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ALLAME TABATABAIE UNIVERSITY

A SURVEY OF HISTORY OF ENGLISH LITERATURE

(1)

DR. NIK-KHOO

BAHMAN 1385

M.K IMANI

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th
Old English Literature. 600 AD – 1065 (Started in 6 and
th
7 century)
Medieval Period 1066-1450/1485/1500

The Renaissance 1450/1485/1500- 1660

Neo-Classical 1660 – 1798


• Restoration
• Augustan
• Age of sensibility

The Romantic Period 1789 – 1832

Victorian 1832-1901

Modern 1901- 1939/1945

Post Modern 1939/ 1945 – Present

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Celts were the first people who lived in England. Then Romans occupied England.
After that Anglo-Saxons (Angels, Saxons and Jutes) came to England and Celts went
to Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Cornwall.
Romans Romans
Celts Anglo-Saxons Celts went to Ireland, Scotland, Cornwall, and
Wales
Angles
Saxons
Jutes

Celts

1. They were two tribes of Gaels and Britons


2. They entered England in 6th century BC
3. Their religion was Druidism
4. They had Mediterranean culture.
5. They Believed in Hierarchy of Gods and made human sacrifices
6. They believed in trans-migration of souls.
7. They had different classes of society
8. They came from Austria and Switzerland
9. They were converted into Christianity by Romans
10. They had oral literature.

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Main features of Old English

Oral
Pessimistic and dark, mainly elegies.
Anonymous
Themes of war, warriors, complaint, love, courage, struggling, together with pensive
mood.
Fate is very important.

In 54 and 55 BC, Caesar started occupying England. From 53-54 AD England became
the colony of Rome.
In 401 to 410 AD the Roman withdrew from England in order to protect Rome from
Barbarian attacks (approx for 500 years).

They converted British into Christians


They built London
They made Canterbury the seat of Roman church.

One day Pope Gregory saw a group of boys playing. He asked who are they and they
said they are Angels. He said no, they are Angles. So he sent St Augustine to convert
them in 597 BC.

In 447 AD (1550 years ago), Angles came to England and then Jutes and then Saxons.
England = Angel land.

Their culture was Tutanic (Germanic). They were farmers, seaman and sea pirates.
Their religion was polytheism.

Their Gods= Woden, Thore, Tiu, Saturn

The most important God was Fate, Wird

Anglo-Saxons started 7 empires called heptarchy:


Sussex
Wessex
Essex
Kent
Mercia
East Anglia
Northumbria
Anglo-Saxons were cold, reserved and pessimistic and believed in Fate. They had oral
literature. Their language was inflectional (conjugated).

Their language had only 30000 words.

Their language relied on kennings (condensed metaphors). For example they referred
to sun as world candle and referred to sea as monster’s home. They called prince a
ring giver.

Their language was harsh which is due to climate.

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They had poets called scops who worked for kings in order to immortalize their lord.
Their work was panegyric

Their poetry was alliterative (head rhymed).


Example: Grendel came creeping, accursed of God
In a summer season when soft was the sun
In a fair field full of folk.

Elegy

A sad poem for death of a person. In old English literature it means a lyric poem of
complaint and lamentation.

Deor’s lament (First elegy)

It was from a poet who was ignored by his lord because another poet had showed up
and won his heart.

Wulf and Eadwacer


A woman who is lamenting absence of her vanished lover.

The wife’s lament


About a woman who is complaining because her husband is on a journey.

The Husband’s Message


The husband writes on a piece of wood that he will go back to her arms.

The Ruin
The Seafearer
The Wanderer

Bede 673 – 735

The first English historian, the father of English learning/history. When he was 7, he
was sent to an abbey and became a deacon at 19. Bede means priest. After death he
was called deacon of church. He translated some parts of the Bible. His important
work is Ecclesiastical History of English People.

Caedmon, late 7th century – early 8th century


The first English poet. He worked in a monastery. One night he had a dream in which
a boy said “Caedmon, Sing me”. He said he knew nothing and the boy said “sing the
creation”. Next day he woke up a poet and started writing hymns.
His works are:

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1. Genesis (‫)ﺳﻔﺮ ﺁﻓﺮﻳﻨﺶ‬
2. Christ and Satan
3. Daniel
4. Exodus (‫)ﺳﻔﺮ ﺧﺮوج‬

So he wrote religious narrative poems from the bible.

Beowulf (an epic), composed 675 – 725


It is an oral , Tutanic (Germanic) epic. It was in west Saxon dialect written down in
1000 AD, and it’s composer is anonymous. It is written in 2 books. Book one is in
Denmark and about King of Danes, Herothgar. The name of his palace is Heorat.
There’s a dragon which attacks his castle called Grendel. Beowulf, the hero, goes and
kills the dragon. Then Beowulf has to kill the mother of dragon so he goes to bottom
of the sea to do so.

Book two is in Geatland 50 years later. Beowulf is in Geatland and he is the King.
There’s a fire dragon which attacks the city because one of the Geats has stolen a
golden cup from him. Beowulf fights with the help of only one of his thanes. Beowulf
is wounded. He kills the dragon and dies.

The setting is not in England. So the first English epic says nothing about England.
There are Christian passages which are interpolated into the text.

Cynewulf (late 8th or 9th century)


According to critics, after the anonymous writer of Beowulf, he is the greatest Old
English poet. He is the first known English poet.
His works are:
1. Christ II
2. Elene (the mother of Constantine)
3. The fate of the Apostles
4. Juliana (a virgin who was martyred for Christ
These four works are definitely his because they carry his signature. There are some
other works that maybe his such as The Dream of the Rood(‫)ﺻﻠﻴﺐ‬, (‫)ﮐﺘﺎب ﻣﻨﺼﻮب‬.

Old English Prose

King Alfred (Alfred the Great, 848- 899, became king in 871)
He was the best writer of old English prose. He was the king of Wessex and made it
the cultural capital of England. He defeated Vikings and singed a contract with them.
He defeated the Danes and in 878 recaptured London. His most important work is
called the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (the most important history of old English
Literature). Some poets borrowed parts of his book (Shakespeare).
He translated Ecclesiastical History of English into English.
His other important work are:

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1. Translating “Concerning the Consolation of Philosophy” by Boethias.
2. Historia Universalias
3. The Battle of Molden – (Danish Attack).

Medieval English Literature Started in 1066 when


Normans (French tribe from Normandy) attacked
England in the Battle of Hastings.
Layamon

William Langland: Was a poet born in 1332 to 1400. His work is Piers Plowman, an
allegory in alliterative verse. A great religious and satirical poem. A dream vision of
Jesus

In a summer season when soft was the sun


In a fair field full of folk
Found there I between

The narrator falls sleep and sees the Dungeon of Wrong. He sees the Tower of Truth
on a mountain (because it is an allegory). Then he explains different class of people in
his dream. Then he sees a lady called the Holly Church. The lady criticizes him for
sleeping. He asks what he should do and the lady tells him to go after Saint Truth.
Then he says how and the lady says he needs a guide (Piers Plowman).
Not much is know about Langland.

Medieval Literature was didactic.

King Arthur:
A legendary king. There are many Romance verses about king Arthur. He lived in 6th
century. He was a saint and fought with Anglo-Saxons. There are Romances and
narrative poems about King Arthur.

Some stories form other cultures such as French or German has been added to this
legend.

He went to a war, but his nephew Mordred took over the kingdom and he was killed
in a war with him.

When King Arthur died, they put his body on a boat full of wood and then set fire to it
and sent it to the lake. His soul went to Celtic Paradise Avalon.

He gave his sword to someone and asked him to give it back to the Lady of the Lake.
The man hesitated twice but at last did so.

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Romance
An early novel. An adventurous story in prose or verse with the theme of quest (for
the Holy Grail which is a cup from which Christ drunk in the last supper) and love.

Sir Gawain and the Greene Knight (Anonymous writer):


It is an Arthurian legend, written in the second half of the fourteenth century. The
theme is quest, Chivalry and law. One of the best medieval poems. It is an alliterative
poem and is written in four fitts. It is about 2500 lines.

The western drama began in Greece.

Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes

Tragedians

Rome: Palautus and Terence , Seneca

Comedians Tragedians

Medieval Period: Miracle and mystery plays: Priests started to act stories of bible and
lives of saints and martyrs were played. However, Pope ordered them to stop it.

Morality Play: An allegory which deals with abstractions. The examples are
Everyman, and The Castle of Perseverance.

They acted on a wagon called a pageant (portable stage). They acted in market places.
In between acts there were some comic interludes.

Elizabethan Drama (Renaissance)


Seneca Tragedy or Tragedy of Blood. This kind of Tragedy had a major effect on
Renaissance drama.

The types of dramas in Elizabethan period are tragedy, comedian, tragic-comedy,


history/chronicle play and masques.

Shakespeare, Ben Johnson and Marlow are leading poets of this time.

The theatres were closed down from 1649 to 1660 by Cromwell who was a puritan.

From 1660 to 1700 (Restoration period) they were opened again and sentimental and
neo-classical plays were acted.

In 18th century, comedy of manners (immoral) changed into sentimental comedy and
in 19th century, sentimental comedy changed into melodrama.

Modern Drama: Henrik Ibsen (problem plays), Chekhov, Strindberg, Berecht (epic
theatre), Oscar Wild, G.B Shaw, T.S Elliot, Samuel Beckett (theatre of the absurd,

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Waiting for Godot), John Osborn (Angry young man, Look Back in Anger), Harold
Pinter (Birthday Perly), Tom Stoppard (Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead)
Arneld Wesker (Kitchen Sink Drama).

