his own life. Still less did he find in nature merely beautiful objects and pictures to be rendered in verse. Nature was to him a source of spiritual insight. So in his great “Ode on Intimations of Immortality” he again speaks of the fact that he no longer sees in nature the merely sensuous beauty which had so enthralled him as a youth, but a deeper joy, born of experience – "Thanks to the human heart by which we live, Thanks to the tenderness, its joys, and fears, To me the meanest flower that blows can give Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears". Besides the definition that poetry is the product of emotion recollected in tranquility, further definition is found in his statement that it is “the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings”. It marks the revolutionary nature of his work. It is true that Wordsworth did not approve of extravagance or exaggeration. But he was much concerned with the soul; he was not ashamed to speak of it and he valued nature and people for the effects they produced on his inner life. Wordsworth believed that the language of peasants in its simplicity, concreteness was full of poetry. Like Burns, Wordsworth kept his eyes on the object; his poetry, like that of Burns is free from artificiality. Finally, Wordsworth believed in the greatness of poetry as the highest of all knowledge. “Poetry”, he says, “is the first and last of all Knowledge – it is as immortal as the heart of man”. Therefore, the subjects of poetry are not deeds of heroes, or poetic descriptions of life, but all intellectual and emotional experiences. For poetry is “the breath and spirit of all knowledge; it is the impassioned expression which is in the countenance of all science”. That is, men do not make additions to knowledge, discover the laws of nature unless they are touched by imagination and passion. Wordsworth holds that the poet discovers that which is authentic in the world of man as the scientist discovers that which is authentic in the world of nature. Besides his attention to the nature poems which are filled with love. With this lyric poems, odes or sonnets, the theme is the same. Wordsworth is master of poetic form, too. Only Milton and Shakespeare equaled him as a writer of sonnets. His odes are the greatest in English literature. In poems as “The Prelude” and “The Excursion” he combined autobiography with his philosophy of life in such a way as to create a new type of English poetry, less moving than his most intense lyrics, but filled with his peculiar power. The intellectual element in Wordsworth’s poetry is more pervasive than in the poetry of his predecessors and it is different in quality. Pope, for example, wrote essays in verse, but his essays were summaries of discovery. Pope's didactic verse tell readers what they should think or say or do. Wordsworth is not didactic in any sense. Wordsworth sheds some supernatural light over the simple forms of nature, gives to the familiar the charm of romance and makes this romance the means of escape form what he regarded as the false reality of the senses into a world of spiritual truth. He attained authority as one of the greatest English prophets of song. And like a true poet Wordsworth did not lack themes; “it is not the dark place that hinders, but the dim eye”. Wordsworth' longest narrative poem is "The Excursion" published in 9 volumes that contains his philosophy. It deals not only with nature, but common, simple people of Lake district whom he knew. The verse is often pathetic and earnest and even here nature is predominant and influences man. His great sympathy with children can be seen in "Alice Fell", "Poverty", "Lucy Gray", "Three Years She Grew in Sun” and “Shower". Yet the most striking poem on this theme is "We are Seven". Wordsworth glorified childhood in "Imitations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood". According to his belief only children can see the heavenly world and understand God's wisdom. That attitude to children was new to his contemporaries who didn't quite understand the message. His critics often accuse him of not seeing that Nature can sometimes be indifferent and cruel, but Wordsworth chose to present the world as manifestation of love and care for all God's creatures and by his poetry he tried to bring "a spirit of love" to people, to encourage sympathy, to console the suffering.

6.4. The Lake poets: Samuel Coleridge(1772-1834)

Another field in which the new romanticism found expression was the awakening of the interest in medieval themes. Two great writers of the early nineteenth century, Coleridge and Scott, are inseparably connected with this medieval affect of the romantic movement. The boyhood of Coleridge, like that of Wordsworth, was influenced by scenes of great natural beauty. He was born at Ottery St. Mary, in Devon, where his father was a vicar and a schoolmaster. Inheriting a love for nature and for speculation all sorts of out-of-the-way subjects, he impressed his teachers with his extraordinary intelligence. He translated Greek poetry, studied philosophy, lived in imaginary world of romance and adventure. At Cambridge he excelled in the classes, but became restless, ran away, and joined the army. A little later he became interested in the French Revolution and the theories about equality and the rights of man. He planned to emigrate to America in order to establish an ideal community. This period of restlessness and uncertainty was ended by his association with Wordsworth, which began in 1796. The task that Coleridge set for himself was to write poetry in which the supernatural should seem real and he wrote, among other poems, “The Ancient Mariner”. This poem seems, at first, to be an imitation of the old ballads of the supernatural. It was the ballad stanza; it uses ballad rimes, it is filled with archaic words. But it is far more than an imitation. Coleridge has used the old superstition and horror in such a way as to convince the reader of its truth. It is a supreme illustration of the power of a modern poet to evoke the terror felt by primitive man. The “harmony” between man and nature, and of the spiritual insight is gained through perception of harmony. This thought Coleridge expressed in "The Ancient Mariner" for killing the innocent Albatross. The Mariner is condemned to a life that is far more terrible than death. His suffering is spiritual not physical. He can not pray until hate that is in his heart turns to love. This love springs from nature –the sight of the moon, a revelation of the unearthly beauty of the light that rests upon the sea. As soon as nature had taught the lesson of love the spell is broken. Unlike Wordsworth, Coleridge is not the poet of nature or common things in life, he is the poet of dreams and supernatural things. The motherless Christabel in a dangerous situation, enchanted by a mysterious Lady Geraldine, dreams of a divine truth. The old legend, it is based on, tells about a witch Geraldine, who could take forms of a beautiful girl. Coleridge tells about the ghost of Christabel's mother who comes and wants to protect her daughter. The poet doesn't narrate the story, he suggests mystery and magic, the moods of the poem often change leaving a feeling of uncertainty, uncanny dream. Coleridge's prose writings are mainly philosophical and critical. He was greatly influenced by idealistic teachings of German metaphysicians: "Aids to Reflection". His "Lectures on Shakespeare" were widely discussed. "Biographia Literaria" laid the foundation for modern criticism: the book is dedicated to Coleridge's theory of the romantic poetry school in which he opposed the ideas of the majority of critics, by saying that the fame of Wordsworth belongs to another age. To the same period in Coleridge’s life belong “Kubla Khan” and “Cristabel”. The first is a mere fragment, but it illustrates the same power of giving reality to the unearthly. It has compelling power over reader which is enhanced by the form of verse. It is the four-accent couplet of the Milton’s early poems. It moves fitfully, uncertainly, suiting changing the moods of the dream-like poem. Coleridge’s prose, which is almost all critical or philosophical, left its influence on the thought of the 19th century. When he was a young man he went to Germany and studied philosophy with a continued vigor unusual for him. He became an idealist and used the idealistic teachings of the German metaphysicians. “Aids to Reflection” (1825) is the weightiest of his metaphysical productions. His “Lectures on Shakespeare” contained epoch-making Shakespearean criticism. Every drawing-room in London discussed them. His greatest work on criticism is entitled “Biographia Literaria”. The central point of this work is the exposition of his theory of the romantic school of poetry. He thus gives his own aim and that of Wordsworth in the composition of the volume of poems, known as “Lyrical Ballads” – to give the charm of novelty to things of every day, and to excite a feeling, to awaken the mind’s attention from the lethargy of custom and directing it to the loveliness and wonders of the world before us. Coleridge does not hold Wordsworth’s belief that the language of common speech and of poetry should be identical. He shows that Wordsworth does better than follow his own theories. Yet, when he considers both the excellencies and the defects of Wordsworth’s verse, Coleridge’s praise is substantial and similar to modern views.

6.5. William Blake (1757-1827)

William Blake spent his childhood in London. His father was a hosier and the boy educated himself by reading and studying art at the drawing school of Henry Pars in the Strand. Blake’s teacher of engraving very often made the boy draw the sculptures in Westminster Abbey and William got interested in Gothic art. On finishing his apprenticeship Blake entered the Royal Academy, earned some money by working for publishers engraving some of his strikingly original and independent lyrical and epic poems. Two little tracts “There is No Natural Religion” and “All Religions are One” contain the basic ideas developed in later years. In these poems Blake challenged Locke’s materialistic philosophy and proclaimed the superiority of imagination over the organs of perception. Soon after appeared two major masterpieces – “Songs of Innocence” and “Songs of Experience”. The first publications coincided with the French Revolution which Blake enthusiastically supported. For “Songs of Innocence” Blake took as models popular ballads and rhymes for children. It was a double collection, published in 1794 where Blake strove to depict the two contrary states of human soul: the innocence of a child’s soul and the experience of the world of law, morals and repression of blissful childhood. In his later “Auguries of Innocence” Blake says: To see a World in a Grain of Sand And a Heaven in a Wild Flower, Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand And Eternity in an hour.
This stanza shows best Blake’s idea of a life of romantic innocence. The celebration of a beneficient God’s image in “Innocence” is opposed to the God-tyrant in “Experience”. Lamb, the symbol of innocence is countered by the Tiger, the symbol of experience: “Tyger! Tyger! burning bright In the forests of the night; What immortal hand or eye Could frame thy fearful symmetry?”
The question of how it could be that he who made the Lamb could make the Tiger is tragic as well as Blake’s vision of a society concerned only with money in his “London”. Other themes in which Blake defies the institution of marriage, religion, morality are developed in “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell”, “Song of Liberty”, “The Daughters of Albion”. The mature period of Blake’s creative activity is also the period of deepest spiritual uncertainty. It is characterized by “Prophetic Books” – “The Book of Urizen”, “The Book of Los”, “The Song of Los”. In this series of cosmic myths and epics Blake puts forward a complicated philosophical doctrine. Urizen is a symbolic figure which embodies different objects: the forces of reason, of the law that was suppressing the human soul. Blake describes epic battles fought in cosmos, in history, in human soul. He introduces the symbols of imagination (LOS); of rebellion (Orc); of reason (Urizen). “The Book of Urizen” is a parody on the book of Genesis. The creator here is not the beneficien Jehovah, but a “dark power”, whose rebellion (the American revolution) led into the trap of the material world. In “The Song of Los” it is evident that Blake lost his belief in the French Revolution as it had a regenerating effect. The epic “Milton” is a short poem dealing with contest between the hero (Milton) and Satan. Milton’s struggle reflects the poet’s struggle with William Hayley, a squire who invited Blake with his wife to stay at his estate in Sussex. The patron scornfully treated Blake’s works and wanted to make Blake his own servant on the estate. “Jerusalem” is Blake’s longest poem. The giant Abbion (England) is plunged into the “Sleep of Ulro”, the hell of abstract idea of materialism. The giant awakens with the help of Los (creative man) and is united with Jerusalem (his lost soul) accepting Christ’s idea of brotherhood. W. Blake devoted the last years of his life to painting and engraving. He produced about 150 hundred beautiful watercolours for Dante’s “Divine Comedy” and “The Book of Job”. In his artistic and literary career Blake was out of the main trends, but all modernistic authors and painters always considered him to belong to the 20th century.

6.6. The Novel: Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832)

Scott was born in Edinburgh and studied in Edinburgh arts and law. Walter Scott’s stories have appealed to old and young of every rank of life and to the most varied types of intelligence. He did not analyze his emotions or trouble about “wise passiveness” or “the life of things” in the manner of Wordsworth. Moreover, he lived the life he described. He developed a great estate at Abbotsford, which he ruled like a feudal lord. He had dogs and horses, he had the visitors from all parts of the world. His kindness to struggling young authors to whom he was a patron much like the lordy patrons of literature in older times, the magnificent scale on which he lived – all these contributed to the effect. He had a wonderful personality. There was nothing snobbish or exclusive about him; his sovereignty came through the divine right of genius. The best loved characters of his fictions are evidences of his love of people and they are drawn with sympathy that reminds us of the characters of human interest in Shakespearian historical plays. Knightly ideals of conduct where not to him mere sentimental or imaginary abstractions. When his publishers failed for more than a hundred thousand pounds, he might have avoided paying the debt, but he spent the last six years of his life in toil for the money to discharge this debt of honour. Scott’s interest in the history and legends of his native country developed when he was a boy. He went about the country collecting ballads and seeing for himself the places to which legends were attracted. When Scott was called to the bar and started his practice he found time to travel over Scotland in search of legends, songs, ballads and published a collection of them under the title of “Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border” which contained many of the ballads he had collected, together with some imitations of his own. From ballad he passed to verse romance. “The Lay of the Last Minstrel”, “Marmion” and “The Lady of the Lake” appeared during the years 1804-1808. They were filled with action; their personages were not dreamy and remote but vigorously drawn and easily understood, they contained passages describing the lovely scenery that he knew so well; and they were expressed in verse easy to read and to remember. He used strongly marked rhythms. His ideal, he said, was to write verse that should please “soldiers, sailors and young people of bold and active disposition”.
Scott’s first period, to which his poetry belongs ended in 1814. At that time he found the manuscript of a prose tale that he had begun many years before. It aroused new interest in him and he completed the story in a few weeks. It was a story of a Jacobite Impostor trying to restore the English throne. Now Scott discovered where his true powers were - he published the first series of novels under the title of Waverley. The remaining years of his life he wrote 29 novels almost two a year. His other works besides historical novels contain "Life of Napoleon" in nine volumes, and a Scottish history "Tales of a Grandfather". The action of the novel “Ivanhoe” is set in medieval England during the Crusades. The characters of the novel are representatives of all classes of feudal society shown in a bitter struggle of the Anglo-Saxon land-owners against the Norman barons. The Norman conquerors also struggle for the throne. King Richard is away being engaged in a Crusade. His brother, Prince John, tries to usurp the throne and subdue the Anglo-Saxons completely whereas Richard wants to cooperate with the landowners which is a progressive action leading to the establishment of a new nation. Cedric the Saxon hopes to restore independence. He plans Rowena, a young lady, to become the queen and wants her to marry Athelstane. His son, Wilfred of Ivanhoe, ruins his father’s plans and falls in love with Rowena. Ivanhoe is disinherited and has to go on a Crusade where he becomes friends with King Richard. King Richard with the help of Saxons, Robin Hood and his men wins in the fight for the crown. Besides the nobility Scott realistically draws the characters of serfs: Gurth the swinehead and Wamba the jester. The former is oppressed by his master Cedric, yet he remains true to his master when it comes to the need to rescue him. He readily accepts the granted freedom. The sharp-tongued Wamba prefers to remain a serf. W. Scott penetrates into the class psychology. Gurth is a hard worker and wants to be free and work on his own fields; Wamba is a servant in his mind and is not fit to depend on his own freedom. There is a group of characters comprising the romantic heroes who inspire respect and admiration of the reader: Sir Brian, Rebecca, Ulrica. Some characters are depicted in the folklore tradition – Robin Hood, Friar Tuck and other outlaws as well as King Richard himself. King Richard never really existed; he is the dream of an ideal king the people cherished to have for a leader of their nation. The reader of the novel can feel the atmosphere of the period of the 12th century due to the great descriptive skill of the author. "Talisman" describes the Crusades to the Holy Land; "Kenilworth" depicts the brilliant days of Elizabeth I; "Old Mortality" is a fine historical story about the Scotch Covenanters, trying to maintain Presbyterianism as the religion of Scotland. In his novels the by-gone times are filled with living people, not abstractions. The history in Scott's novels may not be quite accurate as to the events of history but they convey certain phases of history. Scott's attempts to represent historical events resulted in "Guy Mannering", "The Heart of Midlothian", "The Antiquary", "The Bride of Lammermoor", but his characters though not historical are depicted as if they really existed. A poor Scotch girl, Jeanie Deans, in "The Heart of Midlothian" is his creation which won the admiration of the readers, though she did not belong to high society. There is not much development of character in his novels and little analysis of emotion, or passionate love, he prefers adventure, dangerous situations, battle scenes. The construction of his sentences is clearly cut but there is no over descriptions characteristic of classicism. Scott established the historical novel not only in English literature but had a great influence on writers in other countries in developing this genre. In verse narrative he has been surpassed, but in his own field of the historical romance he is master. In this field he was helped by his knowledge of history and, what is more important, by his gift of the historical imagination. His mind was filled with facts, the result of long years of historical study, but he was the master of his facts.

6.7. The Novel: Jane Austin (1775-1817)

Jane Austin lay foundation for another type of novel that dealt with other subject matter: marriage, daughters, clergy, village life. Jane Austin was born in Hamphire and spent there all her life. Her father served in the church, the family was not very rich but well connected. Jane got home education, had a love affair when she was 25 but soon broke the engagement and remained unmarried all her life. She loved the quiet country side and the people and treated the inhabitants of small estates with sympathy and humour. At the age of sixteen she began writing. Austin didn't like "Gothic" romances, and the first of her novels she wrote was a parody of that type ("Northanger Abbey", published posthumously). Jane Austin's best work is considered to be "Pride and Prejudice", in which she created some situations opposing Philip Darcy's pride to Elizabeth Bennet's prejudice. Austin, knowing the human heart, makes her lovers reconciliate. All her characters have interesting individuality, natural and emotional. She understands the drawbacks of people and treats them with kindly humour. Contemporary to Walter Scott, according to his words she was a realist in describing feelings and emotions. Jane Austin's other works "Sense and Sensibility", "Emma", "Mansfield Park", "Persuation" today are widely read. Her contribution to world literature became evident years later when she was recognized as master of charming realistic novel. “Emma” was written in comic tone. The book told the story of Emma Woodhouse, a wealthy, pretty young woman. She lives with her father. Her governess marries their neighbour, Mr Weston. Emma spends her time choosing partners for her friends not considering her own feelings. She tries to arrange a marriage of a poor girl, Harriet Smith and Mr Elton, a clergyman, who loves Emma. Emma has tender feeling s about Mr Weston’s son. When Harriet becomes interested in George Knightley, a squire, who secretly loves Emma, Emma decides to marry George Knightley and Harriet marries Robert Martin, a young farmer. Jane Austen depicted minor gentry, middle class. Marriage determined women’s social status and though she restricted her themes to family matters, her witty, observant narratives have been delight to readers to present day. Jane Austin's novels belong to the comedy of manners, which examines behaviour of men and women of one social class. Some critics consider her as an early feminist. At the time women were denied freedom of individual development. The intelligence of Jane Austin's heroines is in contrast with her idea of women's predestination - marriage and domestic life. It's not clear if Austin was really serious about happiness of a married life or ironical about it. Austin's heroines Elithabeth Bennet and Marrianne Dashwood at the beginning of the novels are attracted to the wrong men but finally they decide on the right ones. The character of Emma seems to have no interest in men and doesn't understand other young ladies in their romantic affections, her everyday life is dull. Emma protests against the society placing a married woman higher in respect compared with a single and childless. Perhaps that's why Jane Austin's name never appeared on her books while she was alive, they were inscribed as "By a Lady". It was deemed improper for a woman to be writing novels. Women were not very well educated, not allowed to work and if not married were a burden on a family. Austin's heroines do not get married as the society requires, but all get married because they fall in love, and not for convenience. When Austin was writing the novel as a genre was not yet developed; she contributed to it good syntactical structures, not epistolary or melodramatic meant for entertainment. Her technique places the reader into the story from the first pages. There are very few descriptions but a lot of dialogue, the narration is dynamic with each character pursuing his or her aim. Sometimes Jane Austin is accused for withdrawal from political issues but that in her mind was probably meant for men. For an isolated young lady in the times when men were considered superior to women Jane Austin displayed a greatly appreciated nowadays talent of a great novelist.

7. New Currents in Romanticism.

7.1. Historical background. Revolutionary poets.
7.2. Lord Byron.
7.3. Percy Bysshe Shelley.
7.4. John Keats

7.1. Historical background. Revolutionary poets.

The revolution in France brought Napoleon Bonaparte to Italy. His victories in Italy resulted in establishing of two republics with capitals in Milan and Genoa. Venice and other territories were given to Austria. Napoleon was defeated in 1813 and the Austrians invaded Italy again. The period succeeding the rule of Napoleon was characterized by a growing movement for national unity. It was a period of constant wars and change in governments supported by liberal-minded literary men in Europe, among which were Byron and Shelly. National feelings in Greece, which had been under foreign (mainly Turkish) rule for centuries, began to rise too. In the first phase of this movement Greece was fighting for independence alone, helped only by volunteers from other European countries. Among those volunteers was also the English poet, Lord Byron, who died in Greece. Sympathy for the life of the oppressed, enthusiasm for new political ideas supplied themes to inspire a new trend in English romanticism. During the years when the great and sinister figure of Napoleon dominated the thought and imagination of Europe like some new planet, the poets of the earlier romantic period became conservative. After Waterloo (1815) the liberal cause began slowly to regain some of its lost ground, but to the ardent spirits of a group of younger poets, like Byron and Shelley, England still seemed “stagnant waters”. Byron, Shelley and Keats wrote most of their poetry between 1812 and 1822. They were all dead before Scott and Wordsworth. Yet they are so separated from the earlier group that they seem to belong to another generation. Keats and Shelley spent the last years of their short lives in Italy and Keats died there. They were out of sympathy with conditions in England, but in Southern Europe they found already at work the impulses that were to culminate later in the century in the independence of Greece and the achieving of national unity by Italy. Such a struggle appealed to English liberals. Greece, the home of the highest civilization of ancient times, now because a center of romantic adoration, and to her cause Byron gave his life. Italy, the land of Vergil and Dante and the Renaissance, once more proved her power to awaken the imagination and genius of English poets. Byron, Shelley and Keats represented passionate revolt against the complacency and indifference of prevailing English thought. Their romanticism is marked by the attempt to escape from what they thought spiritual blindness of their time. All were exiles. Like Dante, also in exile, Byron poured forth the bitterness of his heart in proud and indignant scorn. Shelley was calling forth a dreamworld in which he found beauty and ideas, beyond the comprehension of the earthborn creatures. Keats is a little different. He found escape in the world of romance, loving life and beauty for themselves writing poetry that took no account of the political injustice of his times or of the sufferings brought by industrial revolution.

7.2. Lord Byron (1788-1824)

George Noell Gordon, Lord Byron, was born in London. His father was a dissipated, reckless man who left his wife and son; his mother was an unbalanced woman, kissing her son at one moment and calling him bad names the next. The boy developed proud naughty nature and grew up defiant and imperious. At Cambridge he went in for sports, shooting and swimming. He was a handsome young man, and a slight deformity of his foot added to the romantic interest that he inspired. He loved oriental romances, the Old Testament, and the wilder aspects of nature. In 1807 he published a small volume of verse, not very good, which was treated scornfully by the “Edinburgh Review”. Two years later he replied in “English Bards and Scotch Reviews” with a satire, in which he slashed vigorously at all the poets of his day. In 1807 Byron published the second issue of his "Juvenile Poems" entitled "Hours of Idleness". Some reviews praised the book of narrative poems and some put the author to shame because they attracted public attention but they lacked feeling and thought that could make them famous. Only in 1816, his next narrative poem "The Prisoner of Chillon" showed the mastery of expression, verse and pathetic feeling. Here is what the oppressed Prisoner feels: "There were no stars, no earth, no time, no check, no change, no good, no crime - But silence, and a stirless breath Which neither was of life nor death; A sea of stagnant idleness, Blind, boundless, mute and motionless!" In 1809 Byron took his seat in the House of Lords but he was determined to travel to the East first. Only in 1812 he made his speeches in the Parliament speaking in defense of the workers who suffered because of improved machinery but then his interest in riotous workers abated. A period of foreign travel (1809-1811) resulted in the publication of the first two cantos of “Childe Harold”. In this poem, which was written in the Spenserian stanza and at first he used many of the old words found in “Faerie Queene”. Byron thought of himself as a wandering Knight in search of adventure. His pilgrimage took him through Greece and the poem is filled with descriptions of romantic scenery and of thrilling adventures. Since that time the public identified Byron with his hero, he became the center of popular interest. No such stories of travel had been known in his time or before. A series of oriental romances, which he wrote soon after his first great success, stimulated the public interest. Byron was a wandering Knight, not of the Round Table, but gaining romantic interest through his reputation for unconventional life. In 1815 Byron married Miss Milbanke, a rich young lady but a year later she left him and high society put all the blame on Byron for his endless love affairs. The public ostracized him from high society. To the scandal of Byron's separation with Lady Byron, the poems he wrote in favour of France ("A Sketch") with provocative criticism of England, decided Byron's life. The Whigs defended Byron, but for his own circle he was an outcast. In 1816 Byron left England for the continent. During that summer, spent in Switzeland, he wrote the third canto of “Childe Harold”, “The Prisoner of Chillon”, and “Manfred”. The first of these is memorable for the description of Waterloo, the characterization of Napoleon, and the description of mountains, lakes, storms - aspects of nature that appealed to his own wild and turbulent soul. “The Prisoner of Chillon” illustrates his love of liberty. “Manfred”, a drama, had its origin in the wild Alpine scenery, has something in common with the old legend of Faust and is filled with the spirit of revolt. The inspiration of the works written in 1816 was closely connected with Byron’s hatred of tyranny, whether political or intellectual. Manfred is a man who is at war with humanity; he found refuge in the mountains. Though he knows his fault, he doesn't fear his death and his spirit is untamed, he defies the coming darkness: "What I have done is done; I bear within A torture which could nothing gain from thine; Back, ye baffled fiends! the hand of death is on me - but not yours!" "Cain" is the second drama of the same spirit: Cain in remorse for killing his brother Abel questioned the wisdom of God in bringing evil, crime, sin to the world and in this drama Byron as opponent to Milton tried to justify the ways of man to God. The next year Byron went to Italy, where he wrote the fourth and last cantos of “Childe Harold”. In this canto he writes of the past glories of Italian literature and of Rome- “ O Rome! My country! City of the soul! The orphans of the heart must turn to thee Love mother of dead empires!” Byron meditates on the vanity of human greatness, on tyranny once more, and on reaction which had seemed to put an end to the progress of the liberal spirit. Yet there are passages- that made Byron’s pen more powerful than an army of patriots all over Europe to flight in the cause of liberty. “Yet, Freedom! Yet thy banner, torn, but flying, Streams like thunderstorm against the wind!” This faith in freedom Byron sealed by a self-dedication as dramatic as anything in his writings. After several years of life in Italy, during which he wrote a very large number of poems, he went to Greece to raise an army to fight the Turkish overlord. To this cause he gave his fortune and his life. His death at Missolonghi, April 19, 1824, ended a career that gave thrilling evidence of the power of the human spirit to fight, even in adversity, against Holy Alliances, Napoleons, and all the forces that would keep it in such dungeons as that of Chillon’s castle. Some of the qualities of Byron’s poetry are apparent from what is known about his life and his principal writings. His work is intensely personal, in a sense he was always his own hero, which means that even in his narrative and dramatic works we find chiefly the reflection of his own thoughts and fillings. This hero is moody, passionate, at war with society and its institutions, a devotee of individual liberty. He is like Marlowe, and like some of Marlowe’s heroes – a man of boundless ambition, intense egotism, disregardful of many facts in life. To the romantic qualities of his life and poetry Byron added wit, ironic humour and rare satirical power. Perhaps his greatest poem is Don Juan, written in Italy in the last years of his life, in which he takes his hero on a pilgrimage of adventure in various parts of the world, but interjects many passages satirizing English life and opinion. He had marvelous power in describing nature. His lyrics, sometimes sentimental, at times achieve true greatness. He was a master of narrative. Yet sometimes he wrote a very large amount of verse, filled with the errors and faults of hasty composition. He could not revise, he succeeded at once or let the failure stand. But in spite of the faults of his verse and his life he is one of the greatest of English poets. Byron's revolutionary spirit lies in his rebellion against the moral conventional restrictions of his time. He reflected the gloomy type of mind that couldn't be estimated by his countrymen but made a great impact on the intellectual life in Russia, Spain, Italy, France and Germany. Europe needed liberty and Byron's poetry aroused the great minds of European countries in their fight for freedom and change.

7.3. Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822).

He was born to a wealthy family in Sussex. He was one of the most ardent, independent and reckless English poets inspired by the French Revolution. Tender, pitying, fearless, full of desire to reform the world and of hatred for any form of tyranny. Shelley failed to adjust himself to the customs and laws of England. He was despised by the public and idolized by his intimate friends. At Eton he denounced the tyranny of the larger boys. At Oxford he decried the tyranny of the church over freedom of thought and was expelled for his pamphlet “The Necessity of Atheism”. This act so increased his hatred for despotic authority that he almost immediately married Harriet Westbrook, a beautiful school-girl of sixteen to relieve her from the tyranny of her father who wanted her to return to school. Shelley was then only nineteen and very changeable. Like Byron, Shelley couldn’t adapt himself to convention. He got into trouble at Oxford because of a pamphlet. He made a runaway marriage which turned out unhappily. He soon fell in love with Mary Wallstonecraft Godwin, the brilliant woman who later wrote the weird romance “Frankenstein” and he married her after Harriet Shelley had drowned herself. These acts alienated his family and he was disinherited. His ideas upon religion, government and marriage brought him into conflict with public opinion. Unpopular at home he left England in 1818 never to return. Like Byron he was an exile. The remaining four years of Shelley’s life were passed in Italy. He lived at Pisa. Byron became Shelley’s neighbour and friend. Shelley wrote his best poetry in Italy. On July 7, 1822 Shelley said “If I die tomorrow I have lived to be older than my father. I am ninety years of age.” The young poet was right in claiming that it is not the length of years that measures life. He lived longer than most people who reach ninety. The next day he started in company with two other men to sail across the bay to his summer home. A sudden tempest struck his boat, it overturned and when the cloud passed the boat could not be seen. Not many months before, he had written the last stanza of “Adonais”. “ … my spirit’s bark is driven Far from the shore, far from the trembling throng. Whose sails were never to the tempest given; The massy earth and sphered skies are riven I am borne darkly, fearfully, afar; Whilst, burning through the inmost veil of heaven, The soul of Adonais, like a star, Beacons from the abode where the Eternal are”. Shelley’s body was washed ashore and was burned in accordance with Italian law. He was buried in the beautiful Protestant cemetery at Rome not far from where Keats had been buried the previous year. Shelley was a poet and idealist, not a systematic thinker. In “Prometheus Unbound” he adapted the old myth of a giant condemned to unending torture because of his gift of fire to man. His Prometheus is the human race itself, heroic, loving liberty but chained. The way to liberty is obscure, the nature of institutions though which it is to be preserved are equally obscure. Shelly dedicated the poem to the French Revolution. At the hour of freedom comes, Asia, the symbol of nature arouses Demogorgon, the soul of Revolution. Demogorgon rises and wins victory, releases Prometheus and spreads freedom and happiness in the world. Examples of Shelley’s rare lyrical power are found everywhere in his poetry. Among his most important poems are “Adonais”, “Ode to the West wind”, “The Cloud”, “To a Skylark”. The first of these, an elegy in memory of Keats reminds us of Milton’s “Lycidas”. There is a procession of mourners who lament the loss of the young poet. Shelley attacks the reviewers in whose criticism of the poems of Keats he found a cause for the poet’s early death. In the last stanzas he speaks of the might of the poet, the immortality of the spirit of man and the contrast between the work of this spirit and all earthly triumphs: “Such as he can lend- they borrow not Glory from those who made the world their prey; And he is gathered to the Kings of thought Who waged contention with their time’s decay, And of the past are all that cannot pass away.” In “the Ode to the West Wind” (1820) the spirit of the wind is invoked as the enchanter that drives the dead leaves like ghosts, drives the clouds and the storm and lashes the calm sea in fury. This succession of images dominates the poem rising to the climax in which he wishes the wind to play upon him as upon the forest, to drive his dead thoughts over the universe so that they may become the seeds of a new birth, promise of the spring that is to usher in a better world. The poem allegorizes the role of the poet as the voice of change and revolution. Shelly was in Italy and felt unable to help the people in England to reform and to spread the ideas of the French revolution. The poem consists of 5 cantos describing the wind’s effects upon the earth, air and ocean. In the last canto the poet asks the wind to lift him like a leaf or a cloud and take his thoughts of freedom and spread them to the youth with an optimistic message: “If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?” The question has a deeper meaning than a change of seasons. It is a reference to death and rebirth. After struggles and suffering there will be good times. As a lyrist he occupies a place among the best because of the inexhaustible variety of his measurers, the richness and beauty of his figures and bird like music of his song. His own “Skylark” truly reveals him; the gladness of the song for which he prayed in the last stanza passed into him and the world stops to listen while he sings. Being under the influence of metaphysical theories Shelley personified: abstract notions of immortality and omnipresence in "Adonais"; of nature in "To Night", "The Cloud", "Skylark"; joy, love, harmony in "Ode to the West Wind". Compared to other contemporary poets, Shelley's spirit is that of sacrifice, inspired by belief in ideal society of brotherhood and freedom. The second characteristic of his poetry is the subject matter of real beauty. His poetic abstractions are symbolic and vague, but among other English poets Shelley is the greatest master of phantomlike beauty and genius of lyrical imagery expressed in the language.

