The Language of Old and Middle English Poetry


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Selected Library of Congress Subject Headings About this book

In general, publication of satire was done anonymously, as there were great dangers in being associated with a satire. John Dryden — was an influential English poet, literary critic, translator, and playwright who dominated the literary life of Restoration England to such a point that the period came to be known in literary circles as the Age of Dryden.

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He established the heroic couplet as a standard form of English poetry. Dryden's greatest achievements were in satiric verse in works like the mock-heroic MacFlecknoe Prose in the Restoration period is dominated by Christian religious writing, but the Restoration also saw the beginnings of two genres that would dominate later periods, fiction and journalism.

Religious writing often strayed into political and economic writing, just as political and economic writing implied or directly addressed religion. The Restoration was also the time when John Locke wrote many of his philosophical works. His two Treatises on Government, which later inspired the thinkers in the American Revolution.

The Restoration moderated most of the more strident sectarian writing, but radicalism persisted after the Restoration. Puritan authors such as John Milton were forced to retire from public life or adapt, and those authors who had preached against monarchy and who had participated directly in the regicide of Charles I were partially suppressed. Consequently, violent writings were forced underground, and many of those who had served in the Interregnum attenuated their positions in the Restoration.

John Bunyan stands out beyond other religious authors of the period. Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress is an allegory of personal salvation and a guide to the Christian life. During the Restoration period, the most common manner of getting news would have been a broadsheet publication.

A single, large sheet of paper might have a written, usually partisan, account of an event.

English literature

It is impossible to satisfactorily date the beginning of the novel in English. However, long fiction and fictional biographies began to distinguish themselves from other forms in England during the Restoration period. An existing tradition of Romance fiction in France and Spain was popular in England.

One of the most significant figures in the rise of the novel in the Restoration period is Aphra Behn , author of Oroonoko , who was not only the first professional female novelist, but she may be among the first professional novelists of either sex in England. As soon as the previous Puritan regime's ban on public stage representations was lifted, drama recreated itself quickly and abundantly. After a sharp drop in both quality and quantity in the s, the mids saw a brief second flowering of the drama, especially comedy. Comedies like William Congreve 's The Way of the World , and John Vanbrugh 's The Relapse and The Provoked Wife were "softer" and more middle-class in ethos, very different from the aristocratic extravaganza twenty years earlier, and aimed at a wider audience.

During the 18th century literature reflected the worldview of the Age of Enlightenment or Age of Reason : a rational and scientific approach to religious, social, political, and economic issues that promoted a secular view of the world and a general sense of progress and perfectibility. Led by the philosophers who were inspired by the discoveries of the previous century by people like Isaac Newton and the writings of Descartes , John Locke and Francis Bacon. They sought to discover and to act upon universally valid principles governing humanity, nature, and society. They variously attacked spiritual and scientific authority, dogmatism, intolerance, censorship, and economic and social restraints.

They considered the state the proper and rational instrument of progress. The extreme rationalism and skepticism of the age led naturally to deism and also played a part in bringing the later reaction of romanticism.

The term Augustan literature derives from authors of the s and s themselves, who responded to a term that George I of England preferred for himself. While George I meant the title to reflect his might, they instead saw in it a reflection of Ancient Rome 's transition from rough and ready literature to highly political and highly polished literature.

It is an age of exuberance and scandal, of enormous energy and inventiveness and outrage, that reflected an era when English, Welsh, Scottish, and Irish people found themselves in the midst of an expanding economy, lowering barriers to education, and the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution. It was during this time that poet James Thomson — produced his melancholy The Seasons —30 and Edward Young — wrote his poem Night Thoughts , though the most outstanding poet of the age is Alexander Pope — It is also the era that saw a serious competition over the proper model for the pastoral.

In criticism, poets struggled with a doctrine of decorum, of matching proper words with proper sense and of achieving a diction that matched the gravity of a subject. At the same time, the mock-heroic was at its zenith and Pope's Rape of the Lock —17 and The Dunciad —43 are still the greatest mock-heroic poems ever written. Since his death, Pope has been in a constant state of re-evaluation.