The father of American drama is Eugene O’Neill


Arthur Miller: Death of a Salesman
Tennessee Williams= The Glass Menagerie, A Streetcar Named Desire.
Edward Albee= Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Geoffrey Chaucer 1340-1400, the best medieval writer

He is called the father of English poetry.


His works fall into three periods (1- French influenced period, 2- Italian influenced
period, 3- English influenced period).

Allegories, abstractions and alliterations are characteristics of his time but didn’t write
that way.

His master piece is The Canterbury Tales.

He wrote in couplets.

He was forgotten until 19th century.

His poetry is colourful, unlike other works in his period which are dark and
depressive.

The Canterbury Tales is a narrative. The Narrator says he went to an inn called
Tabard. He and 29 others wanted to go on a pilgrimage to the tomb of Saint Thomas
Becket, martyred in Canterbury church.

The season is spring, the weather is good. The inn keeper says if a person who comes
back can tell 4 stories, he will get a free meal (The General Prologue).

The work is colourful, gives a clear picture of English people at that time (14th
century), and it is not didactic.

Everyman

A morality play = An allegory with the theme of quest for salvation in which the
characters are abstractions. The theme of everyman is quest for salvation. It has been
taken from a Buddhist parable and translated from a Danish work. Story of Mr.
Everyman who is summoned by death. He asks some abstract entities such as Truth,
Beauty, etc…, to accompany him. The only person which accompanies him is Good
Deeds. Clearly, Everyman is didactic and teaches morality. It has several soliloquy
(thinking aloud monologues), in the story. This life being preparation for after life is
the theme of it.
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Renaissance (1450/1485/1500- 1660)

The word means rebirth. It is based on a reaction or amendment in dark period.

50 BC- 5th Century is the advent of Christianity. Rome became the military and
ideological centre of the world.

Greek (gold period) Rome (silver period)


1-Aristotle 1- Arsen
2- Plato 2- Seneca
3- Sophocles 3- Virgil
4- Eccles 4- Terence
5- Euripides 5- Blautus

Roman Church
5th cent 15th cent
1066
Medieval literature

Western Rome Empire 5th Rome


Rome
Easter Roman Empire Constantinople (Istanbul)
1453

Constantinpole before Constantine was called Byzantium. In 1453, it was eradicated


by Ottomans (Muslims).

Rome remained the ideological centre up to 15th century and even now. Pope’s
decisions are still important.

Some of the works of western culture was translated by Arabs.

The writers from Constantinople went to Italy.

They took books from Muslims.

They started translating works of Aristotle, Bible which marked the start of
Translation Movement. So the golden days were revived (Renaissance: Revival of
classical thinking).Some of the important figures of the Renaissance are: Dantes
Petrarch
Marcle Anglio

In Renaissance an outburst happened in art, painting, sculpturing, etc.

This movement was strengthened by religious reforms and the invention of printing
machine in 1450s by Gutenberg (Germany).

The first printer in England was called William.

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Religious Reformation:

1- In Germany a man called Martin Luther started a new version of


religion called Protestantism = protest against authority of Pope.
Protestantism is a form of religious individualism because it means you
can interpret religion on your own. It means you don’t need
intervention of priests and church to communicate with God. It
happened through translation of Bible. So this was one branch of
religious reform.

2- Another branch happened in England under the ruling of Henry VIII.


The then king wanted to divorce his wife, Catherine, because she
didn’t bring him a son. So Henry VIII wrote a book against Luther and
Pope was pleased with him. But his same defender revolted against
Pope. He broke with him church of Rome and set up Anglican Church
and became head of English church. Pope was angry and ex-
communicated with him but it was useless. His church was
independent.

3- In other parts of Europe people like Copernic, made religious reforms.


Europe changed its ideology from this life for after life to life precious
per say (this life is worth living).

4- Another religious reformer of Renaissance is Sir Thomas More


(1478-1538), the writer of Utopia. His refusal of act of supremacy lead
to his beheading by King Henry VIII. He was a friend of Erasmus, and
the first English humanist. The Praise of Folly is the work of Erasmus.
In this book people who praise the church are criticised. He is
considered a Martyr. His masterpiece is Utopia which is a political
essay romance in two books which describes an image of a
communistic society, where private property does not exist and almost
complete religious toleration is practiced.

• Book 1: Portrays an ideal world which is contrasted with the


corruption, war, poverty and immorality of Europe.
• Book 2: Explains in detail the ideal society. The government
is the representative of people. Men and women are educated,
etc.
Utopia is a rational world, governed by humanistic principles. There is
religious toleration. Streets are 20 feet wide. House have gardens. He is
against organized war. Gold is hated and only slaves and prisoners
carry gold. It is a satire. It is a communistic democracy.

Another important featuer of Renaissance is humanism = Human is precious, the life


in this world is also precious, and this is related to changes in cosmology because it
was discussed that the sun was stationery and this was the violation of Bible. So the
cosmology of Ptolemus and Bible were weakened.

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The starter of it was Erasmus in Holland. The first English Humanist is Sir Thomas
Moor.

So in Renaissance all the following changes occurred: Individualism, Materialism,


Humanism, Copernican Revolution, Martin Luther’s Protestantism, Henry VIII
Anglican Church, and weakening of priests which reduced the authority of Pope.

Another Important event was the growth of commerce which was related to slavery.

EUROPE

Goods Sugar

AFRICA CARRIBEAN COUNTRIES


(New World)
Slaves
(Worked free of charge on plantations)

Europe acquired abundance of wealth which resulted in banking systems.


So another feature of Renaissance is Colonisation.

Lust for life, Lust for Knowledge and Lust for power = Themes of Marlow’s works.

Vernaculars (native languages) were strengthened and Latin was weakened. Books
were translated into vernacular.

In England much of Renaissance coincided with Monarch of Queen Elizabeth. So


Renaissance is synonymous with Elizabethan period, because in the Elizabethan
period, there was peach and order and England became the supreme power by
defeating the Spanish Armada (Spanish armed ships) in 1558. Spain had the biggest
navy in the world and they wanted to convert British into Christians. They were
defeated.

In Renaissance, English Language was elevated and strengthened to a higher position.


Theatres were built. Renaissance is the golden age of British drama. Shakespeare,
Marlow, Ben Johnson and Webster wrote in that period.

Renaissance was the period of outburst of drama, and the outburst of lyric poetry
specially sonnet. Sonnet was imported from Italy. Sir Tomas Wyatt (1503-1542)
translated the works of Petrarch who was in love with Laura and wrote fourteen line
poems in iambic pentameter for her.

The first sonneteers are Wyatt and H. Howard.

Wyatt’s major works are Farewell Love (a debate between reason and love) and the
Flee from Me. He was a writer, poet, ambassador and courtier. He introduced terza
rima into English literature.

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Sir Philip Sidney (1554-1586)

In Defence of Poetry is his work of criticism, influenced by Aristotle. At his time,


poetry meant literature. Sidney is the first English critic. In ‘An Apology of Poetry’ he
summarized what he had been said before him. He believed that literature is an
imitation of nature (and this is Aristotle’s view too).

A poet not only imitates nature but also makes a better nature. He improves the
nature.

An Apology of Poetry is argumentative and persusasive. It is in three parts. In part


one he says poetry is dignified and is superior to philosophy and history.
In part two he aswers the criticism that poets are liers because poet affirms nothing
(Plato said poets are liars).

Part three is about the present English literature. After Aristotle and Hores, he was
influenced by ?????.

According to Sidney, poetry is virtue breeding. It moves man to virtuous action.

Arcadia (Paradise of Shepherds), Astrophel and Stella, and An Apology of Poetry are
three important works by him.
He died at the battle of Zulphen.

He was a soldier, diplomat, courtier, poet, critic, gentleman and Queen’s favourite. He
is influenced by Platonism.

He was not happy with the love poems of his time.

Arcadia was prose romance (pastoral). It is about a group of shepherds who are
discussing love and philosophy. It’s a courtesy book (teaching how to be gentleman).

Astrophel and Stella is a sonnet sequence of 108 sonnets and 11 songs. It is about
conflict of reason and passion. It is a criticism of Petrachan convention: turning the
beloved into and angle or ideal. It is about the love of the Astrophel and Stella. Stella
is a married woman and Astrophel is in love with her. But she does not respond to
him because of her honour. So his love was frustrated.

In Renaissance an early kind of novel was written an example of which is John Lyly’s
Euphues.

In the Renaissance literature was secularized. It is the beginning of secularization.


They say the greatest poet of Renaissance is Milton and the greatest dramatist is
Shakespeare.

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1500 – 1642/1660 = Renaissance in England.

The first English drama written in blank verse is Gorboduc.

In tragedy Seneca and in comedy Terence and Plautus influenced English.

1456= Invention of printing machine.


1531= Henry VIII broke with Pope
1570= Martin Luther broke with Pope
1588= Spanish Armada

Renaissance was an age of peace, order, financial improvement, religious liberty,


intellectual energy and desire to enlarge bounds of learning. Age of new ideas,
exploration, discovery, individualism, religion, thought and art. It was a cultural
outburst.

America was discovered in 1492 by Columbus.

In 1543 the polish astronomer Copernicus proved that earth went around the sun.

Renaissance was the rebirth of classical arts, outburst of creativity in literature,


painting, sculpture and architecture. It was the age of da Vinci, Angelo, Petrarch,
Bucaccio, Sir Thomas More, Erasmus, Martin Luther, Dante, Shakespeare, Milton,
Marlow, Lyly, Webster, Bacon and Ben Johnson.

Third Session

Edmund Spencer – 1552-1599


One of the greatest English poets of the Renaissance period. He was a Cambridge
sizer (a poor student). Spencer used archaic language. He introduced Spencerian
stanza into English literature. He was greatly admired in the Romantic period. He was
influenced by new-Platonism (Plato made Christian, Plato accorded to Christianity).
He died for lack of breath and buried in Westminster Abbey.