7.4. John Keats (1795-1821)

The tragic fate that cut off the careers of Byron and Shelley in their prime also pursued John Keats. He differed from the other two poets as his work is untouched by the bitter passions of the time. In his poetry he had nothing to say of political liberty. He traveled in his realm of gold opened up by his books and his imagination. His first poetry was immature, indistinct in thought. He had time for only three slender volumes, published in 1817, 1818 and 1820, yet the progress he made in that short time constitutes one of the most astounding chapters in the history of literature. Born in humble circumstances in London, without aristocratic connections of Byron or the wealth of Shelley, Keat’s education was interrupted when he was only fifteen years of age. He was apprenticed to a surgeon and served for several years in London hospitals. A friend gave him a copy of Spenser’s “Faerie Queene" and this led him into his true Kingdom. Besides Spenser’s, he read much in medieval romance. Without Knowledge of Greek he was introduced to Homer’s world through the great Elizabethan translations. For poetry, like Milton, he resolved to prepare himself through study. He began to study Greek and Italian, he went on a tramping tour through the Highlands because, he said, “this would give me more experience, rub off more prejudice, use me more hardship, identify finer scenes and strengthen more my reach in poetry than would stopping at home among my books." Early in 1820 he was stricken by disease. He went to Italy in the vain hope of regaining health. But after a few months in Rome he died in February 1821. Keats excelled in both narrative and lyric verse, but besides some sonnets and a few miscellaneous lyrics his most important work maybe grouped under the headings: Classical Poems, Metrical Romances and Odes. To the first group belong “Endymion” and “Hyperion”. In “Endymion” he adapted the classical myth about the love of mortal for the moon-goddess. It is written in the heroic couplet. In “Hyperion” Keats again made use of classical myth in such a way as to create a new myth of his own. It is an allegory of the conquest of the universe by beauty. Blank verse is used with great power suggesting some statue of ancient art with a solemn beauty like that of old Greek poetry. Keats wrote four metrical romances: “Isabella”, “Lamia”, “The Eve of St. Agnes” and "La Belle Dame Sans Merci". Keats does not hurry us along from incident to incident, but lingers lovingly over details, painting pictures in words and ending with the note of regret for the passing of the love and beauty of bygone times. In "The Eve of St. Agnes", Porphizo, enters a hostile castle on the eve of St. Agnes to win Maleline, on that magic evening. The poem attracts by combination of the medieval atmosphere and richness of imagery, sight, odour, sound all directed to express romantic feelings and love of the beautiful. “La Belle Dame sans Merci” is a ballad like version of the old folk-tale about a mortal loved by a fairy, it conveys briefly yet poignantly this regret for the passing of old romances. Even greater than his metrical romances are his Odes. “To a Nightingale” should be contrasted with Shelley’s “Skylark”. Beginning in sadness it rises to a statement of the immortality of beauty. The individual singer is mortal and must die but the song itself knows neither time nor death. In the “Ode on a Grecian Urn” the immortality of beauty is once more affirmed. Here it is the beauty of art. When he himself and all his generation have passed away, he says, this exquisite product of ancient art commemorating scenes from life and civilization that disappeared long ago shall still remain: “Beauty is truth, truth is beauty.” In one of his letters Keats spoke of his indifference to popular applause or condemnation. His only regard, he said was for “the Eternal Being, the Principle of Beauty, and the Memory of Great Men”. Keats was not like Byron and Shelley a revolutionary reformer. But his contribution to English poetry is revolutionary. Keats is often compared to Shakespeare in lyrical power, mastery of expression. He displayed his genius in making new words, converting verbs into nouns, forming new verbs making strange use of adjectives and adverbs (flaw-blown sleet, calm throated, etc), the inventions which really were turned to later, modern poetry of the 20th century. Thus the poetry reviewed was all produced within the time of a single generation. No other period of English literature save only the Elizabethan and few periods in the history of world literature can match this great awaking of the creative spirit. From one point of view it was an age of revolt in literature as well as in politics, but it must not be forgotten that the revolt was a characteristic feature not an aim. Great poetry does not come because writers resolve to break completely with the past and to produce forms of verse never known before. The true explanation of the new romantic poetry is not that it repudiated the ideas of the 18-th century poets, but that it sprang from a quickened imagination and was stimulated by intellectual currents that were sweeping through Europe. The romanticism was founded to some extent on the desire to escape the real conditions of life, injustice, tyranny into a world of dreams. Sometimes these dreams were in medieval romances, sometimes in nature or abstract ideals of freedom or in a vision of a classical Golden Age. The poets were not blind to gloomy reality, but the poetry of romanticism displays a sharp contract between the real world and the ideal and it is the ideal world which helped the poets to find freedom, to shake the blind politicians and promote further development of society.

8. Victorian Romanticism and Realism. Political and social Conditions.

8.1. Historical background for Victorian poetry and Victorian novel. 8.2. Alfred Tennyson. 8.3. Robert Browning. 8.4. Charles Dickens. 8.5. William Makepeace Thackeray. 8.6. George Eliot. 8.7. Elizabeth Gaskell 8.8. The Bronte Sisters. 8.9. Thomas Hardy. 8.10. Lewis Carroll 8.11. Robert Louis Stevenson. 8.12. Rudyard Kipling. 8.13. Oscar Wilde.

8.1. Historical background for Victorian poetry and Victorian novel.

Victoria became Queen of England in 1837. She was the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Empress of India. England developed her colonies in Asia, Australia, Africa and America. After the Boer war England extended her protectorate in South Africa. Toward the end of the century more liberal laws in the colonies and self-government afforded more security and progress without revolutions. The Empire controlled one quarter of the world; the British Empire was a super power on the sea. Queen Victoria was distinguished not only by domestic virtues, being a good wife and mother of nine children. She was a model of respectability and healthy conservatism not only among the aristocrats, but during her reign England became a number one industrial state too with middle class rising and developing modern production and commerce. The powerful middle class demanded new governmental support and the Bill of 1832 gave them the right to vote and be elected into government offices. They were self-made people, hardworking, thrifty, very religious with strict moral views. The Reform Bill had extended the suffrage to all persons of the upper and middle class, but labourers on farms and in the factories were still denied the privilege of participating in government. For them there was no educational system, the progress of the industrial revolution brought thousands to despair. The working class in the hard times of 1830's and 1840's came in their despair very close to a working-class revolution. The country was saved by a market boom and in 1867 the Second Reform Bill was passed in the Parliament giving workers right to vote and labour unions' voices were heard. The discontent that sought relief through parliamentary reform was not solely political; it sprang from the transformation wrought by the introduction of machinery, railroads, steamships and cheap printing. In transportation the coach was changed for railroads. Telegraph and telephone changed communication. Achievements in medicine promoted usage of anaesthetics and antiseptics as well as X-ray tests. Physics, biology, zoology, botany, geology became sciences in their own right and were applied in human services and welfare. Charles Darwin's theory of evolution "The Origin of Species by Natural Selection" was an epoch making work of the greatest impact on human thought. Herbert Spencer in his "Synthetic Philosophy" applied Darwin's theory of evolution not only to plants and animals but to human society. Wealth increased enormously and England became an empire with vast colonial possessions. All these influences combined brought new poets, novelists and essayists face to face with reality. The tension between financial growth and social instability influenced England's literature. The number of readers increased, literature was the main source of education, entertainment, communication. The people were ready to read and to pay for the books, so never in the history of England, writers were so popular and respected. When writers spoke to the government they were listened to. Many readers in Victorian era found poetry not useful, not relevant for the glorification of scientific and technological achievements of the industrial and commercial world. The most popular and successful of writing was the novel. Those famous novelists were Dickens, Thackeray, The Bronte Sisters, Eliot, Gaskell. The novels of these authors are extremely long, but they have remained popular with many generations. Ideas and values of society changed, so did literature. Romantic emotion yielded to social rebellion and balanced rationality. Love of nature, of medieval past continued but it was displayed with precision of observation. The conservatism of Victorian times made the society more or less wealthy and satisfied, so the writers began to break away from the conventions and trends of the beginning of the century. The Victorian age is best represented by two great poets, Alfred Tennyson and Robert Browning. The first was remarkable for poetric presentation of the main thoughts of Victorian Age. Browning displayed the tendency to analyze human emotions and actions. Both poets represent faith and beliefs of imperialistic England. Among other poets were those who doubted the values of religion and society, were pessimistic as to human evolution. Some poets selected classical poetry to follow, some called for poetic inspiration to enjoy mere living. In the middle of the century D.G. Rossetti, W.H. Hunt, J. Millais founded a new school in poetry named Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. At first it was an artistic school, determined to paint objects from the study of nature. In literature Pre-Raphaelites tried to express their individuality. J. Keats was their favourite poet. The basic principles were simplicity, beauty, pathos, direct expression, use of common words. This movement was meant to do away with old conventions and start a romantic revival. Pre-Raphaelic school freed art and literature from conventional fetters and sent people direct to nature; the school moralized art and humanized political science. The novel in the 19th century took the place of drama in Elizabethan period. In the novel every side of life found its expression. The theory of evolution introduced to literature the idea of a "changing, growing" character (J. Eliot). There were numerous and various essays and histories of Macaulay, Carlyle, Hewman, Ruskin, Arnold and Swinburne. Due to these authors the nineteenth century is called "the age of criticism". The period was marked by interpretation of literature, modifications in thought brought about by science and inventions. Sets of rules were established to rule each literary genre and trends - poem, novel, drama, etc. The critical essays had a great variety of themes, formal rules as well as creative, flexible standards of style and thought. The chief appreciated quality of good writing was clearness, attained by the simple structure of sentences without entangling clauses; illustrations to difficult ideas or subjects; contrasting pictures by usage of antithesis; concrete images and arguments with impressive epithets and metaphors.

8.2. Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892)

Alfred Tennyson was born in August 6, 1809, in the rectory of Somersby in Lincolnshire. He was born one of the twelve children. Even as a boy he wrote verses and in 1827 he published, with his brother Charles a little book called “Poems by Two Brothers”. In 1828 Tennyson entered Trinity College, Cambridge. Here he belonged to a club called “The Apostles”, where he discussed problems of philosophy, politics and literature. He was a youth of great energy, of great personal charm and with a capacity for friendship. In 1830 he published “Poems Chiefly Lyrical”. He left college without a degree because of his father’s death and returned to the estate. He published a second volume of poetry in 1833 and then was silent for 9 years. In part this silence was due to the hostile attitude of the reviewers; in part it was due to his own severe self criticism. In the years that passed before Tennyson again published a volume of poems, he wrote much, destroyed much and waited. He passed through a season of profound discouragement, for Arthur Hallam, the friend who believed in his high poetic gift, untimely died while traveling in Europe. In 1842 he published in two volumes “Poems by Alfred Tennyson”. Many of the earlier poems reappeared, but they were greatly changed and improved and the new poems had an authority and perfection that met instant and universal appraisal. In 1847 he published “The Princess”. It is a discussion of the place of woman, set in a background, that reminds of Shakespeare’s early comedy “Love’s Labour’s Lost”. It is partly humorous, partly serious. The songs that it contains are among the loveliest of Tennyson’s lyrics. The full maturity of his genius, however, begins with the year 1850 when he published new editions of his poems and the first edition of his great elegy “In Memoriam”. In the same year he married Emily Sellwood. Tennyson wrote very much poetry. His life was long; he had no great sorrows save the death of Hallam (his friend) and no struggle against poverty. He must not be thought of as a recluse, he had many friends, some of them powerful, others of humble position. He was eagerly responsive to life. He was an observer and interpreter of life and Tennyson’s poetry may be classified as narrative and dramatic lyric. His narratives have a wide range, including such modernizations of medieval romance as the Idylls of the King and such versions of classical story as “Ulysses together with poems like “The Princess” and a group of English idylls. He also is a master of the ode. Finally, he is remembered as a dramatist who brought back something of the sweep and power of the Elizabethans. For two-thirds of a century Tennyson was occupied with his interpretation of the Arthurian legend. His interest in "Idylls of the King" began with “The Lady of Shalott” published in 1833, and with a version of the Lancelot story. Later he published “Sir Galahad” and “Morte d’Arthur”. Ten years later four new idylls were added and the entire work was finished in 1888. No other theme attracted the attention of the poet for such a long time. They show how important he thought it to be and the revisions and additions show how carefully he studied all his work. In the beauty of the farm, and in their revelation of the poet’s thought about life, this Arthurian epic occupies a place in Tennyson’s work similar to that of the “Faerie Queene” in Spenser’s work and “Paradise Lost” in the poetry of Milton. While Tennyson’s sources are to be found in various medieval versions of Arthurian romance, he does not present a picture of medieval life, as Scott did in his verse romances. His poem is not unified except for the fact that Arthur frequently appears in it. Tennyson’s separate idylls are “little pictures” chosen from the mass of Arthurian material, dealing with separate though highly significant adventures or episodes. Tennyson said that his theme was the war of sense on soul; in his poem the king represents the soul and his instruction of the Round table corresponds, in a way, to Spencer’s conception of ideal nightly character. Material things, false idealism and disloyalty are all opposed to the Knightly ideal and overcome it. Arthur’s birth and coronation introduce the story. His government is to do away with all injustice and to institute a better world order. For a time his vision prevails but selfishness creeps in. Even the search for the Holy grail is condemned because the Knights leave the work they have vowed to accomplish in order to follow “wandering fires”. The best known of the poems belonging to the English group of Idylls is “Enoch Arden”, which appeared in 1864. For years previously, however, Tennyson had been interested in the portrayal of scenes and characters from simple English life ”The May Queen”, “The Miller’s Daughter” and “Dora” belong to this group, poems filled with sentiment, telling simple love stories, at times leading to a tragic end. In a later group, of which “The Northern Farmer” as an example, he made use of dialect with humorous effect. The group of classical poems does not truly represent life, but serve as backgrounds or frames for the poet’s own interpretations. The best examples are “The Lotos Eaters” and “Ulysses”, of which the first represents the desire to escape from active life, while the second is an inspiring interpretation of a life filled with adventure. For lyrics Tennyson was gifted because of his knowledge of music, his mastery of rhyme, the great variety of his stanzas and most of all, because of his exquisite sense of form. His lyrics spring from an emotional nature that was deep and varied. He writes of love and death, of war, of national pride. The songs in “The Princess” introduce childhood and love in such a way as to bring out the inner meaning; “Crossing the Bar” is the supreme lyric of faith triumphing over death. Tennyson’s finest poem, except “The Idylls of the King”, was written in memory of his friend Arthur Hallam. It belongs among the great elegiac poems of English literature. It is not a pastoral, but a series of sonnets. They have the effect of a sonnet sequence, except that the separate lyrics vary in length. They are found together by stanzas or poems that mark the passing of time – Christmas, Easter, the anniversaries of Hallam’s death. They also represent the poet’s own progress from the deep despair of the time immediately following his friend’s death, through intermediate stages of hope and doubt to the final triumph of faith. “In Memoriam” is remarkable not only for the truth with which is reveals Tennysons’s own spiritual life. It gives accurate and unconscious interpretation of the period during which it was written. Toward the end of his life he wrote several plays in blank verse: “Becket” dealing with the times of Henry VIII. The best of his other plays “Harold” and “Queen Mary” were also dramatizations of English history. Much of Tennyson’s life after marriage was spent in the Isle of Wight and at Aldworth, his beautiful Sussex home, where he sought retirement, spending his time is study and writing. From his studies he emerged from time to time for a holiday tour, but his real life he found in his own home. In 1884 he was raised to peerage. In October, 1892 he died. Throughout his poetry one finds the charm of vivid and poetic imagery. His descriptions of nature are warmer and more colourful than Wordsworth’s, more exquisite than Byron’s. Tennyson’s poetry is significant for its thought as well as for its beauty. He was interested in the reforms that were being made and wrote on political and patriotic themes. On the whole he was conservative in politics. He praises England as a land of freedom but this freedom is one that “broadens slowly down, from precedent to precedent”. All hasty change he disapproves. “The Palace of Art” is an allegory showing the wickedness of withdrawing from life in order to develop one’s own intellectual and artistic tastes. His central theme is faithful service to the country position. He represents the ardent enthusiasm of the revolutionary epoch in his work. Compared with others he may seem at times too sentimental and his fame will rest upon the richness and exquisite beauty of his style, on the discussion of intellectual and religious problems. Tennyson more than anybody else is the embodiment of his age: he celebrated the quickly changing industrial world, the unchanged rural life in England, the conflict between his duty to the country and connection with nature. He opposed attractions of isolation and social involvement in natural surroundings.

8.3. Robert Browning (1812-1889)

R. Browning - one of the leading Victorian poets - is noted for the creation poems with carefully drawn characters and stories called dramatic monologues. In the poems an imaginary or real character tells the story. His "The Ring and the Book" is based on a real murder case in Italy, he also presents 12 different characters who tell this story, each from his or her perspective. Robert Browning was the son of a London banker who was also a collector of old books, a lover of poetry and a man of vigorous and interesting personality. In a home filled with books the boy acquired a taste for reading such varied authors as Milton, Pope and the romantic poets. He was a lover of pictures and was allowed to visit the famous Dulwich gallery. Most of his early education was secured at home; he did not attend Oxford or Cambridge, but after a short period of study he was interested in animals, took lessons in riding, boxing and fencing and prepared to be a poet by reading the whole of Dr. Johnson’s Dictionary. Shelley exerted a strong influence on young Browning and the result was the publication of poem named “Pauline” in 1833. It is largely autobiographical, is filled with praise of Shelley and is not very clear. Ten years later he published a long poem on the life and spiritual experiences of Paracelsus, a great scientist of the sixteenth century. Before he wrote it, Browning made a careful study of his hero’s life and times and though it was too difficult a poem to be popular, it brought him praise from thoughtful people, who recognized in it work of rare promise. A little later appeared a drama called “Stafford”, which dealt with the times of Charles I. In a series of small books, called “Bells and Pomegranates” Robert Browning published (1841-1846) some of his most interesting poetry. The series contained several dramas, some lyrics and many examples of a literary type called the dramatic monologue. Among the dramas perhaps the best Known is “Pippa Passes” in which a little girl from a silk factory sets out on a holiday. She passes several houses in which the occupants have reached same crisis of their lives and her song influences them without her knowledge. The plan of the little drama is highly ingenious and it allowed Robert Browning to show her power to write lyrics of fresh and original beauty and also to reveal character through a single brief but powerfully built scene. For dramatic work in which a sustained plot was to be revealed he had no great genius; but in presenting a character or a small group of characters in a scene full of dramatic significance he was great. In his dramatic monologues, the poet himself does not appear, he does not narrate the story. The chief character in the scene is the only speaker. His monologue makes clear the situation, reveals his own character and portrays other persons so vividly that we are fully conscious of their presence. Thus in “My Duchess” the speaker is a vain and very wealthy old noble, who is talking with a young man sent as an envoy to arrange a second marriage for the Duke. To this envoy the speaker describes his first wife in such a way as to show us her beauty and character and also to betray his own mean, cruel personality. As they talk we are made aware of the wealth of the Duke, of his priceless art treasures; and we are also aware of the spiritual poverty that makes him merely the keeper, not the possessor of these treasures, and we are also aware of the spiritual poverty that makes him merely the keeper, not the possessor of those treasures. Despite the eight volumes of “Bells and Pomegranates”, Browning’s reputation grew very slowly. He found one reader, however, whose appreciation was of supreme importance. A reference she made to his poetry led first to a correspondence and later to an acquaintance with Elizabeth Barett. She was supposed by her family and herself to be a hopeless invalid, but Browning married her secretly (1846) and took her to Italy where she gained strength and happiness. Until her death in 1861 the Brownings lived in Italy where they both studied art, wrote and enjoyed a wide circle of friends. In 1855 two volumes called “Men and Women” were published by Browning. The title shows his supreme interest in personalities. He was a profound student of character, drawing his materials not from the observation of contemporary life, but from a careful reconstruction of the life and times in which the subject of his poems lived. He writes of artists, musicians. For example, his “Epistle of Karshish” is a study of the effect of the life and miracle of Christ upon a shrewd and skeptical Arabian physician. In “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came” his realistic method is admirably shown. The Dark Tower, a place of mystery, and the weary Knight who had spent his life in searching for it, are both etched with sharp definiteness, but Browning’s deeper interest is in this Knight, his feelings, his weariness and disillusions. It is not a romance, but the interpretation of romance. Sometimes he writes about a medieval artist or a scholar or a bishop. The fact that he doesn't write about English farmers or business people do not speak of his separation from his time. Into his poems he introduced new themes and new style. His are very unconventional thoughts and he appeals to people to think a little, but not just be amused by poetic works. Both, Tennyson and Browning, as well as such minor poets as M. Arnold, D.G. Possetti, W. Morris, A.Ch. Swinburne added into English literature: a renewed interest in medieval, development of style and poetic form, wider range of themes and subjects and poetry included the destruction of the old concepts through the progress of science and introduction of new intellectual currents.

8.4. Charles Dickens (1812-1870)

Charles Dickens was born to a family of a navy clerk, whose income was rather meager and who was finally sent to the debtor's prison Marshalsea when Charles was still a small boy. Charles had to give up school and go to work at a shoe-blacking factory. Very often the hardships he and his family had to go through lay the basis for his novels. When his father inherited a small fortune and left the debtor's prison the boy could go back to school but the young man preferred to study shorthand and go in for journalism. He became a reporter to London newspapers and soon his sketches were collected and published under the title of "Sketches by Boz". He fell in love with Catherine Hogarth, the daughter of his friend, who edited "Evening Chronicle". With Catherine Dickens had ten children. Another group of sketches was published in 1837 - "The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club". "The Pickwick Papers" were humourous stories about a group of strange individuals and their travels. After the success of the novel Dickens began his career as a novelist, although he continued his editorial and journalistic work. Dickens is generally considered the greatest author of the Victorian period. His novels are characterized by bitter satire on social injustice, hypocrisy, evil, oppressive laws of the time. The plots of his novels and the characters were suggested by real life. Sometimes his characters may be theatrical, sentimental, not natural, but this exaggeration exerted a great influence on English thought and helped to correct many evils of those days. Fame came to Dickens at once. The adventures of amusing characters in "Pickwick Papers" were followed by "Oliver Twist", which was quite different in pictures of crime and suffering of the outcasts. Little Oliver born in a poorhouse and taught by murderers and thieves, is a very pathetic portrait of a child appealing to the reader's sympathy. Dickens presented the public that adored him with the new realistic novel and the characters that seem to have actually been living in England. The best of his works are: "Nickolas Nickleby", "The Old Curiosity Shop", "Martin Chuzzlewit", "Dombey and Son", "David Copperfield", "Bleak House", "Hard Times", "A Tale of Two Cities", "Our Mutual Friend" and others. "David Copperfield" is considered to be Dickens's favourite novel and his masterpiece. Being partly autobiographical the novel attracts vital interest in David's sorrows and dreams. The characters of men and women, their tragedies, self-sacrificing spirit of the very poor people (Peggothy, Mrs. Steerforth, Little Emily) arouse emotions Uriah Heep. Mr. Murdstone, Mr. Micawber, on the contrary, are perceived as disgusting, absurd, malicious, abominable creatures. Dickens's power of characterization is so amazing that they remain in readers' memory sometimes by mannerism of speech, some by grotesque appearances. “David Copperfield” was first published as a novel in 1850. Like most of his works, it originally appeared in serial form a year earlier. In the preface to the 1867 Charles Dickens edition, he wrote, “…like many fond parents, I have in my heart of hearts a favourite child. And his name is David Copperfield.” The story deals with the life of David Copperfield from childhood to maturity. David’s father had died six months before he was born, and seven years later, his mother marries Mr. Edward Murdstone. David dislikes his stepfather and Mr. Murdstone’s sister Jane. Mr. Murdstone thrashes David for falling behind with his studies. David is sent away to a boarding school with a ruthless headmaster, Mr. Creakle. Here he makes friends with James Steerforth and Tommy Traddles. David returns home for the holidays to find out that his mother has had a baby boy but they die and Mr. Murdstone sends him to work in a factory in London. Dickens depicts the grim reality of hand-to-mouth factory existence. His landlord, Mr. Wilkins Micawber, is sent to a debtor’s prison and David decides to run away. He walks all the way from London to Dover, to find his only relative, his aunt Miss Betsey. The story follows David as he grows to adulthood, and is enlivened by the many well-known characters who enter, leave and re-enter his life. These include Peggotty, his faithful former housekeeper for his mother, her family, and their orphaned niece Little Emily who lives with them and charms the young David. David’s friend, Steerforth, seduces and dishonors Little Emily, triggering the novel’s greatest tragedy. Micawber is painted as a sympathetic character, even as the author deplores his financial in ineptitude. In typical Dickens’s fashion, the major characters get some measure of what they deserve. Dan Peggotty safely transports Little Emily to a new life in Australia. Everybody involved finally security and happiness in their new lives in Australia. David first marries the beautiful but naïve Dora Spenlow, but she dies and David then does some soul-searching and eventually marries and finds true happiness with the sensible Agnes. Critically this novel is considered a novel of self-cultivation. The variety of scenes, humour, vivid characters are characteristic features of most novels. In "Bleak House" Dickens introduced people of high social rank; in "A Tale of Two Cities" he gave a historical romance inspired by the French Revolution; "Little Dorrit" is a satire of British government. Sometimes Dickens can be romantic or sentimental, stressing situations not natural but exaggerated. Nevertheless, it is the exaggeration that revealed the evils and helped to fight them and the rare knowledge of human soul that put Dickens into the rank of the founders of realism in world literature.

8.5. William Makepeace Thackeray (1811-1863)

Thackeray devoted himself mainly to the depiction of upper-middle-class life. He was born in Calcutta, India, where his father was in the British government. W. Thackeray got his education in Cambridge, traveled in Europe, studied law, art, and at length settled down to writing. His first sketches were published in "Frazer's Magazine" and "Punch", many of which notably "Yellowplush Papers" and the "Book of Snobs" didn't bring him immediate success and only "Vanity Fair" published in 1847-1848 put him into the rank of the greatest authors of the Victorian period. “Vanity Fair” is a social novel. Using satire the author exposes the vices of the aristocracy and the middle-class, their self-conceit, narrow-mindedness, the worship of money, and moral degradation. Sir. Crawly was a man who didn’t read, had rude manner and yet he had rank and power. The novel describes the characters and doesn’t center on the plot. There is no definite hero in the book. Thackeray thinks that there cannot be any society in the world ruled by the money. In the novel the lives of two girls with contrasting characters are presented. Becky Sharp is clever, gifted, pleasant to look at. She has a sense of humour and a deep understanding of human nature. Her aim in life is to push her way into high society at all costs. She believes neither in love nor in friendship. She gets married to Sir Crawly though she despises him because he has money. Flattery, cynicism and hypocrisy helped Becky to join high society but it didn’t make her happy. Amelia is honest, kind and admired by everybody. But she cannot understand the people who surround her. The characters are different but they are like puppets in a puppet show. “Henry Esmond” is set in England in the early 1700’s, a period that Thackeray loved. The book describes the loves and adventures of Esmond, who narrates the book. Henry is also only “part hero”. Although well meaning, he is given to pious moralizing, which sometimes makes him a most unheroic bore. “The Newcomes” (1853-1855) is the complex story of three generations of the Newcome family. Ethel New is one of Thackeray’s finest characters. She has gentleness and sympathy, but also intelligence and spirit. Thackeray’s later novels show the diminished energy of an author who was ill and tired. When Thackeray turned to the above mentioned historical themes he treated them with a realistic approach showing a remarkable knowledge of history. Thackeray disliked people who were unduly impressed by birth and rank. His skilful ridicule of snobs and hypocrites is even evident amid the broad humour of his early works. His realistic temperament enabled him to see and satirize in life. He once said of one of his characters that he “failed somehow in spite of a mediocrity which ought to have ensured any man a success”. Thackeray knew that rogues sometimes do well while the innocent suffer, and that virtuous people can be dull and rascals lively. Such ironic twists in his books were misunderstood by some people, who accused him of being cynical. Thackeray’s contribution into world literature is enormous. He developed the realistic traditions of Enlighteners and became the most prominent realist and satirist of the time. Some critics complained that Thackeray’s writings were sentimental. For example, he seemed to admire womanhood as an abstract ideal. When he wrote about young ladies who were gentle and affectionate but perhaps not very bright, he sometimes fell into a style of adoration. But his deep honesty made him show, at the same time, how these sentimental people were often stupid and dull. His critics often fail to see that Thackeray really hated cruelty and greed, and admired goodness and warm-heartedness.

