AD's English Literature : A TO Z Literary Principles from History of English Literature: Note 39

A TO Z Literary Principles from History of English Literature: Note 39



Short notes on History of English Literature: Arcadia and Utopia

A Set of 26 Objective Questions & Answers
1. Arcadia by Philip Sidney, written to amuse his sister, the Countess of Pem-broke, is a prose romance interspersed with verse, in which he gives a full play of his fantastic invention.

2.  Arcadia (1590), a pastoral romance in verse linked by prose passages; the first considerable work in English in this form, it became a model for later pastoral poetry.

3.  It is a pastoral romance; its action being held in the ideal Arcadia.

4. Here king Basilius retired and here he brings up his daughters as shepherdesses.

5. Sidney’s pastoral romance Arcadia was famous in its day.

6. Here is  occasional good passage, such as the prayer to a heathen god, ”O All-seeing Light,”–a prayer that became historic and deeply pathetic when King Charles repeated it, facing death on the scaffold. That was in 1649, more than half a century after Arcadia was written.

7. Arcadia is the back ground to the story of love and chivalry.

8. Musidorus and Pyrocles make their court to the most virtuous Pamela and to radiant Philoctia.

9. They are disguised as a peasant and a woman.

10.The king is smitten with love for Pyrocles whose woman’s deceives him and the queen who discovers the fraud is also smitten with it is crossed by many episodes.

11.Arcadia marks a well-defined stage in the history of the novel.

12.The style of the Arcadia is highly “conceited”, full of elaborate analogies balanced parenthetical asides and pathetic fallacies.

13. It has its moments of idyllic simplicity and stylized pastoral charm.


Short notes on History of English Literature: Utopia
  1. Utopia, by Thomas More, is a powerful and original study of social conditions, unlike amything which have had ever appeared in any literature except some points of resemblance in Plato’s Repubilic.The book is divided into two parts.
  2. More and his friend, Peter Giles leave Church service in Antwerp and counter Raphael Hythloday, a Portugese seaman who accompanied Amerigo Vespucci on his third voyage to the new World.
  3.  The mariner found in Utopia a far different world from European corruption, crime, waste and war.
  4.  In the second part, Hythloday tells of the ideal state where the government is truly representative.
  5. The economy is communistic. A six – hour day is all the work required of a man. Happiness is the highest good.
  6.  The Utopians detest war and bear arms only in self-defence.  Most interesting is the complete religious toleration.
  7. Utopia is a retinol world governed by truly humanistic principles.
  8. More suggests the new approach of the humanists to create the right world for men.
    The book is remarkable for confident idealism, witty phrasing and fertile imagination. 
  9. It is a fictional account of an island nation with a perfect system of government, is one of the best-known works of satire and political thinking from Renaissance England.
  10. Writing in Latin, the scholarly language of the 16th century, More retold what he learned about Utopia from Raphael Hythloday, a fictitious Portuguese sailor.
  11. More contrasted elements of Utopia with England, using the fictional comparison to point out problems in English society and government.
  12.  Utopia’s influence is found in several important works of European literature, including Anglo-Irish writer Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels (1726) and French philosopher and author Voltaire’s Candide (1759).
  13.  The book focuses Utopian society, the geography of Utopia, and Utopians’ ideas about wealth and the value of money and gold etc.


Ref: 1. History of English Literature- Albert, 
      2. The Concise Cambridge History of English Literature

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