Faerie Queen is a long allegorical epic poem of about 700 pages and is his most
important work.

The word means the beautiful Queen and refers to Queen Elizabeth I. the poem is
about the Queen Gloriana (Faerie Queen). There is a 12 day feast in her palace . She is
the Queen of fairy land. Each day a stranger comes to her palace and asks for help. He
or she might have a problem with a tyrant, dragon, etc. The Queen would send a
knight to help them. These knights at a stage of the work have a great trouble and
King Arthur come to help them.

Spencer wanted to write 12 books but only could finish 6 of them. 12 refers to 12
virtues of Aristotle.

Book one is about Holiness

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Book two is about Temperance
Book three is about Chastity
Book four is about Friendship
Book five is about Justice
Book six is about Curtsey

This work is an allegory on 3 levels.


1. It is a moral allegory: virtues versus vices
2. A religious allegory: church versus atheism and paganism.
3. It is a political, historical allegory (allusions to execution of Queen Mary, etc.)

In book one, the Knight of Holiness (the Red Cross knight) is assigned a mission of
protecting Una and free her parents from a dragon. But he falls in trouble and King
Arthur frees him. It is individual Christianity vs. false Christianity.

Book two is about Guyon who is the Knight of Temperance (golden mean).

Book three is about Britomart, a female Knight of Chastity. She is looking for her
future husband.

Book four is about Friendship (very important in Renaissance period).

Book five is about Sir Artegal, the Knight of Justice, who should destroy
Grantorto and rescue Arina. It is about Queen Elizabeth.

Book six is about Sir Calidor, the Knight of Curtsey. He should capture the Blatant
Beast (the ignorant slanderous, clamour of mob).

His next work is Shepherd’s Calendar, a poem with archaic language. A pastoral
poem with political allegory dedicated to Sidney. It is written in 12 books and it is
about unsatisfied love of Colin Clout for Roselyn. Each part is called an eclogue and
named after one month in the year.

He also wrote Amoretti (little love). It is a sonnet sequence (a poem made up of


sonnets). It has 89 sonnets and a wedding song, Epithalamion. It is about Spencer’s
courtship of an Elizabeth (maybe Queen Elizabeth, or his mother or his beloved,
Elizabeth Boyle). It is a justification of married life.

The other work is Colin Clouts Come Home Again, dedicated to Raleigh. It is pastoral
and praises simple country life.

Francis Bacon 1561-1626


He is the first English essayist who has a book called The Essays, which has 58
essays. The famous ones are Of Death, Of Revenge, Of Goodness, Of Beauty, and Of
Friendship. This book is very aphoristic, witty and concise with ……… structure. It
is epigrammatic, (many quotations from this book: knowledge is power, revenge is a
kind of wild justice, cure the disease and kill the patient, all colors will agree in dark,
children sweeten labours but they make misfortunes more bitter, if a man be gracious

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to strangers it shows he is a citizen of the world, travel is part of education, etc.). A
famous quotation from him is “I have taken all knowledge to be my province”.

His works fall in three groups:


1. Philosophical: the advancement of learning, Novum Organum.
2. Literary works: Essays such as New Atlantis, The History of Henry
3. Professional: Maxims of the Law

He went to Trinity College. About university professors he said “men of sharp wits,
shut up in their cells of a few authors like Aristotle”. This shows he was against
Aristotle, because Aristotle introduced deductive method but Bacon introduced
inductive method. He rebelled against Aristotle.

In Novum Organum (‫ )ارﻏﻨﻮن‬named after one of the works of Aristotle called


(Organum), he says our understanding is limited by four idols. These are bad habits of
mind that cause people to fall into error.
1. Idol of the tribe referring to misunderstanding from nationality.
2. Idol of the cave referring to mistakes and misunderstandings of within.
3. Idol of the market place referring to misunderstandings from communication
with other people.
4. Idol of the theater referring to philosophy and literature.

Alexander Pope describes him as “the wisest, brightest and meanest of man”.

“Hope is a good breakfast but not a good supper” = a famous quotation.

His next work is the New Atlantis, and unfinished philosophical semi-romance, a
utopian work.

In this work he proposed a College of Solomon’s House (6 Days Work College). He


predicted refrigerator, telephone, submarine, aeroplane in this work.

He was the first empirical philosopher (‫)ﻓﻴﻠﺴﻮف ﺗﺠﺮﺑﯽ‬.

He is the first martyr of science (caught cold while experimenting in snow).

He became Lord Chancellor.

Christopher Marlow 1564-1593

He is a good representative of Renaissance thought.

Marlow is the greatest writer of tragedy before Shakespeare (After Shakespeare is


Webster). Marlow is considered father of English tragedy. He was arrested because of
atheism (stabbed to death, his death is mysterious). It is said that some works of
Shakespeare is written by Marlow. He died too young. His major works are:
1. Tamburlane the Great (‫ = )ﺗﻴﻤﻮر ﻟﻨﮓ‬Lust for power.
2. The Jew of Malta = Lust for Money
3. Doctor Faustus = Lust for knowledge

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4. Edward II = First chronicle play of English literature

His works are nihilistic and express spiritual doubt. He enhanced blank verse
(unrhymed iambic pentameter).

He is the greatest dramatist of his time.

His works manifest new learning, worship of man. He sums up the Renaissance.

Tamburlane the Great: A heroic epic, epic tragedy in blank verse: it has two parts. It is
about the famous conqueror. “Give me a map and see how much is left for me to
conquer”. In one part of the play he attaches the king of the countries to his carriage.
For example he imprisoned King of Turkey and his wife in a cage, and the king butted
his head against the wall and killed himself.

When he wanted to conquer the city of Babel, virgins were put in the city gate as
symbols of innocence but he killed them all. This play shows the spirit of military
power.

Doctor Faustus: A tragedy of blank verse with the theme of lust for knowledge. It is
about a man from Germany who learned a lot. So Satan sent his top minister,
Mephistopheles, to him and he tells Faustus that he will teach him all the knowledge
for 24 years and in exchange for his soul. He does many things in those 24 years, but
dies after that. It is a spiritual tragedy.

The Jew of Malta: Barabus, lust for wealth. The governor of Malta takes his money
and gives it to Turks, so Barabus gets angry and starts taking revenge from Muslims
and Christians. But falls in a trap that he had prepared himself for an evil purpose.

Hero and Leander: An unfinished poem which was finished by Chapman. It is about
love of Leander for Hero. Leander is being sunk while swimming to her, and Hero in
despair throws herself into the sea.

John Webster (late 16th cent – early 17th cent).

He is the greatest writer of tragedy after Shakespeare. (Marlow-Shakespeare-


Webster).

His famous works are The White Devil and The Duchess of Malfi.

He writes about violence, revenge, murder, and wrong-doing. His characters are
Faustian. His works are Gothic (predecessor of Gothic, mysterious and frightening),
and his vision is dark and pessimistic.

The White Devil (1612) is about a love between Brachiano and Vittoria, both married.
The wife of Mr. Brachiano is called Isabella and the husband of Vittoria is Camllo.
Brachiano kills his wife in order to be with Vittoria and Vittoria’s brother, Francisco,
contrives revenge. So it is a Senecan tragedy and his tragedies are Senecan.

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The Duchess of Malfi is about a widow, who is called the Duchess of Malfi. She falls
in love wither servant, Antonio. They marry secretly and they have two children. Her
brothers Duke Ferdinand, and the Cardinal hire someone called Bosola, and he kills
her and the two children. When the brother sees the face of her dead sister he say:
‘Cover her face: Mine eyes dazzle: she di’d yong’. This is an immoral line in English
literature showing indifference and cruelty.

The Elizabethan drama was in blank verse.

Ben Jonson (1572/3-1637)

He was contemporary of Shakespeare and more famous than him. He was a poet,
play-write and critic. He was virtually (not officially) a poet laureate (chosen by the
King to write poems on important national occasions). He wrote thirty masques, seven
plays (two tragedies and five comedies). He was one f the first English critics and the
first to write masques, epigrams and comedy of humours. He had followers who were
called The Sons of Ben. He was the first English classicist. Classicism was a type of
Literature written in 17th and 18th century. He was a Renaissance writer but he was
classicist.

He believed in the unities. Unity of time, place and action, and was against mixing of
genres (He was a Decorum, the inventor of which is Horres).

He wrote comedy of humours. It goes back to ancient medicine (four fluids in the
body: blood, phlegm, melancholy and choler. Imbalance in these fluids in the body
will result in abnormal behaviour).

He was translator as well. He translated Ars Poetica (art of poetry) by Horres.

He wasn’t afraid of expressing his opinion. He had a dwell with a fellow actor and
killed him.

He was the first person to write epigrams (a short poem containing an idea). He wrote
Everyman in His Humour (the first comedy of humour in English literature in which
Shakespeare acted). It is about a business master, Mr. Kitely, who thinks his wife has
an affair with someone else. Another comedy by him is Everyman Out of His Humour
which has many humorous characters and by means of every episode, each character
is eventually driven out of his humour.

He wrote Cynthia’s Revels (another comedy of humour). His next comedy is Volpone
(or The Fox). Volpone a rich man without children pretends that he is dying in order
to draw gifts from his would-be heirs. Mosca, his accomplice, persuades them each of
them to do so in turn that he is to be the heir. One of them even attempts to sacrifice
his wife to Volpone in hope of the inheritance.

The Alchemist, is his other comedy. Two charlatans pretend that they have discovered
the formula of changing base metals into gold. They abuse people.

He has an allegorical comedy called The Devil is an Ass.