8.6. George Eliot (1819-1880) (the pen name of Mary Ann Evans)

While Thackeray made a special point of character description, which was highly individualized, G. Eliot was interested in the souls of the people. She is best known for her studies of English rural, provincial life. Her novels include “Adam Bede”, “Mill of the Floss”, “Silas Marner”, and “Daniel Deronda”. G. Eliot is more interested in the study of her characters’ minds and souls and the consequences and meaning of their actions. She is a fatalist when remarking that “character is fate”; all tragedies are based on trivial incidents, not crimes and Eliot penetrates into the inner world of her characters in which we come across the problems of life and death. In her childhood she had favourable conditions to study various types of character from all classes of society. At an early age she was interested in German philosophy and later translated scholarly books. She became an agnostic which she remained the rest of her life. After traveling in Europe she came back to England, settled in London as editor of the Westminster Review and translated metaphysical books from German into English. Mary Ann made friends with George Henry Lewes, a man of high intellect, and was introduced to a circle of brilliant philosophers, Herbert Spencer among them. These connections stimulated her interest in individual and social problems. Mary Ann’s first short stories were devoted to poor country people and were published under the title “Scenes from Clerical Life”. “Pomola”, a historical novel set in Italy in the 15th century touches upon the lives of some real persons, like the priest Girolamo Savonarola. Her later novels are descriptions of country people and they speak of the tragic in commonplace life. These novels became popular. She was more modern in spirit than Dickens or Thackeray. The spirit was exhibited in her ethical, esthetical and philosophical sympathies. G. Eliot tried to convince the reader that nature’s laws are inexorable and every deed brings its own results and works toward either the salvation or ruin of man. G. Eliot novels deal with powerful tragedies of people who didn’t strictly attend upon their duty and didn’t find joy in self renunciation. Her characters become known more through study of their feelings, thoughts, dreams and purposes. But their most striking feature is their ability to grow. They are not ready made at the beginning of a story but change for the better or the worse.

8.7. Elizabeth Gaskell (1810-1865)

E. Gaskell was born in the outskirts of London in the family of a minister William Stevenson who later became a minor official in London. When she was a few months old her mother died and she was given to her aunt to live in Cheshire. E. Gaskell’s future was uncertain when she was growing, she had neither wealth nor permanent home. Much of her childhood she spent in Knutsford, Cheshire, a little town which she later described in her famous “Cranford”. The book has little in the way of plot and presents a series of episodes in the lives of Mary Smith and her friends: Miss Matty and Miss Deborah, two spinster sisters. The major event in the story is the return to Cranford of their lost brother Peter, which in itself is only a minor portion of the work, leaving the rest of the novel at a low key tone. After she married Gaskell, the family settled in Manchester, a big industrial city which became inspiration for her novels “North and South”, “Mary Barton”. She became popular for her ghost story writing, aided by her friend Ch. Dickens. Her ghost stories are quite distinct in style from her industrial fiction and belong to the Gothic fiction genre. In addition to her fiction, Gaskell wrote the first biography of Ch. Bronte. She called for tolerance upon the members of all religions and these values she tried to include into her works. In the “North and South” Margaret is “the churchwoman, her father is the Dissenter”. Gaskell often puts local dialect words into the voices of her characters. The circles in which the Gaskells moved included people of different social ranks from which she drew her characters. That’s why her novels offer a detailed portrait of the lives of many strata of society and make her books interesting for historians and readers. Gaskell died in 1865 at the age of 55. Though her writing reflects Victorian conventions Gaskell frames her stories as critiques of contemporary life and attitudes to women and presents complex narratives and dynamic female characters.

8.8. The Bronte sisters: Charlotte 1816-1855) and Emily (1818-1848)

Charlotte Bronte was born in a family of a poor clergyman. On the direction of her eccentric father the Bronte sisters and a brother were fed a vegetable diet to make them healthy but on the contrary they were growing small and feeble. After the death of their mother the girls were sent to a boarding school where the food was insufficient and poor and the children were mistreated. Most of this childhood experience was later modeled by Charlotte in her novel “Jane Eyre”. Two of the sisters died of fever and two returned home. Charlotte became a teacher at 19, then she took the position of a governess. She decided to establish a private school with her sisters Emily and Anne but finding it very difficult they gave up the idea and turned to literary work. As children the Bronte sisters had written many stories and were well prepared for their new endeavor. A volume of poems they issued met with little success. Then Charlotte wrote a novel “The Professor”, Emily “Wuthering Heights” and Anne “Agnes Grey”. While the two latter were published, Charlotte’s “The Professor” was rejected and not published until after her death. Yet Charlotte went on to write “Jane Eyre”. This time the book won immediate success. Now it is translated in almost all languages of the world. Jane Eyre is the story teller of the novel, which goes through different stages: Jane’s childhood when she is emotionally and physically abused; her life as the governess of Thornfield Hall where she falls in love with Mr. Rochester, the owner of estate; her life with the Rivers family, when her cousin St John Rivers makes a proposal of marriage to Jane and finally her reunion and marriage to Rochester. The novel abounds with social criticism, descriptions of dark, brooding details. Jane is shown as a character with a strong sense of right and wrong and high morality is the core of her nature. Ch. Bronte dedicated the novel to W.M. Thackeray who was of very high opinion about her work. Charlotte was writing her epic novel “Shirley” in the time of great grief for her sisters and brother died and according to her words the novel was real, cool and unromantic. She was welcomed into London’s literary society, met other contemporary authors like Thackeray and E. Gaskell. E. Gaskell wrote a biography about Charlotte and edited some of the works which were published posthumously. Emily Bronte in 1835 enrolled at Miss Wooler’s school where Charlotte was teaching, but she had to go back home when she became sick. For a few years she worked as a governess in Halifax, Yorkshire and then traveled in Europe with her sisters where they studied French, German and literature. Her most famous novel “Wuthering Heights” was praised by the critics as an original and innovative tragic romance. Emily died after her brother Brandell’s funeral having caught a cold. Emily Bronte introduced the reader to depth of contradictory passions and inner conflicts. Her realism along with mystic and supernatural, the energy of characters’ emotions were very unusual for the time. The name of the novel “Wuthering Heights” comes from the Yokshire manor on the moors. The narrative tells of the passionate love between Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw, which eventually destroys them and people around them. It was met with critical reviews because of the depiction of mental and physical cruelty. Mr Lockwood, a rich man from the south, rents a place in the north of England. His landrord, Mr Heathcliff, lives in the remote farmhouse called “Wuthering Heights”. The inhabitants of the farmhouse seem to be a very strange group. The manners of Mr Heathcliff are not gentlemanlike, the mistress of the house is rude and reserved and a young man, who turned out to be one of the family, talks and dresses like a servant. The main character is shown a room where there used to live a girl, Catherine. When he falls asleep, he sees her as a ghost. Next day he asks the housekeeper to tell him the story of the family. The story begins thirty years before when the Earnshaw family lived at Wuthering Heights. The father of the family adopts a gypsy boy and names him Heathcliff. The boy and Catherine become very friendly. When Catherine grows up she acts as a lady and laughs at Heathcliff’s unkempt appearance. Catherine plans to marry Edgar. Six months after the marriage Heathcliffs returns to the Wuthering Heights as a gentleman and falls in love with Isabella, Edgar’s sister. They elope, secretly get married and again return to Wuthering Heights. Heathcliff hears that Catherine is ill and giving birth to her daughter, Cathy, she dies. When Cathy grows up, Heathcliff wants his son to marry her. The novel is full of intricate incidents. In the end of the book Heathcliff sees visions of Catherine, refuses to eat and soon is found dead in his room. He is buried next to Catherine. Hariton, his son, and Cathy plan to marry. The novel became important for its remarkable power, restraint, nobility of feeling and phrasing. The Bronte sisters were buried in the family vault in Haworth, West Yorkshire.

8.9. Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)

Th. Hardy was born in Dorset. His mother was well-read and gave him home education. At the age of sixteen he became apprentice to a local architect. Hardy entered King’s College in London in 1862 and won prizes from the Royal Institute of British architects, but when he returned home he dedicated himself to writing. His first wife, Emma, died very soon after marriage and later he married his secretary, who helped him with his literary work. Hardy’s “Poems” explore the grief for the loss of Emma. Hardy’s religious life is controversial. On the one hand, he was fascinated by agnosticism and spiritism, on the other, he was strongly attracted to Christian Church rituals. Hardy’s first novel “The Poor Man and the Lady” failed and he destroyed the manuscript. His friend, Victorian poet and novelist George Meredith encouraged Hardy to go on writing. The following novels “Desperate Remedies”, “Under the Greenwood Tree”, “A Pair of Blue Eyes” were successful enough for Hardy to give up his architectural work for a literary career. During the next 25 years Hardy wrote ten more novels: “Far from the Madding Crowd”, “The Return of the Native”, “The Mayor of Casterbridge”, “The Woodlanders”, “Tess of the d’Urbevilles”, the last of which attracted criticism for his sympathetic portrayal of a “fallen woman”. Tess Durbeyfield is the hope of her poor family. She goes to work for a rich relative, Alec, who seduces her. Her child dies, it is not baptized and the vicar does not allow the child to be buried in the cemetery. Next summer she is engaged to Angel Clare, an agnostic son of a clergyman. On the wedding night she tells her husband of her past. Angel is disgusted though he is not a saint himself and leaves her. Tess returns home and works on the farm again. Alec, who became a preacher, abandons his career for her and she becomes his mistress for the sake of her poor family. She kills Alec and spends her “honey moon” with Angel who returns to her. Tess is arrested and hanged leaving Angel with her younger sister. Thomas Hardy writes that “justice was done by God and ended God’s sport with Tess”. This comment, on the fate of a poor girl’s life, made the middle class public furious. Hardy attacked not only social hypocrisy, double standards, the Church and the law of God, but seemed to approve adultery and murder. Hardy destroyed the conventional norms of morality of the Victorian age. He is master of visual description and symbolic manner of writing and a pure hearted murderer Tess is a symbolic figure of innocence. “Jude the Obscure” reflects the idea of life determined not by environment and society but by chance and casualty. A child hangs his brothers and then himself and in his note explains that he did it because they were too many. For these two last novels Hardy was heavily criticized for his attack on middle class morality and institution of marriage. Yet, the bulk of his work is the minute study of lives of people who lived in rural England undergoing the times of industrial revolution. Hardy’s characters are highly individualized and his novels bring to discussion problems of character and fate; they are tinged with tragedy of life which is not a matter of personal character but of external fate. Innocent people suffer and perish through a fate closely connected with nature. Nature to Hardy is not the source of truth, but it is impersonal and crushes the innocent as well as the guilty. Hardy’s poetry and prose had a great impact on the authors of the 20th century: D.H. Lawrence and Virginia Woolf.

8.10. Lewis Carroll (1832-1898)

The real name of Lewis Carroll is Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. He was born in Cheshire in the family of a clergyman. He kept family magazines, started to write a diary, amused his sisters and brothers with games and stories. At twelve Charles was sent away to a private school Rugby near Richmond. In 1851 he left for Oxford. Charles suffered from chronicle diseases but he is often described as hardworking and his brilliance as a mathematician allowed him to lecture in mathematics, a job he never enjoyed very much. He loved the theater and the arts in general and often spent his time in London. He loved literature and studied W. Shakespeare, J. Ruskin, Ch. Dickens and other romantic Victorian authors. Much of his time was taken by writing humorous short stories and poems to various magazines including “The Oxford Critic”, “The Comic Times” and “The Whitby Gazette”. The novel “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” (shortened “Alice in Wonderland”) was written in 1865. It tells the story of a girl named Alice who falls down a rabbit hole into a fantasy world populated by anthropomorphic creatures. The story plays with logic and the little heroine is portrayed as a strangely logical girl. The tale is considered to be the best example of literary nonsense genre, the structure of which was most influential in children’s literature of the 20th century. “Alice in Wonderland” has been popular with adults as well as children. Among the first readers were Queen Victoria and Oscar Wilde. For some time nonsense and absurdity in the book were regarded as mere entertainment, yet Carroll succeeded in conveying a variety of different themes from the advice to the young to the political commentary in the second story “Through the Looking Glass”. L. Carroll had a career of an Anglican Deacon and perhaps that’s why he tried to reveal his religious education and thoughts in his prose and poetry. The style of his works has a masterful sense of timing and there isn’t a dull moment for a reader who travels to Wonderland with Alice. Carroll’s mix of creativity, fantasy, pun, satire and wit gained him a high position in modern popular culture. He didn’t write only fiction, he wrote essays, political pamphlets, poetry (“Solitude”, “The Train”) and mathematical textbooks (“A Tangled Tale”, which comprises mathematical puzzles, poems and a story). His other works published at different times include: “Sylvie and Bruno”, “Sylvie and Bruno Concluded”, “Eight or Nine Wise Words about Letter Writing”. “Isa’s visit to Oxford”, “Rectory Umbrella” and “Mischmasch” were published posthumously.

8.11. Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894)

R.L. Stevenson was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. All his life he suffered from a lung disease that later developed into tuberculosis. As a child he loved the open air, the sea and adventure. His reading, especially books on Scottish history, supplied the background for his novels. R.L. Stevenson entered Edinburgh University to study engineering, gave it up, studied law, but later never practiced it. His real love was writing. The 19th century started with the Romantic movement represented by W. Scott and ended with the Romantic novels and poetry of Stevenson. Stevenson began publishing his stories and assays in the mid 70ies. His books “An Inland Voyage”, “Travels with a Donkey” relate his experiences during a trip in France and Belgium. In the “The Silverado Squatters” there is a description of the desolate mining camp in California where he traveled shortly after his marriage. The first novel that really made him famous was “Treasure Island”, first published in a boy’s magazine. The boy hero Jim Hawkins, the two villains Long John Silver and blind Pew and the exciting search for the buried treasure are familiar nowadays to millions of children and adults. With the publication of Stevenson’s second major novel “The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde” his fame was assured. The story tells of a doctor who takes a drug that changes him into a person ugly in appearance and evil in character. The book presents a psychological inquiry into the nature of evil and is one of the most fascinating horror stories. The long novel “Kidnapped” is based on considerable historical research, on a real murder. The first person narrator, David Balfour, begins the novel by introducing his journey from home after his parents’ death to the estate to find a villain, his uncle, who tries to kill him because David is the heir of the estate. David has to leave the place and encounters dangerous adventures. Very often he gets into breathtaking perils which he overcomes. David and his friend Alan handle all the thrilling predicaments and the reader is sure they would handle whatever is in store for them in the future. Stevenson ended the “Kidnapped” before the plot was completed. Later he finished the story with a sequel “David Balfour”. In the 19th century of realism and naturalism Stevenson preferred the trend of romance and adventure. “The Master of Ballantrue”, “The Wrong Box”, etc. “Island Night’s Entertainment” consists of three tales dealing with life in the South Pacific in Samoa where he stayed at the end of his life. Here he also wrote “Ebb Tide” and “Weir of Hermiston” which he still dictated a few hours before his death. Stevenson died at the height of his fame at the age of 44 leaving to the public a collection of 28 volumes containing poetry (the well-known “Child’s Garden of Verses”), novels, stories, essays (“Familiar Studies of Men and Books”), and letters. Stevenson’s later novels are less romantic and very bitter in tone, but whatever he wrote, was highly appraised by the critics as “art brought to a perfection”, a quality to use a word or phrase that lights a whole page with meaning. Stevenson insisted that novels have the function of literature to supply the adventure for people who lead unexciting lives, that’s why the readers have never lost their admiration for Stevenson.

8.12. Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)

R. Kipling, novelist, short story writer, poet is remembered now as the author who celebrated Victorian British imperialism and heroism of the British in the colonies. Though Kipling glorified the British empire in his poem “The White Man’s Burden” which was repelled by many readers he sounded less imperialistically minded in the later poem “The Recessional”. Born in Bombay, India, in the family of good cultural and artistic education he was sent to England at an early age. The separation from his family was a trying time for the boy of which he told afterwards in the story “Baa, Baa Black Sheep” and in the novel “Light that Failed”. In the first Kipling told about the tragic experience of two children who were separated from their parents and “Light that Failed” is a tragedy of an artist who becomes blind. When Kipling returned to India he started writing for British papers as a journalist. His first stories and poems gained him recognition in India. When Kipling returned back to England his work became so popular that he gave up journalism for writing. Before he turned thirty he had written “The Jungle Book”, “The Second Jungle Book”, “The Seven Seas”, “Captains Courageous” and some of his poetry (“Gunga Din”). R. Kipling became master of modern short story and his journalistic work helped him to acquire a concentrated style of vivid presentation. India gave him an opportunity to establish a literary trend with an amazing variety of subjects. In “The Jungle Book”, “The Second Jungle Book” Kipling accomplished his originality as a creative author. The little baby, Mowgli, crawls into the wolves’ cave running away from Shere Khan, the tiger, until he is ready to leave the jungle. The reader follows the story with the animals because they are depicted as real personalities (the chattering monkeys Bandar-logs, the kind and wise bear Baloo, the cunning panther, jackals) thinking through instincts. Kipling masterfully revealed brotherhood of Mowgli with the inhabitants of the jungle. The Law of the Jungles that Baloo teaches that no one kills for pleasure and obedience is the core principle of the jungle. “Just so stories” belongs to the best books written for children but enjoyed by adults as well. “Kim” is a story presenting a more vivid picture of India, of an orphaned son of a sergeant in an Irish regiment. A variety of scenes, characters and incidents is typical for all his stories. Nature remains the background for humans, there’s an abundant usage of metaphors serving to render a certain impression on the reader. His characters are definite, clear cut and do not evolve. He is interested in depicting strong men, hard work and battles presenting the interests and ideals of the true gentleman – obedient to the law, patriotic and courageous. In 1907 Kipling got a Nobel Prize for romanticism in the practical age of machinery, for the idealistic vision of common life and common virtues. Soon after his literary career began to decline. Kipling’s son was killed in the World War I and the last of his novels was dedicated to the history of his son’s regiment “The Irish Guards in the Great War”. Master of short story, the poet of imperialistic England Kipling has remained in English literature as an author whose originality in short story writing was not surpassed by his contemporaries and whose poems and ballads proclaimed the heroism of the Anglo-Saxon race.

8.13. Oscar Wilde (1856-1900)

Oscar Wilde was born in Dublin in a family of an Irish surgeon and educated at Dublin and Oxford universities. When a student he was greatly influenced by John Ruskin, Victorian social and artistic reformer, champion of the Pre-Raphaelite school of art. J. Ruskin was a powerful critic who aimed to free art from conventions and to direct people to nature for careful study of beautiful forms. O. Wilde joined the Aesthetic movement and became its leader. He proclaimed the motto “art for art’s sake”. In 1882 he made a tour to America lecturing on the concepts of beauty in art and literature. The basic idea of the new trend was that literature was an art and art was separated from morality. Artists’ and literary authors’ debate over the treatment of reality and beauty can be best presented by two points of view. Mathew Arnold’s point was that the task of an author or artist was “to see the object as in itself it really is”. Wilde argues that writers and artists should see the object as in itself it really is not. Art must be beautiful, not true. The author’s aesthetic views are disclosed in three essays of “Intentions” (The Decay of Lying, The Critic as an Artist and Pen, Pencil and Poison). The following ten years were very productive for writing. Wilde’s major works were published at this time: “The Happy Prince”, “A House of Pomegranates”, “Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime”, “The Picture of Dorian Gray”. “The Picture of Dorian Gray” is the only published novel (1890). The novel tells of a young man named Dorian Gray, the subject of a painting by artist Basil Hallward. Basil is impressed by Dorian’s beauty and becomes infatuated with him, believing his beauty is responsible for a new mode in his art. Dorian meets Lord Henry Wotton, a friend of Basil’s, and becomes enthralled by Lord Henry’s world view. Lord Henry suggests the only things worth perusing in life are the beauty and fulfillment of the senses. Realizing that one day his beauty will fade, Dorian expresses a desire to sell his soul to ensure the portrait Basil has painted would age rather than himself. Dorian’s wish is fulfilled, plunging him into debauched acts. The portrait serves as a reminder of the effect each act has upon his soul, with each sin displayed as a disfigurement of his form, or through a sign of aging. Oscar Wilde’s second distinction lies in his sparkling comedies, produced all over the world nowadays: “Lady Windermere’s Fan”, “A Woman of No Importance”, “An Ideal Husband”, “The Importance of Being Earnest”. Oscar Wilde also wrote poems, political and literary essays (“The Soul of Man under Socialism”, “Intentions”). Wilde’s splendid literary career and position in society collapsed when in 1895 he was imprisoned for immoral practices. Two years later he was released, but lived in France the rest of his life. Before his death he published his best known poem “The Ballad of Reading Jail (Gaol)”. His prose confession “De Profundis” (Out of the Depth) were published posthumously.

9. The Twentieth Century Modernism. Historical Background.

9.1. Historical background.
9.2. Thomas Sterne Eliot
9.3. William Butler Yeats
9.4. Joseph Conrad
9.5. Herbert George Wells
9.6. George Bernard Shaw
9.7. John Galsworthy
9.8. Agatha Christie
9.9. Graham Greene
9.10. Iris Murdoch
9.11. Muriel Spark
9.12. James Joyce
9.13. David Herbert Lawrence
9.14. John Boynton Priestly
9.15. Aldous Huxley
9.16. John Fowels
9.17. Arthur Evelyn Waugh
9.18. William Golding
9.19. George Orwell
9.20. William Somerset Maugham
9.21. John Ronald Reuel Tolkein
9.22. Kingsley Amis
9.23. Joanne Kathleen Rowling

9.1. Historical background

The 20th century very often was the time when the whole world faced the abyss that threatened the end of civilization. During the whole century all things were at risk, the old philosophers-oracles were displaced by new ones with new ideas in politics, economics, national spirit. The most important aspects of life that influenced the literary thought were the new trends in politics (liberalism and antifascism at the beginning of the century), skyrocketing development of business and science. Liberalism in politics meant the growing share of the people in government. It can be characterized by the respect for man, social good instead of class or dynastic interests. Both in Britain and America women got their equal political and social rights. The British colonial system collapsed with India obtaining independence and other dominions (Canada, New Zealand and Australia) were given complete autonomy. The influence of democratic ideals of government spread to other nations (Russia, Japan, China, Western Europe), developing their own constitutions. The writers of this period tried to show how a new society might be built up. But many bourgeois writers who were opposed to revolutions saw nothing but chaos and anarchy before them. They explained the crisis of the World War I as a failure of civilisation.

The writers of this period tried to show how a new society might be built up. But many bourgeois writers who were opposed to revolutions saw nothing but chaos and anarchy before them. They explained this crisis as a failure of civilisation.

The growth of cities, the opening of large scale industries designed not only for local markets but bringing together global economies, the electric power, the world wide means of transportation and communication have been revolutionized and changed the world and man. Nowadays the romance of business succeeds the romance of the crusades or chivalric adventures. Modern commercial development, social welfare made it possible to eliminate and prevent many diseases. The achievements of Louis Pasteur showed that the world of science knows no national borders. The life of L. Pasteur is an example of romance in science and the life of A. Carnegie is a symbol of romance in business. These fields of progress, international in scope were to bring nations together but despite the efforts to bring about a better life, a high standard of living, wars broke out throughout the centuries.

The economic crisis spread over the whole world in the beginning of the thirties. The Hunger March of the employed in 1933 was the most memorable event in Britain. The employed marched from Glasgow to London holding meetings in every town they passed. In Germany Hitler came to power in 1933. In 1936 the fascist mutiny of general Franco led to the Civil War in Spain. The struggle of the Spanish people was supported by the democratic and anti-fascist forces all over the world. An International Brigade was formed, which fought side by side with the Spanish People's Army against the common enemy – fascism. Many British intellectuals and workers joined the ranks of the International Brigade. Every one of them clearly realised that the struggle against fascism in Spain was at the same time a struggle for the freedom of their own country. The Second World War broke out in 1939. A new generation of realist writers, among them Richard Aldington, J.B. Priestley, A.J. Cronin and others appear on the literary scene. An important event in the literary life of the thirties was the formation of a group of Marxist writers, poets and critics. Their leader was Ralph Fox (1900-1937). He came from a middle class, was educated in Oxford University, but later broke away from his class. His ideas were formed by the Great October Socialist Revolution in Russia. In 1925 he joined the Communist Party. Being a journalist, historian and literary critic, Ralph Fox devoted all his activity to spreading Marxism and fighting the enemies of the British working class. When the Civil War in Spain broke out, Ralph Fox was one of the first to join the International Brigade. He was killed in action in January 1937. Ralph Fox's main work is his book “The novel and the people”, published posthumously in 1937. The aim of the author was to show the decline of bourgeois art, and the novel in particular, together with the decline of the middle class ideology in general. At the same time Ralph Fox sought to point out the way literature should develop in the future. Ralph Fox considers that the novel reached its highest point in England in the 18th century. This was a time when the bourgeoisie was a progressive class, therefore Fox concludes that the optimistic view of the world expressed in the novels by Fielding is the best manifestation of the epic quality of the novel. Man in the novels of the Enlightenment is treated as a person who acts, who faces up to life. The controversies of the economic competition, achievements of science, political systems, the infinitely varied life couldn’t but find the reflection in literature. Contemporary literature presents an enormous volume of writing and authors. By the beginning of the century not only British but American, Canadian, Australian authors contributed a great deal in the English literature. The translation of literary works of European, Russian, Asian, African authors also found large audiences among readers of fiction and criticism. The hope has been that through literature we may find a way to dispel in the world scope hatred and suspicion born of ignorance. Out of many contemporary writers it is hard to select a few, who hopefully will endure in the 21st century. Some of those who were widely read in the beginning of the century are rarely referred to as popular now, yet some of the authors who due to their art of penetration into human soul and social issues, due to their analysis of present life seem worth considering.

9.2. Thomas Sterne Eliot (1888-1965)

Thomas Sterne Eliot was born in the USA, lived in St. Louis for 18 years until he went to Harvard University. In 1910 Thomas Sterne Eliot went to Europe and obtained his master’s degree in Sorbonne. All these years he contributed poems to the Harvard Advocate. He settled in England in 1914, married and started on a teaching career. At this time he was greatly influenced by Ezra Pound, who assisted Eliot in the publication of his poems. In 1920 Eliot published a volume of “Poems” and a volume of criticism, “The Sacred Wood”. In 1922 appeared Eliot’s “The Waste Land” which is considered the most influential poem of the 20th century. T. Eliot is the most dominant author and critic in English literary world. “The Waste Land” was at first perceived as a jazzlike composition full of Eliot’s horror of life which was typical for the post war disillusioned generation. Written during a period of personal difficulties – his unhappy marriage to Vivien Haigh-Wood, disagreements with his family – the poem presents a gloomy picture of Europe after World War I. It’s full of despair, disgust and hints at the possibility of redemption. The poem has a good deal of symbolism suggested by the Grail legend, Greek legends of Adonis, Attis, Osiris. The poem consists of 5 parts: 1) The Burial of the Dead 2) A Game of Chess 3) The Fire Sermon 4) Death by the Water 5) What the Thunder Said
Eliot’s spokesman is a mild Jeremiah, a lonely prophet or pilgrim who wants to find spiritual perfection walking through a corrupt city across disoriented continent. Spring no longer is the season of renewal (“April is the cruelest month”). Eliot intensified interior monologues and organized them in a five-part structure, rendering the poem musical rhythm. “The Waste Land” is full of sordid and distracted images. Social disintegration is compared to wasteland. In his poems Eliot used innovations in poetic technique based on metaphysical philosophy and symbolism. The subject matter is the new ideas of disillusionment of the young people with the values and conventions of society. In 1927 Eliot became a British citizen and promoted many younger talented poets. The change of Eliot’s career came when he was offered to edit a highly literary journal “Criterion”. Like “The Waste Land” the journal became the centre of London writing and part of European culture. At the same time Eliot turned to the Anglican Church for religious support. His new faith is reflected in “The Hollow Men” (the chorus includes a fragment of the Lord’s Prayer and other expressions from the Bible), though many critics view the poem as a sequel to his famous poem. Eliot’s baptism into the Church of England within five years of his avant-garde success provoked a great shock in the literary and reading circles, especially when he published politically conservative essays under the title of “For Lancelot Andrews”. Eliot declared that he was a “classicist in literature, royalist in politics, and Anglo-catholic in religion”. These works included “Journey of the Magi”, “A Song of Simeon”, “Marina”, “Triumphal March”, “Ash Wednesday”. They display Eliot’s decision to exchange the symbolic, psychological lyric for a more traditional dramatic form. The later years of his life Eliot spent writing plays to reach a wider audience: “The Rock” (the history of Christianity), “Murder in the Cathedral” (a religious piece about the death of St. Thomas Becket, “The Family Reunion” (employs the well-known conventions of drawing room comedy with religious matters. Like “The Cocktail Party” it involves analogies with classical Greek dramas, “The Cocktail Party”, “The Confidential Clerk” (a blank verse comedy dealing with a financier’s clerk who is suspected being the businessman’s illegitimate son), “The Elder Statesman” are Eliot’s best known dramas. “The Four Quarters” is the last and one of the major works containing Eliot’s philosophical and spiritual meditation on temporality and eternity. His ideas we rendered through his essays: moral, political, psychological and theological themes and literary criticism as well. In 1939 Eliot published a book of poetry for children, “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats”, later the basis for the musical hit “Cats. Yet Eliot’s reputation as a poet was much greater than his theatrical or critical success. Aside from poems and drama Eliot is noted for critical essays and manuscripts: “Selected Essays”, “The Use of Poetry and the Use of Criticism”, “the Idea of a Christian Society”, “On Poetry and Poets”, “Notes Toward the Definition of Culture”, etc. Eliot remains a master of poetic syntax; he never repeated himself, spoke of the terrors of the inner life. In 1948 Eliot was awarded Nobel Prize in Literature and the British Order of Merit. The public admiration of T.S. Eliot is unequaled by any other poet of the 20th century.

