A TO Z Literary Principles from History of English Literature: Note 36


Short notes on History of English Literature

A Set of 26 Objective Questions & Answers

  1. 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.
  1. Keats has been called ‘a mystic through the medium of the senses’.

  2. 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.
  1. In the best of Shelley’s poetry, there is splendour of movement and realization of visionary intensity.
  1. Shelley was inspired by love that is not limited to mankind only.
  1. Mathew Arnold describes Shelley “a beautiful and ineffectual angel beating in the void his luminous wings in vain”.
  1. Shelley was a revolutionary poet.
  1. ‘Hamlet touches on many problems, that troubled the protagonists, soul, like vengeance, suicide, love, without offering a solution for anyone.’
  1. “In Hamlet we see a great, an almost enormous intellectual activity and a proportionate aversion to real action consequent upon it.”  Coleridge.
  1. Hemingway is preoccupied with the human predicament and a moral code that might satisfactory control it.
  1. Hemingway’s ‘Old Man and the Sea’ is perhaps his most sustained attempt to unite the actual and symbolic under one continuous narrative roof.
  1. 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.
  1. Jane Austen’s novels are the work of a miniaturist.
  1. “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). 
  2. Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice’ has been described as a fairy tale, in which deserving girl gets her prince.
  1. Jane Austen’s clear sighted eyes read through the inner minds of those who live around her, just as if those minds were transparent.
  1. Pride and Prejudice: “Here is a limited world; but she interprets it with the penetrating insight of the creative artist”.
  1. W.B. Yeats was a Romantic Poet.
  1. W. B. Yeats works deal intensely with three basic urges.
  1. “W. B. Yeats poetry possesses an imaginative mysticism, an essential attribute of Celticism, he has the ability to efface the outlines of material objects in a dreamy mistiness.”
  1. ‘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.
  1. 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’.
  1. “People are Browning’s passion: men and women, revealed through their ambitions and failures, love and hatred.” On Browning’s Dramatic monologue.
  1. Robert Browning’s interest in psychological analysis of characters from different countries.
  1. Browning had a “robust optimism” unlike the other Victorian poets who were worriers and doubters.
  1. “Dickens has his own sentimental way of solving social problems”.


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

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