English Literature Before the Romantic Age (to 1798)
英國文學(I)自修 / 演講大綱
December 24, 1999
literature was written in
English—from the 600's to about 1100
English—from the 1100's to about 1450
English—since the second half of the 1400's
greatest English author—William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
Dickens'(1812- 1870) and George Eliot's(1819-1880) realistic novels
inspired Russian authors
Feodor Dostoevsky (1821-1881) and Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910)
writers have adopted elements from other literatures.
sonnet from Italy.
essay from France.
novel from Spain.
of English literature
Danish scholar Otto Jespersen (1860-1943) wrote that English“is
a methodical, energetic, business-like and sober language,
that does not care much for finery and elegance ....” English literature
reflects these qualities of the language.
being free to write as they please
adopting words from other languages
inventing new words
is a stressed language.
Blank verse has no rhyme; its rhythm is related to the natural rise and
fall of the spoken language.
English Authors and Society
- showing deep interest in the
social and political events of their times.
- describing, criticizing, and
commenting on the society in which they lived.
of Angles, Saxons, and Jutes gained control of England
in the 500's.
scops (poets) composed songs and ballads.
gleemen (minstrels) chanted the songs at the king's court and at tribal
- England was converted to
Christianity (597) and monks began to record these poems
in Old English (a Germanic language).
Anglo-Saxon poets wrote unrhymed verse using alliteration.
Epics—the first long poem in Old English, Beowulf
Epics—The Fates of the Apostles by Cynewulf (750?-825)
History of the English Nation by Venerable Bede (673-735)
sponsored by Alfred the Great
poems—The Exeter Book
Norman Conquest (1066). Norman introduced
French culture into England
under William the Conqueror.
the 300 years after conquest most literature was written in French or
upper classes spoke French; the common people continued to speak Old
the late 1100's a few popular writings began to appear in Middle
religious Moral Ode (about 1170), anon., was the first English
poem with rhymed couplets.
Mundi (early 1300's), anon., told Biblical stories in verse.
poems (known as metrical romances) about chivalry and knightly love
appeared in the 1200's and 1300's.
(a romance) by the priest Layamon
Gawain and the Green Knight (a romance), anon., (or The Pearl Poet)
Pearl, anon., (or the Pearl
Age of Chaucer
the mid-1300's, Middle English had become the spoken and written
of the upper classes.
Chaucer (1340-1400) was the greatest poet of the Middle
Ages. The Canterbury Tales, a collection of stories built around
a pilgrimage to Canterbury,
is his masterpiece.
Gower (1330?-1408) was even more popular in his day than Chaucer. His
poems expressed the attitude of the ruling class toward the peasants.
Langland (1332?-1400) wrote (?) Piers the Plowman, an allegory
criticizing the church and the upper classes.
drama grew in popularity during the 1300's.
earliest dramas were mystery and miracle plays. The Second Shepherds'
anon., is the finest example of miracle play.
1440 to the 1550's
the golden age of Chaucer, English literature declined until the late
best literature of the period included the ballads and folk songs of the
border region between England
new form of drama, the morality play, became popular. Everyman,
anon., is the first example of morality play.
invention of printing in Germany
helped bring about a rebirth of learning.
Caxton (1421?-1491) set up the first printing press in England
in 1476 and
printed Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales in 1478.
Thomas Malory (?-1471) His The Death of Arthur, a collection of
was published in 1485 by Caxton.
Renaissance reached England
in the 1500's
began to reject the authority of the Roman Catholic Church and asserted
their importance as individuals.
called humanists, rediscovered the cultures of ancient Greece and Rome.
tried to combine Christian ethics with classic learning.
Thomas More (1477-1535)
More's Utopia pictured an ideal society
in which no evil existed.
Ascham's most important work was Schoolmaster, a treatise on
Poetry and Prose
humanists, Sir Thomas Wyatt (1503?-1542) and Earl of Surrey (1517-1547),
brought the Italian sonnet form to poetry.
Spenser (1552?-1599) His greatest work, The Fairy Queen, was the
epic in Modern English verse.
Philip Sidney (1554-1586) combined prose with poetry in his pastoral
Shakespeare (1564-1616) perfected the sonnet form into English
Bacon (1561-1626) introduced the essay form into English literature.
drama became the greatest literature of the age.
1576, James Burbage built the first English play house, called The
Theater, in London.
comedies, tragedies, and historical dramas overshadow all other literary
works of his age.