9.3. William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)

W.B. Yeats was born in Sandymount, Ireland in an artistic upper class family. For some time the family lived in London, then moved back to Ireland. The family respected culture and art and much of Yeats education consisted in reading. Yeats got interested in mysticism and supernatural, Hinduism and the occult when he was still very young. Yeats pursued his own interests in literature and art and for two years he attended the Metropolian School of Art in Dublin. During this time his first poems were published in Dublin University Review. It is at this time when he met B. Shaw and O. Wilde. Yeats’s friend and patron, Lady Augusta Gregory involved him into “The Irish Literary Theatre”, founded in Dublin in 1899 and to this Irish National Theatre (as it was called later) Yeats contributed his drama “On Baile’s Strand”, “The Countess Cathleen”. At the age of 46 Yeats after an unrequited love experience finally met Georgie Hyde Lees. They were married in 1917 and had two children, Anne and Michael, to whom Yeats wrote “A Prayer for my Daughter” and “A Prayer for my Son”. All his life Yeats developed his interest in ancient philosophy, psychology, magic, eastern religions. These were the spheres he drew from for his symbolic poetry. Yeats’s political views were expressed in his support of the Irish national movement early in the 20th century. The poems of this period are full of such themes as Irish rebellion, Irish independence, Irish nature. His poetry of the early period is symbolic, lyrical, based on folk tales and legends. Very often they were focused on pastoral settings and escape from society. With the involvement in the “Irish Revival” Yeats’ poetry becomes more realistic. In later years came a third period, characterized by spiritual attitude to writing, mysticism and concept of cycles in history. The symbols of his poetry become dual: art and life, soul and body, objectivity and subjectivity. In his older age, when Yeats became a senator and turned to politics his verse acquired self-critical and ironical attitude to himself and his poetry. In his style Yeats did not experiment with free verse, he was master of traditional versification. Yet Yeats was a symbolist, in that he used allusive imagery and symbolic structures. He used the words so as to suggest abstract thoughts in addition to their particular meanings. “The Wanderings of Oisin and Other Poems” is an account of Oisin’s adventures based on Fionn cycle. Oisin spent 300 years in the other world, isles of Faerie, with Niamh. It is an epic poem in the form of a dialogue between the old Oisin and St Patrick (the saint who converted Ireland to Christianity). The princess Niamh fell in love with Oisin, they lived happily, hunting and dancing, until Oisin grew sad and then Niamh took him to another island where Oisin fought a demon and defeated him. Then the couple went to another island of giants who slept and they both slept with them for a hundred years. Finally Oisin wanted to return to Ireland to his people and Niamh warned him that he must not touch the ground and remain on horseback or he would never return to her. When in Ireland Oisin saw that all the people he knew had died and the country had abandoned its pagan beliefs for Christianity. Oisin bent down to help some men with a sack of sand fell to the ground and died at once, being over 300 years old. “The Wilde Swans at Coole”, part of the 1919 collection of poems, is one of the most touching confessions to the disillusionment of World War I and the Irish Civil War. Yeats had visited Lady Gregory’s Coole Park with swans and the memories of the beautiful serene nature contrasted sharply with the pain the poet felt afterwards. The swans become the symbols of the most essential in life – their hearts do not grow old. The poem is written in contrasted short and long sentences to enhance the emotions about the time when “all is changed”. The theme is developed in “Sailing to Byzantium” with the stress on the struggle to keep up the integrity of the soul by preserving “deep heart’s core” despite painful memories and physical weakness. “The Second Coming”, one of a later Yeats’s most famous poems, doesn’t seem to refer to Christ’s second coming. The beginning of the poem describes anarchy and chaos, then the reader sees “a rough beast” and a monstrous second coming is to take place, the coming of a new messiah. The poem may reflect Yeats’s theory of cycles in history, spirals within historical periods representing psychological phases of man’s development. The conflict between the ancient and modern worlds and mystic forces making history render the poem a powerful enough effect to be an anthologized work for students. Yeats drew on mythology from which arose the symbolism of the early period, which is not always easy to understand with the dominant images of the sun, the moon, cave, eagle, sea gulls, hawk, blind and lame men, unicorn and phoenix, horse, Troy, the Tower, Leda and the Swan. In later years Yeats in his “The Circus Animals’ Desertion” looks back at his life, his work, the vanities and illusions as a broken man. He thinks of his former poems as his “circus animals” that have been on a circus show with him all his life and now when he lost his abilities of a poet, they abandoned him. The themes of Yeats’s poems present a great variety of :circus animals”: death and old age, chaos and change, immortality, emotions and reasons, the ideal and the real, time and beauty, disgust at insincere nationalism, criticism of political fanatism, disillusionment at materialism, hedonism, anger at the inhumanity of political ideologies. The glorious series of poems, plays and essays won Yeats the status of Irish national hero of the post colonial period and introduced into the literary thought a new trend of symbolism. Critics say Yeats was the last of the romantic poets and the first modernist of the 20th century. For his contribution into world literature Yeats received the Nobel Prize in 1923. In spite of his various illnesses Yeats wrote poetry until at the age of the 73 he died in France. He wished to be buried there, yet in 1948 he was reburied in Sligo, Ireland. The epitaph on his gravestone says: “Cast a cold Eye, on Life, on Death. Horseman, pass by!”

9.4. Joseph Conrad (1857-1924)

Joseph Conrad was born in the Ukraine. The son of a Polish landlord he became the victim of the conflict between Russia and Poland, his father had to emigrate and Joseph at the age of seventeen went to sea, served as a sailor for twenty years before he became a British subject. His first novel “Almayer’s Folly” appeared in 1895 and since that time he lived in London writing his remarkable novels: “The Nigger of the Narcissus”, “Lord Jim”, “Youth”, “Nostromo”, “Under Western Eyes”, “Chance”, “Victory”, “The Arrow of Gold” and others. “Heart of Darkness”, published in 1902, tells of Charles Marlow, an Englishman who worked as a ferry boat captain in Africa. The theme of the novel is the dark side of European colonization in Africa and shown thrown three dark sides: the first one deals with the darkness of the Congo wilderness, then the author explores the dark side of every man committing evil and the third is the dark, cruel treatment of the natives. The story is symbolic and written in a frame narrative (the story within a story). The narrator, Marlow, describes to his friends his journey to Africa. Marlow wants to repair his sunk steamer and waits for several months for the parts to fix it. He hears that very often people mention a man, named Kurtz, who is an ivory collector, a musician, a journalist and a skilled painter. Now Kurtz is sick and it makes the delay in repairing the ship longer and costly. Marlow decides to send a few agents and a crew of natives on a voyage up the river. On their way they find a hut and a note saying they could use the wood. When the ship goes further it is suddenly surrounded by fog and is attacked by a band of natives. One of the crew it killed. When the crew comes to Kurtz’s place they find out that Kurtz had made friends with the natives and raided the territory in search of ivory. What Marlow finds out about Kurtz’s character disappoints him. Marlow believes that Kurtz’s reflection on the events of his life in Africa is expressed through the words that Kurtz whispers before dying “The horror! The horror!” The main idea the author tries to put for discussion is whether we always know which is moral and which is not. Morality is presented very ambiguously and what is considered as “light” is darkness. The dark continent of Africa and its people are compared to the savage Britons when the “civilized” Romans conquered them. Kurtz is the embodiment of all what is civilized and human and he thinks the whites should be humanizing, improving and instructing the natives at the same time it happens that colonists abuse the natives, deny them language and culture. The symbol of the dark expands on the struggle between good and evil between people and within every character’s soul. “Nostromo”, published in 1904, is a story of politics, a revolution in a South American republic. The idea of the story is the corruption of the characters who want to get wealthy on the silver, which is the main source of the republic’s wealth. Some characters are greedy, others are idealists who want reforms and justice. Yet they all are brought to hatred and disgust at themselves. The Italian Nostromo (our man) gets ruined by his own greed for silver. Nostromo is a commanding figure respected by the wealthy Europeans but he is not admitted to their circle, they use him as a tool. Nostromo is believed to be incorruptible, so he is entrusted to remove the treasure from the silver mine to keep it from revolutionaries. However, the silver is “lost” but Nostromo still remains famous and influential while he defends and saves the leaders from the revolutionaries, then he thinks he is only used. He resents the fact that people look down on him and decides to have the “lost” silver for himself. When he comes up to the place where the treasure is hidden he is killed by chance, as this future father-in-law mistakes him for a trespasser. Conrad also published several volumes of short stories. His characters are different racial types and the scenes are laid in the whole world. In “Victory” the scene is the South Pacific island, the hero is a Swede, the hotel keeper a German, Lena is English and the villain Jones comes from Hades. He describes the lives of the Dutch in a Malaysian village. All his novels are a brilliant study of national traits. Conrad’s chief purpose is to make one see the people drawn from his own experience and the reader is sure to understand not only the traits of race but the common nature above all national variations. In Conrad’s novels there is always a blending of individual and universal in dreams, sorrows and joys. To realize this purpose Conrad developed a new technique. He rejects the older methods of exposition – his characters tell the story for him. The stories are not told in straightforward fashion; they show the characters in many lights and the reader gets impressions that finally present a distinct portrait of a real person. Conrad also links realistic with poetic sensitivity, appealing to emotions and to the reader’s interpretation of the world we live in. The people belonging to different races are bound together with the only aim expressed by his own words “to link the dead to the living and the living to the unborn”.

9.5. Herbert George Wells (1866-1946)

The works of H.G. Wells include novels, stories and journalistic prose (pamphlets, tracts). Wells doesn’t concentrate on certain themes, he writes on every subject known to man. His gift for popularizing difficult subjects is best demonstrated in his nonfiction works: “The Outline of History”, “A Short History of the World”, “The Happiness of Mankind”; “The Science of Life” with his son and biologist Thomas Henry Huxley and his teacher as prototypes. H.G. Wells is known as a bright novelist who contributed to the creation of a new type of novel – science fiction. Wells was born in Kent in the family of a shopkeeper and educated at the Royal College of Science, London University, having won a scholarship. After graduation he worked as a teacher and journalist. Wells joined the socialist Fabian society in 1903 and remained a non-Marxist socialist and reformer till his death. He has remained a most prolific and popular author till now. Wells best scientific romances established him as the founder of the modern school of science fiction. His “The Time Machine” deals with the voyage of a scientist into the world of the future; in “The War of the Worlds” he depicts the Martian invasion of the Earth. The plots of “The Stolen Bacillus”, “The Invisible Man”, “Tales of Space and Time”, “The First Men on the Moon” are imaginary but are written in quite realistic detail. The second group of novels is realistic novels dealing with small shopkeepers, clerks, common “little men” known to him very well. He is master of warm sympathy to his characters and displays keen insight into their problems. Wells satirizes the wealthy and callous business owners. In his well known work “Mr Britling Sees It Through” he speaks of the negative attitudes of a common Englishman towards World War I. Post War novels reflect his optimistic belief of a possibility to built up a new good world based on scientific planning (“The World of William Clissold”, “Discovery of the Future”, “The Future in America”). In “Kipps: The Story of a Single Soul” he presents the satire on pretense and hypocrisy of society and its indifference to human needs. Wells has little sentiment and prefers actual facts which correspond to modern sociology. Yet the major idea that runs through all his works is the relation of science to modern life. In “When the Sleeper Wakes”, “The War in the Air”, “The World Set Free” Wells anticipated scientific achievements which are now familiar to all. He holds that science is the basis for social reforms, his imagination became a stimulus to the intellectual life for people all over the world. During his last years H. Wells lost his optimism as to the future of human race and in “Mind at the End of Its Tether” published in 1945 he predicts a gloomy extinction of man.

9.6. George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)

G.B. Shaw was born in Dublin. At the age of 20 he moved to London and became a journalist. Shaw’s education consisted in studying music, reading and visiting art museums. In London he joined the Fabian Society, wrote art and musical criticism for newspapers (the “Pall Mall Gazette”, the “World”, the “Saturday Review”) and became a famous dramatic critic. His drama reviews were a success, because he didn’t merely say commonplace, conventional things, but aimed at enlightening the public. By the end of the century G.B. Shaw captured attention as a genius who, by means of literary weapon, laid bare the social evils of the time. As the most active member of the Socialist Fabian Society, he wrote propagandist essays: “The Impossibilities of Anarchism”, “Socialism for Millionaires”, “The Common Sense of Municipal Training”, “Fabianism and the Empire”. G.B. Shaw’s first success as a playwright was won with “Arms and the Man” (1894). The scene is laid in Bulgaria and its purpose was to ridicule romantic ideas of military glory. “Candida”, his second play is known by the beauty of the heroine and witty, clever dialogue. The dramatic action is within the mental states of the three chief actors and their absorbing and entertaining conversation. “Caesar and Cleopatra” is a “modernized” classical play, the actors speak colloquial English, the heroine is a young girl and Julius Caesar is an elderly man tired of war. Caesar likes to give good advice and promises to send to her Mark Antony. “Androcles and the Lion” and “Pygmalion” are based on ancient Greek myths but they are presented in modern unconventional forms. “Pygmalion” has had a long run ever since in the theatres of the whole world. The play tells the story of a London low class flower girl, who takes a course of correct standard pronunciation to be passed for a lady in high society. Among his best dramas there are also “You Never Can Tell”, “The Man of Destiny”, “Three Plays for Puritans”, “Widowers’ Houses”. George Bernard Shaw hates all romantic emotions and sentimentalism, which he ridicules with a satiric wit. But there is an exceptionally moving play among the satirical ones. “Saint Joan” was first staged in America in 1923 and published in 1924. It differs from all other Shaw’s plays in the sympathy with the story of Joan of Arc. The author does not make Joan mystic when she “hears” voices, he attributes the facts to her being a “visualizer”. It is her imagination that turns her ideas into definite sounds and words. She has her common sense that helps her to lead the French people in the moment of crisis. She failed in her struggle not because she made a mistake, or was not courageous enough. The tragedy happened because those who controlled the world didn’t believe her sincerity. The tragic fate of the Maid of Arc, who took part in the struggle is opposed to the silly, military commanders and churchmen. The latter understand that they were wrong but cannot admit it and when Joan asks “Would you have me alive again”, they answer, “Not for the world”. Idealistic romantics are respected but not followed. Shaw was awarded the Noble Prize for literature in 1925. Some of his works were published posthumously: “Buoyant Billions”, “Farfetched Fables”, “Shakespeare vs Shaw”, “Advice to a Young Critic and Other Letters”.

9.7. John Galsworthy (1867-1933)

J. Galsworthy was born into a family of a solicitor. He was educated at a famous public school at Harrow and at Oxford, where he studied law and often traveled abroad. In his first book Galsworthy tried to introduce foreign characters mingled with middle class English people. Galsworthy’s first book “The Island Pharisees” was a satire on English hypocrisy. J. Galsworthy’s success came with the novel “The Man of Property” published in 1906. It began a sequel of other novels: “In Chancery”, “To Let”; a trilogy “A Modern Comedy” (“The White Monkey”, “The Silver Spoon”, “Swan Song”). All these novels are called “The Forsyte Saga”. “The Man of Property” is the story of Soames Forsyte and his family. The Forsytes are the business men, commercial people, “the pillars of society”, “the corner-stones” of convention. A Forsyte can never give himself up to anything soul and body. “The Forsyte Saga” presents a vivid picture of English life from the Victorian conservatism to the disaster brought about by World War I. Galsworthy’s criticism of English life is the tyranny he sees in the family, property and conventional, traditional thinking. The style of Galsworthy’s novels is not colloquial, but it is made clear to the reader through the structure of sentences, compact and concrete; the chapters have the effect of scenes from a play. The proper name Forsyte became a name, denoting typical self made people, proud of the thrift, hard working, with strict moral principles, sure of their success, in a word – the powerful middle class. The last trilogy of “The Forsyte Saga” shows the steady decline of this class. Besides the novels Galsworthy was master of contemporary drama and essay. The dramas discuss social inequality. J. Galsworthy as playwright uses the subject matters he knew very well: law, justice, prisons, and discords between different classes of society. The poor man is more often punished than a rich man (“The Silver Box”, “Strife”, “The Eldest Son”). In “Justice” a young man gets into prison and instead of reforming himself gets to a lower depth. Galsworthy’s gloomy world in drama leaves no hope for people except for those few who dedicate their lives to spur the society to reform. In 1932 J. Galsworthy was awarded the Noble Prize for literature. He worked in the best novelistic traditions and believed that the gradual changes in society were altering not only the English empire but character, moral values and lives of people.

9.8. Agatha Christie (1891-1976)

Agatha Christie has become one of the most popular and prolific of all English detective novelists by the skilful complexity of her plots. She refined and left a lasting imprint on the detective formula. Agatha Christie is famous for a description and display of crime unmasked by perceptive and relentless logic. Agatha grew up in an English seaside village. Her American father’s fortune dwindled steadily, and his death, when Agatha was eleven, left family finances more unsteady. She married Archie Christie, a dashing aviator with few expectations of living through World War I. But by the time “The Mysterious Affair at Styles” appeared in print, the war was over and Agatha had a daughter and a husband. In 1926 she published “The Murder of Roger Ackroyd”, which caused a stir because it broke the rules of detective fiction. In December Agatha left her husband and child and disappeared for ten days. Two years after the divorce she met Max Mallowan, an archaeologist. They lived happily ever after. Agatha Christie's novel “The Murder of Roger Ackroyd” is considered to be one of her best works. This novel brought the author success and fame thanks to its most original concept, non-traditional for detective novels. Roger Ackroyd, a rich and respected man, was going to marry Mrs. Ferrars, a widow. But a short time before their marriage Mrs. Ferrars committed suicide living a letter with Dr. Sheppard, the local doctor, but the conversation did not take place. Soon after coming back home Dr. Sheppard was informed by a telephone call that Roger Ackroyd had been found murdered. The whole story is narrated by Dr. Sheppard. Christie’s stories were ingenious. She intentionally offered stereotypes instead of rounded characters and grew annoyed when Poirot, her Belgian detective, began to assume a life of his own in the popular imagination. Agatha Christie's best-known works are: “The Mysterious Affair at Styles”, “The ABC Murders”, “Crooked House”, “Murder in the Calais Coach”, “The Seven Dials Mystery” and others. Agatha Christie is one of the best known and most widely-read writers of all times. Her books have delighted readers over for a century. She is the most widely-translated British author in the world.

9.9. Henry Graham Greene (1904-1991)

G. Greene was born in Hertfordshire in the family of the headmaster of a local school. In 1922-1926 he went to Balliol College in Oxford. On graduating he worked for newspapers at the same time trying to establish himself as a novelist with his first novels “The Man Within” and “Stambul Train”. Greene called “Stambul Train” and other novels “entertainments” though nowadays they are called thrillers. The themes of betrayal, pursuit and death were developed in other novels of mystery and suspense (“The Ministry of Fear”, “Loser Takes All”). When Greene was still young he began to write poetry. Ezra Pound and Gertrude Stein, as he says, became his teachers. He became a member of the Communist Party. Though he later abandoned his Communist beliefs he sympathized with such Communist leaders as Fidel Castro and Ho Chi Minh: “Our Man in Havana”, “The Quiet American”. Greene’s literary reputation is based on problematic novels as well in which he explored the interplay between abnormal behaviour and morality (“The Confidential Agent”, “The Power and the Glory”). At the age of twenty-two he became sub-editor on the staff of a newspaper “The Nottingham Guardian”. It was during this period that his first novel, “The Man Within”, was written. During World War II Greene spent some years in Africa. In 1944 he wrote for an anti-fascist journal which was illegally published in France. Graham Greene is one of the most outstanding novelists of modern English literature. He is talented and sincere, but at the same time his world outlook is characterised by sharp contradictions. Greene's novels deal with real life burning problems. His observations are concentrated on the actual details of poverty and misery. The author penetrates into weak spots in the capitalist world, does not try to find out the reasons for the evil he sees. Social conditions are shown only as a background to his novels. Neither does he try to comprehend the causes of spiritual crises experienced by his contemporaries. Decadent motives are to be found in his novels, though he does not lead the reader away from reality into the world of dreams and fantasy, and in most of novels he reveals the truth of life. “The Quiet American” draws on Greene’s experiences as a British Intelligence Service officer in Sierra Leone during World War II. From 1951 to 1954 Greene was reporting on the French colonial war. Thomas Fowler, the main character, is a British journalist. He meets a young American Alden Pyle, whom Fowler thinks naïve and romantic. The two men sometimes meet at a Saigon hotel. Phuong, the most beautiful girl in Saigon, is pressed by her sister to marry some rich American. She has to choose between both men, Fowler and Pyle, who are in love with her. Fowler asks his wife for a divorce. Fowler investigates Pyle’s activities and finds out that Pyle imports weapons into Vietnam from the USA. Pyle tells Fowler that Phuong and he are going to get married. Soon there happens a great explosion in the centre of Saigon and many innocent people are killed. Fowler understands that Pyle is involved in the bombing and decides to eliminate him. The murder of Pyle is investigated but the police cannot prove that Fowler is behind it. Phuong goes back to Fowler and he receives a telegram from his wife who agrees to start divorce. The character of Pyle as the “Quiet American” is intellectual and idealistic. A graduate of Harvard University he studied different theories of society and government but thinks that neither Communism nor capitalism is good for Vietnam. A “Third Force”, a combination of the country’s traditions, he thinks, must work best. His novels “The Heart of the Matter”, “A Burn-Out Case”, “The Comedians” and many others reject the dogmas of Catholicism, and his talented realistic descriptions are convincing. In “The Heart of the Matter”, a true Catholic, Scobie, commits suicide when he becomes aware of the fact that the church cannot free people from suffering. For this idea the novel was condemned by the Vatican. “The Heart of the Matter” deals with Catholicism and moral change of the main character, major Henry Scobie, a police officer who is responsible for security in a British colonial town in the West of Africa during World War II. His wife, Louise, is a quiet woman who loves literature. Scobie does not love his wife. He converted to Catholicism for her sake, though his faith is superficial. Wilson, a new police inspector, comes to the town and becomes friends with Louise. Scobie finds out that some ships smuggle diamonds. The Captain of a Portuguese ship offers Scobie a bribe which the latter declines. A little later when Scobie’s wife is contemplating suicide, he accepts a loan of money from a local black marketer whom Scobie suspects involved in the suicide of the previous police inspector. Scobie sends his wife to South America. A young woman, Helen Rolt, survives a shipwreck and gets to the shore in a lifeboat. Scobie starts a passionate love affair with her and writes her a love letter, which gets into the hands of the marketer and becomes the object of blackmail. Scobie has to neglect his professional duties and to send a package of diamonds, avoiding the customs duties. Unexpectedly Louise returns and Scobie tries to conceal his love affair with Helen and even goes to church with Louise and receives communion in “mortal sin” (adultery), which is one of the gravest sins for a Catholic. Shortly after Scobie’s servant Ali is killed by the smugglers but Scobie blames himself for the accident as he sees the image of God in the body of his servant. Scobie in a desperate state of mind commits suicide. The theme of failure and the price we pay for our individualism, inability to understand another person as well as the conflicts between the individual and the state, the individual and the church run throughout the novel. All characters pursue their purposes which they think are clear to others but which in fact are not. Greene sets a dispute whether a violation of the laws of faith is justified by an individual sense of duty and which duty is more important: personal, sociological or theological. Greene is known as the author of two genres – psychological detective novels or 'entertainments', and 'serious novels', as he called them. The main themes of both genres are much the same (the problem of 'the dark man', deep concern for the fate of the common people). But in the 'serious novels' the inner world of the characters is more complex and the psychological analysis becomes deeper. Greene's works are marked by disillusion, scepticism and despair. The real nature of Greene's pessimism rests upon a deeply-rooted sympathy for mankind, a sympathy not to be found in the modernists. Greene, like the modernists deals with the problem of crime. Unlike the modernists, who are mostly interested in the description of the crime itself, Greene investigates the motives behind the crime. He gives a deep psychological analysis of his criminals by investigating the causes that led to murder. Greene wants to make the reader sympathise with people who don't seem to deserve sympathy. The author tries to prove that a criminal may possess human qualities. He shows the corrupting influence of civilisation on human nature, and tries to prove that many of the bad qualities in a person are the natural result of cruel, inhuman conditions of life.

9.10. Iris Murdoch (1919-1999)

Jean Iris Murdoch was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1919. Her father was a farmer, and was Iris was still very young he came to work in the Civil Service in London. In Oxford Murdoch studied classics, history and philosophy. She also took philosophy as a postgraduate at Cambridge. Then for many years Murdoch was teaching philosophy at Oxford. She started her writing career with publishing essays on philosophy and the monograph study of Jean-Paul Sartre in English. In 1956 Murdoch married John Bayley, a professor of English and a novelist. By 1995 Murdoch wrote over 25 novels and other works on philosophy and plays. Iris Murdoc wrote novels, drama, phylosophical criticism, critical theory, poetry, a short story, a pamphlet, and a libretto for an opera based on her play “The Servants and the Snow”, but she is best known and the most successful as a philosopher and a novelist. Although she claimes not to be a phylosophical novelist and does not want philosophy to intrude too openly into her novels, she is a Platonist whose aesthetics and view of man and iextricable moral phylosophy, aesthetics, and characterization are evident in her novels. In her philosophical views she was influenced by S. Weil and Plato in the idea that moral life is a journey from illusion to reality. In her works Murdoch emphasizes the significance of the “inner” world of persons, resulting in their actions. She follows in her writings the ideas and manner of Dostoevsky, Tolstoy and George Eliot. Iris Murdoch joined the Communist party, her critics say, for religious reasons and for the same reasons she left it. She did not display a set of political views and some biographers assumed that she could, for example, be sympathetic with the Irish nationalist cause but angrily object to terroristic methods of IRA. Murdoch began to write prose in 1953. She soon became very popular with the English readers. All her novels “Under the Net”, “The Flight from the Enchanter”, “The Sandcastle”, “The Unicorn”, “The Red and the Green”, “The Time of Angels”, “An Accidental Man”, “The Black Prince”, and many others are characterized by the deep interest in phylosophycal problems and in the inner world of man. Iris Murdoch shows the loneliness and sufferings of the human being in the hostile world. Early influences on her work include French writers and philosophers including Jean-Paul Sartre, Samuel Beckett. Her first novel “Under the Net” is a tale set in London and Paris. Jake Donaghue, a beginning writer, arrives in London from France to find out that he has to leave the house of his distant relative, Madge. Madge tells Jake that she is going to live with the bookmaker, Sammy Starfield. Jake decides to turn to his old friend, Dave Gellman, where a political meeting is being held. Another friend, Finn, suggests that Jake should ask Anna Quentin for help. Anna used to be Jake’s love before but when he comes to see her she sends him to her sister, Sadie, a film star. Sadie is hiding from Hugo Belfounder, who owns a film studio. Hugo is a former friend of Jake’s. All the numerous characters get into intricate and awkward situations only because they do not try to understand each other and what their friends really need. Murdoch mentions foreign authors, books with the widely discussed things, but what is written in those books is only theory. In real life the characters don’t get close enough to understand each other and “crawl under the net”. In the end of the novel the reader and Jake reveal the real relationships between them which are quite contrary to what they said to each other. In 2005 this novel for the intricacy of the plot and psychological penetration into the nature of human souls was chosen as one of the one hundred best English novels. Murdoch’s novels are not written in the manner of existentialism, for she does not believe that existentialism reflects man's inner life. Her Jake Donaghue of this novel is akin to Amis's Jim Dixon in that he maintains his own kind of somewhat dubious integrity and tries to make his way without forsaking his dignity, and increasingly difficult accomplishment in a world which offers devilish rewards for loss of integrity and dignity. Jake is an angry middle-aged man who mocks society and its respectability. He moves playfully around law and order; he does small things on the sly- swims in the Thames at night, steals the performing dog, sneaks in and out of locked apartments, steals food. He leads a pure existence in which he remains "pure" even while carrying on his adolescent activities. The dangers of this type of hero are apparent, for when the humour begins to run low, the entire piece becomes childish. In her first novel as well as in “The Flight from the Enchanter” and “The Bell” Miss Murdoch was unable to sustain the humour, and the novels frequently decline into triviality. “The Flight from the Enchanter” is a curious mixture of the frivolous and serious. The characters are keyed low for the comic passages but too low to permit any rise when the situation evidently demands it. Murdoch’s novels are filled with dark humour, intricate plots. She often included homosexual characters in her fiction: “The Bell”, “A Fairy Honourable Defeat”, etc. Very often the behaviour of her characters is ambiguous. She makes use of misleading symbolism mixed with fantasy. For example, “The Unicon” is a bright parody of a Gothic romantic type of novel written in modernistic manner. “The Sandcastle”, published in 1957, is widely read now. The main character, Bill Mor, is a teacher of History and Latin. He is married and has two children. He is thinking of a political career. All are happy in the family until at his friends’ dinner he gets acquainted with a young painter, Rain Carter, who came to paint a portrait of Demoyte, former school principal. Mor and Rain began a passionate love affair. Mor loved Rain but at the same time he wanted to save his family. Nan, his wise wife, on finding out about her husband’s affair, doesn’t hurry to ruin the family. She wants to believe that Bill and Rain are not lovers. Mor’s son, Donald, gets into trouble and runs away from home. His father saves him. Nan goes on keeping up the public image of a happy family, so Rain finally decides to return to Paris not to ruin Mor’s career, and Nan keeps her family and has both her husband and son with her. “The Black Prince” (1973) differs from early Murdoch’s works by its narrative that consists of a central story with many forewords, post-scripts, shifts in narration. The main character is a middle aged author, Bradley Pearson, who falls in love with the daughter of a friend, also a writer, Arnold Baffin. For years they had been very close. Arnold telephones Bradley to tell him he has killed his wife Rachel in a row. Bradley is working at a book when it seems to him that his family, colleges, friends prevent him from his process of creating his masterpiece. And it is at this time when he loses self control, steals Arnold’s daughter, Julian, forgetting all the troubles at his home. His sick with depression sister commits suicide. Bradely neglects his duties until the enraged Arnold arrives to take away his daughter. He leaves without her but in Bradley’s mind she disappears and is hidden somewhere against her will. The narration again brings the reader to an incident close to the opening one, only now it’s Rachel who kills Arnold. Bradley is arrested, tried and convicted for Arnold’s murder. The allusion to Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the Trend’s theory influence can be identified throughout the novel. The theme of Bradley’s homosexuality is underlined by sexual references in the text, for example, he could make love to Julian only when she dressed herself as Hamlet. There is no clear identification of the names Julian and Christian with whom Bradley is intimate. On the whole the novel is a study of erotic obsession and the text itself suggests multiple interpretations. Many of her works have been made into screen versions: “An Unofficial Rose”, “The Bell”, “A Severed Head”. I. Murdoch was awarded the Order of the British Empire in 1987.

