A TO Z Literary Principles from History of English Literature: Note 14

A Set of 26 Objective Questions & Answers

a. English philosopher and statesman Thomas More pens Utopia, satirizing British life in a story of a mythical, perfect society. More’s moral beliefs later cost him his life; after failing to support King Henry VIII’s break from Rome, More is executed.

b. James I of England commissions a revision of the English Bible, a 14th-century translation by John Wycliffe. The King James Version OR Authorised Version of the Bible, as it is called, is completed in 1611.
c. John Milton’s “Areopagita” is an essay espousing freedom of the press. Milton writes the piece in response to the censorship that is rampant in England at the time.

d.  English Puritan John Bunyan writes the religious allegory Pilgrim's Progress in 1678. The work, generally considered a masterpiece in Christian and English literature, describes the journey of the central character, named Christian, through life to eventual salvation.
e. English poet John Dryden publishes an astonishing variety of work, including poetry, prose, drama, criticism, translation, and satire. He becomes the leading literary figure of Restoration England.

f.  British philosopher John Locke argues that the only way to apprehend reality is through the experience of the senses. In his major work entitled An Essay Concerning Human Understanding published in 1690, Locke states that the mind of an individual is a tabula rasa, or blank slate, upon which experience imprints knowledge. This theory forms the basis of empiricism. Locke’s political theories, which place sovereignty in the hands of the people, underpin a good portion of the U.S. Constitution.

g. English novelist Henry Fielding publishes in 1749 his novel The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, commonly known as Tom Jones, which chronicles the escapades of a young man in pursuit of his inheritance. This story is one of the first and best modern novels in English literature.

h. English novelist Jane Austen finally publishes Sense and Sensibility in 1811, almost 15 years after it was written. Austen wittily writes of the everyday lives of the English upper middle class. Because of her deep understanding of the complexity of human motives, she is considered one of the great English novelists. Her other works include Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and Mansfield Park.

i.  English writer and lexicographer Samuel Johnson publishes his Dictionary of the English Language. Standardized spelling of English words is one of the benefits that result.

j. British historian Edward Gibbon publishes the first book of his three-volume The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. This work, considered a masterpiece of historical writing, is admired for its eloquence and flashes of wit.

k. Poet Robert Burns publishes “To a Mouse” and a number of other vernacular poems, which are an immediate success in his native Scotland. Written in a combination of Standard English and Scots, a dialect of English spoken in the Lowlands of Scotland, Burns’s lyrical poems refer to the folklore and lives of Scottish peasants. For his deep understanding and appreciation of the Scottish way of life, Burns will be generally regarded as Scotland’s greatest poet.

l. English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley becomes known as one of the greatest lyric poets of English literature. Among his best-known poems are 'To a Skylark' and 'To the West Wind.' At age 29 he dies in a boating accident.

m. English poets Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth jointly publish Lyrical Ballads in 1798. The landmark collection contains some of the first great poems of the romantic school in England.

n. Dryden’s MacFlecknoe is a reply to Shadwell’s The Medal of John Bays directed against him.

o. Great writers like Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides in tragedy, and Aristophanes in comedy, produced masterpieces before which the world has marveled. As in Greece, drama in England was in its beginning a religious thing.

p. Miracle plays and Mysteries afforded one of the favourite entertainments of the common people during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries of England.

q. Seneca, one of the outstanding Stoic philosophers of Rome, by his verse tragedies exerted a profound influence upon the development of classical drama in Italy, France, and England when they were revived during the Renaissance. His ornate and rhetorical style, his regularity of form, his sensational themes of crime, horror, and revenge, his reflective and introspective qualities, and the Stoic fatalism of his characters were his chief attributions.

r. Lycidas, an elegy occasioned by the death of one who had been Milton’s fellow student at Cambridge, Tennyson’s In Memoriam, a less perfect elegy, but one in which love enters as well as art, Thyrsis of Matthew Arnold and the Adonais of Shelley are the notable English elegies.

s. In Browning's treatment of the subject there is something a trace of his Puritan and Liberal upbringing.

t. Miracle plays, in the strict sense of the term, were dramatic representations of miracles performed by saints; Mysteries, of incidents from the New Testament and elsewhere, bearing upon the fundamental principles of Roman Catholicism.

u. In England, after Richard Brinsley Sheridan, the drama remained at a low level of production.

v. Harper Lee's 'To kill a Mockingbird' (1960) is a classic work of African American literature.

w. Dr Johnson was a teacher too and one of his students, David Garrick, later famous as an actor, became a lifelong friend of him.
x. What Chaucer has done in the 14th century England in his Prologue to the Canterbury Tales, Pope in the 18th century in his Rope of the Lock and Tennyson in the 19th century England in his poems, R. K. Narayan has done the same in his novels of the 20th century India.

y. English comedy can be divided into Five groups, namely ‘romantic comedy’, ‘comedy of manners’, ‘comedy of hunours’, ‘sentimental comedy’ and the ‘tragi-comedy’ or ‘dark comedy’.
z. “Over all the world  Men move unhoming, and eternally
      Concerned: a swarm of bees who have lost their queen.”---- Christopher Fry (1907 - ) British playwright. Venus Observed.

Ref: Wikipedia, Literary Timelines, History of English Literature- Albert