A TO Z Literary Principles from History of English Literature: Note 106


A Set of 26 Objective Questions & Answers

1.     ‘The Testament of Beauty’, is generally considered Robert Seymour Bridges’s masterpiece. In 1918 Bridges published a complete edition of the poetry of his friend from Oxford, Gerard Manley Hopkins, thus bringing it out of obscurity.
2.   English poet Geoffrey Chaucer writes ‘The Canterbury Tales’, a collection of stories told by pilgrims en route to Canterbury Cathedral. A literary classic, the work’s genius lies in the interaction between the tales and the framing story.

3.   English philosopher and statesman Thomas More pens Utopia1516 satirizing British life in a story of a mythical, perfect society. More’s moral beliefs later cost him his life; after failing to support King Henry VIII’s break from Rome, More is executed.

4.   English playwright William Shakespeare becomes the greatest playwright of all time. In their combination of philosophical profundity, wide audience appeal, brilliance and beauty of language, and astonishing breadth of characters, his plays are unequaled anywhere in the world.
5.    Connell was a professional writer for forty-six years. It was the only life he knew. A trained reporter, he drew not only from his own experiences and imaginations, but also from all those he had interviewed and written about over the years. As a veteran of World War I, he witnessed firsthand man’s inhumanity to man and the horrors of war. “The Most Dangerous Game” reflects Connell’s intense social consciousness, addressing some of the most pressing issues of the early twentieth century in a thoughtful and provocative manner.
6.   ‘The Necklace’ by Guy de Maupassant is Popular for its twist ending and the inspiration for many other writers.
7.    Gorboduc or ‘Ferrex and Porrex’ is the first English tragedy by Thomas Norton and Sackville in 1561.  Ferrex and Porrex are the sons of king Gorboduc.
8.   The character of Joseph Addison, if somewhat cool and unimpassioned, was pure, magnanimous, and kind. The charm of his manners and conversation made him one of the most popular and admired men of his day; and while he laid his friends under obligations for substantial favours, he showed the greatest forbearance towards his few enemies. His style in his essays is remarkable for its ease, clearness, and grace, and for an inimitable and sunny humour which never soils and never hurts. The motive power of these writings has been called "an enthusiasm for conduct." Their effect was to raise the whole standard of manners and expression both in life and in literature. The only flaw in his character was a tendency to convivial excess, which must be judged in view of the laxer manners of his time. When allowance has been made for this, he remains one of the most admirable characters and writers in English literature.