9.11. Muriel Spark (1918-2006)

Muriel Sarah Camberg was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. She was the daughter of Jewish father, engineer Bernard Camberg, and an English woman Sarah Camberg. Muriel started writing poetry at the age of 12 at James Gillespie’s High School for Girls. The school served as a model for “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie”. Her poems regularly appeared in the school magazines. After taking a short course at Heriot-Watt college she worked as a secretary and in 1937 Muriel went to Africa. She married S.O. Spark. Her marriage was not happy and at the end of World War II she returned to England. In London Muriel Spark worked as a journalist and soon got the post of editor of the “Poetry Review”. She was encouraged to write seriously by Graham Green. Her short stories were her first success and she took the first prize in the short story competition in 1951. Her first collection of poems “The Fanfarlo and other Verse” was published in 1953. Her reading research resulted in articles and books of criticism. In 1954 another turning point in her life followed – she joined the Roman Catholic Church. The first novel “The Comforters” was published in 1957 which was quickly followed by quite a number of others: “Memento Mori”, “The Bachelors”, “The Ballad of Peckham Rye”, “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie”. M. Spark moved to the USA early in the 1960s. She was welcomed there by such American authors as Salinger, Updike, Nabokov. Two more novels followed: “The Girls of Slender Means” with the World War II theme and “The Mandelbaum Gate” that won the prize. At the peak of her fame Spark moved to Italy. The novels she wrote in Rome “The Driver’s Seat” and “The Hothouse by the East River”, “The Abbess of Crewe” shocked the public. These novels were skillful satires. During her life Muriel received numerous awards, honorary degrees, including the Order of the British Empire (1993). M. Spark’s novels present a blend of realism, satire and allegory. “The Prime of Miss Brodie”, published in 1961, brought Spark international fame. It is included into the one hundred best English novels. The plot is not made in chronological order. Miss Brodie wants the girls in her school to get a classical Latin education; she is intent to dedicate the prime of her life to their artistic development. However, one of the girls betrays Miss Brodie and the latter loses her job of a teacher. Miss Brodie, Mr Lowther, the singing teacher, and Mr Lloyd, a married man with six children form a love triangle. Jean Brodie thinks she is God; she drew some of the chosen girls to herself to give them salvation. Yet, she is a hypocrite in worship but she acts as if she has right to pass morality to others. Sandy, her favourite, at first starts an affair with Mr Lloyd. He fascinates her with his abilities of an artist and his Roman Catholic religion. She wants to put an end to Miss Brodie by making other girls accuse Miss Brodie of fascism. Only when she is dying, Miss Brodie knows that it was her favourite Sandy who betrayed her. And the confidante Sandy becomes Sister Helena at a convent without any scruples of having killed her teacher. “It’s only possible to betray where loyalty is due”, she says Miss Brodie. The technique of building up the plot is innovative – there is no time. She uses flash-forwards in the description of the events. The entire plot seems to be related all at once. Her characters are complex and real in their human imperfections. “The Public Image” is the novel about a famous film actress Annabel Christopher. The action is set in Rome. To keep her career Annabel successfully manages to conceal her lack of talent. Her husband Frederick hates his wife’s pretence and plans his final revenge. Annabel’s success started with the film “The House on the Piazza” in which she portrayed an “English Tiger-Lady”. In accordance with this image Annabel tries to live with her husband and her little son. Her husband resents her pretence and destroys this image by committing suicide under scandalous circumstances. Some critics accused M. Spark of cruelty to her characters she invented and merrily sent to terrible deaths. Spark’s novels touch upon morality, sexual relationships; the plots are full of mystery, blackmail and hypocrisy. Religion is often present in a variety of things and incidents – the unforgiving hand in “Memento Mori” and the hypocrisy of “pious” characters in “The Black Madonna”. As to the literary trend she belonged to what she herself said “I have a comic strain, but my novels are serious. Sometimes one makes one’s own category, you know”. “The Finishing School” is the last novel by M. Spark published in 2004. Nina is depicted as an intellectually dull woman unable to see that Rowland doesn’t really love her. Rowland Mahler and Nina Parker run a school. Nina wants to be married to him. The name of the school is College Sunrise, a place for rich, spoiled children. When Rowland starts to write a novel he finds that a new talented student, Chris Willey writes a novel about Mary, Queen of Scots, which is far better than his. When Chris is asleep Rowland tries to find Chris’s manuscript and imagines how he could strangle Chris in his sleep. Chris pretends that he doesn’t pay attention to his teacher’s behaviour but later confesses that he needed Rowland’s jealousy to go on with his writing, he needs the feeling of being envied. Even before the novel is finished it gets the attraction of the publishers and film directors. The two characters seem to be able to live on these ugly emotions. The subject matter of the novel is literary jealously, blackmail trend and lies. Spark as usual sets a battleground for her characters some of whom keep their secrets and others on knowing them, use the information to evil purposes. M. Spark in earlier novels always tried to remain detached toward her characters depicting them with her dark humour, yet in the last novel she is even more detached and seems to be moving the characters like toys in her hands.

9.12. James Joyce (1882-1941)

James Joyce was born in a middle class family in Dublin. He got his education at University College, Dublin, studying English, French, Italian. His adult life was spent in Europe, mainly in Paris and Zurich, but in his works he depicted the characters from his time in Dublin. He became active in literary and theatrical circles in Dublin while a student. In 1900 his review of Ibsen’s drama was published and a number of other articles. Many of the friends he made in his college years appeared later in his novels. In 1904 he wrote the first version of “The Artist as a Young man” which was rejected and was published only years later when James Joyce rewrote it. In 1903 Joyce left for Paris, tried to study medicine but soon gave up the attempt. A year later he met Nora Barnacle and they went to Zurich and later to Trieste where Joyce started teaching English. Joyce came to Dublin a number of times trying to publish his works but unsuccessfully. During World War I he met some of his most important friends – Ezra Pound and Harriet Shaw Weaver. The later became Joyce’s patron, providing him with enough money to stop teaching and devote himself to writing. Joyce’s experiences in Ireland constitute most elements of his novels, provide the settings and subject matter. His stories “Dubliners” are a thorough analysis of the stagnation of Dublin society. “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man” is autobiographical novel depicting the childhood and adolescence of the main protagonist and his growth into an artist. It is a story of a talented young man, Stephen Dedalus, and his personal and artistic development.
Even in his early works Joyce employed some of his famous techniques: stream of consciousness, interior monologue, references to psychological state of characters. In the early period of his literary career J. Joyce wrote a play “Exiles”, a study of family relationship and a number of books of poetry, mainly satirical: “The Holy Office”, “Chamber Music”, “Gas from a Burner”. After “The Dubliners” Joyce decided to write a story about a Jewish advertising canvasser Leopold Bloom. The novel “Ulysses” was published in 1922, which started the history of English modernism. Along with the well-known literary technique to present characters, Joyce employs stream of consciousness, parody and pun. The action takes place in a single day, the incidents are taken from “Odyssey” by Homer and set in Dublin. The book is a satire on the monotony of Dublin life. Each of the 18 chapters describes one hour and each is written in a different style, is associated with a certain colour, art, science, part of body. The actions which take place in the minds of characters contributed to the development of literary modernism. The method of stream of consciousness, literary allusions and free dreams, words made up from the use of different languages, were best revealed in “Finnegans Wake” published in 1939. In this book Joyce abandoned all conventions of plot and character construction and was written in obscure language similar to Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky”. In “Finnegans Wake” Joyce shows a strong influence of a cyclical view of history and the period when as it seemed to him civilization was entering the period of chaos. James Joyce’s poetry and prose reflect the senselessness of life in such literary trends as imagism, naturalism and symbolism. In 1999, “Time Magazine” named Joyce one of the 100 Most Important People of the 20th century for revolutionizing 20th century fiction and the Modern Library ranked “Ulysses” №1, “Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man” №3 on the list of the best English novels of the 20th century.

9.13. David Herbert Lawrence (1885-1930)

D.H. Lawrence was born in Nottinghamshire in the family of a coal miner. His mother, a teacher, was much superior in education to her husband. The family was poor and not very friendly and Lawrence was able to get education only having won a scholarship. After leaving Nottingham University Lawrence started a teaching career. In 1909 Lawrence’s poems were published and in 1911 his first novel “The White Peacock” appeared. A year later he eloped with a married woman Frieda von Richthofen to Bavaria where they got married two years later. During this period D.H. Lawrence wrote “Sons and Lovers”, “The Rainbow” with a sequel “Women in Love”. These novels became groundbreaking in modernism. “Sons and Lovers”, his most famous novel, is considered autobiographical dealing with the relationship between mother and son. The novel tells the story of Gertrude Morel, a mother whose love for her sons makes it difficult for Paul and William to establish relationships with other women. William, the eldest, is ambitious and finding a well-paid job in London and marries a light-minded, frivolous woman. William soon dies and Gertrude Morel directs all her love to Paul, the character based on Lawrence himself. Paul takes his mother’s side against his father who becomes a drunk. He is completely dependent on her. Coming into manhood Paul meets Miriam and she hopes to be with him in spiritual union rejecting any thought of physical passion between them. Paul’s mother resents his close relationship with Miriam as well as with the second girl Clara with whom Paul begins a real love affair. Paul cannot separate himself from his mother and no woman can be compared to his mother. After Gertrude Morel dies Paul longs for his own death. However, he finally realizes that he must begin a new life. The Oedipus complex is evident in reading the novel and though it is unnatural, the reader understands that for Mrs Morel, who lost her feelings of love for her husband, it is important to transfer her love to her sons. This novel also describes the life of the industrial England at the beginning of the century and gives a detailed portrayal of the hardships and conflicts of the working class. D.H. Lawrence obviously preferred the agrarian, rural life to inhuman, industrialized world, which he thought would destroy the beauty of the nature and human souls. These ideas are best expressed in “Lady Chatterly’s Lover”, his last novel, first published in Italy privately in 1928. The novel tells the story of the love affair between a wealthy married woman and a man who works in her husband’s estate. The censorship banned the novel for sexual scenes were considered pornographic and was published 30 years later in England and America. “The Rainbow” (1915) was not welcomed either as obscene because of its sexual content and language. Lawrence dealt frankly with the sex relationship in its psychological and physical aspects. He employed extensively the principles of Freud’s psychoanalysis in his fiction. Lawrence wrote on many subjects: critical essays, psychology (“Psychoanalysis and the Unconscious”, “Fantasia of the Unconscious”) and theology. Nietzsche’s philosophy of a superman is shown in “Aaron’s Rod” and “Kangaroo”. Almost all his life Lawrence had to travel widely in search of a climate which might cure his weak lungs and later the disease developed into tuberculosis. One of the most prolific English authors, a poet, a modernistic novelist, he was also known as an artist, whose pictures were innovative as well. During his time he never had a real home and made many enemies for his unconventional works. Lawrence gathered his impressions traveling in Italy, Sardinia, Australia, Mexico and the USA. The material and experience he gathered served him as background for some of the works: “Kangaroo”, “Twilight in Italy”, “Sea and Sardinia”, “Mornings in Mexico”, “Studies in Classical American Literature”, “Movements in European History”. His volumes of poems include: “Look! We Have Come Through!”, “Amores, Birds, Beasts, and Flowers”. Lawrence died in Vence, France, and became popular long after his death.

9.14. John Boynton Priestly (1894-1984)

J.B. Priestly was born in Heaton, a suburb of Branford in the family of a head teacher. At 16 he left Grammar School to start working as a clerk at a wool company. While working he started writing articles for local and London newspapers. His articles can be described as comic and rational with ironic detachment. One of the best Priestley’s critical works is a biography of George Meredith, English predecessor novelist (“Figures in Modern Literature”). In World War I he served in the British army and was wounded and later described his experience in “Margin Released” in which he displayed his criticism of the officer class. After World War II he represented the UK in United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for two years. In 1949 he was elected president of the International Theatre Institute and also served as a member of the National Theatre Board. During World War II he was a regular broadcaster on the BBC. By the age of 30 Priestley received a university education at Cambridge and got a reputation of a humorous writer and critic. J.B. Priestley’s success came with the novel “The Good Companions” followed by “Angel Pavement”, “The Wonder Hero”, “The Magicians”, “Bright Day”. At the same time Priestley became well-known as a playwright. “Dangerous Corner” was the first play that exited London theatre-goers, but the best known play that thrills the world and has had a long run is “An Inspector Calls”. It was first performed in the Soviet Union and only a year later in the UK. The play takes place on a single night and describes a rich middle-class family, the Birlings. The family is visited by inspector Goole, who investigates the case of a Eva Smith’s suicide (also known as Daisy Renton). Under the interrogation the whole family becomes responsible for her death. Arthur dismissed her from work at his mill for taking part in the worker’s strike. Sheila has to admit that she fired the girl from her job in a department store. Gerald admits that he took the girl as his kept woman and ended the relationship. Sybil, to whom Eva/Daisy turned for help as head of a charitable organization denied her application. Eric breaks down and confesses to making Eva pregnant and to giving her 50 pounds to get rid of her. Goole accuses the family of contributing to Eva’s death and retires. When Gerald finds out that there is no inspector Goole on the police staff, and there were no suicide cases reported, the telephone rings and Arthur, who answers the call, tells the family that the body of a young woman was found and the police are on their way to question the Birlings. “An Inspector Calls” has been a bitter critique on the hypocrisies of English society. The play is still studied in English schools as obligatory and staged in the theatres all over the world. Many of his works contain socialist views. The political content of his broadcasts and his talks about a new and different England after the war helped the Labour Party win the general election in 1945. For the documentary series “The World at War” Priestley was awarded “The Order of Merit” in 1977, which he considered the greatest honour of all his life.

9.15. Aldous Huxley (1894-1963)

A. Huxley comes from one of the most prominent and famous Huxley family. He was born in Godalming, Surrey. The later part of his life he spent in the USA, Los Angeles. Huxley is best known for his essays, short stories, poetry, writing on his travel film scripts and novels. Huxley’s education started at an early age in the family under the supervision of his father, a noted botanist, and mother. Honoured graduate of Eton College and Oxford university he started on a teaching career. For some time he worked at the Air Ministry and a chemical plant. The latter job was the background of his science fiction novel “Brave New World”. The book was inspired by H.G. Wells’ utopian novel “Men Like Gods”. Huxley wrote a parody on this optimistic novel, a “negative utopia”. The industrial revolution transformed the world which was losing individual identity. Huxley was outraged by the culture of youth he criticized commercialization of human relationships, Americanizations in Europe. America seemed to have solved the social problems and made capitalism work for the common good. The book describes: “World State’s Economy with all citizens encouraged to consume goods since birth, have enjoyable time, recreational sex as a social activity”. The idea of “family” is considered pornographic as well as marriage parenthood. Since no one has family, no one has to worry or to mourn. The characters of the novel live and behave like parts of a huge machine, any unhappiness is cured by antidepressant drugs, called soma. Thirty years after Huxley wrote “Brave New World Revisited” in which he said that the world was moving much faster to what he predicted. Huxley’s first novels were social satires: “Crome Yellow”, “Antic Hay”, “Those Barren Leaves”. All these novels are witty and malicious satires on the pretensions of the English literary and intellectual circles. “Crome Yellow” is a witty masterpiece, that by F.S. Fitzgerald’s words, “is too ironic to be called satire and too scornful to be called irony”. Denis Stone, on vacation from school, goes to stay at a country house called Crome. He finds most weird characters: Mr Barbecue-Smith, who can write 1.500 words an hour by “getting in touch” with his subconscious; Henry Wimbush, obsessed with writing “History of Crome”. Denis falls in love with the girl of his dream and wants to write a novel about art and love and is laughed at in the society. Irresolute and confused, Denis goes away. In 1919 Huxley married a Belgian woman, Maria. During World War I the family lived in Italy and there, besides “Brace New World”, Huxley wrote some other important novels on pacifist themes (“Eyeless in Gaza”). In these novels Huxley portrays a society operation on the unhuman principles of mass production. Before World War II in 1937 Huxley moved to Hollywood, California. Here he wrote “Ends and Means”, where he tried to solve the problem of why people of modern civilization want to live in a world of liberty, peace, justice and brotherly love and they cannot find a way of how to achieve this aim. In America he joined a spiritual society and discussed the mystic teachings who held that there is nothing in reality beyond “five senses”. Huxley’s income came from his script writings in Hollywood (“Madame Curie”, “Pride and Prejudice”, “Jane Eyre” and many others). During his life in the States Huxley was closely working with Vedanta Society and was taught meditation and spiritual practices. He contributed about 50 articles to “Vedanta and the West”. The result of the cooperation was the publication of “The Doors of Perception” in which Huxley described his experience in taking a drug, mescaline, made of cactus, later called LSD. The reviews on the book were controversial. Huxley concluded that mescaline “opening the doors of perception” could transform man for the better. Meaning and existence, shape and colour become more significant than relationships and time. The popularity of the book affected psychotherapeutic research. “Point Counter Point” was published in 1928. The Modern Library listed it in the top 100 novels of the 20th century. Like other Huxley’s novels it practically has no connected plot and consists of psychological sketches of the characters in their long intellectual conversations. Huxley describes the actions of the characters penetrating into their motives and inward emotions. The characters speak about the dangers of humanity concerning the progress of science and technology. “Point Counter Point” is best regarded as an example of a novel of ideas. As essayist Huxley was concerned about the power of science and technology. His philosophical search brought him to mysticism and the thought of the East. One of his ideas was to educate the human being as capable of living in different environments. But late in his life he remarked: “It’s embarrassing to have been concerned with the human problem all one’s life and find at the end that one has no more to offer by way of advice than ‘try to be a little kinder’”.

9.16. John Fowels (1926-2005)

J. Fowels is one of the best story tellers of modernistic and post modernistic literature of the 20th century. His style of psychological mystifications inspired a whole generation of postmodernism. J. Fowels himself remained a mystery; he shunned society and preferred to live in the solitude of a remote seaside house. To some extent it was the reason for making his fiction in the minds of the readers a myth of his own life. His biographer, Eileen Warburton, relying on Fowels’ diaries provided a detailed portrait of one of the 20th century most important writers. Fowels spent his childhood in a London suburb; he was educated in Oxford and traveled in France and Greece. John Fowels literary career began with the novel “The Collector” (1963). Later Fowels wrote in many genres – novels, historical fiction, romance and parody. The idea to write “The French Lieutenant’s Woman” was promoted by the haunting image of a mysterious woman standing on the shore and looking into the sea. Fowels brought this image into the character of Sarah Woodruff, a poor Victorian ex-governess. The action begins a hundred years before the novel was published, at Lyme Regis, in Dorset. It is rumored that the woman had been the French Lieutenant’s whore. She is a fallen woman because she is said to have lost her virginity to a departed sailor Varguennes. A noble man, Charles Smithson, is engaged to Ernestina Freeman, the daughter of a wealthy shop-owner. Charles is attracted to Sarah, gives her money and sends her away to Exeter. But he cannot resists his desire, follows her and to his surprise when they make love for the first time he finds out that Sarah is a virgin and all the gossips are lies. Charles breakes up with Ernestina and proposes to Sarah but she refuses him, goes to London, where Charles finds her working as a sitter for an artist. The end of the novel has two endings: in the chapter before the last one Sarah and Charles get married and have a daughter and in the last – they separate for ever. In fact, the novel is a parody of Victorian novels with clear cut out plots. Though it is written in some passages as traditional, the characters don’t talk, think and act as Victorian characters. They are led by their self-realization, not by the conventional morals of society. “A Maggot” is classified by most critics as a post modern novel for it embraces in its style a historical fiction, mystery, science fiction and the narration employs various meta fictional devices. The action takes place in England in the middle of the 18th century. In the beginning of the novel five travelers from London go through Exmoor to Dolling’s cave and stop at a small village. Then it becomes clear that they are not who they seem to be. Bartholomew, the main hero, refuses to tell the rest the real purpose of his journey. The narration stops and letters, interviews are mixed up with contemporary issues of “The Gentleman’s Magazine” with the story of a hanged man in the place of the inn where the 5 travelers stopped. Henry Ayscough, a lawyer, is conducting an investigation. He is employed by Bartholomew’s father. Some variations of the story are described. The fourth story tells of Bartholomew’s purpose to study occult information about the future. He takes Rebecca and Dick to a remote cave and the story is followed by Rebecca, who described her being raped by Satan and forced to see human suffering and cruelty. Later she gives birth to a daughter, who becomes leader of the American Satanist Shakers. The mystery of Bartholomew’s disappearance is never solved but Rebecca says she saw him with a lady inside a floating craft of time travelers, “the maggot”. The idea of the whole novel is to examine and satirize the nature of history and historians, who intrude into the past and change it according to their own wishes, to the interests of a certain class. The novel deals with psychology of a person who wants to break free from society and conventions, to be self-realized in the manner of existentialism. In the novel “The Collector” the main character, Clegg, is isolated from society which he despises. J. Fowels makes his character kidnap and murder (collect) Mirranda, the girl he loved. Besides the theme of individual freedom and the conflict between man and society there are also displayed conflicts between individuals and within an individual. It renders his novels psychological depth. The novel expresses Fowels’s concern with Greek philosophical ideas and conflicts between the Few and the Many. Mankind, according to Fowels is divided into intellectual elite and unthinking mass, the many. The influence of Camus’s existentialism is evident in the presentation of Camus’s absurd man. Clegg is a stranger in a strange country of Existence, isolated from people around him, from God, performing aimless tasks, unable to distinguish between moral and immoral. Through the close examination of the above mentioned ideas and subject matter Fowels challenged the current trends of modernism and broke new ground for post modern literature.

9.17. Arthur Evelyn Waugh (1903-1966)

A.E. Waugh was the son of a famous editor and publisher. He was brought up in a wealthy suburb of London, Hampstead. At Oxford University, where he studied history, Waugh was better known for his art work than for his writing. Waugh left Oxford without taking his degree to start working as a journalist. His first novel was “Decline and Fall”. The title of the novel refers the reader to the decline of the Roman Empire, described by a Victorian historian Gibbon. Yet E. Waugh’s novel presents a witty account of dissolution in Paul Pennyfeather’s career of a schoolmaster charged with indecent behaviour. In 1928 E. Waugh got married but the marriage didn’t last long, though it served as a background for the novel “A Handful of Dust”. After the divorce, he married Laura Herbert, his ex-wife’s cousin, and this marriage was successful. Waugh’s conversion to Catholicism influenced his life and literary work. Many themes in his work concern increasing materialism and evils in society caused by decline of true faith. In the period between the World Wars Waugh traveled around the Mediterranean Sea, Africa and South America. His impressions of the journeys are collected in “When the Going was Good”. During the World War II Waugh served in the Royal Marines, took part in a mission in Yugoslavia, participated in the attempt to take Dakar. Some of his best known novels come from this period: “Brideshead Revisited”, “The Sword of Honour” trilogy (“Men in Arms”, “Officers and Gentlemen”, “Unconditional Surrender”). The trilogy became one of the best books written about World War II. E. Waugh’s works are distinguished by dark humour and satire. He depicts British aristocracy, high society. His religious views and social conservatism hold controversial opinions of critics: some find him snobbish, others, on the contrary, point out his comic genius and fundamentally religious assault on the century that left behind all the good traditions. “A Handful of Dust” is included into the list of the Best 20th century novels. The book satirizes the upper middle class and the Anglican Church. In the title of the story Waugh alludes to T. Eliot’s line in a poem “I will show you fear in a handful of dust”. This is the fear of a life devoid of hope and meaning and not worth living. The action begins in 1930. Tony and Lady Brenda Last want to break up their marriage after their son dies. Tony and Brenda have grown apart and she often goes to live in London where she feels more comfortable in society life. John Beaver, a poor and ambitious social climber, comes to the village of Hetton Abbey and begins a love affair with Brenda. Brenda’s family required a large sum of money and Tony refuses to grant a divorce and goes on an expedition to Brazil. Tony falls ill with tropical fever in the jungle. His companion, Dr. Messinger, gets drowned when he wants to get help to get out of the jungle. Tony stumbles into a remote tribal village where he is held hostage by a mad recluse, Mr. Todd, who remained in the village forever and who reads Charles Dickens’ novels to him and insists that Tony also should stay there. Tony is believed to have died in Brazil and Brenda marries J. Grant-Menzies. Tony’s relatives take over Hetton. The idea to write the story came to E. Waugh when he met a lonely settler in South America and grew into the idea of prisoners and savages in “Civilized” homes. In the novel E. Waugh shows best his qualities of a great satirist against a shallow death-in-life existence.

9.18. William Golding (1911-1993)

W. Golding, the winner of Nobel Prize (1983), is regarded as the 20th century author who very acutely portrayed our fragile civilization. He was born in Cornwall in the family of a schoolmaster. Golding started writing at an early age, mainly short stories. Entering Oxford he wanted to study science but after two years changed his plans and took his degree in English. In 1935 Golding started his family career of a teacher in Salisbury, Wiltshire, but with the outbreak of World War II Golding served in the British Royal Navy in the North Atlantic. After the war he returned to his post and began his writing career. The first three novels were not published and only in 1954 when “The Lord of the Flies” had been rejected by dozens of publishers, “Faber and Faber” accepted the novel. Nowadays the book of a group of boys who found themselves after the crash of the plane on an unhabited island is included on the list of assigned books for reading worldwide. The book is more than another adventure story, it makes a strong impression due to the strong theme and symbolism which by “Lord of the Flies” established Golding as one of the most distinguished writers. In the first chapters the deserted tropical island is described as a paradise. Yet it is full of dangers. Some things which the boys see and feel they don’t know and cannot explain. At first the boys are excited being away from adults but gradually they become little savages ready to kill not only pigs for food but their weaker “boys-enemies”. The civilization they try to construct on the island with elections, huts to live in and a fire to be rescued breaks down in blood and terror. The theme of war is running through the novel. The theme of violence starts as a game but grows into hunting the chosen leader Ralph; the murder of Simon, the only boy who understands that the “beast” is the evil inside the boys. The novel shows two models of society: democratic (Ralph) and totalitarian (Jack) and Golding displays the laws by which the boys are ruled based on fear. The island becomes a Hell, a burnt wasteland, the boys lose all traces of civilized beings, even their language becomes primitive. The title of the book itself implies manifestations of the Devil (in Arab Beelzebub means ‘lord of the flies’). The pigs head on a stick covered by flies is a symbol of violence. The idea that all people have ‘devil’ within and it can easily be released makes the novel and the author very pessimistic as to the future of humankind. Thus in the novel Golding explored such human defects as: 1) fear and insecurity; 2) pleasure and entertainment; 3) dependency on others; 4) ignorance of a real world. These main defects comprise the dark side of human nature which causes the destruction of civilization with fear (Lord of the Flies) being predominant. Golding continued to develop similar themes concerning human violence in “The Inheritors”, dealing with the last day of a Neanderthal man; “Pincher Martin”, the story of a naval officer in an agonizing death. “Free Fall”, “The Spire” deal with the depravity of human nature. In addition to his novels Golding wrote a play “The Brass Butterfly” and essays “The Hot Gates”, “A Moving Target”. Among his later novels are “Darkness Visible”, describing life in London during World War II. “Rites of Passage”, “Close Quarters” and “Fire Down Below” which portray life during Napoleonic Wars. Before Golding died he completed writing “The Double Tongue” which was published posthumously.

9.19. George Orwell (1903-1950)

Orwell was an English essayist, journalist and novelist whose works deal with political issues. The real name of the author is Eric Arthur Blair. Orwell was born in India when it was part of the British Empire. He was brought to England by his mother. Blair made many friends at Eton, but he had no prospect to win a scholarship to continue education at a university. In 1922 he joined the Indian Imperial Police in Burma. Later he used his Burmese experiences in the novel “Burmese Days” and his first essays “A Hanging” and “Shooting an Elephant”. In 1928 he moved to Paris where he had a hard life described later in “Down and Out in Paris and London”. With the publication of this novel Blair adopted his pen name. For some time Orwell taught at Hayes, Middlesex, and drew on his experiences for the novel “A Clergyman’s Daughter”. In 1936 Orwell was sent by the Left Book Club to write an account of working class poverty in Northern England, after which he wrote a social documentary “the Road to Wigan Pier”. In 1936 Orwell went to Spain to fight against F. Franco’s nationalist uprising. Here he joined the Worker’s Party of Marxist Unification (the POUM). Orwell sympathetically described the spirit of revolution against the Nationalists in “Homage to Catalonia”. His narrow escape from the communist suppression of POUM made him an anti-communist. In “Animal Farm” G. Orwell tried to put his political view of Communist ideas, which cannot work without using great powerful oppressive machine-government. The book is considered to be an anti-Soviet fable where the animals revolt against the humans. The political system is corrupted by power-thirsty people. He used animals in a clever allegory to represent people. Napoleon acts like a dictator and the animals have no freedom. Boxer is an idealistic fanatic of Napoleon, ready to sacrifice anything for the farm and the animals unable to see that Napoleon is corrupt. “Politics and the English Language” (1946) is a critical essay by G. Orwell. He believed that the language of politicians intended to hide the truth rather than express it, the language used was vague and meaningless: “… the dropping of the atom bombs on Japan, can indeed be defended, but only by arguments which are too brutal for most people to face, and which do not square with the professed aims of political parties. Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question begging and sheer cloudy vagueness. Defenseless villages are bombarded from the air, the inhabitants driven out into the countryside, the cattle machine-gunned, the huts set on fire with incendiary bullets: this is called pacification.” Orwell’s other essays “The Prevention of Literature”, “Polemic”, “Homage to Catalonia” continue the theme of political lies. “Nineteen Eighty-Four” (“1984”), originally Orwell titled the book “The Last Man in Europe” was published in 1949. The main issues discussed in the book are: the devastating effects of an authoritarian society where thinking is illegal and is punished. Orwell, like Huxley, presented a new genre of a dystopian novel (anti-utopian). The main character of the novel is Winston Smith, a common man who lives in Oceania (compare with Arcadia). The political party of the state holds everything under control. Winston is also a member of the party and works for the Ministry of Truth. He keeps a diary of his anti-government ideas. At the ministry he meets Julia: they start a passionate love affair hiding from everybody and discussing their hopes for freedom. O’Brien, who pretends to belong to the oppositional party “Brotherhood” and is in fact a spy for the government gives Winston a copy of the Brotherhood manifest. Of course, the secret police arrest Winston and take him to the Ministry of Love to torture him and to re-indoctrinate him. Winston is afraid of rats and when a box with rats is placed before him he pleads to be released, promises to become a decent member of society. He even begs that Julia should be put in his place. When he no longer resists the government he becomes honoured and at the end of the book is shown looking up at the poster of a Big Brother with love and admiration. In the novel Orwell combines a thriller narrative with a political message that a society becomes degrading and devastating where man mustn’t say what he thinks, but must believe like a slave in a single party and single ideology. Orwell’s political views changed a little during his life but he always remained a socialist and a proponent of a united federal socialist Europe: this idea was outlined in his essay “Toward European Unity”. The slogan “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others” are often used to mock situations where equality exists only in theory but not in practice.

