A TO Z Literary Principles from History of English Literature: Note 101


A Set of 26 Objective Questions & Answers


1.     Duchess of Malfi; Hamlet; Gorboduc are Revenge Tragedy.
2.     Alice Munro’s Meneseteung is a rich tale spanning several decades.
3.     George Saunders’s Pastoralia focuses on a man who is stuck in a life he hates in a dystopian future.

4.      Kingsley Amis’s novel You can’t do both is a semi autobiographical novel. His other novels and the types:

     Lucky Jim                     
criticizes academic society
That Uncertain Feeling
temptation towards adultery
I Like It Here
contemptuous view of “abroad”
Take a Girl Like You
semi autobiographical- concerns of sex and love in ordinary modern life
5.     Andrew Marvell’s An Horatian Ode upon Cromwell’s Return from Ireland was written in 1650. It is the year of Commonwealth Govt. in full force.
6.     Lines and the text

‘If music be the food of love, play on’
Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night
“Hieronimo is mad again” 
The Waste Land by T. S. Eliot
“Alone ,alone, all all alone/ Alone on a wide, wide sea”
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner poem by S.T Coleridge
“Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes;
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell:”

Shakespeare’s Tempest, Ariel sings this to Ferdinand about his father Alonso, King of Naples
7.     Rudyard Kipling’s The Mowgli stories in The Jungle Book are followed by a series of animal fables that pursue similar themes. These stories feature such familiar characters as the mongoose Riki-Tikki-Tavi. Some editions of Kipling's work place all the stories of Mowgli in one volume and all of the animal stories in a second volume.
8.     Best Matches:

Text/ Art
Author/ Artist/Genre/ Inventor
Milton’s pastoral elegy
Anglo Saxon Epic

The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog
Dylan Thomas
Troilus and Criseyde
Richardson’s epistolary novel
9.     A manor house is a country house that historically formed the administrative centre of a manor, the lowest unit of territorial organization in the feudal system in Europe. The term is applied to country houses that belonged to the gentry and other grand stately homes.

