A TO Z Literary Principles from History of English Literature: Note 17



a. An epic has been generally described as a long narrative poem, on a grand scale about the deeds of warriors and heroes, kings and gods. It is a polygonal heroic story incorporating myth, legend, folktale and history. Epics are mostly of national significance, since that they embody the history and aspirations of nations in a lofty or grandeur manner. An epic is a culture mirror with a fixed ideological stance, often reflecting the best noblest principles of nation’s ethos.
b. T.S. Eliot in The Waste land and Thomas Mauve in The Magic Mountain have both told the death knell of heroism, divinity, love and all nobler virtues in the post war modern world which portrayed, rightly enough, as a fragmented, hellish insubstantial circle of spiritual vacuity and ideals .
 c. Old and Middle English alliterative poems are commonly written in form of four-stress lines. Of these poems, William Langland’s The Vision of William Concerning Piers the Plowman, better known as Piers Plowman, is the most significant. 

d.The Pearl is an elegy for the death of a small girl. However the girl is the Christian symbol of innocence, heaven and love. Optimistically, thus, the work ends with an impressive vision of heaven, from which the dreamer awakes.
e."Hamlet" is one of the best revenge plays in English Literature. However, T. S. Eliot considered Hamlet to be an artistic failure. Of all the plays it is the longest and is precisely one on which Shakespeare spent most pains, yet left on it superfluous and inconsistent scenes.




f.About the year 450 A.D members of various tribes—Angles, Saxons, Jutes, Frisians - from around the mouth of the Rhine river invaded Roman Britain.

g. The Britons had been speaking the “Celtic” language (related to modern Welsh, Breton, and Irish and Scots Gaelic) before being conquered by Rome.

h. The Anglo-Saxons were pagan: they worshipped a collection of gods that included the war god Tiu; Woden, the clever one-eyed leader of the gods; thunder-hammering Thor; and Freya, the seductive love-goddess. Four of the modern days of our week are named after these gods: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday.

i. “Faithful Observation, personal detachment, and a fine sense of ironic comedy are among Jane Austen’s Chief Characteristics as a writer.”
 
j. Wordsworth’s verdict about Blake (on his death) was that "There was no doubt that this poor man was mad, but there is something in the madness of this man which interests me more than the sanity of Lord Byron and Walter Scott".

k. The predominant almost exclusive theme of W.Blake's short poems is based on the feeling of a child's unpassioned soul; the tone is simple while the emotions possess a pure ardour.

l. Odes of Keats reflect his growing concern with the relation between art and life, beauty and reality.” Keats had no religion save the religion of beauty, no God save Pan; the Earth was his great consoler, and so passionately did he love her, with a love far more concrete and personal than that of Wordsworth or even Shelley”.

m. Shelley’s Prometheus Unbound is an allegory of Man’s Emancipation in an Age of Hope and Deliverance. 
Literary Design
n. “To many readers Shelley’s genius is primarily lyrical: which commonly implies emotional. This is very doubtful – intense and uremitting intellectual activity seems to have been the main characteristic of his mind”. Graham Hough

o. George Eliot is generally credited with changing the nature of the English Novel.George Eliot is the first English novelist who has shown tremendous psychological insight.
p.Hemingway’s ‘Old Man and the Sea’ has been best describe as ‘A heroic story’ filled with light from Sea and Sky, and sympathy with men and their mysterious fellow-creatures’.

q. Synaesthesia in Keats is a natural concomitant of other qualities of his poetry. Free from all moral degree, Keats’ poetry has the most compiling enchantment for lovers of pure beauty. Keats’s odes depict a skillful fusion of a seeking of beauty which endures and an impassioned meditation of death.

r. The conflict of the spiritual and secular power and relation of Church and state were very common subjects. On these themes Eliot had said much in prose. The historical meditation Murder in the Cathedral (1935), a verse play that deals with the martyrdom of Saint Thomas à Becket at Canterbury Cathedral too shows a conflict between church and state.

s. The story of Sons and Lovers, an autobiographical novel by D. H. Lawrence has a distinct two halves and sometimes accused of as ‘broken-backed’ or ‘Wasp-like’ in structure.

t. Tom Jones (1749) novel by Henry Fielding stars Tom Jones, who is raised by the tolerant Squire Western though he is believed to be the illegitimate son of a runaway servant.

u. In Plato’s system music and poetry were not two dichotomous entities.

v. Avant-Garde is a sector of the arts that draws its inspiration from the invention and application of new or unconventional techniques and is therefore on the vanguard or cutting edge of new styles. Samuel Beckett’s Waiting For Godot is also an Avant- Garde production.

w. Coleridge does not consider metre itself to be the cause or essence of poetry or that genuine poetry is to be ‘distinguished form prose by metre, though he does admit that ‘as a particular pleasure is found in anticipating the recurrence of sounds and quantities, all compositions that have this charm super added, whatever be their contents, may be entitled poems’ (Biographia Literaria Ch XIV).

x. English writer William Golding in his first novel, The Lord of the Flies introduces one of the recurrent themes of Golding's fiction: the conflict between humanity's innate barbarism and the civilizing influence of reason.

y. The Play, A Midsummer Night's Dream, by William Shakespeare offers a wonderful contrast in human mentality.  Shakespeare provides insight into man's conflict with the rational versus the emotional characteristics of our behavior through his settings. The rational, logical side is represented by Athens, with its flourishing government and society.  The wilder emotional side is represented by the fairy woods. 

z. Immortal lines from Donne’s The Canonization: “FOR God's sake hold your tongue, and let me love”.

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

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