9.20. William Somerset Maugham (1874-1965)

W.S. Maugham was born in Paris, France, in the family of a British lawyer. His mother died when he was a child of eight and two years after his father died. Maugham was sent to England to be raised by an uncle. When he was sent to a boarding school he was teased by other children for his poor English. His uncle allowed him to travel in Germany when Maugham was sixteen. There he studied literature and philosophy at Heideberg University. On his return to England the uncle suggested the medical profession but Maugham, who had been writing since he was fifteen, wanted to become an author. He spent five years as a medical student in London. In 1897 he wrote a novel “Liza of Lambeth” which proved to be popular with the public and Maugham entered the profession of a writer. He traveled in Spain, lived in Capri for ten years, wrote a play “Lady Frederick” and a thriller “The Magician”. In the second decade of the 20th century he firmly established his fame having produced 10 plays and 10 novels. During World War I Maugham worked for British Intelligence Service in Europe. “Of Human Bondage” became Maugham’s well-known novel, in spite of the criticism as too sentimental. Philip Carey has an unconventional life in his search for spiritual and artistic freedom. His love for Mildred brings him to sacrifice all self-respect destroys him and ends the love affair. The novel is built on irony like many other Maugham’s stories. In the 20ies he traveled in China and Hong Kong and described his experiences in a collection of 58 short stories “On a Chinese Screen”. Most of World War II Maugham spent in Hollywood and the south of the USA. Maugham wrote when other experimental modernist authors gained popularity and he was criticized for the style which was plain and lacked individuality. The distinctive feature of his most famous novels is that Maugham based his works on real life characters: Paul Gauguin in “The Moon and Sixpence”, Thomas Hardy and Hugh Walpole in “Cakes and Ale”. Only in his last novel “The Razor’s Edge” the main characters are Americans. The main character is a disillusioned veteran of World War II travels to India in search of enlightenment. Many of his short stories are set in colonies – “Rain”, “Footprints in the Jungle”, “The Outstation”. Maugham very often heard them when traveling in Burma, Siam, Cambodia, Vietnam. To these stories belong: “Up at the Villa”, “The Land of Blessed Virgin”, “Sketches and Impressions in Andalusia”, “The Hero”, “The Merry-Go-Round”, “The Explorer”, “The Trembling of a Leaf”, “The Painted Veil”, etc.
Maugham wrote a few plays, such as “Jack Straw”, “The Unknown”, “The Circle”, “Our Betters”, “The Constant Wife”, which show great influence of O. Wilde. In “Theatre” Maugham tells us of Julia Lambert, an actress of wonderful poise and talent. It seems nothing can trouble her life until a young quiet poor man challenges Julia’s self. For Julia, to whom acting and reality was blended, to be rejected mainly proves to be a tragedy. She understands that her motherhood and acting are affronted. Her son Roger says: “When I’ve seen you go into an empty room I’ve sometimes wanted to open the door suddenly, but I’ve been afraid to in case I found nobody there”. The greatest actress on the London stage, her entire life is one great performance. Having been a faithful wife in a sexless marriage to “the most handsome man” in England, Michael, Julia manages to conceal her true feelings to Tom, a social climber, poor accountant. Julia laughs at the stupidity and pretentiousness of people after she restores her strength as the greatest actress of England. In “The Moon and Sixpence”, Charles Strickland, a stockbroker and painter, gives up his comfortable but dull life and family who are alien to him and goes to South Seas, Tahiti, and there he reveals his genius as a painter though he is recognized only after his death. W.S. Maugham died in Nice, France. His ashes were scattered in the garden of King’s College, Canterbury. In “The Summing Up” and “A Writer’s Notebook” Maugham tells of his philosophy of life as an atheist and skeptic. His works are liked by simple, unembellished style, a great variety of settings and deep penetration into human nature. The revolt of the individual against the conventions of society is the main theme in almost all his works. This may be the reason of Maugham’s long stay in literature as a widely read and performed novelist and dramatist. 9.21. John Ronald Renel Tolkein (1892-1973)

J.R.R. Tolkein was born in South Africa in the family of an English bank manager. When he was a little child, after his father’s death his mother returned to England. The place near Birmingham where Tolkein lived as a child later inspired him for setting his novels: medieval towers, farms, hills and bogs. In 1911 Tolkein began studying English and Literature at Exeter College, Oxford, and in 1915 he graduated with honours. For many years he courted Edith Mary Bratt, a Protestant girl, and his guardian’s family, Catholics, felt very strongly against their marriage. Finally Ronald and Edith were married at a Catholic church. The time of World War I was rather hard for both of them. After obtaining his degree Tolkein enlisted into the army, served as an officer at the Somme. In 1916 Tolkein came down with fever, all his close friends were dead. He had to spend the rest of the war in hospitals. On his recovery he began his first literary work “The Book of Lost Tales’. Tolkein’s first academic job was at the Oxford English Dictionary, the etymology of words of Germanic origin and in 1920 he compiled “A Middle English Vocabulary”. He also translated “Sir Gawain”, “Pearl”, “Sir Orfeo”. In 1925 he returned to Oxford as professor of Anglo-Saxon. During this time he wrote “The Hobbit” and the first volumes of “The Lord of the Rings”. “The Hobbit” is a tale of a small hobbit Bilbo and his journey through the evil world. Shire, the home land of the hobbit is good but when Bilbo reaches the borders of his land exciting surprises come. Gandalf the Grey, famous for his magic, asks Bilbo to help him to overcome the evil dragon, Smang, who conquered the dwarf Kingdom of Lonely Mountain. The story is told in the form of episodic quests. Every chapter introduces a specific creature. Before the last part of the book “The Battle of Five Armies” Bilbo, who has become mature by accepting romantic and adventurous sides of his nature, reaches competence and wisdom. The group oft Gandalf, Bilbo and the 12 dwarves go in search of treasure. Bilbo gets separated from the group by evil goblins. With the help of the ring that makes him invisible, Bilbo escapes and joins the dwarves and improves his reputation with them. All the characters, the dwarves, men and elves, gather and win the battle. “Lord of the Rings” tells that in ancient times the Rings of Power were made by the Even-smiths. Sauron, the Dark Lord, made his ring that could rule all other rings. One ring was lost by the Dark Lord and after many ages was found by the hobbit Bilbo Baggins. Sauron could not complete his dominion without the One Ring. He lived in the Dark Tower of Mordor and always was in quest of the One Ring. Bilbo gave the Ruling Ring to his cousin Frodo, who was to cast it into the Cracks of Doom. Frodo undertakes the great journey across Middle-earth with his friends Gandalf the Wizard, the hobbits Merry, Pippin, Sam Gimli the Dwarf, Legolas the Elf, a mysterious stranger called Strider. The books are popular with the children due to the narrative addressed directly to the reader. The imagery world is taken as existing. Matter-of-fact details introduce the children into the fantasy through the simple, friendly language. The main themes of the books are overcoming greed, selfishness, betrayal, all connected with child development. For grown-ups Tolkein’s books can be read as a parable of World War I, when the hero is taken away from his sweet comfortable home and thrown into battles where traditional types of heroism are futile. In 1936 Tolkein’s lecture “Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics” began a new research on his epic poetry. The critics dealt with the poem as a Poem for children with monsters and fairy battles. Tolkein argued against understanding the poem in fantastic elements. The poem, he thought, dealt with human destiny in general. From the time of his retirement to his death Tolkein received a steady popularity. His books made him a cult figure for his fans. He was a best-selling author and was awarded the Order of the British Empire and other numerous honorary awards.

9.22. Kingsley Amis (1922-1995)

The most prominent figure of the Angry Men Movement K. Amis was born in the family of a clerk and first studied at the City of London School. Kingsley served in the army during World War II. In 19446 he joined the Communist Party of Great Britain. After 1950 he turned to the Labour Party. Amis studied at St. John’s College, Oxford and then taught at Oxford, Cambridge and the USA for about 20 years before he could afford a writer’s career. His first and best known novel “Lucky Jim” was published in 1954. It was a comic satire on academic life caused by social disillusionment. By this time Amis had been married and had 2 children. “Lucky Jim” was published just when his third child, Sally, was born. His son Martin is now an English author, well known in literary circles. According to his biographers Kingsley Amis was a womanizer, drank much and wrote his novels after a bottle of whiskey. He divorced his wife, Hilary, married again and again divorced. Yet his personal affairs don’t seem to have influenced his creative, prolific writing. His literary work was of a wide range – poetry, novels, short stories, critical essays, anthologies. His novels mainly belong to two genres: science fiction and mystery. The novel “Lucky Jim” is a satire of a university life he knew so well. A young lecturer of history, Jim Dixon, tries to make a career. At the end of his first year Professor Welch wants Jim to leave the university because Jim hasn’t made an impression of a promising lecturer. Jim Dixon agrees to make the end-of-term lecture on “Merrie England” to assure Welch for whom he feels sheer disgust that he can be efficient enough to teach. Professor Welch invites Jim to come to spend a weekend with his family. At the party Jim gets acquainted with Welch’s son, Bertrand, and his girlfriend Christine. Jim finds out that Bertrand ignores and mistreats Christine and she is very unhappy. Jim and Christine start seeing each other and Bertrand accuses Dixon of dating Christine behind his back. The two men get a fight. The nervous Jim with a black eye gives the lecture quite drunk after the reception. The college Principal and Professor Welch witness Jim’s drunk contemptuous imitations of their voices while Jim is lecturing. Of course, Jim is fired. Anyway Jim finds a good job in London and is happy with Christine. Episodes of Jim Dixon’s bad luck provide a lot of humour in the novel. Jim’s good luck turns to him when he does not rue his misfortunes but rely on his fate. Amis’s satire is directed against hypocrisy and pretension (social, melodramatic, romantic). Jim as well as other characters is also hypocritical at the beginning of the novel. He pretends to be in love with Margaret. Amis presents people of different social ranks and though low class characters are not artistically or linguistically refined, they are less pretentious than representatives of higher social extract with their petty “aesthetic views” on art, music etc. Emis’s other works include similar novels about contemporary life: “That Uncertain Feeling”, “I Like It Here”, “Take a Girl Like You”. His later novels “The Old Devils”, “Jake’s Thing”, “Stanley and the Women” are devoted to Amis’s favourite themes: the war between man and women, religious skepticism. Besides satires Amis wrote in the genres of spy fiction, science fiction and detective stories. Amis was a prolific author of 25 novels, 7 volumes of poetry, 7 plays, numerous short stories and critical essays. He is ranked the 9th on the list of the 50 greatest British authors.

9.23. Joanne Kathleen Rowling (1965- )

One of the most successful modern English writers is J.K. Rowling. She is known all over the world. Her books about Harry Potter, which are read by children of different countries and of different ages, have become the best-sellers. Joanne was born in Chipping Sodbury General Hospital, which she thought was appropriate for someone, who collects funny names. Her sister, Di, was born just under two years later, and she was the person, whom Joanne told her first stories. The very first one was about a rabbit called Rabbit A gang of children including Joanne and her sister used to play together up and down their street in Winterbourne. Two of the gang members were a brother and a sister whose surname was Potter. Joanne always liked this name. Her favourite subject was English and she wrote a lot in her teens. After school Joanne went straight to Exeter University, where she studied French. When Joanne was twenty six she gave up office work and went abroad to teach English as a Foreign language. Rowling's first three books tell the story of ten-year-old orphan Harry Potter, who lives with his dull, smug Muggle (nonmagical) relatives, the Dursleys, until he is informed he is a wizard and is whisked off to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Harry becomes a year older in each successive book and endures all manner of adventures alongside his chums, bookish Hermione Granger and plucky Ron Weasley, while they all learn magic. Readers acknowledge that the series, deceptively simple in summary, offers a density of detail and characterization along with the complex balance of good and evil and darkness and wit, and the pace of the plots that makes it thoroughly addictive. Miss Rowling started her third novel. The new book was about a boy who found out he was a wizard and was sent off to Wizard school. When Joanne came back from Portugal half a suitcase was full of papers covered with stories about Harry Potter. She came to live in Edinburgh with a very small daughter. Rowling became an international literary sensation in 1999, when the first three instalments of her Harry Potter children’s book series took over the top in the New York Times best-seller list after achieving similar success in her native United Kingdom. The phenomenal response to Rowling’s books culminated in July 2000, when the fourth volume in the series, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, became the fastest-selling book in history. Rowling is now one of Britain’s richest women, plans a total of seven books, each chronicling a year in the life of Harry Potter, a young wizard, and his motley band of cohorts at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardy. J. K. Rowling's “Harry Potter” novels begin when the orphaned British 10-year-old discovers he has a magical heritage and enters Hogwarts School to learn how to be a wizard. With each book, Harry and his classmates age a year, and with each year the record-breaking success of the series grows. In September 1999, Harry Potter even made the cover of Time magazine, which called the phenomenon "one of the most bizarre and surreal in the annals of publishing." When the movie of Rowling's first book opened in the fall of 2001, it took in $90.3 million in its first weekend. As Richard Bernstein said in The New York Times, the Harry Potter stories are fairly conventional, and "not nearly as brilliant or literary as, say, The Hobbit or the Alice in Wonderland books." The explanation for their popularity, he suggests, can be found in Bruno Bettelheim's classic study of children's literature. The essence of Bettelheim's theory is that children live with greater terrors than most adults can understand, and that the classic fairy tales help express that terror while showing a way to a better future. In effect, J. K. Rowling's novels fill a basic need for children everywhere and for the child in every adult. The sly wit, the charm, and the childlike wonder of Rowling's books won't get lost to the evils of commercialism. Her great achievement is not to overdraw or over describe the characters. She has timeless themes of magic and good versus evil. She is pitting the Hogwarts children against the unimaginative adult world outside. Rowling never betrays any sense of being an adult writing down to children. "She steps into the children's shoes as she writes. The seventh and final novel in the series “Harry Porter and the Deathly Hallows” was published in 2007. Other books written for children “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them”, “The Tales of Beedle, the Bard” as well as “Harry Porter” brought Rowling a world wide fame. In 2001 she was appointed Officer of the British Empire and in 2009 she became a chevalier of the French Legion of Honour.

Part II

English Literature Reference Book

Aesthetics (Esthetics), a branch of philosophy which deals with the nature of beauty. In the late 18th and 19th centuries esthetics assumed three major roles in philosophy, art and literature. Immanuel Kant viewed esthetics as “the science of all principles of sensibility a priori”. To him the mind imposed mental categories, such as beauty, on the perceived sensuous experiments. Artists began to think of themselves as independent of social currents and the world around them. Artistic and literary movements became cults of beauty, characterized by the statement of John Keats in his poem “Endymion”, “a thing of beauty is a joy for ever”. This adoration of beauty for its own sake (art for art’s sake) was the basis of Romanticism, the Pre-Raphaelites and the artists and writers of the decadent art. The movement was so dominant that the 20th century artistic and literary movements revolted against the cult of beauty and heralded Dadaism, the goal of which was to destroy beauty and to put an end to art itself.

Agnosticism, a term introduced by the English scientist Thomas Huxley in 1869. The word comes from the Greek and means “not knowing”. The philosophical meaning is that the individual man is the measure of the universe and the true nature of things cannot be apprehended because reality is independent of the mind; the agnostics profess that they do not know anything about spiritual existences or about future life.

Anarchism, the theory according to which the highest attainment of humanity is to be reached by the freedom of the individual to express his character, qualities, without any control or repression from the government or from outer world. Anarchism in literature meant freedom from old literary forms.

Anthology, a work consisting of series of literary selections. The first anthology of English poetry to be published was “Tottels’s Miscelany” compiled by the English publisher Richard Tottel in 1557. Notable English anthologies of modern times were the “Golden Treasury of English Songs and lyrics”(1861)compiled by the English poet and critic Francis Turner Palgrave. “The New Poetry, an Anthology of Twentieth Century Verse”(1932), compiled by Harriet Monroe.

Arminianism, the doctrine of Arminians, the followers of the 16th century Dutch theologian Jacobus Arminius. Arminius and the followers viewed themselves as members of the Reformed Church, differing opinion on points of doctrine. They argued that the doctrines of “particular election” and “limited atonement formulated by the French Protestant theologian John Calvin would render ineffectual all endeavor for the salvation of the nonelect, while the elect would in any event be saved. They also objected that Calvin’s views on divine sovereignty and predestination would by necessary logical consequence make God the author of sin.

Aphorism, a concise statement of a rule, concept, precept (rule of action or moral conduct). Such definite statements have several important qualities. One is that they are pithy - saying a great deal in a few words. They contain a great deal of wisdom and are readily accepted (“A penny saved is a penny earned”, “There is no fool like an old fool”, etc.)

Angry Young Men, the term denoting the English authors in the middle of the 20th century who criticized the social order and evils of modern civilization.

Anglo-Saxon(Old English period) Literature.
The period of Anglo-Saxon literature extends from the 5-th to the beginning of the 12-th century. Britain was subjected to the invasion of Angles, Saxons and Jutes (West Germanic tribes). West Saxon dialect was the most important language for literature. The principal achievements were the orally transmitted poems composed and recited by minstrels. The most important literary work of this period is “Beowulf” which contains vivid description, action and character portrayal. It is based on legends of Teutonic tribes and was recorded in the 8-th century. To this period also belong “Widsith (far wanderer), the story of the wanderings of a minstrel”; “Deor’s Lament” which describes the sorrows of a bard who lost his master’s favour; “The wife’s Lament”, the first English poem with love theme; “The Seafarer”, which describes a sailor’s love for the sea. Of Christian literature the example is the verses by Caedmon in praise of God (“Hymn of Caedmon”, “Christ and Satan”, “Daniel”, “Genesis”). The other famous poet of this period was Cynewulf (“Christ”, “Elene”, “The Fates of the Apostles”). The first examples of English prose of this period were written during the reign of Alfred the Great, the King of Wessex. He was both the patron of men of learning and a translator of the Venerable Bede’s ecclesiastical history. Bede was the author of about forty historical and theological works, most of them written in Latin. King Alfred contributed to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, a detailed record of English history written in old English. Aelfric, an abbot, wrote prose of the period including “Lives of Saints”, a book of sermons; “Colloquium”, an English-Latin dictionary. Old English writings are a rich source of information on life, customs and ideas of this time.

The “Art-for-art’s-sake” movement was an attempt to separate artistic matters from subsidiary concerns such as morality, social concerns, nationalism, even personal biography.
In the late 18th and the 19th century esthetics began to attempt to discover the abstract principles of artistic beauty and strove to create beauty.
Artists and writers began to think of themselves as independent of social currents and the world around them. For their slogan they took John Keats words “A thing of beauty is a joy forever”. The cult of beauty was basic for romanticism, the Pre-Raphaelites and the decadent writers.
The principles of the movement art for arts sake were stated by Victor Cousin and the philosophers of the 19 century (Kant, Hegel, Bergson) contributed to the development of a science called experimental esthetics, a branch of psychophysics.

Avant-garde, in literature experimental trend in writing in early 20th century with new forms and techniques. It is characterized by breaking the conventional narrative and the lay out of the book. The movement was later called modernism.

Baptism (Gr baptein, “to dip”, or “to immerse”) one of the sacraments of the Christian church, performed by applying water to the person of the candidate in various modes, in the name of the Trinity. Two modes of baptism are practised: one by immersion or dipping, and another by aspersion or sprinkling. Dispute concerning the mode of baptism became one of the irreconcilable differences between the Eastern and Western churches, the former adhering to immersion, the latter adopted pouring water on the head.

Baptists, name of a Christian sect or denomination which bases its policy on the New Testament only. For them the only valid Christian baptism is the immersion. The English Baptists were since the time of the Reformation (see Reformation) divided into two sections: the General (or Arminian) and the Particular (or Calvinistic).
The Baptists are trinitarians and their churches are congregational in government.

Biography, the life history of an individual written by another person. The earliest biographical records are contained in the Old Testament, and in the descriptions of the lives and exploits of the great rulers of antiquity. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John portrayed the life of Jesus Christ. The subject matter of medieval biographies was the record of the lives of martyrs, saints and churchmen. Later biographical works include “The Negotiations of Thomas Wolsey” by the English courtier and author George Cavendish(1500) “Life of Samuel Johnson” by James Boswell, “Life of Sir Walter Scott” by John Gibson Lockhart and the “British Dictionary of National Biography”(1900) edited by Leslie Stephen in 63 volumes.
(the) Beat Generation, term applied to the experimental method of “cut-up” and “fold-in” and use of hallucinatory images to write books. It concerns a group of post war – WWII writers who became popular in the 1950s-60s. General element of their writings included rejection of materialism, interest in Eastern religions, “new cultural” experiments with drugs, “free” sexual relationship. The central figures of the movement were Allen Ginsberg (“Howl”), William S. Burrough (“Naked Lunch”), Jack Kerouac (“On the Road”). The members of “Beat generation” met in New York and later moved to San Francisco where they developed a reputation as new bohemian hedonists who were noted for their non-conformity with society demanding spiritual, sexual liberation, liberation from censorship. They introduced ecological discussions (“Fresh Planet”), influenced musicians (the Beatles and other rock musicians), opposed to the military-industrial machine civilization. W.Burroughs used drugs to exploit “junk” in two senses – junk as drugs and junk cultural rubbish (“Junkie”, “The Naked Lunch”, “The Ticket That Exploded”, “Nova Express”). He calls his works satires. They are loose and surreal associations, a mixture of the images of science fiction merging with the author’s mind-blowing homoerotic dreams that create fantasies of endless warring powers.
W.Burroughs called himself a “cosmonaut of inner space” and pictured a world of authoritarian forces which struggle with free consciousness. The texts of his books are obscene, reflecting society gone in barbarity, technological systems, violence. His open forms in writing look like abstractions in painting.

British drama, the drama of medieval England consisted of mysteries, miracle plays and moralities. Notable in the cycle known as Coventry Plays, which was performed in the town of Coventry annually in the 16th century. One of the best known morality plays is “Everyman”. The development of the drama culminated in the work of W. Shakespeare. The greatest among the dramatists who wrote at this time was Christopher Marlowe, who was second only to Shakespeare in his mastery of dramatic blank verse. Among Marlowe’s dramas are “Tamburlaine the Great ”, “The Tragedy of Dr. Faustus”. In the times of the civil war between the Parliament and the King (1642), puritans passed an order which forbade the performance of any kind of theatrical entertainment. With the Restoration the drama achieved even a greater popularity. The period was distinguished mainly for its comedy of manners. The two outstanding writers of comedy of the 18th century were Oliver Goldsmith (“She Stoops to Conquer”) and Richard Brinsley Sheridan (“The Rivals”, “The School for Scandal”, “The Critic”). The most important dramatists of the 19th and 20th centuries were George Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde, William Butler Yeats, Sean O’Casey. For additional information see separate articles on the English authors. Many types of drama do not fall into the category of either tragedy or comedy. The term melodrama is applied to a play in which romantic and exciting situations and incidents of a sensational nature are stressed at the expense of characterization.
Calvinism, Knox, John, an ardent disciple of Calvin established Calvinism as the national religion of Scotland. In 1560, Knox persuaded the Scottish Parliament to adopt a confession of faith and book of discipline. The Parliament created the Scottish Presbyterian church. The Catholic Mary, Queen of Scots, attempted to overthrow the new Protestant church, but after a struggle, she herself was forced to leave the country. Calvinism was triumphant in Scotland, except for a few districts in the north, in which Roman Catholicism remained strong, particularly among the noble families.

Canto, a song, part of a poem

Comedy, generally deals with the light and amusing side of life and usually has a happy ending. Comedy deals with the follies and absurdities of human beings and sometimes has a satirical purpose. The object of a tragedy is to excite emotions; of a comedy, to excite mirth. Comedy of manners has the purpose to satirize the weaknesses of the upper classes. It was in vogue in the 17th and 18th centuries and is still written today. Comedy of humors is a satiric form of comedy popular in England in the 17th and 18th centuries. Sentimental comedy in the 18th century had for its purpose the reform of public morals. Farce is the type in which the emphasis is on a complicated and extravagant plot. Burlesque is a more serious work. Vaudeville is a set theatrical piece in which pantomime or a dialogue is combined with light songs and dancing.

Criticism, the art of judging the result of any endearor, but more specifically the evaluation, according to certain principles and canons, of the merits and deficiencies of a work of literature or the arts. The Poetics of Aristotle was the first important work of criticism. Aristotle maintained that the quality of a work of art could be determined and measured in proportion to the enjoyment it afforded society and the highest enjoyment was provided by those works which were based on the “imitation” what was universal, rather that individual and particular in human nature. He also trended questions of construction and style pointing out that art is governed by certain laws and criticism may be practiced as a scientific analysis of art. The Middle Ages with its emphasis on the didactic and theological rather than esthetic aspects of art, produced no great critic except Dante. In Renaissance criticism was revived as literary art in the works of Sir Philip Sidney, Ben Jonson.
The important English critics are Alexander Pope, John Dryden, Samuel Coleridge, William Wordsworth, John Ruskin, Walter Pater, Malthew Arnold.

Chronicles, (“events of the day”), 1) a historical record chronologically arranged; 2) the two Old Testament books.
Cubism, an avant-garde movement in early 20th century, founded by P. Picasso, that inspired related movement in literature before surrealism became more popular. In cubism objects are broken up and recast in an abstract form. Instead of presenting objects from one view point many view points are presented to describe the subject in a greater contest that renders it with ambiguity of interpretation. In literature most of Gertrude Stein’s works are built on repetition of words and phrases as blocks in passages and chapters.

Cycle, literary cycles are stories grouped around common figures, often based on mythical or historical figures.

Dadaizm, a literary and artistic movement of the 1920’s which forsook traditional forms of communication and representation for individualistic esthetic anarchy. It is generally regarded as one of the sources of the movement called surrealism. The 20th century artistic and literary movements revolted against the cult of beauty and destroyed beauty in art and literature. Their goal was to put an end to art itself using eccentric distortion of reality.

Deism, the belief in a personal transcendent God who created the world but does not intervene in its affairs. It operates on the basis of mechanical laws. Natural Religion is based on reason and experience.

Detective story, a type of fiction in which the action is provided by the logical solution of a crime. The crime is usually presented first and the narration presents an investigation of motives, methods, clues. The solution is usually made by the detective hero in a climax when the identity and motives of the criminal are exposed and proved.
The art of the detective story developed in the 19th century with the works of Edgar Allan Poe. “Murders in the Rue Morgue” is the first modern detective story.
The first nature detective novels belong to Wilkie Collins (“The Woman in White”, “The Moonstone”). The detective hero of unique talent for deductions Sherlock Holmes was introduced by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Some of the best detective story writers are G.K. Chesterton, Agatha Christie, F. D. Hammett.

Drama, a literary composition in either verse or prose, intended to be performed by actors upon a stage, and usually in the form of a narrative told by the action and dialogue of characters portrayed by the actors. A drama is usually divided into several acts, which for more effective telling the story are often divided into scenes. Three ancient principles of dramatic construction have at various times exercised great influence on dramatic writing. These principles were introduced by the Greek dramatists of the 5th century b. c. and were set down by Aristotle in his “Poetics”. They are known as the three “unities” – of time, of action, of place. The unities were often observed in periods of classical influence, but were ignored by playwrights in periods of romantic or realistic influences. Shakespeare ignored the unities of time and place and he frequently ignored the unity of action by introducing into a tragedy a comic scene, such as the grave-digging scene in “Hamlet”. The principle types of the drama are tragedy and comedy.

Elegy, a funeral song sad and plaintive in spirit, or a meditative poem with sorrowful theme.

English literature (17th century), reflects the conflicts between the Royalists (supporters of the King) and Parliament and its forces (Puritans). The Commonwealth, established by Oliver Cromwell was followed by the Restoration. This period lacks the power of the Renaissance. The poetry is less original in thought and emotion. The prose, which was mainly devoted to religions, scientific and political issues is more developed. The poets of the century may be classified into: 1) The Pastoral Poets, characterized by their love for nature (E. Spenser) 2) The Metaphysical Poets (John Donne), characterized by fantastic figures of speech, drama, realism, skepticism. Donne had a great influence on the poets of the 20th century. 3) The Cavalier Poets, easy-going and cynical. Richard Lovelace, Tomas Carew. 4) The Classical Tradition Poets, characterized by restraint and correctness (Sir John Denham, Abraham Cowley, Andrew Marvell). 5) The Satiric Poets (Samuel Butler and John Dryden). Among them stands apart John Milton, one of the greatest poets in all English literature. He is noted for lofty imagination, mastery of blank verse. John Milton’s master pieces are the epic poems “Paradise Lost” and “Paradise Regained”. Other famous poetic works are “L’Allegro”, “Il Penseroso”, “Lycidas” and over 20 sonnets. Among the prose writers in the 17th century flourished Francis Bacon, “the father of inductive philosophy”, Robert Burton (The Anatomy of Melancholy), the philosopher John Locke (“Essay Concerning the Human Understanding”). Under the patronage of King James I over fifty scholars translated the Bible known as “The Authorized Version” or the “King James’ Bible”. Samuel Pepys’ “Diary” was a lively record of the events in Restoration London.
John Milton wrote pamphlets in defense of the freedom of speech (“Areopagitica”), in favour of humanistic education (“Of Education”). John Bunyan’s “The Pilgrim’s Progress” is an allegory of a man’s life. It is written in the spirit of Puritanism. John Dryden is noted for the criticism of an English prose style which is characterized by naturalness, clarity, conciseness. Dryden is regarded as the creator of modern English prose. The most important prose works are his critical works including “Of Dramatic Poesie”.

English literature (18th century). The classical traditions in literature were followed both in poetry and prose. The literature of this period cultivated reason, formalism and critical attitude to life. Roman writers, including Vergil, Horace, Lucretius were models for the English writers of the 18th century. This period is known also as the period of neo-classicism in the English literature. This period was an age of prose writings and foreshadowed to its end a new type of romantic poetry. There appeared two new forms in English literature – (the essay and the novel) and the first newspapers and periodicals were published. The first newspaper was called “The Daily Courant” (1702). The journal “A Review of the Affairs of France and of all Europe as Influenced by that Nation” (1704) was written by a most prolific author of the period, Daniel Defoe. Defoe was known also for his pamphlets and historical writings. He suggested the essayist Sir Richard Steele the idea for the famous periodical “The Tatler”, which was followed by “The Spectator” whose founder was another essayist Thomas Addison. The authors criticized the manners and morals from the point of view of middle class morality. The greatest English satirist in England, Jonathan Swift wrote allegorical satires on various aspects of religion “The Tale of a Tub”, on human vices and institutions “Gulliver’s Travels” in support of Irish people living conditions (“The Drapier Letters”, “Modest Proposal”). The Neoclassic poetry lacked lyricism, was strict in form and had a didactic and satiric tone. It was written in the rhymed two-line form, the heroic couplet. The noted poet of this period was Alexander Pope. Among his best known works are “The Essay on Criticism”, the mock-epic “The Rape of the Lock”, the didactic poem “Essay on Man”. John Gay was famous for his “Fables”. The novel, which became the most important literary form of the 18th century, was represented by Daniel Defoe’s “Robinson Crusoe”, “Moll Flanders”, “Roxana”. In the 18th century the novel is characterized by the analysis of thought and emotion. Samuel Richardson is noted for his novels in the form of series of letters and for his creation of the English novel of sentiment and character. He created four literary types of novel: 1) the lady of high morals; 2) her male counterpart; 3) the polished profligate (vicious, dissolute person); 4) a persecuted for his beliefs protestant. Among his novels are “Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded”, “Clarissa, or the History of a Young Lady”, “History of Sir Charles Grandison”. Other major novelists: Henry Fielding (“The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling” regarded as the greatest novel in English). Tobias Georse Smollett is the founder of the novel of life at sea (“The Adventures of Roderick Random). Samuel Johnson was the most influential author of the time. His most important works are “Lives of the English poets” (1779), “A Dictionary of the English Language” (1755). James Boswell’s “The Life of Samuel Johnson” is considered to be the greatest of English biographies.