10.  Ezra Pound: “Literature is language charged with meaning”. “Great literature is simply language charged with meaning to the utmost possible degree”.
11.  Form of poetry has the defining characteristics, namely: imagery, sound, rhythm and diction. Imagery is the sensory language used in poetry. By sensory we imply that the language appeals to or affects the senses of the reader or audience. Sound is the auditory aspect or quality inherent in poetry. Rhythm is the wave-like movement discernible in poetry. It accounts, along with sound, for the musical quality in poetry. Diction refers to the special choice or selection of words utilized by the poet in his work.
12.   Popular examples of the elegy in English literature: John Milton’s Lycidas; Alfred Tennyson’s  In Memoriam ; WH Auden’s  In Memory of WB Yeats  and William Gray’s  Elegy, Written in a CountryChurchyard.
13.  Characteristics or elements of Drama are: action, plot, dialogue, characterization and setting.
14.    Elements or defining features of Novel/Prose Fiction: story, plot, setting and characterization.
15.    Impulse behind poetic literature: Imitative (Mimetic): The innate human instinct to imitate things, which one can observe even in young children and Monkeys; Aesthetic/Emotional: The natural pleasure of recognizing good or effective mimicry. This is why Aristotle referred to poetry as “an imitative art”; Musical: The impulse or instinct for tune, music and rhythm as means of expressing and thus giving vent to emotions.
16.   Definitionsof Poetry: The following are well-known definitions of poetry which illustrate the varied view of this genre:
·        Poetry is the language that tells us, through a more or less emotional reaction, something that cannot be said. All poetry, great or small, does this. - Edwin Arlington Robinson.
·        An actual poem is the succession of experiences – sounds, images, thoughts, emotions – through which we pass when we are reading as poetically as we can. - Andrew Bradley
·        the rhythmic, inevitably narrative, movement from an over clothed blindness to a naked vision. Dylan Thomas
·        I would define poetry of words as the rhythmical creation of beauty. Its sole arbiter is taste. With the intellect or with the conscience it has only collateral relations. Unless incidentally, it has no concern whatever either with duty or with truth. – Edgar Allan Poe
·        Poetry is the imaginative expression of strong feeling, usually rhythmical...the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings recollected in tranquility. – William Wordsworth
·        The proper and immediate object of Science is the acquirement or communication of truth; the proper and immediate object of Poetry is the communication of pleasure. - Samuel Taylor Coleridge
·        Poetry is the record of the best and happiest moments of the best and happiest minds. – Percy Bysshe Shelley
·        If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold that no fire can ever warm me, I know that it is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that it is poetry. – Emily Dickinson
17.    Kinaesthetic imagery refers to those images that call forth in the mind of the reader the perception of movement. In other words, these are images that appeal to the reader’s sense of movement or motion. Examples of this type of imagery are: And ‘mid these dancing rocks at once and ever/It flung up momently the sacred river./Five miles meandering with a mazy motion/Through wood and dale the sacred river ran./Then reached the caverns measureless to man,/And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean: Coleridge “Kubla Khan”
18.  Characteristics of an Epic: Whether folk or art, epics share a set of common general characteristics and conventions as follows:
·        The poet commences his narration by stating his theme and invokes the Muse to inspire and instruct him in his task
·        The story begins ‘in medias res’, that is in the middle of things and proceeds to recount the great deeds of the heroes with objectivity.
·        The action in which supernatural forces participate is one, great and entire Story is of great length and scope with the action taking place over a long period of time and extending over several nations or the imagined universe.
·        The hero who is a person of great stature and legendary and historical significance and performs superhuman actions is more of the concern of the audience or reader because he symbolizes the aspirations and destiny of his nation or race.
·        Narrative style is grand and alternates between the sublime or sustained elevation and grand simplicity.
·        Story includes elaborate formal speeches by the main characters. The constituent episodes of narrative easily arise from the main story and, as a result, there are no parts that could be detached from it without loss to the whole.
·        Epic poet incorporates a long list of warriors, armies, war machines which necessitate employment of the fitting vehicle of the epic simile or extended comparison.( Holman, Abrams, etc.)
19.                       Well known examples of the epic in English literature include the following: Traditional/folk/primary – Homer’s Iliad, Odyssey; Anglo-Saxon Beowulf; the Indian Mahabharata, the French Chanson de Roland and the Spanish El Cid.;Art/Literary/Secondary – Virgil’s Aeneid; Milton’s Paradise Lost. The term epic has also been loosely applied to other works; both poetry and prose, written on a grand scale and attempt or aspire to the spirit of the epic in matter/subject and manner/style. These include Dante’s Divine Comedy, Spenser’s Faerie Queene, Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace, Ezra Pound’s Cantos and Niane’s Sundiata.
20. Cavalier poets are the band of poets in 17th Century who supported Charles I.  They are Ben Jonson, Thomas Carew, Richard Lovelace, John Suckling, and Robert Herrick. Though Herrick was not a court poet, his style makes him a Cavalier poet.
21.   1215 and 1337/1338: 1215 is important because Magna Carta was signed by King John in this year. It is the first step to the democratic process in England.  1337/1338 is important because it is the year when The Hundred Year’s war with France. (1453 ended)
22.   1349 and 1381:1349 is important because The Plague called Black Death occurred in this year. 1381 is important because the Peasant Revolt occurred in this year.
23. Influences of the Norman Conquest of England on the English Literature: First, new literary forms such as metrical romances, allegory, and lyrics on various subjects came to English poetry. Secondly, the rhymed verse replaced the Anglo-saxon alliteration.
24.   Lazamon wrote Brut. Brut is about the history of Britain from the landing of Brutus to the death of Cadwallader.
25.    Important early Middle English religious and didactic poems: Ormulum, The Owl and the Nightingale, Prick of Conscience by Richard Rolle of Hampolle.
26.   Early Middle Ages: alliterative - Pearl, Purity, Patience, and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight; metrical romances related to the matter of England- King Horn, Guy of Warwick; metrical romances related to the matter of Britain-  Morte’d Arthur, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight; metrical romances related to the matter of Rome- King Alisaunder, The Destruction of Troy; metrical romances related to the matter of France- Rauj Coilzear, Sir Ferumbras; romances dealing with love- Amis and Amilaun , Floris and Blauchefleur; allegorical poems of middle ages- Sir Gawain and the Green Night,  The Owl and the Nightingale; prose works of Middle English period / Anglo-Norman period- Ancrene Riwle, Azenbite of Inwyt.
  Read More A to Z (Objective Questions)    

Ref: 1. History of English Literature- Albert     
2. The Concise Cambridge History of English Literature
4. Baugh, A.C and Cable T (2001). A History of the English Language. 5th ed. London: Routledge


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