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(2010-12-09 14:58:48)
分类: 英语学习






William Shakespeare



Charles Dickens

William Makepeace Thackeray

George Eliot


John Donne

Thomas Hood

John Milton

Charlotte Bronte and

Emily Bronte

John Bunyan

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Robert Browning

Elizabeth Barrett Browning



Daniel Defoe

Henry Fielding

Jonathan Swift

Oliver Goldsmith

William Blake



William Wordsworth


Thomas Hardy

Gorge Gordon, Lord Byron

John Galsworthy

Oscar Wilde

Percy Bysshe Shelly

George Bernard Shaw

John Keats


D.H. Lawrence

Virginia Woolf

Walter Scott

James Joyce


The Sixteenth Century


Beginning of 16th century

Thomas More

Utopia. More gave a profound and truthful picture of the people’s suffering and put forward his ideal of a future happy society.

End the century

Francis Bacon

Scientist and philosopher

First half of 16th century

Thomas Wyatt, Henry Howard

They initiated new poetical forms, borrowing freely from English popular songs and Italian and French poetry. Wyatt was the first to introduce the sonnet into English literature.

Second half of the 16th century

Philip Sidney, Thomas Campion and Edmund Spenser

Lyrical poem become widespread in England. Edmund was the author of the greatest epic poem of the time The Fairy Queen.

Court life and gallantry novel

John Lyly, Thomas Loge

Great popularity was won by John Lyly’s novel Ephesus which gave rise to the term “euphuism”, designating an affected style of court speech.

Realistic novel

Thomas Delaney, Thomas Nashe

Devoted to every day life of craftsman, merchants and other representatives of lower class


Christopher Marlowe

Reformed drama that genre in English and perfected the language and verse of dramatic works. It was Marlowe who made blank verse the principal vehicle of expression in drama.

William Shakespeare

The works of William Shakespeare are a great landmark in the history of world literature for he was one of the first founders of realism, a master hand at realistic portrayal of human characters and relations.


First period: Romeo and Juliet

Second Period:

1.       Hamlet, Prince of Demark

2.       Othello, the Moor of Venice

3.       King Lear

4.       The Tragedy of Macbeth

The Seventeenth Century

Puritan Age

Puritan attitude

They believed in simplicity of life, breaking up of old ideas, an age of confusion.

Puritan action

They disapproved of the sonnets and love poetry written in the previous period.

In 1642 the theatres were close

The bible become one book of the people

Literary Characteristics

Absence of fixed standard of literary criticism, exaggeration of “metaphysical” poets.

Poetry took new and startling forms in Donne and Herbert, and prose became as somber as Burrton’s Anatomy of Melancholy.

The spiritual gloom sooner or later fastens upon all the writers of this age. This so called gloomy age produced some minor poems of exquisites workmanship, and one of great master of verse whose work would glorify any age or people---John Milton, in whom the indomitable Puritan spirit finds its noblest expression.


Restoration Age

Literary Characteristics

Renounced old ideas and demanded that English poetry and dream should follow the style which they had become accustomed in the gaiety of Paris.

On the whole they were immoral and cynical.

French influence

Rimed couplets instead of blank verse, the unities, a more regular construction, and the presentation of tryes rather than individual

The comedies are coarse in language and their view of the relation between man and won is immoral and dishonest.

John Dryden

As a critic, poet and playwright was the most distinguished literary figure of the restoration age. The most popular genre was that of comedy whose chief aim as to entertain the licentious aristocrats.


John Donne

1. Poetry



Part of his poetry is in such classical forms as satires, elegies, and epistles---though it style has anything but classical smoothness---and part is written in lyrical forms of extraordinary variety.


  1. Most of it purports to deal with life, descriptive or experimentally, and the first thing to strike the reader is Donne’s extraordinary and penetrating realism.
  2. The next is the cynicism which marks certain of the lighter poems and which represents a conscious reaction from the extreme idealization of woman encouraged by the Patrarchan tradition.


