A TO Z Literary Principles from History of English Literature: Note 41

Short notes on History of English Literature

A Set of 26 Objective Questions & Answers

1.      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.

2.      Ben Jonson’s first comedy, Everyman in His Humour, is a satiric picture of his own age, to write with cool irony of contemporary human foibles as he considered them and as Terence had done.

3.      Utopia, by Thomas More, is a powerful and original study of social conditions, unlike anything which have had ever appeared in any literature except some points of resemblance in Plato’s Repubilic.The book is divided into two parts.

4.      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).

5.      Man and Superman is a magnificent philosophical play by Bernard Shaw, described as “A comedy and a philosophy”.

6.      As Shaw wrote to writer Henry James, “In the name of human vitality WHERE is the charm in that useless, dispiriting, discouraging fatalism which broke out so horribly in the eighteen-sixties at the word of Darwin, and persuaded people in spite of their own teeth and claws that Man is the will-less slave and victim of his environment? What is the use of writing plays?—what is the use of anything?—if there is not a Will that finally molds chaos itself into a race of gods with heaven for an environment, and if that Will is not incarnated in man.…”

7.      It was probably in King Alfred’s time that the great Anglo-Saxon Chronicle was begun. It may be said and to be the first historical treatise in English.

8.      Ulysses is apparently the story of life, for some twenty hours, of an Irish Jew, Leopold Bloom, in the city of Dublin.

9.      Pride and Prejudice, by far the most popular of all Jane Austen’s novels, requires no detailed description.

10.  Jane Austen said of Pride and Prejudice that it “is rather too light and bright, and speaking, it wants shade,” and this is perhaps the reason for its popularity.

11.  Piers Plowman, by Langland is an impressive Middle English alliterative poem and consists of three successive visions.

12.  In 1557 appeared the first printed collection of miscellaneous poem, known as Tottel’s Miscellany, a somewhat belated manifesto of the ‘new poetry’.

13.  Hard Times A novel about industry.

14.  In Hard Times, Dickens satirizes the theories of political economists through exaggerated characters such as Mr. Bounderby, the self-made man motivated by greed, and Mr. Gradgrind, the schoolmaster who emphasizes facts and figures over all else.

15.  In Bounderby’s mines, lives are ground down; in Gradgrind’s classroom, imagination and feelings are strangled.

16.  From the beginning America was unique in the diversity of its inhabitants; over time they arrived from all parts of the world.

17.  Although English quickly became the language of America, regional and ethnic dialects have enlivened and enriched the country’s literature almost from the start.

18.  For its first 200 years American prose reflected the settlement and growth of the American colonies, largely through histories, religious writings, and expedition and travel narratives.

19.  Native Legends, folktales, and other forms of literature were preserved in oral form and passed down from one generation to the next through ceremonies and other community gatherings, as well as within family groups and other informal settings.

20.  Much of this literature disappeared with the destruction of Native American cultures that followed white settlement of the continent.

21.  Although there are many ways of studying language, most approaches belong to one of the two main branches of linguistics: descriptive linguistics and comparative linguistics.

22.  The greatest expedition of all was that which resulted in the Trojan War: The object of this quest was Helen, a beautiful Greek woman who had been abducted by Paris, son of King Priam of Troy.

23.  Helen’s husband Menelaus and his brother Agamemnon led an army of Greeks to besiege Troy.

24.  The small cast of characters in The Old Man and the Sea consists of Santiago, the old fisherman, and Manolin, the boy who has fished with him for years. Though the old man hits a run of bad luck, Manolin still wishes to fish with him. But Manolin's parents demand that he fish with a more successful boat.

25.   The Ancient Mariner (T. S. Coleridge) is a myth. The Ancient Mariner is myth of guilt and redemption, but, of course, it is also much more. Coleridge here introduced of crime theme a new dimension. 

26.  In Ancient Mariner he shapes symbols into a consistent whole and subordinates them to a single plan with the result that his poem is in the first place story which we enjoy for its own sake, but in the second place a myth about a dark and troubling crisis in the human soul.

Ref: 1. Microsoft Students’ Encarta
       2. History of English Literature- Albert 
       3. The Concise Cambridge History of English Literature
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