Drama in the early part of the period featured the last plays of John Vanbrugh and William Congreve , both of whom carried on the Restoration comedy with some alterations.

Old and Middle English Language and Literature

However, the majority of stagings were of lower farces and much more serious and domestic tragedies. George Lillo and Richard Steele both produced highly moral forms of tragedy, where the characters and the concerns of the characters were wholly middle class or working class. This reflected a marked change in the audience for plays, as royal patronage was no longer the important part of theatrical success. Additionally, Colley Cibber and John Rich began to battle each other for greater and greater spectacles to present on stage. The figure of Harlequin was introduced, and pantomime theatre began to be staged.

This "low" comedy was quite popular, and the plays became tertiary to the staging. Opera also began to be popular in London, and there was significant literary resistance to this Italian incursion. The Licensing Act brought an abrupt halt to much of the period's drama, as the theatres were once again brought under state control.

In prose, the earlier part of the period was overshadowed by the development of the English essay. However, this was also the time when the English novel was first emerging. Daniel Defoe turned from journalism and writing criminal lives for the press to writing fictional criminal lives with Roxana and Moll Flanders. He also wrote Robinson Crusoe If Addison and Steele were dominant in one type of prose, then Jonathan Swift author of the satire Gulliver's Travels was in another. This provoked riots and arrests, but Swift, who had no love of Irish Roman Catholics , was outraged by the abuses he saw.

The language of old and Middle English poetry / G.A. Lester. - Version details - Trove

An effect of the Licensing Act of was to cause more than one aspiring playwright to switch over to writing novels. Henry Fielding — began to write prose satire and novels after his plays could not pass the censors.


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In the interim, Samuel Richardson — had produced Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded , and Henry Fielding attacked, what he saw, as the absurdity of this novel in, Joseph Andrews and Shamela. Tobias Smollett — elevated the picaresque novel with works such as Roderick Random and Peregrine Pickle This period is known as the Age of Sensibility , but it is also sometimes described as the "Age of Johnson". Johnson has been described as "arguably the most distinguished man of letters in English history".

The second half of the 18th century saw the emergence of three major Irish authors: Oliver Goldsmith — , Richard Brinsley Sheridan — and Laurence Sterne — Sheridan's first play, The Rivals , was performed at Covent Garden and was an instant success.

source url He went on to become the most significant London playwright of the late 18th century with a play like The School for Scandal. Both Goldsmith and Sheridan reacted against the sentimental comedy of the 18th-century theatre, writing plays closer to the style of Restoration comedy. Sterne published his famous novel Tristram Shandy in parts between and The Romantic movement in English literature of the early 19th century has its roots in 18th-century poetry, the Gothic novel and the novel of sensibility. To this was added, by later practitioners, a feeling for the 'sublime' and uncanny, and an interest in ancient English poetic forms and folk poetry.

The sentimental novel or " novel of sensibility " is a genre which developed during the second half of the 18th century.

Old English period : Anglo-Saxon period

It celebrates the emotional and intellectual concepts of sentiment, sentimentalism , and sensibility. Sentimentalism, which is to be distinguished from sensibility, was a fashion in both poetry and prose fiction which began in the 18th century in reaction to the rationalism of the Augustan Age. In the late 18th century, Horace Walpole 's novel The Castle of Otranto created the Gothic fiction genre, that combines elements of horror and romance.

Her The Mysteries of Udolpho is frequently cited as the archetypal Gothic novel. Romanticism was an artistic, literary, and intellectual movement that originated in Europe toward the end of the 18th century. The Romantic period was one of major social change in England and Wales, because of the depopulation of the countryside and the rapid development of overcrowded industrial cities, that took place in the period roughly between and The movement of so many people in England was the result of two forces: the Agricultural Revolution , that involved the Enclosure of the land, drove workers off the land, and the Industrial Revolution which provided them employment.