In his serious love-poems, however, Donne, while not relaxing his grasp on the realities the love experience, suffuses it with an emotional intensity and a spiritualized ardor unique in English poetry.

2. Sonnet


Contrast between conventional and Donne’s sonnet

Conventional sonnet

Donne’s sonnet

The unvarying succession in form

Gives nearly every theme a verse and stanza form peculiar to itself

Decorating his theme by conventional comparison

Illuminates or emphasizes his thought by fantastic metaphors and extravagant hyperbole.


In moments of inspiration his style becomes wonderfully poignant and direct, heart-searching in its simple human accents, with an originality and force for which we look in vain among the clear and fluent melodies of Elizabethan lyrists.


  1. Sometimes the “conceits”, as these extravagant figures are called, are so odd that we lose sight of the thing to be illustrated, in the startling nature of the illustration.
  2. The fashion of conceiting writing, somewhat like euphuism in prose, appeared in Italy and Spain also. Its imaginative exuberance has its parallels in baroque architecture and painting.



Go and catch a falling star,

       Get with child a mandrake root,

Tell me where all the past years are,

       Or who cleft the Devil’s foot,

Teach me to hear mermaids singing,

       Or to keep off envy’s stinging,

                               And find

                               What wind

Servers to advance an honest mind.

If thou beest born to strange sights,

       Things invisible to see,

Ride ten thousand days and nights,

       Till age snow white hairs on thee,

Thou, when thou return’st, wilt tell me

All strange wonders that befell thee,

                             And answer

                             No where

Lives a woman true, and fair,

If thou find’st one, let me know,

        Such a pilgrimage were sweet,

Yet do not, I would no go

        Though next door we might meet,

Though she were true when you met her,

And last till you write your letter,

                           Yet she

                           Will be

False, ere I come, to two, or three.


John Milton

Days in Horton


L’ Allegro

Describing happiness

Il Penseroso

Describing meditation


Praising a  dear friend who had been drowned


Presenting a masque or play




Areopagitica, Speech for the Liberty of Unlicensed Printing

A bold attack on the censorship of the press


A pamphlets in which the author justified the execution of Charles I

Defense for the English People

A defense of the Commonwealth and Revolution


Paradise Lost

  1. It represents the author’s views in an allegorical religious form,
  2. And the reader will easily discern its basic idea---the exposure of reactionary forces of this time and passionate appeal for freedom.
  3. It is based on the biblical legend of the imaginary progenitors of the human race---Adam and Eve, and involves God and his eternal adversary, Satan in plot.


John Bunyan

Milton and Bunyan






Well educated

Poorly educated


Son of Renaissance

an excess of that spiritual independence which had cause the Puritan struggle for liberty


The only epic since Beowulf

The only great allegory


Books helpful for Bunyan significantly

  1. The books from his wife The Plain Man’s Pathway to Heaven and The Practice of Piety gave fire to his imagination, which he saw new visions and dream terrible new dreams of lost souls.
  2. Without fully digestion of Bible and Scripture, he was tossed about alike a feather by all the winds of doctrine.


The Pilgrim’s Progress

Bunyan’s most important work is The Pilgrim’s Progress, written in old fashioned, medieval form of allegory and dream.


The Eighteenth century

1. Enlightenment


An expression of struggle of the then progressive class of bourgeoisie against feudalism


Class inequality, stagnation, prejudice and other survival of feudalism

Repudiate the false religious doctrines about the viciousness of human nature


Place all branches of science at the service of mankind by connecting them with the actual deeds and requirements of the people

Accept bourgeois relationship as rightful and reasonable relations among people.

Compared to France


revealed to the most progressive minds of the century the contradictions of new society instead of “cleared the minds of men for the coming revolution” of France


1.1 First representatives of Enlightenment

Common comment

Though in their works they criticized different aspects of contemporary English, they never set themselves the task of struggling against the existing order of life, but on the contrary, attempted to smooth over social contradictions by moralizing and proclaiming, as Pope did, that “whatever is, is right”.