English Literature (19 century). The end of the 18th century saw the beginning of political as well as literary revolutions in many countries. There was an artistic rebellion against the classical form. Many poets, who started to write in the classical form broke with neoclassical conventions. They began to draw their subject matter from nature, rural life, often using the ballads and tales of medieval times and established the great English Romantic school. The two major authors in the early part of the English romantic movement were Robert Burns and William Blake. Robert Burns’ poems are romantic in their feeling of kinship with all mankind, love of nature, liberty and democracy (“Auld Lang Syne”, “To Mary in Heaven”, “Flow Gently”, “Scots Wha Hae”, “A Man’s a Man for A’That”). Most of the poems are written in the Scottish dialect. William Blake was a mystic to whom the truth of life was revealed in visions. He was a rebel against conventional religion and morals, and an adherent of the French Revolution. (“Songs of Innocence”, “Songs of Experience”). The English romantic poets of the first half of the 19th century included five major poets in the history of English literature: 1) William Wordsworth who treated the themes of ordinary life and nature (“Lyrical Ballads”, “The Excursion”, “Ode on the Intimation of Immortality”) about 500 sonnets, among which “The World Is Too Much With Us”. 2) Samuel Taylor Coleridge combined weird, supernatural themes with philosophic ideas (“Kubla Khan”, “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”, “Christabel”). His prose works include “Biographia Literaria” and lectures on Shakespeare. 3) George Gordon Byron, famous for his gloomy, melancholy poems who influenced all European poets (“Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage”, “The Bride of Abydos”, “Manfred”, “Don Juan”). 4) Percy Bysshe Shelley, rebelled not only intellectually but personally against conventional religion and morality (“The Revolt of Islam”, “Prometheus Unbound”, a poetic drama, “Adonais”, a lament on the death of John Keats, “Ode to the West Wind”, “Ode to a Skylark”). 5) John Keats’ poetry is characterized by rich imagery and of great musical quality (sonnets “When I have Fears That I May Cease to Be”, “Ode to a Nightingale”, “Ode On a Grecian Urn”; romance “Eve of St Agnes”; ballad “La Belle Dame Sans Merci”. Among the other poets of this period were Robert Southey.
Sir Walter Scott’s poetic work deal with the legendary and historical part of England and Scotland (“The Lay of the Last Minstrel”, “The Lady of the Lake”). But his most important place in English literature is due to his historical novels (“Guy Mannering”, “Ivanhoe”, “The Talisman”). Jane Austen is master of character and realistic depiction (“Sense and Sensibility”, “Pride and Prejudice”, “Northanger Abbey”, “Persuasion”. The writers of nonfiction include Charles Lamb (“Essays of Elia”). William Hazlitt (“Table Talk or Original Essays on Men and Manners”). Thomas De Quincey (“The Confessions of an English Opium Eater”, “Joan of Arc”); A lyric poet Walter Savage Landor (“Imaginary Conversations of Literary Men and Statesmen”, “Imaginary Conversations of Greeks and Romans”). The second part of the 19th century is called the Victorian Age and is characterized by adherence to conventions in manners and intellectual outlook. On the whole the literature had didactic and moral aims. Victorian literature reflected the social problems that arose with industrialization of the country and conflicts between science and religion that was caused by Charles Robert Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species by Natural Selection. In Victorian days there were two opposing points of view on English political and social life. One held that the British institutions were perfect. The writings of Thomas Babington Macaulay supported the optimistic view (“Critical and Historical Essays”, “History of England from the Accession of James II”). The other point of view on English life urged reforms and their works they undertook critical study of the society. Thomas Carlyle, advocate of reforms, wrote “The French Revolution”, “On Heroes, Hero-Worship”, and “The Heroic in History”, “Past and Present”. John Ruskin wrote about the conditions of English working class. He is also known for his art criticism “Modern Painters”. To Ruskin the esthetic element was as important as the moral element. Matthew Arnold in his essays criticized educational standards and religion “Essays in Criticism, First Series”, “God and the Bible”. Two major poets are noted in the Victorian period. Alfred, Lord Tennyson, who reflected the conflict between faith and reason. He set forth the idea that out of wrong or evil conditions destiny will ultimately bring beneficial for the English empire order “The Lotus-Eaters”, “Locksley Hall”, “In Memoriam”, “Idylls of the King”. The latter is a romantic narrative derived from Marlory’s Arthurian romances. Robert Browing had less devotion to perfect forms, but more realistic and understanding treatment of human character (“Pippa Passes”, “The Ring and the Book”, “Dramatic Idylls”, “My Last Duchess”). Among the other Victorian poets was Algernon Charles Swinburne, who celebrated the pagan spirit of joy in life (“Poems and Ballads”, “Songs before Sunrise”, “Tristram of Lyonesse”). Dante Gabriel Rossetti sought inspiration in medieval literature (“The Blessed Damosel”, “The House of Life”). Elizabeth Barrett Browning, wife of Robert Browning wrote “Sonnets from the Portuguese”. Five novelists dominate the Victorian period:
1. Charles Dickens is known for his attacks on social evils and vivid characters, humour and pathos “The Adventures of Oliver Twist”, “Bleak House”, “Hard Times”, “Little Dorrit”, “A Fale of Two Cities”, “Great Expectations”, etc.
2. William Makepeace Thackeray devoted himself to the depiction of upper-middle-class life (“Vanity Fair”, “The History of Henry Esmond”, “The Virginians”).
3. Mary Ann Evans known by the pen name of George Eliot described rural and provincial life (“Adam Bede”, “Mill on the Floss”, “Silas Marner”, “Daniel Deronda”).
4. Thomas Hardy wrote novels pervaded by tragic destiny coming from the society and from within the characters themselves (“Far from the Madding Crowd”, “The Return of the Native”, “Tess of the D’Urhervills”, “Jude the Obscure” and many poems).
5. Charlotte Bronte (“Jane Eyre”).
The other novelists were Elizabeth Gaskell; the Bronte sisters, Emily and Ann; Wilkie Collins, Richard D. Blackmore, George Meredith, Rudyard Kipling, Robert Louis Stevenson, Oscar Wilde, Samuel Butler and others.

English Literature (20 century)
W.H.Auden called the 20th century “The Age of Anxiety”. The twentieth century as many critics observed was a time of movements, radical artistic theories. It was a time for abstraction. The modernist revolution that started in the European, especially French arts, brought revolutionary ideas, complex in fundamental ways. The tradition collapsed, the literary systems collapsed and the basis of literature was to be recreated. The new movements multiplied, called themselves abstract names (Imagism, naturalism, futurism, constructivism, etc.) Ezra Pound played a central part in starting these movements. Another influential author was T.S. Eliot, who bridged the space between the British and American literature. And the 20th century literature is considered to belong to American authors. Th. Dreiser was the great representative of modern American Naturalism. Jack London, a Nietzschean socialist represented the restless American mind. This was the century of individualism, decline of individual and societal moral, arrogant commercialism, disillusionment. But the fundamental change that occurred in fiction and poetry lay in the nature of literary language itself. The main theory of modernism was proclaimed by Gertrude Stein. She was determined to kill in literature what was not dead, the nineteenth century which was so sure of evolution and prayers.
The neo-Darwinian view of nature and man gave way to a freer, more complex vision – the relation between mind and object can never be static and must be understood as part of developing flux. Consciousness manifests transitivity of being as seen in a Heraclitean “river of stream” which became a modernist epistemological metaphor. James Joyce succeeded in attracting attention of other authors and critics by a great knowledge of intimate psychology and was the first to present a literary mode of “stream of consciousness”. This was a crucial step, followed by new devices, forms, rhythms, ideas, diversity of literary trends. The century began in the spirit of Decadence, avant-garde. The new poetry and prose required a new criticism, a changed version of aesthetics and cultural values. Novelists and short story writers of this period:
Richard Aldington (“Death of a Hero”), Gilbert Keith Chesterton (“the Man Who Was Thursday”), Joseph Conrad (“Youth”, “Lord Jim”), Archibald Joseph Cronin (“Hatter’s Castle”), Edgar Morgan Forster (“A Passage to India”), John Galsworthy (“The Forsyte Saga”), Graham Green (“The Heart of the Matter”), Aldous Leonard Huxley (“Point Counter Point”), David Herbert Lawrence (“Sons and Lovers”), Katherine Mansfield (“Bliss and Other Stories”), William Somerset Maugham (“Of Human Boundage”, “Theatre”, “Cakes and Ale”, “The Moon and Sixpence”, etc.), Hector Hugh Munro (“Saki”, “The Cronicles of Clovis”), John Boynton Priestly (“The Good Companions”), Evelyn Arthur St.John Waugh (“Vile Bodies”, “The Loved One”), Herbert George Wells (science fiction), William Golding (“Lord of the Flies”), Virginia Woolfe (“Mrs Dalloway”, “To the Lighthouse”). Poets: Wystan Hugh Auden (“The Dance of Death”), Richard Aldington (“Collected Poems”), Alfred Edgar Coppard (“Yokohama”, “Garland and Other Poems”), Thomas Stearns Eliot (“The Waste Land”), Wilfred Owen (“Poems”), James Joice (“Chamber Music”), William Empson (“The Teasers”). In the first half of the century the greatest three of them were: William Butler Yeats (“The Poetical Works of William B.Yeats”), Dylan Thomas (“Poem in October”, “Poem on his Birthday”, etc.) and Thomas Stearns Eliot. In the second half of the 20th century poets reacted to the symbolism by their refusal from symbols and metaphors, surrealism and claimed “healthy”, rational clear and rhythmic poetry, though they didn’t form any definite trend. Poetical traditions were debated in two opposite anthologies: “New Lines” and “Mavericks”. A new and very special trend in modern English poetry was proclaimed in the lyrics of “The Beatles” early in the 60-s. The songs were dedicated to eternal themes: love, the pain of separation, loveliness, gift of life and protest against vulgar conventions. Most of the lyrics were written by J. Lennon and P. Maccarthney. There were other poets who were close to “The Beatles” in the ironic world outlook and poetic forms of parodies on pop art. They published their works in “The Liverpool Scene”: Adrian Maurice Henri, Roger MacGough and Brian Patten. The twentieth century is immensely diverse in literary criticism and literary forms (gentres). Besides the already existing literary gentres there appeared a new literary form of writing – Linguistics (decoding textology, stylistics, philology, semantics).

Epic Poetry, a type of poetry, usually in the form of a long narrative poem known as an epic, dealing with action of broad sweep and grandeur, and of traditional or historic interest. In most epics the story of the fortunes or deeds of a single individual furnished the chief interest and gives unity of the composition. Commonplace acts and details of everyday life may appear, but they serve as background for the story, and are told in the same heroic style and elevated language as in the rest of the poem. Epic poems are not merely entertaining stories of legendary or historical heroes. They serve to sum up and express the ideals or nature of an entire nation at a significant or crucial period of its existence. Epic poems fall into three groups: 1) the folk, or popular epic, which developed from the orally transmitted folk poetry of tribal bards and were written by anonymous poets (Beowulf). 2) the literary or art epics, which are the creation of individual and known poets, who consciously use a long-established form and accepted models. (“Farie Queen” by E. Spenser and “Paradise Lost” by J. Milton). 3) the mock epic, which satirizes contemporary ideas or conditions (“Rape of the Lock” by A. Pope).

Epicureanism, system of philosophy based chiefly on the teachings of the Greek philosopher Epicurus. The essential doctrine is that pleasure is the Supreme good and the main goal in life. However intellectual pleasures are preferred to sensual ones. True happiness is the serenity resulting from the absence of pain and especially from the conquest of fear of the gods, of death, and of the afterlife. The cardinal virtue in the Epicureanism system of ethics is prudence, or the balancing of pleasure and pain. A just way of life requires a balancing of pleasure and pain so as to minimize disquietude. Epicurus preferred friendship to love, as being less disquieting. Only through self-restraint, moderation and detachment can one achieve the kind of tranquility that is true happiness.

Epigram, a verse or short poem ending in some ingenious or witty turn.

Epistle, a formal and didactic letter, often intended for publication Aristotle and Epicurus employed it to express their philosophical views. Twenty one books in the new Testament are epistles written by apostles to explain Christian doctrine. From the Renaissance to the present, The epistle, in verse and prose, has held a prominent place in literature. Examples: “Provincial letters” by Blaise Pascal, “The Epistle to Dr Arbuthnot” by Alexander Pope, “A letter to Maria Gisborne” by Percy Bysshe Shelley.

Epitome (bookish), short summary or short essay, extract from a written text, resume

Epitaph, brief commemorative inscription on a tomb or monument. Greek epitaphs were the first to possess literary value. The epitaph was introduced to Britain by the Romans and were until the 13th century written in Latin. During the Elizabethan Age the writing of the epitaphs in the form of epigrams became popular. Noteworthy among epitaphs are those written by Alexander Pope and John Milton.

Esoteric, a term used to denote an inner, or hidden meaning. It is often used synonymously with “mystic” in connection with a doctrine observed by certain disciples of Buddhism. The antonym exoteric signifies that which is external, or easily comprehensible.

Esotericism, holding secret doctrines of correspondence between all parts of the invisible and the visible cosmos; the conviction that nature is a living entity owing to a divine presence of life-force; the need for mediating elements (symbols, rituals, angels, visions) to access spiritual knowledge and spiritual transmutation when obtaining this knowledge. Esotericism is the metaphysical point of unity of all religions, that are believed to converge.

Essay, a literary composition, personal in its point of view and informal in style and method. The term is applied usually to a short discourse as well as to a lengthy and systematic studies, such as John Locke’s “Essay Concerning Human Understanding”(1690) or a poetical work, for example A. Pope’s “Essay on Man”(1733). It is usually confined to a particular aspect of its subject. A good English essayist was Francis Bacon. His essays appeared in 1597. They were informal without a special structure. Dryden’s “Essay on Dramatic Poesy” is longer and more logically organized. In the 18th century Joseph Addison and Sir Richard Steele wrote essays in their literary periodicals “The Tatler” and “The Spectator”. After these journals the essays became heavily moral and didactic and almost disappeared. At the end of the 18th century the essay had its revival in the “Covent Garden Journal” and in Dr Samuel Johnson’s essays in the “Rambler” and “Adventurer”. The 19th century witnessed the development of the formal essay, literary and critical. To the notable group of essayists of their period belong William Hazlitt, Thomas Macaulay, Thomas De Quincey. After the middle of the 19th century critical, literary, philosophical or scientific essays were characterized by comparative brevity and stylistic individuality. John Ruskin, Robert Louis Stevenson, Thomas Huxley, T.C. Eliot, Virginia Woolf are notable essayists of this period. In the 20th century a satirical and humorous type of essay was cultivated by G.K. Chesterton, Edgar Allan Poe.

Euphuism, the pedantic or affected use of words or language

Existentialism, a literary and philosophical movement, which came into existence in France in 1943 under the leadership of Jean Paul Sartre. The basic theory of existentialism is contained in the famous words of Descartes, “I think; therefore I am”. According to existentialism, reality is defined by the mind, and has no meaning apart from man’s intellectual recognition of it; yet an outer and collective reality exists, creating a disparity and contradiction between man’s inner self and his position and function in real world. Existence is senseless, but the responsibility for man’s life (existentialists deny divine guidance) is in man’s hands. The individual is responsible for every movement he makes, and in the end he is the complete result of his own actions. This responsibility creates man’s sense of anguish, from which he can hope to emancipate himself only by realizing himself to his fullest extent.

Exoteric, 1) comprehensible to or suited to the public; popular 2) of or related to the outside; external

Expressionism, a movement in art schools of the 20th century. The aim of the artists was not to depict aspects of reality, but to express the emotions aroused in him by reality to express the nature of a subject. The physical characteristics of a subject are modified, omitted and supplemented and presented in a distorted and exaggerated form.
In expressionistic drama or literature, characters and scenes are presented in a distorted form. The movement is represented by Eugene O’Neill, Elmer L.Rice, J.H. Lawson in America.
The British author Virginia Woolf is noted as an expressionist; in her works V.Woolf is concerned not with reproducing reality, but in expressing the subjective feelings of the characters, in each case women. She gives a detailed account of their thoughts, sensations and emotions as they go through her consciousness.

Fabian Society, an English socialist education organization. It was established by socialists in 1884 with the aims for a better world. The young men believed it was necessary to struggle for social equality. The Fabian society enrolled prominent writers, economists, historians, teachers, members of Parliament and the Labour Party leaders. The basic theoretical views of the Fabians were formulated in the “Basis”. The theory was based on eclectic economic views. The movement rejected the Marxian theory of class struggle. According to Fabians transition from capitalism to socialism would be accomplished by the whole nation. The “Fabian Essays” edited by G.B. Shaw appeared in 1889 and have since been classics of English socialist thought. It was followed by pamphlets (“Fabian Tracts”) distinguished by literary quality. Besides G.B. Shaw another novelist H.G. Wells was also an active member of the Fabians. In the middle of the 20th century the membership of the Fabian Society rose to thousands including over a hundred parliamentarians.

Fable, a term which in general sense denotes the incidents or plot of any fictions narrative, but more specifically and frequently signifies a literary composition in prose and verse in which a story is made by the means for conveying a universal spiritual truth. The moral is presented symbolically and usually is derived from a conflict among inanimate objects or animals which are given the attributes of rational beings. The fable differs from the parable, which is also a short narrative designed to convey a moral truth, but the fable is concerned with events that are impossible in life and nature, whereas the parable always deals with possible events.
One of the earliest and also most notable collections of animal fables is that of Aesop, reputedly a Greek slave who lived in the 6th century B.C. In the 17th century the greatest of all French fabulists was Gean de La Fantaine. The best of all English writers of fables was John Gay whose “Fables” (1738) written in sprightly verse are characterized by great originality and wit.

Fairytales, in folklore these are stories in which the folk imagination not only conceives of fairyland as a distinct domain, but also imagines fairies as living in actual surroundings such as hills, valleys, trees.
The belief in fairies (supernatural creatures) was a universal attribute of early folk culture.
The traditional characteristics of fairies are depicted in literature in such words as Shakespeare’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream”, “Romeo and Juliet”, “Lady Macbeth”; John Milton’s “Comus”; Andrew Lang’s “Blue Fairy Tale Book”, “Red Fairy Tale Book”; William Butler Yeat’s “Irish Fairy Tales”.

Fantasy, images or imaginary narratives that distort or entirely depart from reality. It is a genre that uses magic and supernatural phenomena as a primary element of plot, theme or setting. Fantasy differs from science fiction in that it doesn’t involve any logical thinking. The most successful fantasy in literature is “The Lord of the Rings” by J.R.R. Tolkein.

Figures of speech (Stylistic devices)
A class of rhetorical devices for giving particular emphasis to ideas and sentiments.
In antiquity about 250 figures were recognized.
Since the conceivable modes of departure from plain and ordinary speech are countless, a definite enumeration of such figures is difficult. The figures most commonly recognized are:
1. Allegory, a type of figurative narration consisting of a prolonged metaphor in which the story directly presented is intended to convey, by means of symbolism, another story. Famous works in English literature based on allegory are “the Faerie Queene” (E. Spenser), “Pilgrim’s Progress” by John Bunyan and “Absalom and Achitophel” by John Dryden.
2. Anticlimax denotes the device by which ideas are made abruptly to diminish in dignity or importance at the end of a sentence or passage, generally for satirical effect.
3. Antithesis signifies the juxtaposition of two words, phrases, clauses or sentences contrasted or opposed in meaning, in such a way as to give emphasis to contrasting ideas. Example A. Pope: “To err is human, to forgive divine”
4. Apostrophe is the device by which an actor turns from his audience, or a writer from his readers, to address a person, usually either absent or deceased, an inanimate object, or an abstract idea.
John Milton in his poem “Il Penseroso” invokes the spirit of melancholy-“Hail divinest Melancholy, whose saintly visage is too bright to hit the sense of human sight”
Climax consists in the arrangement of words, clauses or sentences in the order of their importance, the least forcible coming first “It is an outrage to bind a Roman citizen; it is a crime to scourge him; it is almost parricide to kill him; but to crucify him- what shall I say to this?
Euphemism is the substitution of a delicate or inoffensive term or phrase for one that has coarse, sordid or unpleasant associations. (To pass away- to die)
Exclamation denotes a sudden outcry or interjection expressing violent emotion (“Lady Macbeth “Out, out damned spot…!” Hamlet-“O villain, villain, smiling damned villain!)
Hyperbole is a form of inordinate exaggeration according to which a person or thing in depicted as being better or worse, or larger or smaller than is actually the case. (Thomas Macaulay: Dr Johnson drank his tea in oceans)
Litotes is the opposite of hyperbole and is an understatement “The English poet Thomas Gray showed no inconsiderable powers as a prose writer” which has the meaning that Gray was a very good prose writer.
Interrogation (rhetorical question) is the asking of questions not to gain information but to assert emphatically the obvious answer (Did you help me when I needed help .? Did you offer to intercede in my behalf? Did you do anything to lessen my load?)
Irony is a humorous and slightly sarcastic mode of speech in which words we used to convey a meaning contrary to their literal sense. Jonathan Swift “Modest Proposal” – “the people of Ireland should rid themselves of poverty by selling their children to the rich, who should eat them”.
Metaphor is a figure of speech in which a word or phrase denoting one kind of idea or object is used in place of another word or phrase for the purpose of suggesting a likeness between the two which is usually implied “the man tore through the building”.
Simile expresses by means of the words “like” or “as”. “Reason is to faith as the eye to the telescope”.
Metonymy consists in the use of a word or phrase for another to which it bears an important relation, as the effect for the cause, the abstract for the concrete “He was an avid reader of Chaucer”. “She kept a good table (food)”.
Synecdoche is closely related to metonymy. It is a device where by the part is made to stand for the whole, the whole for the part, the species for the genus. “the president’s cabinet contained the best brains of the country”
Onomatopoeia is the imitation of natural sounds by words “the humming bee”, “the whizzing arrow”.
Personification is the representation of inanimate objects or abstract ideas as living beings. “Necessity is the mother of invention”, “night enfolded the town in its ebon wings”.

Genre, a style, a particular kind or sort. The term is applied to works of literature or art.

Greek literature, had a formative effect upon all European literature. In the early period (the second millennium B.C) the Greek people possessed an oral literature, composed of songs about wars, funerals and the art of the ballad must have developed from them. The Greek epic reached its height in the “Iliad” and “Odyssey” of Homer. The poems started a literary tradition in verse.
In the 6th century B.C Aeschylus wrote about 90 plays, and then came Sophocles, who was noted for his studies of human emotions. Euripides, Aristophanes, Socrates had a strong influence on literature, both poetry and prose.
The early Christian writers who transcribed and compiled the New Testament made use of Greek.

History, a systematic narrative or account of past events, particularly of those affecting nations, arts, sciences. It is differentiated from chronicles, which merely record events. The historian arranges historical facts in logical order and interprets them critically, in accordance with the results of his arrangements. The human element involved in critical interpretation is a factor that cannot make history an exact science. Human knowledge increases its scope through ages and each new science or study contributes to a knowledge of man as a social being and of man in his relationship with the physical world. The first historian, “Father of History”, Herodotus recording some events with great accuracy mingled it with many fabulous happenings and was also known as the “Father of Lies”. In the 18th century the English historian, Edward Gibbon wrote one of the masterpieces of historical scholarship, “The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire”. Thomas Macaulay, and Thomas Cardyle were the 19th century historians noted for their objective treatment of history.
Hymn, in the first years of Christianity any song in praise of God. Later there were written sacred poems and set to music. Hymn writing was developed by a monk who is considered to be the father of hymns – St. Ephrem of Edessa. The earliest hymns in English were translated from Latin, and only in the 17-th century a book of original English hymns was published by Orlando Gribbons (“Hymns and Songs” of the Church). In the 18-th century English hymns became established as part of the regular service of the Anglican Church.

Humanism, the revival of classical learning and speculative inquiry beginning in the 15th century displaced Scholasticism from its dominant position as the principal philosophy of Western Europe and deprived churchmen of the monopoly of learning which they had previously held. The invention of printing increased tremendously the circulation of books and spread new ideas throughout Europe. Sir Thomas More in England applied the New Learning to the evaluation of church practices and the development of a more accurate Knowledge of the Scriptures. The scholarly studies laid the basis on which the reformers claimed the Bible rather than the Roman Catholic Church as the source of all religious authority.

Idealism, a term applied to various systems of thought in which all nature and experience are explained in terms of ideas, or products of intellect. The ancient Greek philosopher Plato considered a world of unchanging ideas as the only reality. Medieval realism postulated a similar world in the concept of "universals". Modern idealism differs from the classical form in that it does not place ideal reality outside the world of experience and places it in the consciousness of man. During the 19th century the development of the physical sciences, aided by the trend to naturalism, caused a decline in the popularity of idealism.

Idyll, little form of image, originally, a short descriptive poem of a rural or pastoral character. In the middle ages the classical meaning of the form was lost and short descriptive poems on a great variety of subjects were called idylls.
In the second half of the 19th century, in “Idylls of the King” by Alfred Lord Tennyson the term was used as a title for lyrical and narrative poems. At the present time the term idyll is usually applied to any simple description, in poetry or prose, of country life and pastoral scenes.

Imagism, the esthetic movement founded in England in the 20th century by a group of poets: Richard Aldington, David Herbert Lawrence, Amy Lowell, Ezra Pound and John Fletcher. The poets wrote articles on their theories, placing primary reliance on the use of verbal images as a means of poetic expression. Most of the imagists insisted on using the language of common speech, complete freedom of the subject matter. Amy Lowell compiled three anthologies under the title “Some Imagist Poets”. In 1913 the British author F.S. Flint announces “Imagism” and declared its essential principles: 1) Use no superfluous word, adjective which does not reveal something. 2) Go in fear of abstractions. Don’t tell in mediocre verse what has already been done in good prose. 3) Don’t imagine that the art of poetry is any simpler than the art of music.
Imagism was to become a central theory of twentieth century poetry. The overall direction of Modernists (Imagists) was summed up by E. Pound and R. Aldington (“Retrospect”) who gave a guide for everyone who wished to understand modern verse: 1) Direct treatment of the “thing” both subjective and objective 2) No word that does not contribute to the presentation should be used 3) Composition of poetry should be a sequence of musical phrases, not metrical, any form was rejected.

Imagism is a neosymbolist theory. Unlike allegory, the imagist symbol does not confer a fixed meaning, symbol is not an ornament, it aims at immediate release of poetic energy. Archibald Macleish phrased it as “a poem should not mean but be”. The poet was no longer an assimilator of the universe, trying to understand it, but an ironist, a doubting skeptic (ex. Old man with wrinkled female breasts- Eliot’s “Waste Land”). Poetry lost its narrative qualities, descriptions, abstractions and acquired hard, impersonal skepticism of Modernism. For R. Pound the key question was to how to achieve the symbolic transfiguration. His technique can be illustrated by his two line poem “In a Station of the Metro”:

The apparition of these faces in the crowd; Petals on a wet, black bough.

Impressionism, the art movement, the representatives of which sought inspiration in nature. The artists revolutionized the role of color in painting using a rich palette of most vibrant hues, often placing separate spots of pure colour on the canvas. They opened a new real colour and texture. In music this term is applied to Claude Achille Debussy. Many critics consider impressionism the final stage of romanticism.

Kabbalah, Jewish mystical teachings based on the Hebrew Scriptures. The teachings hold that one should learn about the soul’s desires and then live them out, so that illness and problems will not become evident. The personal life data helps to calculate personal life tasks.

The Lake Poets (Lake School or Passive Romantics), a term applied to three English poets: William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Robert Southey who lived in Lake District, mountainous region (Cumberland, Westmorland and Lancashire) with sixteen lakes, very picturesque. The three poets had little relationships to one another, but each was an exponent of Romantic principles in poetry. The term was applied to them by derisive, unsympathetic critics.

Macabre, horribly gruesome, including horrific details of death and decay. Stories having grim or ghastly atmosphere. Macabre works emphasize the details and symbols of death.

Masque, a form of dramatic writing and production, originating in the 15th century Italy and reaching its height in 17th century England. The masque is a dramatic performance in which the authors wear masks and usually represent allegorical or mythical characters. Music and dancing were added to the masque and a conventional pattern of stock characters was established in the times of Renaissance. The masque was introduced into England in 1512, during the reign of Henry VIII. English masques developed into private theatricals celebrating royal events. The literary form was improved by Ben Johnson, John Fletcher and John Milton. After enjoying a great vogue, the masque declined rapidly in England. Many of the forms and characters were gradually incorporated into opera and the ballet. In modern times it is rarely produced and it became essentially philosophical, a drama of personified ideas, allegorical and abstract in nature.

Miracle, a term given to Christian anonymous English verse drama of medieval times. The subject matter of miracle plays is the miracles performed by the saints or scenes from the Old and New Testaments. The plays were usually performed at Easter or other holydays. They reached their popularity in the 15th and the 16th centuries. They were religious in tone. The plays were given in cycles (scenes) and were acted by the trade guilds of the town. The cycles were named after the towns: the Chester, the Wakefield, the York, the Horwich and the Coventry Plays. In the miracle play were added “interludes” of comedies based on realistic situations of contemporary life, therefore, the miracle play was a realistic medieval comedy. The best known miracle play is the “Second Shepherd’s Play”. This is a story of the shepherds watching their flocks in the fields on the night of Christ’s nativity. There is also an episode in which one of the sheep is stolen and the thief puts it in the cradle in his home pretending that the animal is his baby girl.

Modernism, the art and literary movement that flourished in Europe and America. It had many directions (see Imagism, Vortism, Symbolism).
Ezra Pound’s, Gertrude Stein’s works are characterized by a shift from the traditional literary devices of plot. The straightforward narrative was changed into a narrative in which plot is almost wholly eliminated and a free experimental style embodied radical innovations in syntax.
G. Stein uses the techniue of present, that resembles a motion pictures, films. Each picture is only a slightly different from the preceding one, presently a continuous flow of images which give the reader an illusion of lifelike continuum. She helped painters (Pablo Picasso) and authors (Sh. Anderson, E. Hemingway, Th. Wilder) to bring modern art worldwide.
Ezra Pound remained an imagist who was examining the structural interaction of politics, economics and art. This interaction is transfigured into myth. He was in quest of this artistic coherence all his life and this quest brought him to his personal tragedy rending services to fascists in Italy. He was detained after World War II, brought to the USA and declared insane. The Modern movement was firmly established in Europe with the publication of Pound’s friend, James Joyce of his modernistic work “Ulysses” in 1922. At the same time appeared Rilke’s “Sonnets to Orpheus”, Gent’s “Later Poems”, D. H Lawrence’s “Fantasia of the Unconscious”. The works of O.Spengler (“Decline of the West”) and T.S. Eliot (“The Waste Land”) embody the hopelessness and futility of life characteristic of the writings after World War I and introduce another trend in lirerature of “the lost generation”. It was the generation that lost religious faith, the generation of total cultural decline, clinics, breakdowns, degeneration, blank faces, commerce and business humbug.
Later authors were even more determined to use such elements of Modernism as social dissent and cultural dismay.
This artistic revolution and innovative methods took root in the international melting pot- America. The Modern movement gave to American writers the possibility to reconstruct their sense of native tradition and they took the key place in the twentieth century literature.