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He wrote two tragedies, Catiline and Sejanus His Fall, which both are Roman
tragedies.

He wrote thirty masques (an entertainment play with dance, music, simple plot, lavish
costume and expensive scenery. The audience are rich and they take part in the play
and wear masks).

Poetaster (‫ )ﺷﺎﻋﺮﻧﻤﺎ‬is his next comedy.

He had 133 epigrams.

He has a sonnet called ‘To the Memory of My Beloved Master, William


Shakespeare’.
“Thou art a monument without a tomb”

John Lyly 1553/4-1606


He was a play-write and prose writer. In the Renaissance period there were two kinds
of artificial prose: Ciceronian and Euphuism (introduced by Lyly in two books:
Euphues and His Anatomy of Wits and Euphues and His England).

The theme of his works is love.

Euphues was a prose romance and about the illusion of love, weakness of woman and
folly of youth.

Euphues is considered a predecessor of novel.

He wrote comedies as well like Endimion which is an allegorical comedy about love
between moon and human.

Mother Bombie and Campbaspe are among his comedies. Campaspe is a prose
comedy about Alexander the Great who yields a beautiful girl (Campaspe) to her artist
lover.

He wrote a play called Gallathea, which is about a city cursed by Neptune. In order to
remove the curse, two virgins must be sacrificed and their parents put on boy clothes
on them (a normal theme of those days).

Themes of Greek plays: Curse and Interference of Gods.

Robert Burton 1577-1640


He was a writer of prose. In the Renaissance period, maturity of English language is
important, and this happened through borrowing words and communicating with
Europe.

Important prose writers of Renaissance: Holinshed


Sir Thomas Brown

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Robert Burton
Francis Bacon
John Bunyan (The Pilgrim’s Progress)

Anatomy of Melancholy: A very lengthy book of half a million words.

Dr Johnson said about it “The only book that took me out of bed two hours sooner”.
“A world of literature in itself” Machen.

This book is erudite (challenging, full of ideas). It is full of allusions, French, Latin,
biblical and Greek words. It is a book in three parts with many subdivisions. He tells
us about the cases ad symptoms of different kinds of melancholy. In fact, it is an
Anatomy of Man.

His next work is Philosophaster, which is a Latin drama and a criticism of


charlatanism.

Raphael Holinshed 1529-1580.


Chronicle is the day to day account of events and are early versions of history. There
are two important chronicles. One is Chronicle of England, Scotland and Ireland
known as Holinshed’s Chronicle (1577). The other one is King Alfred’s Anglo-Saxon
Chronicle.

Holinshed’s chronicle is important because it provides the plot of Macbeth,


Cymbeline, The Tragedy of Richard III and King Lear. He is another Renaissance
prose writer.

Thomas Kyd 1558-1594.


He and Marlow are the starters of English tragedy. The Spanish Tragedy is a Senecan
tragedy and the first good English Tragedy.

The story is about Horatio’s murder. The reason was that he was in love with Bel-
imperia. The brother of her beloved, Lorenzo, kills him.

Before she is taken, she writes a letter to the father of Horatio.

This tragedy was the most important, popular and influential tragedy of Shakespeare’s
time.

Hamlet is indebted to this play. This play was performed in Germany and Holland, so
it influenced Dutch Literature.

George Chapman 1559-1634

He was a writer of tragedy and comedy. He translated Homer, Odyssey and Iliad,
Petrarch and Hesiod.

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He wrote Bussy d’Ambois, and The Revenge of Bussy d’Ambois which are Senecan
tragedies. The latter is influenced by Hamlet. He wrote comedies like All Fools.

He believes that “the truest wisdom is the pursuit of beauty”.

He is famous for “my first looking into Chapman’s Homer” written by Kyd about
Champman’s translation of Homer.

Another play by him is Eastward ho in which he collaborated with Ben Jonson and
John Marston.

He finished Marlow’s Hero and Leander.

Shakespeare 1564-1616

His father was a wool merchant. At the age of 18, married a woman of 26 and had
three children. He moved to London with his family from Stratford, which is on the
bank of a river called Avon. Shakespeare was a dramatist sonneteer and an actor. He
wrote 36 plays and 154 sonnets. His plays are comedies, tragedies, tragic comedies
and history plays. He borrowed many of his plots from history books, Chronicles etc.
He was a part-owner of the Globe theatre. It is a round theatre which is wooden and
imitated from the style of inns. They say that Bacon and Marlow wrote some of his
works.

Jonson: “He was not of an age but for all time”

It is said that Shakespeare never omitted any lines and Ben Jonson said “I wish he had
blotted out a thousand lines”. He was a master of blank verse. Shakespeare acted in
Jonson’s ‘Everyman in His Humour’.

Above all Shakespeare had an excellent knowledge of nature: knowledge of human


nature, heart and passion.

An ordinary English person uses 450 words and expressions from Shakespeare. An
educated person uses 2000. Shakespeare’s works represent contradictions in human
nature. He could do well in tragedy as well as in comedy.

A French critic said “next to God, Shakespeare has created most”.

Shakespeare was uplifted to his present status in the Romantic period. He was never
in the court. He wrote for all classes of society. Alexander Pope said ‘his characters
are so much nature herself that it is a sort of injure to call them by so distant a name as
copies of nature’. This means Shakespeare is above rules.

Samuel Johnson said “Shakespeare is above all writers. He is the poet of nature. He
holds up to his readers a faithful mirror of manners and of his life.

Haslitt calls Shakespeare the poet of nature in the largest use of the term. Shakespeare
describes things as they would be.

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Thomas Carlyle says Shakespeare is great in painting men and things. His works are
meta-narrative (a language which is above human language), and have been translated
many times in many culture.

An important Shakespeare’s or Elizabethan theme is order.

Sonnets

He wrote 154 sonnets with the themes of love. Angelic love to a young man, and a
diabolical love to a dark lady.

It is said that the young man was a friend (friendship was a very important theme of
Renaissance).
The other theme of Shakespeare is beauty, nature, marriages, immortality, death,
change. From sonnet 1 to 17 are about immortality through getting married and
having children, and no. 17 urges the man to have a child so that there will be proof
for Shakespeare’s verses about him.

From sonnet 18 to 126 is about friendship, love, death, change and immortality. From
127 to 152 is about the Dark Lady. The most important about her is no. 144, which
says the Dark Lady is the bay where all men ride.

So Dark Lady is the symbol of sexual desire rather than love.

Important sonnets: 18, 73, 130 (anti-Petrarchan).

One classification of his works is comedy, tragedy, tragic comedies, histories and
romances.

Another one is 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th period.

A Mid-Summers Night Dream is a masque fantasy.

Henry V (5th). A history play about Henry’s victory over the French. He is a man of
justice, wisdom and fortitude.

Romeo and Juliet. Is a romantic tragedy and about love at first sight. The balcony
scene is important. It has been used in many movies, plays, etc.

Julius Caesar is a fall of prince tragedy. It is about Brutus and Castille.

He wrote The Taming of the Shrew, which is a farce.

Henry IV (4th). It is in two parts. Its and education of prince play. It is about Henry V
and his funny friend Falstaff. It was popular and even the Queen loved it. They live a
very wild life. People love this very much. He wrote The Merry Wives of Windsor (a
continuation of Henry IV) in 14 days.

All’s Well That Ends Well. It is about Helena. It has the theme of disguise.

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Much Ado About Nothing. It is a problem play about the war of sexes.

He wrote Coriolanus which is about Mr. Coriolanus who is proud, who becomes and
enemy of Rome people. So he brings and army of Volsicans

Troilus and Cressida. Chapman and Homer wrote it as well. It is a tragedy. Troilus is
the son of knight of the Troy.

Anthony and Cleopatra. It is a fall of prince tragedy.

Timon of Athens is his next work. It is unfinished and is about the danger of excess
and false friends.

Cymbeline is about Imogen who is the daughter of the King of England.

The Two Gentleman of Verona. It is about a disguised girl in search of her lover.

Comedy of Errors. It is About mistaken identity.

The Tragedy of Titus Andronicus. It is a revenge tragedy.

The Merchant of Venice. It is a tragic comedy and about Shylock and Antonio. Portia
appears in disguise and solves the problem. It is about revenge.

King Lear: It has two plots. King Lear and his three daughter Goneril, Regan, and
Cordilia. He wants to divide the country among his daughters. Regan and Goneril get
accepted in his love test. The two daughters mistreat the King. He goes mad and dies
with Cordilia at the end.

At the same time it is a story of Gloucester and his two sons, Edgar and Edmund.

Theme: Moral blindness and false visions vs. vision and self-knowledge. It is also
about the duty of children.

The love test and hot temper are the King’s flaws.

The other theme is suffering restores greatness


Another theme is order.

The plot has been taken from Holinshed’s Chronicle. The subplot from Sidnie’s
Arcadia.

Othello: it is about a moor. The play is about anguish and jealousy. There is a villain
called Iago (‘motive hunting of motiveless malignity’). He tells Othello that your wife
has affair with Cassio. Othello kills him, his wife and himself. “Chaos is come again”
is a famous sentence from it.

Macbeth: Tragedy of evil. The tragic flaw of Macbeth is over-ambition. It starts with
the witches. Macbeth is a very successful General. King Duncan comes to his palace

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and he kills the king because his wife tempts him. But later the wife feels guilty and
kills herself. So in the end Macbeth dies as well. It is a tragic hero and shows human
corruptibility and lust for power. It is about moral wills vs. moral intellect. The sleep-
walking scene is important. It is taken from Holinshed’s Chronicle. It is about
degeneration of his moral nature. It shows how evil enters society.