Joseph Addison & Richard Steel

Devoted not only to social problem, but also to private life and adventures, gave an impetus to the development of the 18 century novel

Alexander Pope

The highest authority in matters of literary art

Elaborated certain regulations for the style of poetical works and made popular the so-called heroics couplets---five foot iambic rhymed in couplet


1.2 Founders of novel

The development of industry and trade brought to the foremen of a new stamp, who had to be typified in the new literature.





Daniel Defoe

Robinson Crusoe

The image of an enterprising Englishman of the 18 century was created.

One of the forerunners of the English 18 century realistic novel.

Henry Fielding


Unfolds a spread of panorama of life in all sections of English society

Real founder of the genre of the bourgeois realistic novel in England and Europe

Exposes the depraved aristocracy, the avaricious bourgeoisie

Contrasts the life of ruling classes to the lack of rights and misery of the people


The Adventure of Roderick Random

Mercilessly attacked , among others things, the regime in the English fleet

Real founder of the genre of the bourgeois realistic novel in England and Europe

The Adventure of Peregrine Pickle

Exposed all kinds if political charlatans, mocked at the State system and laughed to scone various prejudices and conventionalities

Created an unforgettable gallery of common English people, conspicuous for their generosity, kind-heatedness and sense of humor


1.3 Innermost life Writers

Along with the depiction of morals and manners and social mode of life the writers of the Enlightenment began to display interest of the inmost life of an individual.





Samuel Richardson

Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded, Clarissa, or The History of a Young Lady and The History of Sir Charles Grandson

Deals with the private life of an individual

Enriched European literature with the method of psychological analysis

Jonathan Swift


Gulliver’s Travels

Typified the bourgeoisie world, drew ruthless pictures of the depraved aristocracy and satirically portrayed the whole of the English State system

The most outstanding personality of the epoch of enlightenment in England

Richard B.Sheridan

School for Scandal

False virtue and actual vices of aristocracy society are derided

A sharp criticism of contemporary system


2. Sentimentalism

The middle of the 18 century in England sees the inceptions of a new literary current---that of sentimentalism.

The sentimentalism came into being as a result of bitter discontent on the part of certain enlighteners in social society.

The representatives of sentimentalism continued to struggle against feudalism but they vaguely sensed at the same time the contradictions of bourgeois progress that brought with it enslavement and ruin to the people. The philosophy of the enlighteners, though rational and materialistic in its essence, did not exclude sense, or sentiments, as a means of perception and learning. Moreover, the cult of nature and, a cult of a “natural man” whose feelings display themselves in a most human and natural manner, contrary to the artful and hypocritical aristocratic---this cult was upheld by the majority of the enlighteners and helped them to fight against privileges of birth and descent which placed the aristocracy high above common people.

But later enlighteners of England having come to the conclusion that, contrary to all reasoning, social injustices, still held strong, found the power of reason to be insufficient, and therefore, appealed to sentiment as a means of achieving happiness and social justice.


Oliver Goldsmith

The Vicar of Wakefield

the depravity of the aristocrats and corruption of town life are contrasted to idyll of quite family happiness, patriarchal life in the bosom of nature and peaceable manners of the village

Laurence Sterne

Tristan Shandy, Sentimental Journey

 the style and structure of which are the very antithesis of rationally composed novels, reveal a purely emotional approach to life on the part of the narrator

Sterne is full of pity and compassion for the poor and the afflicted. But though he scoffs at prejudices and sings praise to liberty he is inferior to Swift and Fielding in the broad and critical portrayal of contemporary life.

