A TO Z Literary Principles from History of English Literature: Note 47



A Set of 26 Objective Questions & Answers



  1. She Stoops to Conquer: Goldsmith's She Stoops to Conquer is based upon an actual happening, which is reported in Irving's Life of Goldsmith. Two young men get into a private house by mistake, directed there as a practical joke by some one who told them that it was an inn. The daughter of the house plays maid, and naturally one young man falls in love with her. There is a delightful complication of happenings. By the use of pictures and outside reading about the period, these interesting days of the eighteenth century may be vivified.
  2. Literature and science: Literature really consists of experience, experimentation; it has nothing to do with speculation. In its essential nature it is the science of the inner; it is as scientific as any other science. The difference between literature and science is not of their methodology but only of their object.
  3. Insight: The colorful life of American writer Ernest Hemingway offers much insight into his work.
  4. Women in Love: English writer D. H. Lawrence wrote Women in Love (1921) as the sequel to his earlier novel The Rainbow (1915). In these works he explored the sexual and psychological relationships of men and women with frankness unusual for the time. Women in Love begins with a discussion about marriage between Ursula and Gudrun. For Gudrun, a traditional marriage is an “experience of some sort” that could relieve her boredom and ultimately provide self-fulfillment1. Her sister, Ursula, however, questions this and asserts that the experience of marriage could be “the end of experience”.
  5. R. K. Narayan:   R. K. Narayan   gained worldwide attention with novels such as The Financial Expert (1952), The Man-Eater of Malgudi (1961), and The Vendor of Sweets (1967). The idiosyncratic, likeable characters in Narayan’s novels and the mythic town of Malgudi that he created as the setting of his major fiction are well known all over the world.
  6. Immediate Sensation: More than that of any of the other romantics, Keats's poetry is a response to sensuous impressions. He found neither the time nor the inclination to elaborate a complete moral or social philosophy in his poetry. In such poems as “The Eve of St. Agnes,” “Ode on a Grecian Urn,” and “Ode to a Nightingale,” all written about 1819, he showed an unrivaled awareness of immediate sensation and an unequaled ability to reproduce it.
  7. The Circle of Reason: Ghosh's first novel, The Circle of Reason, centers on the reverse of fortune of a young weaver, Alu. He is brought up in a Bengal village. After a false accusation that he is a member of a violent extremist group, he escapes westwards, first to a fictional Gulf state and later to Algeria.
  8. Things Fall Apart: Okonkwo, the central figure of Things Fall Apart, is a tragic hero, noble but flawed.
  9. The Ancient Mariner: The Ancient Mariner is a myth. It presents in an unusual and lively form certain issues with which we are all familiar and forces us to look a fresh at them. By creating an impossible story in impossible conditions The Ancient Mariner draws attention to neglect or undiscovered truths. And what Coleridge believed to be the task of the poetry. 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. 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. 
  10. Iliad and Odyssey: A long poem, the Iliad, describes the Trojan War. A second poem, the Odyssey, tells the adventures of the Greek hero Odysseus after the war was over.
  11. Preface to Shakespeare: In the Preface to his edition of Shakespeare (1765), Samuel Johnson begins by considering what makes writers of the past worth reading, and then moves to a more particular consideration of Shakespeare’s own strengths and weaknesses.
  12. Morale: Although there are elements of the fairy tale and romance in The Pilgrim's Progress, the heart of the work is the dialogues that Christian and Christiana engage in on their journeys.
  13. Religion: The theme of Philip Larkin’s poem “Church Going” is the erosion of religious abutments. 
  14.   Linguistics: 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. 
  15. Harry Potter series :1.Harry potter and the philosopher’s stone,2.Harry Potters and the Chamber of Secrets 3.Harry potter and the prisoner of Azkaban,4.Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,5.Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,6.Harry Potter and the Half blood prince.
  1. Ecological Writers: Marina Schauffler in her work Turning to the Earth identifies and labels a group of writers as "Ecological Writers". She considers them as "ecological writers" since these writers integrate a profound spiritual and philosophical sense about the earth into their practical lives. Native American literature is often subjected to ecocriticism.
  2. Meter: Most of the lines in Ode to the West Wind by P.B. Shelley  are in iambic pentameter, although some of the pentameter lines have an extra syllable (catalexis).  
  3. Metaphysical poems: Metaphysical poems are brief, intense meditations employing wit, irony and wordplay. Underlying the formal structures of rhyme, meter, and stanza these are logic-based argument.                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
  4. Hard Times: 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. In Bounderby’s mines, lives are ground down; in Gradgrind’s classroom, imagination and feelings are strangled.
  5. First American novel: American fiction became formally established only after the American Revolution. The Power of Sympathy (1789), a tragic love story by William Hill Brown, is generally considered the first American novel.
  6. Arabian Nights, or The Thousand and One Nights is a collection of stories from Persia, Arabia, India, and Egypt, compiled over hundreds of years. Most of the stories originated as folk tales, anecdotes, or fables that were passed on orally. It has inspired Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales or Boccaccio’s Decameron.
  7. Literature:  Literary texts are products that reflect different aspects of society. They are cultural documents which offer a deeper understanding of a country or countries.-(Basnet & Mounfold 1993).
  8. Five Points: Novelists use five main elements: plot, characters, conflict, setting, and theme.
  9. Rhetoric: Pleonasm (Gk. pleon, more) or Redundancy is the repetition of an idea, or various shades of an idea by words not in the same grammatical relations (e.g. adj. or noun, prep, and adv., verb and adv.).

The fleets gave mutual support to each other.

From thence he went to Edinburgh.

I saw it with my own eyes.



  1. Defining Language: Language is the institution whereby human communicate and interact with each other by means of habitually used oral auditory arbitrary symbols (Hall 1964).
    1. A language is a system of arbitrary vocal symbols by means of which the members of a society interact in terms of their ‘total culture’ (Trager, 1949).
    2. Language is a ‘System of sounds, words, patterns, etc. used by humans to communicate thoughts and feelings’. (Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, 1989).
    3. ‘Language is a patterned system of arbitrary sound signals, characterized by structure dependence, creativity, displacement, duality and cultural transmission’. (Aitchison, 1987)
    4. One of the best ways to understand human language is to compare it with animal communication and to see where the similarities and differences lie. We will do that in a while but before that let us try to understand how and why language originated.
  1. Keats and Shakespeare : Keats, who had a special devotion to Shakespeare, seemed to see writing sonnets as a way to become in some ways a more Shakespearean poet—a challenge and a technical exercise, as well as a form within which he could work out his Keatsian themes.


Ref: 1. History of English Literature- Albert
        2. The Concise Cambridge History of English Literature
        3. Microsoft Students’ Encarta
        4. An Introduction of English Literature to the Foreign Students- R. J. Rees