Mysticism, the doctrine, religious in character, that immediate knowledge and experience of God, or of reality, can be achieved by direct intuition or illumination, as opposed to the conventional modes of sense perception of cognition.
Mysticism is ical in that it begins with an intensity personal quest for supersensible reality, often in defiance of traditional religious authority (whether of church, creed, or Scripture) and ends with the complete negation of individuality through absorption of the self in a sense of all-pervading oneness. Mysticism finds expression in the theology of almost all Protestant denominations. The Mystics claimed they had direct communication with God and gained knowledge of spiritual things, their insight or visions brought them into spiritual union with the eternal and the supernatural.

Naturalism, the theory in literature according to which literary composition should be based on an objective, empirical presentation of natural man. Regarding human behaviour as controlled by instinct, emotion or social and economic conditions, naturalistic writers reject free will, adopting the biological determinism of Charles Darwin and in large measure the biological determinism in human relationship.

New Criticism, In the 20th century British thought (like in other countries) lived in an age of critical theory. There is no agreement or standards of judgment or traditional cannons. Critical debate has become highly philosophical. Literary criticism struggles without any certainties to construct a theory about itself. Criticism of the end of the 20th century reflects a situation of plurality without definite solutions. The number of critical positions is relative to the number of philosophical positions. Geoffrey Hartman in the argument with Modernistic formalist theories claims that new criticism should view literature as an institution with its own laws or structural principles which must be related to local and societal traditions.
The main issue debated by literary critics lies in the ontological status of meanings in a work of literature: is it single and fixed, placed by the author and available to the reader or are the meanings multiple and diverse and depend on the readers interpretation of literary symbols.
New criticism studies: 1) the role of the reader in discovering meaning(s); 2) the relation of the author to his work (biographical and psychological criticism); 3) the independence of the literary work and the world (sociological and political criticism); 4) the description of internal conflicts.

New Thought, the idealistic movement in religious and philosophical thinking which developed in the USA in the 19 century. This movement, from which evolved the theosophical and psychotherapeutic systems, known as Higher Thought, Mental Science, Metaphysical Healing and Practical Christianity. The transcendental philosophers are Amos Bronson Alcott, Ralph W. Emerson and Henry D. Thoreau. The chief tenets of New Thought are that God is omnipotent and omnipresent, the spirit is the ultimate reality, that disease is mental in origin, and that the right thinking has a healing efficacy. The therapeutic theories of New Thought received particular emphasis in the Divine Science Church. John Bovee Dods “Disease is curable by a change of belief.”

Novel, fictional prose narrative in which characters and situations typical of real life are depicted within the framework of a plot.
Although the novel has served as the instrument of instruction, of satire, of political argument and of moral edification, its primary purpose is to afford entertainment. It constitutes the third stage in the development of imaginative fiction after the epic and the romance.
The novel may be divided into four broad categories as follows:
1) The novel of incident a) the novel of adventure b) the biographical novel c) the military, naval, sporting novel
2) the novel of Artifice a) the detective novel b) the novel of mystery with sinister, depressing atmosphere and its psychological effects upon the characters c) the novel of the unknown dealing with the weird, the occult, the supernatural d) the novel of suspense dealing with portrayal of characters in realistic situations which involve violence, pursuit, intrigue, espionage, gang warfare and crime
3) the novel of ordinary life a) the novel of purpose, which points a moral or illustrates a theory of life b) the realistic or naturalistic novel, which creates the illusion of absolute reality without comments and judgments by the author
4) psychological novel a) the analytical novel or novel of character which investigates the motivation of a character in terms of the background and experience and treats events primarily in their relation to and effect upon character b) the problem novel, which is concerned with individual conflicts and with problems in human relations
The term novel (novella) passed into English when Giovanni Boccaccio’s tales were translated into English in 1566.
In the modern sense of the word the novel was developed by Samuel Richardson- (“Pamela: or Virtue Rewarded” 1740).
The realism of the novel was also developed in “Pilgrim’s Progress (1678 by John Bunyan, by Daniel Defoe in “Robinson Crusoe” (1711)), by Henry Fielding in “Joseph Andrews” (1742), “Tom Jones” (1749), “Amelia” (1751).
The Gothic novel is a tale of terror and the supernatural, marked by extended descriptions of ruins, wild and terrifying aspects (Marry Shelley’s “Frankenstein”).
The Historical novel, the acknowledged master of English historical fiction is Sir Walter Scott.
The social novel In the 19th century exponents of the new realism in fiction were Charles Dickens, William Makepeace Thackeray.
The psychological novel which occupied a dominant position in the second half of the 19th century in England is represented by George Eliot “The Mill on the Floss”; “George Meredith “The Ordeal of Richard Feveral”, “The Egoist”, “The Tragic Comedians”; David Herbert Lawrence “The White Peacock”, “Sons and Lovers”; Virginia Woolf “Jacob’s Room”, “Mars Dalloway”; James Joyce “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man”, “Ulysses”.

Parody, in ancient Greece a parody was comic imitation of a serious poem or some part. Now the term is applied to any literary work. The essence of parody is the treatment of a light theme in the style of a serious work. Chaucer described the hubbub in the widow’s household in language suggestive of the fall of Troy (Nun’s Priest’s Tale). Parody produces a humorous effect by debasement of the original theme. Among well known works of parody are Thackary’s “Burlesques”, Bret Hart’s “Condensed Novels”, Sir Owen Seaman’s “Borrowed Plumes”

Philology, the study of literary works embracing etymology, linguistic and literary history. Until the 19th century the term was applied to linguistics proper, a new period in the study of philology started. The subject matter of primary interest became the evolution of each language. In the 20th century philology became a tool in the field of historical linguistic and interpretation of texts, culture as well as language itself.

Post Modernism, After World War II the world’s geopolitical map was rebuilt and the world was in confusion and chaos. The horrors of the war brought a terrible sobriety to artistic and intellectual life. This was the age of media, new communication systems, multiplication of styles. Fiction needed to become super fiction to cope with a more fictional age of new technology and ideological transformation of consciousness. The loss of the subject, of certain truths brought a sense of reality to literature, but there was little optimism, writing mostly concentrated on the darkness, disconnection of reality, sense of human evil. Literature was strongly influenced by French existentialism with its vision of the absurd.
(Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus)
Post Modern literature became prominent in the late 60-s and the 70-s. Like Modernism, Post Modernism is an elusive term to describe literature of various roots in Modernism and Surrealism. It has been used to describe different trends, from the drug culture writing to the authors of the Beat Generation (V. Nabokov, Samuel Beckett).
Firstly, postmodernism was a movement in architecture that rejected the modernist, avant garde passion for the new. This synthetic approach has been taken up, in a politically radical way, by the visual musical and literary arts where collage is used to startle viewers into reflection upon the meaning of a reproduction. It is a rejection of the sovereign autonomous individual with an emphasis upon anarchic collective, anonymous experience. Collage, diversity, the mystically unrepresentable, Dionysian passion are the foci of attention. We see the dissolution of distinctions, the merging of subject and object, self and other. This is a sarcastic parody of western modernity and the individual and a radical, anarchist rejection of all attempts to define or represent the human subject. This trend displays the tendencies of Structuralism and Deconstructionism. Post Modernism is characterized by a mixture of forms and genres, a complex mixture of deletion, distortion, and recombination. Post Modernistic novels depict nightmare, violence, dislocation and desolation in human relationship; The characters are elusive, their names and identity sometimes change; the plots are obscure, the reality is undetermined; there is no sense of completion, coherence or meaning.
The stylistic phase of Post Modernism exhausted itself by the end of the 20th century.

Presbyterianism, a system of church government by presbyters, or elders, thus distinguished from other forms of church government such as the episcopal and the congregational. In the presbyterian system all ecclesiastical authority is in the body of presbyters called by Christ and ordained by presbyters to rule over the church.
Calvin has been regarded as the founder of Presbyterianism and he was the first to organize the Reformed church on a presbyterian model.
Prolepsis, a flash forward in narration, anachronistic representation of something as existing before its proper or historical time.

Protestanism, a term derived from the part taken by the adherents of Luther in protesting against the decree passed by the Roman Catholic States in 1529. This decree forbade any further innovations in religion in the states that Reformation had adopted (see Reformation).

Prose, form of literature of ordinary spoken or written language of unmetrical composition.

Psalm, song of praise of God.
The book of psalms is a collection of hymns which was a manual of the service of Jerusalem. It consists of 150 compositions divided into 5 books. The Old Testament is known to be composed by Moses, David and Solomon. David was in fact the founder of psalmody.

Puritans, name first given to the church of England (Anglican Church) which desired a more thorough reformation of the church that was effected under Queen Elizabeth I. The Anglican church wished to see all foreign ecclesiastical authority rejected, disliked monasticism and welcomed the use of English in the services of the church, but did not desire modifications of the Protestant church. The more advanced Puritans triumphed in the person of Cromwell.
The Restoration threw Puritans into the position of dissenters. The Puritans who emigrated to America became the founders of the USA.

Pre-Raphaelites, a term applied to a group of English painters and writers who sought to revive the purity and sincerity of early Italian painters. They published a periodical called “The Germ” in which some of Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s earliest poetic work and prose study (“Hand and Soul”) first appeared. The art of Pre-Raphaelites represents a reaction against the imitative pseudo classic tendencies. A defender and the strongest of the followers was John Ruskin. This movement can be considered as a phase of Romantic movement. Its mental positive attitude to the Middle Ages is wonderfully represented in a highly coloured, imaginative “painter’s poetry” of Rossetti, Morris and Swinburne.

Rationalism, in philosophy, a system of thought based upon the reason alone. Reason is an independent source of axiomatic principles of knowledge, superior of sense perception. Rationalism is opposed to sensationalism, the theory that all ideas originate in sensation and all knowledge is obtained though the senses. The term is used to designate the view that by means of reason alone various universal, self evident truths may be discovered or derived deductively. In this sense, rationalism is opposed to empiricism, which affirms that all knowledge is based on experience and denies the possibility of so called “a priory” ideas, or ideas originated by unaided reason. Rationalism was stated by Rene Des Cartes, Gottfried van Leibniz, Immanuel Kant.

Realism, In philosophy, a term employed to denote the metaphysical theory of the medieval scholastic philosophers called logical realism, according to which “universals” or abstractions (man, nation, circle) have an actual and independent existence apart from particular objects. It was first enunciated by Plato (the doctrine of universal archetype or ideas). It was opposed to nominalism, the doctrine that universals are without substantive reality and only specific individual objects have real existence.
Realism is also opposed to conceptualism, which asserts that universals though they have no actual existence in the external world, do exist as concepts or ideas in mind: It is opposed to materialism, which makes matter the ultimate reality, and explains the fact of conciousness by physio-chemical changes in the nervous system; to naturalism, which holds that cause-and-effect relationships are sufficient to account for all phenomena without involving theological explanations; to phenomenalism, which states that only objects of sensory experience can be known, and that nothing exists apart from such phenomena.
Epistemological realism is applied to a doctrine that objects of sense perception have a substantive reality and an independent existence outside of the mind which perceives them. This type of realism is opposed to idealism, according to which all nature and experience are explicable in terms of ideas, or products of the intellect.
In art and literature, realism is a method of representation, characterized by uncompromising fidelity to nature and real life. As such it is closely related to naturalism and opposed to romanticism.
The main tenets of realism are: 1) the writer must not select facts in accordance with preconceived esthetic or ethical ideals, but must set down what he sees in an impartial and objective manner. 2) fiction must follow the rigid methods of science and describe close “clinical” observations of the present or give a minute research of the retrospective observation of the past.

Reformation, the great 16th century religious revolution against the Roman Catholic Church which ended the universal supremacy of the Pope in western Christiandom and resulted in the establishment of the Protestant churches. It initiated the era of modern history. In England the beginning of the movement toward ultimate independence from papal jurisdiction began in the 13th century and it greatly reduced the power of the Catholic Church to withdraw land from the control of the civil government, to make appointments to ecclesiastical offices, and to exercise judicial authority. The English reformer John Wycliffe boldly attacked the papacy itself, striking at the sale of indulgences, pilgrimages, the worship of saints, and the moral and intellectual standards of ordained priests. To reach the common people, he translated the Bible into English, rather than Latin. In the times of King Edward VI, the Protestant doctrines and practices were introduced into the Anglican Church. Mary Tudor attempted to restore Roman Catholicism as the state religion and during her reign many Protestants were burned at the stake. A final settlement was reached under Queen Elizabeth in 1556. Protestantism was restored, but Roman Catholics were allowed great tolerance. As a result, the power and wealth lost by the feudal nobility and the Catholic hierarchy passed to the middle classes and to monarchs. A new individualism and nationalism in culture and politics was developed, which opened the way to the development of modern capitalism. National languages and literature were greatly advanced by the Reformation through the wide dissemination of religious literature written in the languages of the people.

Renaissance, a term usually applied to the intellectual movement with its revival of letters and art which marked transition from medieval to modern history. It accomplished the overthrow of the domination of Scholasticism, of feudalism and of the Church in secular matters, replacing them by the new thought of nationalism The movement, initiated by Petrarch and Dante, is sometimes called the Revival of learning. It led to a remarkable interest in classical Greek and Roman literature, the beginning of Humanism. In England Wycliffe and Chaucer may be regarded as the forerunners of the Reformation and the Renaissance. The fullest English outcome of the Renaissance was the Elizabethan literature, with Spenser and Shakespeare and in philosophy Bacon as its most noted representatives.

Renaissance literature of Elizabethan Period, This period comprises the literature written in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. The main characteristic feature of the literature of this period is the influence of humanism and Italian Renaissance on the writers. The Dutch humanist Desiderius Erasmus who taught Greek in Cambridge introduced the Classics into England. The greatest of English humanists was Sir Thomas More, famous for “Utopia” and “History of Richard the Third”. Among the English poets of the time influenced by Italian writers was Sir Thomas Wyatt. He translated “Petrarch’s Sonnets” into English. Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey was the first to write sonnets in English using blank verse. Surrey also translated Vergil’s verse into English. Both authors published their works in “Tottel’s Miscellany” and it was the first anthology of lyrics to be printed in English. Other famous works of the period were: 1) the first essay of literary criticism in English by George Gusceiyne; 2) dramas and lyrics of Christopher Marlowe; 3) pastoral romance”Arcadia” by Sir Philipp Sidney.
The outstanding writer of poetry was Edmund Spenser, author of “Fairie Queene”, The Shephards Calendar” and other works of luxuriant imagery, lyric quality and picturesque effect. The most supreme poet and dramatist of the English Renaissance was William Shakespeare. Minor poets of the period are John Lyly (noted for effected prose style euphuism), Robert Greene, Thomas Nash, a historian Raphael Hollinshed. The most outstanding form of literature of Elizabethan period is drama (see Drama).

Restoration, a term employed in the history of England in connection with the re-establishment of monarchy. In England it is applied to the accession of Charles II in 1660.

Romanticism, a movement in European literature, extending from the 18th century to the last quarter of the 19th, and characterized by the imaginative return to the Middle Ages for subject matter and inspiration, by the idealization of external nature, and by the accentuation of the elements of mystery and wonder in artistic creation. The derivation of romanticism is to be traced to the chivalric tales and ballads of the 11th and the 12th centuries. The characteristic elements of romanticism are as follows: love of the picturesque, preoccupation with the past, delight in mystery and superstition. English poetry became richer in verse forms and English prose expanded the expressive possibilities by additions to the vocabulary and by the development of a more subjective and emotional style. Outstanding English Romantic writers are: Sir Walter Scott, William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Walter Lander, William Hazzitt, James Hunt, Thomas De Quincey, George Gordon Byron, Percy Byshe Shelly, John Keats, Thomas Carlyle, Elizabeth Browning, Alfred Tennyson, Robert Browning, Dante Gabriel Rosseti, William Morris and A. Ch. Swinburne.

Romance, originally anything written in a Roman language: in the 11 – 12 th centuries old French or old English stories of various kinds; in the 15 – 16th centuries a story generally in prose dealing with the adventures of knights.
The essentials of romance are a passion for the adventurous, the strange and the marvelous and a tendency to exaggerate the virtues and vices of human nature.
Made for the court, they were not recited, but designed to be read aloud in groups of lords and ladies.
The medieval romances gathered in cycles round great events and favourite heroes as the siege of Troy, Charlemagne, King Arthur.
The later romances in prose are connected with the history of the novel – Sir Philip Sidney`s “Arcadia”; historical romances of Sir Walter Scott, adventures of Robert Louis Stevenson, stories of King Arthur by Tennyson and Swinburne, tales of William Morris in “The Earthly Paradise”. Romance was influenced by the conquest of England by the Normans. The literary writing was done in Norman French or in Latin. The two languages, Norman, French and Anglo-Saxon merged and with Anglo-Saxon elements predominating, their appeared Middle English. The chief literary form was romance written in verse or prose. Important author of this period is Layman, a priest who wrote legends about King Arthur; a legendary history of Britain “Brut” and stories about heroes Cymberline and King Lear. The latter was then used as the source by Shakespeare. Outstanding poems of this time were “Piers the Plowman”, an allegory dealing with conflicts of the 14-th century; “The Pearl”, an allegory on the death of a girl dear to the poet. “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” is considered to be the first English romance. An important 14-th century poet was John Gower, author of “Confessio Amantis” a collection of about a hundred stories illustrating the seven deadly sins. The English theologian John Wycliffe translated the Bible from Latin into English. By far the most outstanding poet of this period is Geoffrey Chaucer, noted for his work “The Canterbury Tales”. The greatest achievement in promotion of literary works was William Caxton’s first printing press in 1476. From Caxton’s press came Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales”, Sir Thomas Malory’s “Morte d’Arthur”, a collection of Arthurian legends.

Satire, one of the capital divisions of literature, mainly criticism of man and his works. The aim of the satire is to ridicule or to scorn. Roman satires are notable for dramatic improvisations in varying meters, like verse. The first name in the annals of English satire is William Langland, who in “Piers Plowman” abuses the clergy, the church orders and the law courts. Then came John Dryden, Alexander Pope, the greatest English writers in the field of classic satire. The brightest ornaments of English satire are J. Swift, R. Burns, Lord Byron, W.M. Thackeray, G.B. Shaw.

Scholasticism, a term applied to the teaching of those who devoted themselves in the medieval schools to the science, especially philosophy and theology. Scholasticism is a synthetic view of the universe, embracing the world, man, and God with their interrelations in so far as this is attainable by the aid of experience, reason, and revelation.
In simple language the problem is this: Is there or is there not an objective reality corresponding to our general notion of man, horse, flower. Those who answered the question in the affirmative, are known as “realists”, their opponents are “nominalists”. It was realism which had the approval of the church.

Semantics, in linguistic science means etymological, historical and psychological study of the meanings and changes of meaning of words. It includes the classification of changes in the denotation and connotation of words and investigations of linguistic devices and figures of speech.
According to the British scientist Leonard Robert Palmer a word has three characteristic features: 1) it is a symbol; 2) it is used as a referent (the thing referred to); 3) it is a reference (individual experience, actual or imaginary).
Words vary according to context and exhibit semantic variation in relation to the predominant interest of an individual or a group.
Among the British semantic studies well-known are the authors: Ivor Armstrong Richards and Charles Kay Ogden (“The Meaning of Meanings”), Alfred Habdauk Skarbek Korzybsk (“Science and Sanity, An Introduction to Nonaristotelian Systems and General Semantics”), Stuart Chase (“The Tyranny of Words”), S.I. Hayakawa (“Language in Action”).
The linguists of the 20th century were well aware of the fact that they should receive help from as well as to give to other sciences such as sociology and psychology to investigate meanings.

Sentimentalism, Sentimental – given to sentiment, appealing to sentiment rather than reason; artificially or affectedly tender, romantic. This trend appeared in the English literature in the middle of the 18th century. In the novels the inner world of the characters is shown; middle class virtues are glorified as opposed to the immorality of the aristocracy. The first representative of the school was Samuel Richardson (“Pamela of Virtue Rewarded”, “Clarissa”, “The History of Sir Charles Grandison”). The sentimentalists, greatly influenced by Rousseau, thought that civilization was harmful to humanity, men should live close to nature and be free from the corruption of big cities and high society. Other representatives of the school are Oliver Goldsmith (“The Vicar of Wakefield”) and Laurence Sterne (“Sentimental Journey”).

Sonnet, a short poem sung to the strains of the lute or mandolin. Now the term is applied to “a brief poetical form of 14 rimed lines, ranged according to prescription” and developing two successive phases of a single idea, mood, feeling or sentiment. It must be adequate and imaginative in its presentation of motive, musical in its language, distinguished by an impressive unity. There are two main forms, according to the structure – the Petrarchian and the English of Shakespearean. The former is of single stanza or a combination of two types of folk song. Wyatt and Surrey introduced this type of sonnet into England. The Shakespearean form consists of three quatrains and a couplet without any interlacing rhyme. There was a great sonnet outburst during the last years of the 16th century (Spenser, Drayton, Lodge and others). In the 17th century Donne wrote many religious sonnets, Milton (in the Petrarchian form) wrote a few. The chief sonnet writer of the Romantic Movement is Wordsworth. Others are Coleridge, Shelly and Keats.

Short novel, the term which is not an easily defined form of literature. Short novels are usually about thirty to one hundred pages. The novel incorporates some of the most attractive qualities of both longer and shorter fiction: the language is used with exceptional care and economy. The short novel compresses intricate environments, complex interactions among complex characters and present minute evolutions of individual life. The result is that a short novel is precise in structure, intense in tone and rich in meaning. The masters of the short novel are H. Melville (“Bartleby the Scrivener”), Henry James (“Daisy Miller”), Joseph Conrad (“The Secret Sharer”), D.H. Laurence (“The Fox”).

Short Story, the term applied to the form of literature, which is expected to provide something like miniature pictures of life, as the saying goes “slices of life”. Short stories tend to use language poetically, which means not only through the surface of dictionary meanings, but often through figurative meanings. The first author who is considered to establish the short story as a literary genre is Sir Walter Scott (“The Highland Widow”). The novel tells about many things, the short story – only one. The story of the present day differs from the stories of the 19th century in the language. The forms used are distinguished by explicit forms and themes. A short story is always a disclosure, often an evocation; frequently it reveals a character at some crucial point.

Stanza, a number of lines or verse connected with and adjusted to each other, usually ending in a pause; metrical division of a poem.

Structuralism, a literary trend based on anthropology, psychoanalysis, “Anthropology” by Levi-Strauss.

Surrealism, a movement in literature and art founded in Paris about 1923, by the poet Andre Breton. The movement, like dadaism, emphasized the role of the unconscious in creative activity. The pure surrealist writer used "automatism" as a literary form, that is, he sat down before the paper, wrote whatever words came into his conscious mind, and regarded these words as inviolable. He did not alter what he wrote, as that would constitute an interference with the pure act of creation. A typical example of surrealist writing is "Elephants are contagious" like their forerunners, the dadaists, the surrealists aimed at shocking society by breaking accepted rules of work and personal conduct.

Symbolism, the representation of a thing (generally an idea, emotion, quality, or value) by means of a sign or emblem which stands for or suggests the thing. The chief forms of literary symbolism are the allegory and the fable, the myth and the parable. The term "symbolism" is employed to designate a literary and esthetic movement which took place in France after 1880 in connection with verse. Symbolists regard symbolism as the expression of an idea for the purposes of such expression. The symbolists were against realism. They concern themselves with general truths in contrast with actualities. Dreams, visions, and mythological tales are their proper subjects and lyricism is their favorite form of poetic expression.

Tragedy, deals with serious themes and is concerned especially with the deeper suffering of humanity. Generally in a tragedy the leading character is brought to an end of a calamitous nature because of some passion or weakness of his own. However, the hero of a tragedy is often of admirable character and, in many cases, before his tragic end, achieves an understanding of the forces with which he has been contending and an inspiring growth of his inner self.

Transcendentalism, by "transcendental" Immanuel Kant means the nonexperiential, a priori elements of thought, forms and categories (space, time, causality) which, though not products of experience, are manifested only in experience and contribute to experimental knowledge. By "transcendent" Kant means a priori element that lies beyond all experience and is illegitimate as cognitions. Such are the ideas of "the pure reason", God, an immaterial soul. In literature his ideas were used by the authors and thinkers who were against Puritan Prejudices in the 19th century.

Utopia, name given by Sir Thomas More to the imaginary island which he made the place of his famous political romance. More’s satire, for the “island” is England. Now the epithet “Utopian” refers to all impracticable schemes for the improvement of society.

Versification, a term employed to designate both the art of making verses and the principles on which that art is based. The latter includes rhythm and meter. Rhythm is the measured movement of language produced by the regular recurrence of metrical units known as feet (rhythmic units). The principal feet are as follows: 1. trochee, iambus (3 syllables) 2. dactyl, anapest (4 syllables) 3. cretic (5 syllables) 4. choriambus (6 syllables) These feet are usually combined into metrical sentences, or colons and verse. The line is composed of two feet, three feet, four feet (the common form being the octo-syllabic line), five feet (pentameter), six feet (hexameter or Alexandrine), or seven feet (septanazius). The main types of feet commonly used in English poetry are the trochaic, the iambic, the dactylic and the anapestic. Normally a line of English verse employs a succession of feet of the same type, but substitutions and transpositions occur not uncommonly, mechanically regular verse is not regarded as good verse. Accentual rhythm accompanied by alliteration is characteristic of the earliest known Germanic verse. The “five-type” verse was employed with marked regularity throughout the Anglo-Saxon period for poetry of all kinds. The Middle English period is marked in general by the adoption and gradual perfection of the more regular measures according to Latin and Old French models. They are characterized by end rhyme, stanza structure, regulated number of unaccented syllables. To Chaucer, the first great master of the newer versification is due the popularity of two important meters, the rhyme royal (seven-line pentameter stanzas and the decasyllabic couplet or heroic couplet as it is usually called. The various combinations of pentameter verse have undoubtedly been the favorite forms of English meter used by Spenser in romantic poetry. In the 19th century a freer form, approaching the effect of blank verse was developed by Keats, Shelly and Browning. Blank verse, or iambic pentameter measure without rhyme was introduced in the 16th century by Marlowe and Shakespeare and after Milton’s use of it in ”Paradise Lost” it was widely adopted for epic and reflective poetry as well.

Vortism, neo futurist tendency which linked poetry and cubist semiabstract painting. It demanded a transforming modern explosion in the arts and literature. World War I made literary men conscious of a crisis in human history and civilization. E. Pound joined W. Lewis in vortism. Vortex is a radiant mode or cluster from which, through which and into which ideas are constantly rushing. Many writers, from Pound and Stein to Hemingway, Dos Passos, Faulkner and Fitzgerald were involved in this tendency.


1. T.D. Volosova, English Literature, Просвещение, М., 1974. 2. Three Centuries of English Prose, Ленинград, "Просвещение", 1967 3. An Anthology of English Literature. Ленинград, "Просвещение", 1978 4. Guide to English and American Literature. Москва, "Менеджер", 2000 5. English Literature, Флинта-Наука, 2000 6. English Literature, Киев, Знание, 1988 7. History of English Literature. Флинта-Наука, 2000 8. Three Centuries of English Prose. 9. Three Centuries of English Verse. 10.English Literary Reference Book, N. Nemchenko, Kokshetau State University, 2006. 11.История английской и американской литературы. Л.Р. Позднякова, Ростов-на-Дону, Феникс, 2002. 12. Halleck's New English Literature. American Book Company, 1953 13. Highlights of American Literature, Wan Hington , 1988 14. Анна Якобсон “English Literary Reader, State Textbook”, 1936. 15. Анна Якобсон “English Literary Reader, State Textbook”, 1938. 16. Treasure of Life and Literature, R.L. Lyman, Charles Scribner’s Sons, N.Y. 1937. 17. An Anthology of Chartist Literature, Ю.В. Ковалева, Изд-во литературы на иностранных языках, Москва, 1956. 18. The Millennium Library, Everyman’s Library, Campbell Publishers, London, 1992. 19. Classics Revisited, K. Rextroth, Avon Books, 1968. 20. Wordsworth, K. Wilbur, Dell Publishing Company, 1959. 21. E. Spenser and the Faerie Queene, L. Brander, The University of Chicago Press, 1948. 22. Alfred Lord Tennyson, Idylls of the King, A Signet Classic, Penguin Books Ltd, 1961. 23. The New Pelican Guide to English Literature, B. Ford, Penguin Books Ltd, 1982. 24. Milton, L.D. Lerner, Penguin Books Ltd, 1971. 25. Beowulf, B. Raffel, Penguin Books Ltd, 1963. 26. Teaching Literature, J.Engell and D. Perkins, Harvard University Press, USA, 1988. 27. Contemporary American Poets, M.Strand, A. Mentor Book, New York, 1969. 28. Е. Klimenko, English Literary Reader, Учпедгиз, М., 1952. 29. Английская поэзия в русских переводах. XX век, Москва, Радуга, 1984. 30. Английская поэзия в русских переводах. XIV-XIX век, Москва, Прогресс, 1981”. 31. The Idea of Literature, D.M. Urnova, M., Progress, 1979. 32. From Puritanism to Postmodernism, R.Ruland and M. Bradbury, Penguin Books Ltd, 1992. 33. English Literature. Учебное пособие. Леонова Н.И. Москва,Флинта,2000. 34. Е.Н Черноземова. История английской литературы. М. Наука, 2000. 35. Зубанов О.В. Guide to England and American Literature. Учебное пособие. Москва, Менеджер, 2000. 36. Readings from English Litertature. Сохань А.М., Антонова Т.Д., Москва, Просвещение, 1972. 37. Лекции по литературе Англии. Немченко Н.Ф. КГУ им. Ш. Уалиханова, Кокшетау, 2005 г. 38. M. Alexander, A History of English Literature, Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2007. 39. 39. Wilfred Funk, INC, Universal Standard Encyclopedia, Standard Reference Works Publishing Company, New York, 1958. 40. Alfred Harbage, The Complete Pelican Shakespeare, The Histories and the Non-Dramatic Poetry, Penguin Books, London, 1981. 41. Т.А. Амелина, Н.Д. Дъяконова, Хрестоматия по английской литературе, Москва, «Просвещение», 1985. 42. English Literature: Information from Answers.

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