Hamlet: the most famous play in the world. It is a revenge tragedy. Hamlet is an
intellectual. He is a man of thought, not action. It is said that he is our contemporary.
He doesn’t take revenge, because he is not sure. He suffers from an Oedipus complex
(misogynist- woman hater). The uncle killed the father (what hamlet unconsciously
desired). He does not kill his uncle, because in doing so he will kill himself. Hamlet
procrastinates and he is misfit to live in world because this world is and “unwedded
garden”. He is also the symbol of Christ. His age is 23-30. He is a scapegoat. The
most famous soliloquy is from Hamlet (To be or not to be, that’s the question).
Hamlet is philosophical. It is a fall of prince, love and revenge tragedy.

It is the story of Cane and Abel. The brother kills his brother. Hamlet procrastinates
because he is torn between Anglo-Saxon (revenge) and Christian (forgiveness)
tradition.

1. Hamlet is mad
2. The world is mad
3. He pretends to be mad

The Tempest: It is Shakespeare’s last play. It is a dramatic romance.

Prospero, the Duke of Milan, who is absorbed in books and magic, is expelled by his
brother Antonio and cast adrift with his baby daughter Miranda in a leaky boat.
Prospero dwells on a deserted island and makes servants out of the ethereal spirit
Ariel and the subhuman Caliban. Twelve years later, when the play opens, Prospero
causes tempests and shipwrecks. He continues to isolate Ferdinand, Antonio’s son,
who falls in love with Miranda. He frees Ariel, and sails for Italy and leaves Caliban,
the sole resident of the island. When Miranda sees Ferdinand for the first time, she
says “Brave new world” because she hadn’t seen anybody but her father.

Themes: Nature and Nurture (‫)ﺗﺮﺑﻴﺖ‬


Forgiveness. Prospero forgives Sebastian
Cheerfulness in misfortune.
Magic
Some interpret it with a post-colonial approach. Prospero goes to an Island to make its
inhabitants civilized.

Prospero is a philosopher, moralist and wise. He is Shakespeare.

With the tempest, Shakespeare said goodbye to writing.

***
In the 17th century there were three important poetry schools. 1- Metaphysical
(Donne). 2- Cavelier (Ben Jonson). 3- Spencerian (Milton).

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Metaphysical poetry is the poetry of reason which mixes mind, body and soul. It is
very witty. It is called the poetry of long lines. It is harsh. It violates decorum. It is a
reaction to smooth and sweet tone of 16th century poetry. It is called energy poetry as
well. Shock tactics, direct address, rough language, colloquial language and above all,
meta-physical conceit are used in it.

In metaphysical poetry inventiveness, stylistic manoeuvres and fusion of thoughts and


feelings play important roles. The meter is rough. The comparisons are far-fetched. It
is argumentative, and intense. It is erotic (physical love).

There are two groups of metaphysical poems, religious and secular.

They are usually humorous.

Metaphysical poetry was not famous until Girearson and compiled and anthology and
T.S. Eliot wrote two essays about it.

John Donne (1572-1631)


He is the best representative of metaphysical poetry, both religious and secular. He
writes erotic poetry.

He was the opposite of Spencer. Spencer’s poetry of gently and smooth.

He was a lover, drinker, poet, lawyer, priest and writer of passionate love. John
Haywood is his grand-father. None of his works are faultless. His tone is colloquial.

“Romantic by reason of an intense individuality”.

His holly sonnet is his number 10 “Death thou shal’t die”, the most famous paradox of
English literature.

Works: Valediction Forbidding Mourning.


The Flee
Canonization

Commonwealth Period = Civil War = Puritan Period

1500 1649 1660

The King, Charles I vs. Oliver Cromwell. Charles I was challenged by the parliament
for charging too much tax. The parliament wanted a hand in the government. So they
entered a war. In 1648 Charles I was defeated and in 1649 he was beheaded.

Oliver Cromwell became the Lord Protector (like a president). The Prince, Charles II
escaped to Holland. Oliver Cromwell was a puritan (a strict version of Christianity).
Any form of entertainment such as too much laughing, theaters, etc were forbidden.
So people in reality weren’t very happy. In 1658, Oliver Cromwell died so his son
who was a weak and inefficient became the Lord Protector. But the parliament voted

24
for the return of Charles II (the same parliament which beheaded his father, Charles
I). In 1660 he became the king. 1649 – 1660 is called Interregnum (no king). 1660
marks the end of the Renaissance.

Elizabeth made England a super power. She colonized many countries. Literature was
strengthened. From 1660 to 1700 is Restoration Period. It is return of the Merry King
(Charles II). Theaters were opened again.

Renaissance Augustan Romanticism


1550 1660 1700 1745 1798 1832 1901

Restoration Age of sensibility Victorian

In the Puritan Period there are two important names; John Milton (poetry) and John
Bunyan.

John Bunyan (1628-188) wrote Pilgrim’s Progress. It is a prose dream vision which
is allegorical. It expresses the Puritan spirit and is very close to Everyman. It is
translated to more than 100 languages and dialects.

A man falls sleep and has a dream vision. Mr. Christian travels from the city of
destruction to the celestial city. He travels in search of salvation.

This book became popular and he was asked to write a second book. The story of the
second book is the same. In it, Christiana (the wife of Mr. Christian) and her children
and a neighbor go on the same journey.

Mr. Bunyan was a puritan preacher. He was imprisoned for preaching. He wrote 9
books in prison. He was released in 1672 and was put in prison again in 1677. He
caught pneumonia and died in 1688.

Pilgrim’s Progress is didactic, moral and humorous. The full name is Pilgrim’s
Progress from this World to that which is to come.

His next books are The Holy war


Grace Abounding
The life and death of Mr. Badman

His works are allegorical. He was great preacher and speaker of puritan period. He
looked to the Bible (King James’s version, translated under the monarchy of King
James by 40 translators, which is a literature itself). He expresses the puritan spirit
that this life is a preparation for the after life. His work is an important predecessor of
the novel.

John Donne revolted against the Elizabethans sonnets which were soft and smooth.
He used a harsh language.

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Andrew Marvel (1621-1678).
He was the secretary of John Milton in Oliver Cromwell’s government. He was an
opportunist. He served Charles I, Charles II and Oliver Cromwell. He was satirist,
pamphleteer and puritan. He was an ambassador thus knowing several languages. His
important themes are gender, death and sex, as well as love. He went to Cambridge.

T.S. Eliot: “He combines levity and seriousness”

When asked about the civil war he said “I think the cause is was too good to have
been fought for”.

His most famous work is To His Coy Mistress. It is very sensual and physical and
sexual.

This poem in reality is about life is short and beauty of life. The structure is
interesting. The first stanza starts with if, the second with but and the third with
therefore. It is a parody of courtly love and satirical love.

The other important poem is The Garden. It is the symbol of innocence and it
symbolizes the Garden of Eden. It is ideal human. He wrote occasional poems
(marriages and birthdays). He wrote A Horation Ode upon Cromwell’s Return from
Ireland. He also wrote on the death of Oliver Cromwell.

He was in love with beauty, garden, friendship and wine. His poetry is erotic as well,
like that of John Donne.

Isaac Newton (1642-1727).

The second half of the 17th century and 18th century are called the Age of Reason
because of philosophy and Newton’s ideas.

“Universe is a gigantic machine governed by rules”. “Universe is a clock work


governed by rules”.

His world view is mechanistic and deterministic. In simple language, he says there are
rule in the world and you must discover them. He discovered the gravity (falling of
the apple). He discovered universal laws (what neoclassicists were after). So he
thought in terms of the universal laws.

He was the president of the Royal Society (a scientific center in England).

_____________________________________
Another important school was the Cavalier poetry. The cavalier poets were royalists.
They were associated with Charles I and Charles II. Their poetry was erotic and with
Carpe Diem (seize the day) theme. Some of them are Robert Herrick, Richard
Lovelace, Sir John Suckling and Thomas Carew. They wrote from 1637 to 1660.

Their poetry was about upper class, pre-commonwealth England. They imitated B.
Jonson. They opposed to metaphysical poets. They favored short lyric poems. They

26
represented 17th century gentleman values. Their poems are simple and direct. An
important theme for them is Carpe Diem.

To Lucosta is the famous book of Richard Lovelace (1618-1657), a cavalier poet. It


is about her beloved, who when he went to war and didn’t return, married someone
else and didn’t wait for him.

Lucosta means pure light. He has a mock epic called grasshopper.

John Milton (608-1674)


He is famous because of his Paradise Lost, the greatest epic in English literature. His
style is artificial. He played the organ. He is called the master of grand style. He was
very knowledgeable. In one of his notebooks, they found eighty different quotations
from writers of different languages such as Latin.

Like Joyce and Homer, he lost his eyesight. He was very handsome and was called the
lady of the Christ.

He wrote prose as well. The end of Renaissance is called the age of Milton. He is the
last great Renaissance poet. He looked to the Bible because he was a puritan. He was
the Latin secretary of Oliver Cromwell. His works are divided into three periods. He
was a lover of freedom and moral poetry. He said “a poet teaches … of liberty and
purified religion”.

He was rich so he never worked. His poetry weds the puritan spirit with that of the
Renaissance. He is the only English poet who wrote in grand style (difficult and
complicated).

He wrote 23 sonnets, which except one or two, are not about love. For him sonnet was
for propaganda. Wordsworth said ‘Milton turned sonnet into a trumpet”. On His
Blindness is one of his sonnets.

His works fall into three periods


1- he wrote short poems in Horton, up to 1640
2- from 1640 to 1660, he wrote propaganda prose
3- and from 1660 to 1674 he wrote his great long poems.

He was a late Renaissance epic poet, sonneteer, pamphleteer (or tracts on political,
social and religious subjects), courtier.

He is the greatest Renaissance poet.