Sympathy for the peasant

O. Goldsmith

The Deserted Village

Thomas Gray

Elegy, Written in a Country Churchyard

George Crabble

The Village


3. Pre-romanticism

Another conspicuous trend in the English literature of the latter half of the 18 century was the so-called pre-romanticism. It originated among the conservatives group of men of letters as a reactions against enlightenment and found its most manifest expression in the Gothie novel”, the terms arising from the fact that the greater part of such romance were devoted to the medieval times.

Horace Walpole

The Castle of Oranto

Evil forces reign in the world, and it is futile to struggle against one’s fate. The mysterious element plays an enormous role on the Gothic novel; it is so replete with bloodcurdling scenes and unnatural feelings that it is justly called “a novel of horrors”.

Ann Radcliff.

The Mysteries of Udolpho

William Blake

In spite of his mysticism, wrote poems full of human feelings and sympathy for the oppressed people



The task of upholding revolutionary struggle of the people for their rights in the 18 century was initiated by Robert Burns and later taken up in the 19 century by the writers of revolutionary romanticism.


Daniel Defoe


Four facts stand out clearly, which help the reader to understand the characters of his works.



Defoe was a jack-at-all trade

His interest was largely with the working classes and notwithstanding many questionable practices, he seems to have had some continued purpose of educating and uplifting the common people

Defoe was a radical Non-conformist in religion, and was intended by his father for the independent ministry

The puritan zeal for reform possesses him, and he tried to do so by his pen. The seal for reform marks all his numerous works, and accounts for the moralizing to be found everywhere

Defoe was a journalist

A newspaper man’s instinct for making a “good story”. He wrote an immense number of pamphlets, poems, and magazine article

Defoe knew prison life.



Henry Fielding


Fielding’s position

Henry Fielding is the greatest novelist if the eighteenth century, and one of the greatest that England ever produced.

Fielding’s character




Aristocrats and men set in authority embody all the evils; they persecute the heroes and obstruct their every move and action





positive characters are always people with natural, unpreserved feelings, and though “for the sake of appearance”, and to make them acceptable to the 18 century reader, Joseph Andrews, the manservant, and Tome Jones, the foundling, are eventually give parents of noble descent, still they have nothing aristocratic about them, and in their feelings and behavior, remain closely related to the common people

Fielding’s satire

He hates that hypocrisy which tries to conceal itself under a mask of morality. In the evolution of the plots of his novels, he invariably puts such characters in position which tear away their mask. He displays almost savage pleasure in making them ridiculous.

Joseph Andrews


Fielding’s best work: Amelia is the story of a good life in contrast with an unworthy husband


Joseph Andrews, was inspired by the success of Richardson’s novel Pamela, and began as a burlesque of the false sentimentality and the conventional virtues of Richardson’s heroine(Pamela


Richardson, who has no humor, who minces words, and moralizes, and dotes on the sentimental woes of his heroines


Fielding is direct, vigorous, hilarious, and coarse to the point of vulgarity. He is full of animal spirits, and he tells the story of a vagabond life, not for the sake of moralizing, like Defoe, but simply because it interests him and his only concerns is “to laugh men out of their follies.”

So his story, though it abounds in unpleasant incidents, generally leaves the reader with the strong impression of reality.


Jonathan Swift


The eighteenth century in English literature is an age of prose, but because the poetry is very bad but because the prose is very good.

Writer’s position

The supreme master in the first part of the century, the name of Jonathan Swift is one of the very greatest names in English literature

Gulliver’s Travels’ position

The book is a classic and devastating satire on the human race.

Gulliver’s Travels’ power

The secret of the power is that there is no visible sign of anger, nor raising the voice; the tone is cold, restrained, ironic, varied only by some flashed of fooling when Swifts sense of the ridiculous gets the better of him.