Joseph Addison’s life: received travelling pension, 1699; Campaign (1704) leads to political office; goes to Ireland, 1708; assists Steele in Tatler, 1709; Spectator started, 1711; marries Lady Warwick, 1716; Secretary of State, 1716-18; d. 1719.
9.   The books Alfred translated or edited were (1) The Handbook, a collection of extracts on religious subjects; (2) The Cura Pastoralis, or Herdsman's book of Gregory the Great, with a preface by himself which is the first English prose; (3) Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English; (4) The English Chronicle, which, already brought up to 855, he continued up to the date of writing; it is probably by his own hand; (5) Orosius's History of the World, which he adapted for English readers with many historical and geographical additions; (6) the De Consolatione Philosophiæ of Boethius; and (7) a translation of some of the Psalms. He also made a collection of the best laws of his predecessors, Ethelbert, Ine, and Offa. It has been said "although King Alfred lived a thousand years ago, a thousand years hence, if there be England then, his memory will yet be precious to his country."
10.                      Aelfric Grammaticus (10th century) writings had an influence on the formation of English prose. He filled in his age somewhat the same position that Bede did in his, that of a compiler and populariser of existing knowledge.
11.English poet and dramatist Christopher Marlowe is the greatest English playwright before William Shakespeare. His innovative use of blank verse and tragic subjects in plays will be fully developed by Shakespeare. Among Marlowe's best plays is ‘The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus’.
12.                       English poet John Donne is best known for his sonnets on the themes of both human and divine love. A clergyman whose sermons are revered for their elegance of language, Donne has a significant impact on later generations of poets.
13.                       English poet George Herbert writes poetry with a religious theme. He is known as one of the leading poets of the metaphysical school. His poems are published after his death under the title ‘The Temple: Sacred Poems and Private Ejaculations’.
14.                       James I of England commissions a revision of the English Bible, a 14th-century translation by John Wycliffe. The King James Version, as it is called, is completed in 1611.
15.                       English poet John Dryden publishes an astonishing variety of work, including poetry, prose, drama, criticism, translation, and satire. He becomes the leading literary figure of Restoration England.
16.                       English poet and writer John Milton publishes ‘Areopagita’, an essay espousing freedom of the press. Milton writes the piece in response to the censorship that is rampant in England at the time.
17.                       English poet John Milton completes his epic poem ‘Paradise Lost’ in 1674 after becoming blind. The work, which tells the story of Lucifer’s rebellion in heaven and Adam’s fall, is an extended meditation on humanity’s relationship with God, human nature, and the meaning of life. It is considered one of the masterpieces of world literature.
18.                      English Puritan John Bunyan writes the religious allegory ‘Pilgrim's Progress’ in 1678. The work, generally considered a masterpiece in Christian and English literature, describes the journey of the central character, named Christian, through life to eventual salvation.
19.                       British philosopher John Locke argues that the only way to apprehend reality is through the experience of the senses. In his major work entitled ‘An Essay Concerning Human Understanding’ published in 1690, Locke states that the mind of an individual is a tabula rasa, or blank slate, upon which experience imprints knowledge. This theory forms the basis of empiricism. Locke’s political theories, which place sovereignty in the hands of the people, underpin a good portion of the U.S. Constitution.
20.                     The English poet Alexander Pope publishes the satirical poem ‘The Rape of the Lock’ in its final form in 1714. Pope is known for his masterful use of the heroic couplet as well as for his biting wit. He is a prominent figure among the literary circles of London.
21.                       During the 17’Th century, English novel took a new form under the influence of the French novelists. The French romances deeply influenced the English novels. In England they are known by the name of the heroic romances of the 17’Th century. These romances were entirely removed from ordinary life. Later on Mrs. Aphra Behn and several other women writers cultivated a new form of fiction. It preserved the truth of life. The most important writer of the 17’Th century is John Bunyan. His 'The Pilgrim's Progress' and ‘The Life and Death of Mr. Badman’ come nearer to modern novel.
22.                     The rise of the novel was a result of the democratic movement in the 18’Th century. The spread of education increased the number of readers. The appearance of newspapers and magazines developed the habit of reading. New prose style and decline of drama made way for the 18'th century novel.
23.                     The English novel began with the publication of Defoe's 'Robinson Crusoe'. He was the first great novelist who introduced a new technique in realism. 'Robinson Crusoe' is supposed to be the first great English novel. Baker considers 'Robinson Crusoe' as the first modern novel. Defoe came very near to the genuine novel. But some critics are of the view that the element of adventures and crime are so prominent in Defoe's work that they shold be classed as romances and not as novels.
24.                     Addison and Steele contributed much to the evolution of realistic novel. Novel finds its beginning in ‘The Tattler’, ‘The Spectator’ and ‘The Gaurdian’.
25.                      Novel as a popular genre began with Richardson's 'Pamela' in 1740. It was the first true novel that appeared in any literature. This is the story of a virtuous maid-servant who resisted her master and is finally rewarded by a proposal of marriage by him. His 'Clarissa' also caught the attention of readers. Thus Richardson introduced sentimentality into English fiction and popularized it forever.
26.                     The 18’Th century is the golden age of novel. In this age there were four men of genius. They were Richardson, Fielding, Smollett and Stern. With them novel reached the highest point of glory. They are known as The Four Wheels of Novel.
  Read More A to Z (Objective Questions)    

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


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