He was imprisoned in 1660.

First period: he wrote On the Morning of Christ’s Nativity. It is an ode about the
victory of baby Christ over pagan gods.

His next work is l’Allegro Il Penseroso. (l’Allegro= Happiness, cheerfulness, Il


Penseroso= to think, the melancholic man).

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l’Allegro is about the joy of country life, and Il Penseroso is about the pleasant of
solitude.

He wrote Arcadias which is a pastoral masque.

He wrote Lycides, about a friend who was drowned. It is an occasional poem, an


elegy.

He wrote Comus (a masque). It is a morality play with pastoral entertainment. It is


about the confrontation of virtue and evil.

Second Period:
In this period he wrote the Doctrine and Principles of Divorce. It is a pamphlet. He
wanted to divorce his wife so he wrote it. He wrote another pamphlet called Of
Education. He favors humanistic education.

He wrote Aeropagitica (about the freedom of expression and press).

He wrote Image Breaker (Iconoclastic) in which he broke the image of Charles I. He


said he acted evilly under the name of religion.

The most famous pamphlet by him is Aeropagitica in which he says no to cloistered


virtue. He favors sophisticated innocence.

Third Period
In this period he wrote Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained, Samson Agonistes ‫)ﺷﻤﻌﻮن‬
(‫ﮐﺸﺘﯽ ﮔﻴﺮ‬. The latter is about a blind biblical figure, who is imprisoned by the
philistines of Gaza, but he is very strong and the strength is in his long hair. His wife
betrays him and reveals the secret to the enemy. Samson Agonites is a …. drama (a
play written to be read, no performed). That is because Milton was a puritan and for
them theater was immoral.

Milton’s style is highly artificial, allusive and archaic and Latinate.

Parallel’s Lost
The theme is to justify the ways of God man. So this is the theme according to the
epic itself. It is the greatest epic in English literature. It is a religious one. It is about
the story of Adam and Eve and expulsion of Satan from heaven. It is an epic in 12
books. The setting is universe. The language is strong, written in blank verse in long
complex sentences. He created a new kind of English. He invented eye-witness. It is
written in 13 thousand lines. He looks to the bible. Both the style and subject are
grand.

Book one is about Hell


Book two is about Chaos
Book three is about Heaven and Sun
Book four is about Paradise
Book five is about Paradise and War in Heaven

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Book six is about War in Heaven
Book seven is about Creation
Book eight is about Science, love and epics.
Book nine is about The Fall
Book ten is about Aftermath of the Fall
Book eleven is about The Future
Book twelve is about The future and the Expulsion.

He did “things” un-attempted yet in prose or rhyme.


His language is lofty and grandiloquent.
The epic starts in Mediasres.
Blake said “Milton was of the devil’s party without knowing it”.
T.S. Eliot criticized Milton. He said Milton built a china wall against the blank verse
and he said that Milton with his artificial style corrupted poetry.
Stantey Fish in his “Surprised by Sin” says ambiguity of Milton’s syntax compels to
recognize our fallen state.

Then he wrote Paradise Regained which is in four books. The them is man’s
disobedience lost paradise but Christ’s obedience will regain it.

It is about Christ’s triple temptation. Firstly by bread, then by wealth and finally by
glory. He will regain paradise because he resisted temptation.

Of the Tenure of Magistrate and Kings is a pamphlet which justifies tyrancide.

Neo-classical Period 1660-1798

End of civil war when Cromwell defeated Charles I


and beheaded him. Friction between Parliament and
the King was ended.

Commonwealth
or puritan period Augustan Romantic
1649 1660 1700 1745 1798 1832
Restoration Age of sensibility Victorian

1900-1901 1945
Modern

Restoration is when the parliament restored the monarchy.


Milton and Bunyan are speakers of Puritan period in poetry and prose, respectively.
Charles II opened the theatres and brought actresses from France.
Themes of Restoration drama or comedy of manners are the behaviour of couples and
sexual reactions. This comedy was accused of immorality and was replaced by
comedy of sensibility in the 18th century, but it was later revived by Oscar Wild.

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John Dryden (1631-1700).
He is the best writer of the Restoration period. He was a poet, dramatist, satirist, critic
translator and founder of modern prose. He was the most representative of the
Restoration. He became a poet laureate in 1668. He excels his contemporaries in
every field, except that of comedy. He is called the father English criticism. He was
the first modern critic. Mr Gosse called him the strongest poet of the age of prose. His
comedies satisfy the corrupt taste of the merry monarch’s court. In the Restoration, he
was the greatest man. He was accused of opportunism. He wrote in rhymed couplet.
The blank verse of the Renaissance was replaced by the couplet especially heroic
couplet.

Satire was another important sub-genre in the neoclassical period. It is the age of
couplet, prose, reason and satire. Dryden was neo-classicist. He translated Juvenile,
Virgil and parts of Horace and Ovid.

He was accused of opportunism. He wrote All for Love, which is a play in blank verse
with the theme of love vs. honor. It is a reworking of Anthony and Cleopatra.

He wrote Of Dramatick Poesy, in which four critics are discussing the literature of
time. One of them is Eugenius, the second is Crites, the third is Lisideius and the
fourth one is Neander, who is Dryden himself.
They are comparing British and French drama. He defended the use of rhythm in
drama. He praised Shakespeare. “Nature is the same in all places and reasons too. Yet
the climate, the age and the disposition of the people to which a poet writes is
different” is a quotation from the book.

He wrote The Hind and The Panther. It is allegorical. The Hind represents other sects
of Christianity. It is about religious toleration and reconciliation. It is an allegorical
beast fable

He wrote Don Sebastian, a tragic comedy in blank verse about the king of Portugal. It
is his best play.

He wrote Mac Flecknoe, he attacks a rival and bad poet, Shadwell. He is the king of
realm of stupidity.

He wrote Aureng-Zebe, his last tragedy in rhymed couplets. It is about a struggle for
empire in India.

He wrote Absalem and Achitophel, a verse allegory which uses the biblical story of
Absalem’s rebellion against his father King David. In this story Achitophel (of the
bible) in Shaftsbury. King David of the bible is Charles II. Absalom of the bible is
Monmouth, the bastard son of King (Charles II). It is a satire.

There were two parties of Whig (labour) and Tory (conservatives) in his time.

1665 and 1666 was when the great fire of London and the great plague happened.

He wrote Annus Mirabilis, meaning the wonderful year. He wrote it in 1667. The
wonderful of the title is 1666, because that year fire of London and war with Holland

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happened. He says that the fire and the war were God’s test, not punishment. He
wanted to inspire his fellow countryman.

He wrote Religio Laici, meaning the “the faith of a layman”. He defended the Church
of England against the Catholics. He attacks the Catholics (pope’s followers). He is
against deism (natural religion, religion through reason).

He has several famous odes


1. To Anne Killigrew
2. A Song for Saint Cecelia’s Day. Saint Cecelia is the patron of music.
3. Alexander’s feast. It is again about Saint Cecelia. It is about Alexander the
Macedonian who set Persepolis on fire. The real story is that he did it because
his wife tempted him, but in this work he says that he did it because he was
captivated by music of Thimothias and the God of wine, Bacchus.

His other work is The Medal. The Whigs gave a medal to Shaftsbury. Dryden satires
this giving of medal.

Another book is Fables Ancient and Modern.

Marriage A-la-Mode is about a wife who does not love her husband and vice-versa.
They love other people’s husbands and wives. The theme of it is: why should a
foolish marriage vow. T.S. Eliot called it his best work. It is a comedy in blank verse,
influenced by Molier (the French writer who had the most influence on British
comedy).

The Conquest of Granada is his other work.

William Congreve (1670-1729)


Restoration was famous for immorality and it was about the life and immoralities of
the upper class. The masterpiece of Restoration comedy is the Way of the World
written in 1700, by comedy.

Congreve was in fact England’s Mollier. In early modern comedy Oscar Wild,
imitated and revived comedy of manners.

Jeremy Collier wrote ‘A short view of the immorality and profaneness of the English
stage’ in which he attacked Congreve, and he answered back by writing ‘Amendments
of Mr. Collier’s False and Imperfect Citations’.

Congreve was a master of repartte (verbal fighting), which is witty. It consists of


beaux and bells (fashionable gentleman and ladies). He was the best writer of comedy
in Restoration. He was a formalist, technician, and he unmasked the follies of the age.
He received his education in Trinity College. He is buried in Poet’s Corner of the
Westminster Abbey.

His comedies deal with the world of passion, courtship, and seduction. His comedies
are witty as well. They are about manners and their priority over morals.

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The Old Bachelor is about Mr. Heartwell who hates woman, but falls in love with
Silvia.

He wrote Double Dealer.

He wrote Love for Love which is about Valentine and Vangelica.

His masterpiece is the Way of the World, which is about Mirabell who is in love with
Millamant. It has a complex plot. They want to build a true marriage because
marriages of those times were built around property and were called marriage of
convenience, a marriage which is not based on the ways of the world, which is
falsehood and pretense.

‘Grief walks upon the heels of pleasure’.

Daniel Defoe (1660-1731)


He was a pamphleteer, journalist, novelist, social historian and a secret agent (spy).
He was a dissenter, an outsider. He is the first English novelist who wrote fictional
lives. His style was simple, direct and colloquial. He was a traits man in outlook and
morality. He discovered the novel of incident. He was the first writer to give a voice
to the spirit of individualism and the sense of personal confrontation with the world
that was to be typical of the emerging middle-class, and in general of the shifting
mobile society, in which characters such as Moll has to learn to survive, an individual
who has stamina, integrity, etc.