General description

The plot of the book comprises the extraordinary adventure of Doctor Lemuel Gulliver, description of fantastic lands visited by him, their socials systems, ways and customs of their inhabitants


Horse are the real people and human beings, Yahoos, are their filthy servant, has a savage power unequalled in English literature or any literature


Gulliver is a giant among them, and with the giants among whom Gulliver is a pygmy

The Tale of a Tub

Satire on the various churches and religion of the day


Oliver Goldsmith


General comments

All his writing is pervaded by a gentle and a genuine feeling that avoids sentimentality with consummate skill.




He makes the rimming couplets as natural and simple as his prose.

There a few descriptive and reflective poems in the English language that have kept their freshness as has The Deserted Village.




The Good-natured Man and She Stoops to Conquer met with opposition because the fashion was then for sentimental comedy. Goldsmith’s success marked a return to the comedy for manners, with wit and fun as essential ingredients.

With Sheridan



Sheridan’s Rivals and School for Scandal and She Stoops to Conquer are the only plays of the eighteenth century that have been kept alive upon the modern stage


William Blake



Of all the romantic poets of the eighteenth century, Blake is the most independent and the most original, following no man’s lead, and obeying no voice but that he heard in his own mystic soul

Songs of Innocence

He first showed the musical cast of his mind. Their underlying theme is the all-pervading presence of divine and sympathy, even in trouble and sorrow.

The Book of Thel

Similar theme with the Songs of Innocence: the maiden Thel laments the vanity and transience of life, and is answered by lily, the cloud, the worm and the clod; they explain the principle of mutual self-sacrifice and the death means a new birth.

The Songs of Experience

A sense of gloom and mystery, and of the power of evil. We find again a protest against restrictive codes and exaltation of the spirit of love.


The Romantic Period


Industrial Revolution and French Revolution had a strong influence in Britain literature. Fighting for “Liberty, Equality and Fraternity” also becomes British national spirit.

Edmund Burke

Reflections on the Revolution in France

An anti-revolutionary manifesto for all reactionaries in Europe. “He pitied the plumage and forgot the dying bird.” as Thomas Paine said.

Thomas Paine

The Rights of Man

Politics is the business of the whole mass of common people and not only of a governing oligarchy. People would not like a government that failed to secure people “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”


Age of Wordsworth



Romanticism prevailed during the period of 1798-1832, beginning with the publication of Wordsworth’s Lyrical Ballads, ending with Walter Scott’s death.



The great literary impulse of the age is the impulse of Individualism in a wonderful varied of forms.




Its great men of genius were mostly eminent in the poetical field, distinction was more easily achieved in poetry than in prose, and the general taste was decidedly set in the poetic direction.




For poetry is the highest form of literary expression, and poetry seems to have been most in harmony with the noblest powers of the English genius.

The young enthusiasts turned as naturally to poetry as a happy man to singing.





Scott, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelly, Keats, Moore, and Southey

The glory of the age is in the poetry



attained a very wide reading


Jane Austen

slowly won for their authors a secure place in the history of English literature


Charles Lamb


The only great literary form that was not adequately represented

During the nineteenth century, the drama seems to have been practically superseded by the novel as a medium for the portrayal of its complex forms of life and character.


Lake Poets: Wordsworth, Coleridge and Southey.


William Wordsworth



The majority of poems in the collection Lyrical Ballads were written by Wordsworth. Coleridge’s chief contribution was his masterpiece The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.


Many of Wordsworth ‘s poems in the Lyrical Ballads were devoted to the position of landless and homeless peasants

Sincerely sympathizing with the poor, he at the same time severely criticized capitalism.


In his poems Wordsworth aimed at simplicity and purity of the language, fighting against the conventional forms of the 18 century poetry.

The poet was a passionate lover of nature and his description of lakes and river, of a meadows and woods, of skies and clouds are exquisite.

Great poems

Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey, The Prelude, The Excursion


Gorge Gordon, Lord Byron



English Bards and Scotch Reviewers

This poem is written in the manner Pope, for whom Byron always professed admiration, and is not unworthy of his school, either in mastery of the heroic couplet or in energy of satire


Child Harold Pilgrimage



Manfred and Cain


Satiric masterpiece

Don Juan



Percy Bysshe Shelly


“Mad Shelly” his schoolmates called him, and in the judgment of the world he remained “mad Shelly” to the end of his life.