Marlowe (1564-1593) He popularized blank verse in Tamburlaine the
and The Tragic History of Doctor Faustus.
Jonson (1573?-1637) His Volpone,
or the Fox, Epicoene, or
The Silent Woman,
and The Alchemist are masterpieces of satiric drama. Everyman
in His Humour is perhaps
his best representative of the comedy of“humours.”
many years after the death of Queen Elizabeth in 1603, England
was torn by conflict.
reflected the struggle between the Cavaliers (followers of King Charles
and the Puritans (supporters of Parliament).
Puritans closed the theaters.
Donne (1571?-1631) and John Milton (1608-1674) were the two greatest
poets of the age. Donne wrote deeply personal and religious poetry.
his masterpiece Paradise Lost.
Bunyan (1628-1688) led the way toward the development of the novel in
his religious allegory The Pilgrim's Progress.
Burton (1577-1640) wrote The Anatomy of Melancholy.
Thomas Browne (1577-1640) wrote Religion of a Physician.
- Izaak Walton (1593-1682)
wrote the Compleat Angler.
Classical Age (1660-1798)
collapsed in 1660 and England
restored Charles II as king.
Restoration Period (1660-1770) marked the beginning of a new classical
movement called neoclassicism.
and scholars modeled their works on the classics of ancient Greece and Rome.
Poetry and Prose
literature, the Restoration is also called the“Age
his greatest fame in poetry
the heroic couplet
wrote brilliant satires, such as Absalom
and Achitophel and MacFleckoe.
the way toward establishing a clear, direct English prose style, and
his Essay of Dramatic Poesy (poetry)
served as a model for all later literary criticism.
Butler (1612-1680) earned his fame entirely upon Hudibras,
an incomplete mock heroic poem of over ten thousand lines.
Pepys (1633-1703) and John Evelyn (1620-1706) developed a new form of
Pepys' Diary and Evelyn's Memoirs give vivid accounts of
the authors' day-to-day lives.
II reopened the theaters and encouraged a rebirth of drama.
appeared in plays for the first time.
main types of dramas developed :
comedy of manners
Dryden excelled in the heroic tragedy (poetic form of drama). His best
All for Love.
Congreve (1670-1729) excelled in the comedy of manners and wrote the
loveliest description of court life in Love for Love and The
way of the World.
Age of Swift and Pope
Swift (1667-1745) was the literary master in prose.
Tale of a Tub
Battle of the
Pope (1688-1744) was the literary master in poetry.
Rape of the Lock
Addison (1672-1719) and Richard Steele (1672-1729) were inseparable
literary twins and famous for their satiric essays.
Rise of Novel
novel as we know it today had its real beginning in the 1700's.
Nash (1567-1601) wrote The Unfortunate Traveler, the first
English work that resembled a novel.
Defoe (1660-1731) made the greatest contribution to the development
of the novel. His realistic works:
Richardson (1689-1761) wrote Pamela, which is considered by
most scholars the first true English novel.
leading early novelists were
Fielding (1707-1754) Tom
Sterne (1713-1768) Tristram Shandy
Smollett (1721-1771) The
Adventures of Roderick Random,
the first English novel of the sea.
the late 1700's, English writers began pouring out tales of horror
called Gothic novels.
Horace Walpole (1717-1799) wrote the first famous Gothic novel The
Castle of Otranto.
Age of Johnson
Johnson (1709-1784) His outstanding achievements:
of the English Language
lives of the English Poets (52 poets)
Boswell (1740-1795) wrote The Life of Samuel Johnson, for which
of our knowledge of Samuel Johnson comes.
Goldsmith (1730?-1774) His most famous works:
Vicar of Wakefield (a play)
Stoops to Conquer (a play)
Deserted Village (a long poem)
Brinsley Sheridan (1751-1816)
School for Scandal
Conciliation with America
History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
Rise of Romanticism (1784-1798)
and his group were the last great neoclassical writers.
authors began to revolt against classical rules of writing.
romantic writers were influenced by the philosophy of Jean Jacques
Rousseau in France.
began as a deliberate movement in 1798.
Thomson (1700-1748) expressed a romantic attitude toward nature in The
Gray (1716-1771) used a tone of sadness in his famous Elegy Written
in a Country Churchyard.
Cowper (1731-1800) indicated a sentimental love of nature in The Task.
Blake (1757-1827) and
were the greatest forerunners of the Romantic Movement.