The landscape is often prominent in the poetry of this period, so much so that the Romantics, especially perhaps Wordsworth, are often described as 'nature poets'.


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However, the longer Romantic 'nature poems' have a wider concern because they are usually meditations on "an emotional problem or personal crisis". Robert Burns — was a pioneer of the Romantic movement, and after his death he became a cultural icon in Scotland. The poet, painter, and printmaker William Blake — was another of the early Romantic poets. Though Blake was generally unrecognised during his lifetime, he is now considered a seminal figure in the history of both the poetry and visual arts of the Romantic Age. Among his most important works are Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience "and profound and difficult 'prophecies' ", such as "Jerusalem: the Emanation of the Giant Albion" —c.

However, at the time Walter Scott — was the most famous poet. The early Romantic Poets brought a new emotionalism and introspection, and their emergence is marked by the first romantic manifesto in English literature, the "Preface" to Lyrical Ballads Robert Southey — was another of the so-called " Lake Poets ", and Poet Laureate for 30 years, although his fame has been long eclipsed by William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

Thomas De Quincey — is best known for his Confessions of an English Opium-Eater , [95] Essayist William Hazlitt — , friend of both Coleridge and Wordsworth, is best known today for his literary criticism, especially Characters of Shakespeare's Plays — Byron, however, was still influenced by 18th-century satirists and was, perhaps the least 'romantic' of the three, preferring "the brilliant wit of Pope to what he called the 'wrong poetical system' of his Romantic contemporaries".

Old English

His close circle of admirers included the most progressive thinkers of the day. A work like Queen Mab reveals Shelley, "as the direct heir to the French and British revolutionary intellectuals of the s. Mary Shelley — is remembered as the author of Frankenstein Though John Keats shared Byron and Shelley's radical politics, "his best poetry is not political", [] but is especially noted for its sensuous music and imagery, along with a concern with material beauty and the transience of life. Keats has always been regarded as a major Romantic, "and his stature as a poet has grown steadily through all changes of fashion".

Another important poet in this period was John Clare — , the son of a farm labourer, who came to be known for his celebratory representations of the English countryside and his lamentation for the changes taking place in rural England. George Crabbe — was an English poet who, during the Romantic period, wrote "closely observed, realistic portraits of rural life [ One of the most popular novelists of the era was Sir Walter Scott , whose historical romances inspired a generation of painters, composers, and writers throughout Europe.

Scott's novel-writing career was launched in with Waverley , often called the first historical novel. Jane Austen 's works critique the novels of sensibility of the second half of the 18th century and are part of the transition to 19th-century realism. The European Romantic movement reached America in the early 19th century. American Romanticism was just as multifaceted and individualistic as it was in Europe.

Like the Europeans, the American Romantics demonstrated a high level of moral enthusiasm, commitment to individualism and the unfolding of the self, an emphasis on intuitive perception, and the assumption that the natural world was inherently good, while human society was corrupt. Romantic Gothic literature made an early appearance with Washington Irving 's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle , There are picturesque "local color" elements in Washington Irving's essays and especially his travel books.

From the prolific and popular novelist James Fenimore Cooper — began publishing his historical romances of frontier and Indian life. However, Edgar Allan Poe 's tales of the macabre that first appeared in the early s, and his poetry were more influential in France than at home.

It was in the Victorian era — that the novel became the leading literary genre in English.

The Language of Old and Middle English Poetry The Language of Old and Middle English Poetry
The Language of Old and Middle English Poetry The Language of Old and Middle English Poetry
The Language of Old and Middle English Poetry The Language of Old and Middle English Poetry
The Language of Old and Middle English Poetry The Language of Old and Middle English Poetry
The Language of Old and Middle English Poetry The Language of Old and Middle English Poetry
The Language of Old and Middle English Poetry The Language of Old and Middle English Poetry
The Language of Old and Middle English Poetry The Language of Old and Middle English Poetry
The Language of Old and Middle English Poetry The Language of Old and Middle English Poetry

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