The Necessity of Atheism

Pamphlets of his religious view, which made him expelled.

Address to the Irish People

A quixotic attempt to arouse Ireland to seek redress for her national wrongs.

Queen Mab

A crude poem attacking dogmatic religion, government, industrial tyranny, and war.

Alastor, or the Spirit of Solitude

A vaguely autobiographical account of a young poet’s unsuccessful attempt to recapture his envisional ideal.

The Revolt of Islam

A long narrative in Spenserian stanza, proclaiming a bloodless revolution and the regeneration of man by love.

The Cenci

A drama intended for the stage, and written in much more simple and everyday language than his other works.

Ode to the West Wind

One of wonderful poem

The Skylark

The best known of all Shelly’s lyrics.


John Keats


In 1817 he published a little volume of verse, most of it crude and immature enough, but contain the magnificent sonnet, On First Looking into Chapman‘s Homer, which reveals one source of his inspiration. From the first his imagination has turned out to the old Greek work with instinctive sympathy; and he now choose as the subject for a long time narrative poem the story of Endymion, the Latmian shepherd beloved by the moon-goodness.


Endymion was published in 1818. The exordium of poem, the Hymn to Pan in the opening episode, and a myriad other lines and short passages are worthy of the Keats that was to be; but as a whole Endymion is chaotic, and cloyed with ornament. Nobody knew better than Keats himself.


Great odes including On Melancholy, On a Grecian Urn, To Psyche, and To a Nightingale had done wonders in deepening and strengthening his gift. In turning from Spenser and Ariosto the great masculine poets of the seventeenth century, Shakespeare, Webster, Milton, and Dryden, he had found the iron which was lacking in his earlier intellectual food, and had learned the lessons of artistic calmness and severity, without sacrifice of the mellow sweetness native to him; to charm, he had added strength.


Walter Scott


Walter Scott is the creator and a great master of the historical novel. Scott’s novels give a panorama of feudal society from its early stages to its downfall. The writer describes the different phases of this epoch: the Crusades, the rise of absolute monarchy, the bourgeois revolution in England, the attempts to restore feudalism in the 18 century.


Scott’s novels were written from a definite class standpoint. Despite his aristocratic inclination, Scott was greatly interested in fate of the people, of the patriarchal peasant in particular, portraying the decay of their mode of life by the onslaught of industrial capitalism. Scott’s historical approach to life was a result of the great changes wrought by the industrial revolution in England and the first bourgeois revolution in France. A contemporary of these events, the writer learnt from the lessons given by the history of his time that one cannot understand history without taking into account the role of the masses of the people.


The central heroes of Scott’s novels are young men of valor. They are usually of noble birth. It is noteworthy however, that these heroes appear in the novels as common men, poor, persecuted and faced with innumerable hardship. They are thrown into comradery with men in the ordinary rank of life and often establish a close friendship with them (Ivanhoe and others). In the end Scott’s heroes acquire their titles and return to the prosperous life of the ruling class. Taken as whole, Scott’s main hero is rather spastically, lacking in virility and lacking dept of psychological characterization.


Scott’s novel is the consummation and development of two different trends of the English literature of the 18 and the beginning of the 19 centuries: that pertaining to the realistic novel of H. Fielding and T.G. Smollett and of the earlier 19th century realists, such as Jane Austen and others on the one hand, and that of the so-called Gothic novel of the pre-romanticists, such as H. Walpole and A. Radcliff and of whole romantic school of poetry on the other.


The great realists of the 19th century made use of, and developed, the method of a realistic presentation of the past in their description and treatment of contemporary life. Thus we may say that Walter Scott’s historical novel paved the path for the development of the realistic novel of the 19th century.



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