Defoe was not a member of Church of England. In ‘Shortest Way with the Dissenters’
he proposed that the ‘dissenters’ be hanged. He was pilloried for 3 days for writing
this pamphlet, and narrowly escaped, cutting one of his ears.

Robinson Crusoe is about a man who is cast away in an island. It is about colonising
other countries and civilizing and converting them. It is a middle-class man of
perseverance. It is about social optimism, the need to master and taming the nature
and the importance of social living. It is a praise of middle-class virtues and values.

He wrote novels about an individual’s situation which was tangible to read.

His first writings are autobiographical, the fictional ones turned into novels.

Moll Flanders is about an old woman who has become old and repented. She was a
thief and prostitute. She married 5 times, once her own brother. It is again a kind of
autobiography and it lacks a coherent plot. She is on the edge of the society.

Defoe was very prolific and wrote more than 200 works. Another autobiography by
him is Colonel Jack. It is about a convicted pick pocket.

His Tour through the Whole Island of Great Britain is a guide book.

Moll Flanders was a picaresque (a novel of adventure on the road). Virginia Woolf
called it the best novel (it is liked by feminists).

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Novel started in 18th century.

He was a poet, dramatist, gambler, drinker and inventor of ballad opera. It drove the
Italian opera from the English stage.

John Gay
He is famous for writing the best 18th century drama called Beggar’s Opera (1728). It
is about Newgate prison and Capt. Macheath, who is the leader of a gang of robbers
and popular with woman. He secretly marries Polly who is the daughter of Peachum,
buyer of stolen goods. Peachum reports him and he is arrested. In prison he finds
Lucy, daughter of Mr. Lockit, the warder of the prison. Lucy helps him escape, but he
is arrested again. Four other wives come with their children claiming that he is their
husband. He is going to be hanged but the people tell Mr. Beggar, the narrator, why
the poors are always hanged. So he changes the ending and Macheath goes and lives
with Poly.

It became very popular. There are many ironies and humours in it and it is musical.
The play satires the corruption of the governing class. Since it was popular, he wrote a
sequel on it called ‘The Polly’. ‘Three Penny Opera’ by Brecht is an imitation of this
opera. It is the story of lowlife in prison.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744)


He is the best speaker of Neo-classicism period and is called Boileau (French neo-
classicist) of England.

Pope was catholic, physically deformed, self-educated and wrote in heroic couplets.
He was not original. He believed in the poetry of common sense. He believed in
nature as the pure standard of taste and judgement that should control all man’s
artistic endeavours. He believed in nature methodized which means controlled,
normalized and improved.

He believed in imitation of the ancients. ‘To copy nature is to copy ancients’. He was
against extremes and originality. He was socially pre-occupied and translated Horace
and Homer. He was a satirist as well and his style was didactic.

He was the best example of Augustan (height of neo-classicism) poetry.

There is a famous definition of wit by him:


‘True Wit is Nature to advantage dressed
What oft was thought, but ne'er so well expressed’
He was stoic.

‘Dunciad’ is an attack on bad poets and his enemies.

He wrote ‘Moral Essays’ which is book of four essays about men and women
characters.

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‘Essay on Man’ is a didactic poem in heroic couplet. He wants to justify the ways of
God to man. It is a simple work. In this book, he was influenced by Shaftsbury’s
philosophy that God is a pure, rational idea (deism). Man is fundamentally good and
desires other’s happiness. It is not an original work but sums up the philosophy of
neo-classicism. It was written in four epistles.

‘Essay on Criticism’ is about the cannons of literary taste and style according to
classical works of Aristotle and Quintilian (Italian Renaissance figure). It is didactic.

‘The Rape of the Lock’ is a mock epic (which has style of epic but has a low subject)
in which there is a lady called Arabella and a man called Lord Petre, who took a lock
of Arabella’s hair which gave rise to a quarrel between the families. Pope composed
this poem in order to correct things and put an end to the quarrel.
The lady is preparing to go on a party near the river Thames, but it seems that she is
going on a war of Troy. She plays a card game which is described as a war. In this
game Lord Petre takes a string of her hair.
There are two purposes for this poem.
1. First, to put an end on enmity and quarrel of two families. However the
families became his enemy.
2. Second, to make fun of fashionable society of the day.

It was written in 5 parts with topical allusions. It is about beaux and bells. Hazlitt
called it ‘the triumph of insignificance’.
_____________________
There are four great names in neo-classical period: Dryden, Pope, Dr. Johnson and
Swift.

Dr. Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)


He was a poet, essayist, critic, lexicographer, dramatist, biographer and the greatest
literary figure of the end of neo-classical period. He imitated classical poetry.

English new classical criticism has Dryden at the beginning, Pope in the middle and
Johnson at the end. He was a Tory. He wrote in heroic couplets and followed Pope.

‘Vanity of Human Wishes’ is a satirical poem about vanity.

‘London’ is another satirical poem about the vanities and sins of London life, in
heroic couplet.

He edited plays of Shakespeare and wrote a preface to it. He says ‘Shakespeare is


above all modern writers. He is the poet of nature, the poet that holds up to its readers
a faithful mirror of manner and life’.

The Lives of the English Poet: It's a biography of 52 poems.

He wrote a Dictionary of English language in two volumes.

He wrote ‘Rosselas Prince of Abyssinia’. It is a philosophical romance. It is didactic.


The theme is: the disillusioning search after happiness. It lacks a coherent plot. It is

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based on a Persian story. In fact it is a book of essays on various subjects. The plot is
about a prince who has everything and lives in a valley, but is not happy. He goes in
search of happiness and lives different kind of lives, and returns to his palace
unsatisfied. The last chapter is called ‘A conclusion in which nothing is concluded’.

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745)


He is the greatest prose writer of the 18th century. He was a bitter and savage satirist.
Unlike other new classicists, he was pessimist and misanthrope (man hater). He was a
cynic and attacked human nature and reversed the great chain of being by putting
human beings lower than animals and called them ‘an animal capable of reason’. He
was a neo-classicist but had opposite idea. He was an original writer. He was Irish but
believed that Ireland a place good enough to die in.

Some famous questions from him: ‘all governments without consent of the governed
are the very definition of slavery’. ‘Now and then beasts may generate into man’.

He was a radical critic of the Augustan’s faith in human nature and man’s capacity for
improvement.

‘The Battle of the Books’ is about St James’s Library were the ancients and moderns
fight. The spider symbolizes the modern who make webs and the bee symbolizes the
ancient who make honey out of nature.

‘A Tail of a Tub’ is about three brothers who inherit three pairs of suits and a will (the
bible) from their father. The pairs of suits symbolize different sects of Christianity:
Calvinism, Anglican Church and Roman Catholic Church.

‘A Modest Proposal’ an ironic essay in which he proposes that the children of Ireland
who are poor and have no future ahead of them and expensive to look after, be
brought up until they are one year old and then sold out to be eaten.

His master-piece is ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ in four books.


Book one is in Lilliput
Book two is in Brobdingnag
Book three is in Laputa
Book four is in Houyhnhnms

In book one, Gulliver who is a surgeon and on a merchant ship, takes his shipwreck to
Island of Lilliput, where he is arrested by the Lilliputians. They are in war with
Blefuscu over how to break an egg. It symbolizes conflict between British and French
and different sects of Christianity. There is a fire in palace of the king and he urinates
on the palace to put out the fire. They try to poison him but he doesn’t die.

In book two inhabitants of Brobdingnag are shocked by his shrewdness. There are a
lot of descriptions of human body in it. It is an attack on human physique.

Book three is set in Laputa, a flying island made of science and technology. It is a
criticism of science, technology and industrial revolution. Laputa in Spanish means

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prostitute. In this island, scientists are so mentally preoccupied with science that they
forget to answer back in conversations. There are some people called ‘flappers’ who
remind them about this. It's a disillusionment of human being.

Book four is in country of clean and rational horses. They have servants called
‘Yahoos’, who eat human beings.

Then he goes back to his own country, and finds that he even hates his wife.

The book is very pessimistic and nihilistic. There is a lot of description of excretion
and toilet in it. Swift suffered from anal fixation. He shows the evil human pride and
is disillusioned about human mankind. It is a satire on vices of human and human
institutions.

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American Literature

1492- Discovery of America.

EUROPE

Wool Sugar

How Europe
Developed

AFRICA CARRIBEAN COUNTRIES


(New World)
Slaves
10 millions slaves went to America in 340 years.
Who worked free of charge on plantations

1565: a town called St. Augustine was set up but it was later burnt.
1607: Jamestown in Virginia was set up by English
1600-1776: Colonial period
1619: First African slaves arrived in Jamestown
1626: Mr. Minuit buys Manhattan Island for the Dutch and names it New-
Amsterdam
1650: Slavery was made legal
1754-1763: French and Indian (who fought for British) between England and
France.
1764-1766: Tax was imposed on sugar and tea. Stamp act.
1770:
1773 Boston Massacre
1776: Declaration of Independence (4th of July)
1781: British surrender and end of Revolutionary war.

American Literature
Colonial or puritan period is 17th and 18th centuries.
Transcendental or Romantic is first half of the 19th century.
Realism and Naturalism is second half of the 19th century.
Modernism is from 1900 or 1945 (between the two World Wars).
From 1945 to the present is called post modernism.

