A TO Z Literary Principles from History of English Literature: Note 24



a. Keats was a romantic poet who believed in the importance of sensation and its pleasures which included taste, touch and smell as well as hearing and sight.

b. Shelley’s weaknesses as a writer have always been evident; rhetorical abstraction; intellectual arrogance; and movements of intense self-pity. But in great poems like the "West Wind" or great prose works like "Defence", it is precisely these limitations that he transcends, and indeed explodes.

c. Mathew Arnold describes Shelley “a beautiful and ineffectual angel beating in the void his luminous wings in vain”.

d. “In Hamlet we see a great, an almost enormous intellectual activity and a proportionate aversion to real action consequent upon it.”  Coleridge.

e. Hemingway’s ‘Old Man and the Sea’ is perhaps his most sustained attempt to unite the actual and symbolic under one continuous narrative roof.
It is said of Jane Austen that she involves the ‘Critical Intelligence’ of her readers. The prevailing interest is not only in ‘aesthetic delight’ but also in a sense of moral conviction.

 f. “Jane Austen’s view of life is the view of the eighteenth century civilization of which she was the last exquisite blossom. One might call it the moral realistic view. Jane Austen was profoundly moral.” (David Cecil).

g. ‘Yeats’ symbols, like his mask, by their triple reference to self, world, and spirit achieve on the aesthetic plane a unity of bring impossible in life.
Stock says of ‘The Second Coming’ that in this poem Yeats sets his own age in the perspective of eternity and condenses a whole philosophy of history into it so that it has the force of Prophecy’.

h. Browning had a “robust optimism” unlike the other Victorian poets who were worriers and doubters.

i. Dickens set so personal a stamp on his books that at every turn he seemed to be an innovator.

j. Lamb seldom permitted his profounder views of life to appear above the humorous, pathetic and ironical surface of his writings.

k. ‘Lambs’ essays are lyric poems in prose.’

l. ‘The Waste Land’ is both a public or private poem.

m. In Beckett’s play Waiting for Godot the pattern for waiting is an ingenious combination of expectations and let downs, of uncertainty and of gradual run down without end.

n. “Tennyson worked with words like a jeweler, weighing them against each other, tasting their luster, placing them in their foil; yet they are mostly current coinage.”

o. ‘Ruskin founded in England what was really a new religion, wherein the quest for beauty in the daily lie of all, even the most humble, become a sort of duty.’
Ruskin expressed his ideas in a magnified poetic and decorative prose.

p. Swifts’ Gulliver’s Travel is a ‘mock utopia’. Gulliver’s Travels is an entertaining political story, but it became very popular as a tale for young people. It also expresses despair or that its import is nihilistic, is radically to misread the book".

q. The novels of Hardy are of intensely dramatic and epic nature; his characters move progressively towards a crisis.

r. Hardy is neither a feminist, nor a misogynist, but a realist.

s. Robert Frost was a regional or a pastoral poet. He ranged in tone from the lyric to narrative from dramatic to meditative from the terrifying to humourous. All the fun’s in how you say a thing.

t. Pygmalion is described as ‘A Romantic in Five Acts’ by Shaw whereas it is anti-romantic in Spirit.

u. “Byron’s Don Juan is a success because it is a satirical panorama of the ruling classes of his time” (W. H. Auden).

v. “If nature leads to God, she also leads to Man.” Wordsworth’s vision of Nature

w. Hobbes, the English Philosopher (1588 – 1679) believed that “Man was merely a Body, or better a Machine in motion. Thus, what is the Heart but a Spring, and the Nerves but many Strings and the Joints but so may Wheels”.

x. The 19th century Romantic Movement has been variously interpreted as ‘the convalescence of the feeling of beauty’, ‘renaissance of wonder’, ‘split religion’ and ‘erotic nostalgia’.

y. ‘art for God's sake ‘  phrase best characterizes the late-nineteenth century aesthetic movement which widened the breach between artists and the reading public, sowing the seeds of modernism.

z. The early-twentieth-century thinker Sigmund Freud is associated with enormously influential perspective or practice psychoanalysis. He had a major impact on early-twentieth-century writers, leading them to reimagine human identity in radically new ways.


Ref: 1. History of English Literature- Albert, 
      2. The Concise Cambridge History of English Literature
       3. Microsoft Student Encerta
       4. Wikipedia

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