1787: In Philadelphia people like Washington and Adams wrote America’s


constitution.
1789: First American president, George Washington was elected.
1800:

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1803: Louisiana was purchased by the French
1812: American war with British. The Whitehouse was burnt by the British.
1844: Telegraph line was established between Washington and Baltimore.
1846-48: War with Mexico
1852: Uncle Tom’s Cabin was written by Harriet Beecher Stowe, which
triggered civil war between industrial north and slave
1861: The Civil war began.
1863: President Lincoln freed most of the slaves
1865: The civil war ended with southerners defeated. Lincoln was
assassinated.
1869: The railroad connecting east and west coast was completed.
1898: Spanish-American war started. The Americans defeated the Spanish
and took control of the Philippines, Puerto Rico and Guam and
America emerged as a super-power.
1903-1914: The Panama Canal was built connecting Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
1908: Henry Ford introduced the Model T car, in mass production (cost
around $850).
1919-1933: The Prohibition act (of alcohol) was passed which lead to mafias and
godfathers.
1917-1919: America joined World War I. Allies were Britain, France, Russia and
America against Germany, Austria and Hungry.
1929: Great depression. Wall Street crashed leading to unemployment.
1941: Japan attacked Pearl Harbour in Hawaii.
1945: America bombarded Nagasaki and Hiroshima. It is end of World War I
and America is a super-power.
1950-53: Korean War.
1953-1955: Senator McCarthy started McCarthyism. Anyone who was related to
communism was imprisoned or killed. For example Arthur Miller was
interrogated for writing The Crucible, to attack McCarthy.
1954: Racial Segregation (separation of blacks and whites) in public schools
was forbidden.
1964: Civil Rights act was passed in congress, forbidding discrimination in
voting and jobs. Orientals was written by Edward Saeed.
1965-73: The Vietnam War.
1969: Armstrong landed on the moon.

Neo-classicism (1660-1798)
The first neo-classicist in English literature is B. Jonson.
There are several important key words in neoclassicism.

1- Follow the rules: It is the theory of Horace, saying studying the works of ancient
will make you a poet. So it means one should follow the past to become a poet. It is
a very important feature.

2- Imitate the ancients

3- Literature for the sake of the society to improve it (writing satire). Laughter must
be used to as a weapon to improve the society.

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The greatest writers of this period are Dryden, Alexander Pope, Dr. Johnson and
Jonathan Swift.

It was age of optimism.

Another feature of it was decorum: the fitness of subject and style, which was also
important in Renaissance.

The other feature is that literature must give pleasure and delight.

Simplicity and clarity are among other features.

Literature should instruct and correct the society.

The neo-classicists interested in nature as rules and standards for judgement.


Shakespeare and Horace’s works are important for them.

One of the most important features is reason: literature, life and even religion which is
rational. The second half of the 18th century is called age of reason. The other name
for this period is Age of Prose. Periodicals, novels and satires emerged.

Enlightenment: Reason is enough to guide you through your life. Literature of


the head, not heart. You must prune your readers and teach
morality.

There was a drama called sentimental drama called sentimental drama appealing
emotions which replaced comedy of manners. Blank verse was replaced by heroic
couplet which was simple, direct and brief.

Novel was born in the neo-classical period.

According to neo-classical period, a person must be trained to become a poet.

Neo-classical literature is objective, in contrast with Romantic literature which is


subjective.

“Whatever is is right” said Alexander Pope, a deformed man. He is the writer who
summed up rules and doctrines of neoclassical period. He added nothing, but summed
up what was said before him, especially by the French writer, Boileau.

“Nature methodised”. It means a nature which is cut, formed, shaped and regulated.

Dryden is the greatest restoration writer. He is the first great critic of English
literature.

They believe in conventions and forms.

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Washington Irving (1783-1859)
He was a knickerbockers writer (writers in New York from 1810-1840). He was a
short story writer, essayist, poet, travel-book writer, biographer and columnist. He is
the first American short story writer- first American to be recognized abroad. He was
born in New York City and had 10 brothers and sisters. His parents loved G.
Washington so he was named after him. He lived in England, France and Spain. His
style is popular and elegant, based on the style of Addison and Goldsmith. His works
are usually about English lives and customs.

His famous works is ‘A Legend of Sleepy Hollow’. It is about a legendary headless


horseman.

The other famous short story by him is Rip Van Winkle, about a man who fell asleep
in the woods for 20 years. It is based on a Greek folk tale.

He wrote ‘A History of Christopher Columbus’, and ‘The Conquest of Granada’.

He has a book called The Sketch Book, which has 35 short stories.

He was a US Minister in Madrid. He wrote ‘A History of New York’ which is comic.

He wrote ‘The Alhambra’, when he was in Spain. The setting is Spanish.

James Fennimore Cooper (1789-1851)


He is called the American Walter Scott (British romantic novelist). He was the first
true American novelist. He wrote the first sea novel of American culture ‘The Pirate’.

He wrote the first trilogy in American Literature. He wrote the five volume epic called
‘The Leather Stocking Tales’.

The first volume of it is The Pioneers, the protagonist of which is Natty Bumppo. He
is the ideal man of democracy.

He also wrote ‘The Last of the Mohicans’ which is the second book of The Leather
Stocking Tales. It is a romance between Uncas (an Indian man) and Corae (a white
girl). The setting is the war between British and French. It is an action novel, and
Uncas is the last of the Mohicans.

The third book is called The Freri, the fourth one is The Path Finder and the fifth one
is The Deer Slayer.
He has a trilogy which consists of Bravo, Heindermauer and the Headsman.

He has a book called Gleanings in Europe about his travels to Europe.

His themes are American society and history, frontier and sea.

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Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
He was a transcendentalist, philosopher, poet, essayist and lecturer. He believed that
human relations to nature should transcend the idea of usefulness, so
transcendentalism is optimist. It is influenced by eastern mysticism. It is romanticism,
but optimistic and influenced by eastern mysticism (like Sepehri).

There are two groups of transcendentalists. Emerson and Thoreau believe in social
reform and people like Whitman believe in individualism.

An important concept for transcendentalists is oversoul. It means the unity within


which every man’s particular being is contained and made one with all things. Man is
a stream whose source is hidden.

Emerson believes in poetry and the philosophy of insight, not tradition, and a religion
by revelation to us.

‘To be great is to be misunderstood’, ‘Never read any book that is not but a year old’,
‘We must free ourselves from the grip of tradition’, ‘Whose soul would be a man
must be a non-conformist’ (famous quotations).

Some of his essays are Self Reliance, The Over Soul, American Scholar, Prudence,
Friendship, Heroism, Intellect, Art.

Emerson was a spiritual teacher.

Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864)


He wan an American novelist and short story writer. He was born in Salem village
which was the centre of Puritanism and witchcraft.
The major theme of Hawthorne is guilt. The theme of Young Goodman Brown: Man
is by nature evil, sinful and corrupt.

“The past is inescapable and sin is omnipresent. Man can transcend it only by
accepting its reality and in Hawthorne this often means a withdrawal into isolation as
a way to both tenants and self discovery’.

His characters are in conflict with guilt (guilt complex). There is always a constant
internal conflict.

He is the first American psychological novelist. His works are gothic, symbolic and
allegorical.

My Kinsman Major Molineaux is about Robin who goes to a town to see a relative
who is high ranking man. He sees tat he is feathered and bursts into a belly laughter,
according to Oedipus complex. The boy wanted to get rid of authority of his father
and his uncle. He becomes happy because his relative is degraded.

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‘Twice Told Tales’ is one of his short stories which is important in literature. Poe
referred to it when he introduced his sing effect theory. Hawthorne is one of the first
short story writers together with Poe.

His most important work is Scarlet Letter. They put an A letter on Hester’s chest, who
has committed adultery.

The House of Seven Gables, Rappaccini’s Daughter, The Minister’s Black Veil and
The Great Stone Face, are his important works.

His works are explorations of moral and spiritual conflicts.

Henry David Thoreau (1817-186)


He was a transcendentalist and is famous for his Civil Disobedience, and his
autobiographical work, Waldo. The former affected Ghandi and Luther King. He was
an anarchist.

In the latter he says people must resist to governments that are more harmful than
helpful and therefore not justified.

He was put into prison for not paying tax, which triggered Civil Disobedience.

He went to Waldo pond in the forest for 2 year, 2 months and 2 days. In it, he gives an
account of his everyday life and criticizes American society. The book is about virtue
and against materialism.

Walden
Walden is neither a novel nor a true autobiography, but a social critique of the
Western World. It details Thoreau's life for two years, two months, two days in
Walden. Thoreau examines other issues afflicting man in society raging from
economy and reading to solitude and higher laws, so we can say it's against
materialism.

He lived a mystic life.

He was an abolitionist and against slavery.

Walt Whitman (1819-1892)


He is the most famous and greatest American poet who is very American (democratic,
individualistic etc.) The poem which summarizes him is Leaves of Grass. Famous
poems from Leave of Grass are ‘O Captain My Captain’, ‘When Lilacs Last in the
Dooryard Bloom’d’, and ‘Song of Myself’.

‘Leaves of Grass’ is a transcendental work.

He is the American national poet. ‘Leaves of Grass’ is the most influential book of
poetry in American literature with long sentences and unconventional style, which

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ends with the transcendental idea of self. In fact, it's a development of the theory of
"Over-soul".

Self is a key word in his works.

Song of Myself is his masterpiece. This extremely long poem announces all of the
major themes of Whitman's work.

Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)


He is one of the first short story writers, who with Hawthorne are the fathers of short
story which is an American genre. He was a poet, critic, short story writer, novelist
and essayist. He was the forerunner of ‘art for art’s sake’, symbolism, surrealism and
psychological fiction. He influenced French symbolism.

Some famous quotations: ‘the ultimate purpose of art is aesthetics’. ‘Poetry is the
rhythmic creation of beauty’.

His themes are terror, guilt and death.

He is the father of detective story. He was a gothic writer as well.

In short story he introduced the idea of single effect. His most famous poem is ‘The
Raven’. Raven is the symbol of melancholy which is the philosophy of composition.
So we can call Poe a romantic figure as well.

He was alcoholic as well.

In his works, you can see preoccupation with death (death fixation).

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