English literary history

  1. Chaucer's contemporaries (author, title) of 1375-1399
    • "Pearl Poet" - Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl, Patience, Purity.
    • Julian of Norwich - A Book of Showings,
    • William Langland, Piers Plowman,
    • John Gower, Confessio Amantis
  2. Characteristics of 14th Century
    • War, Disease
    • War against France: victories at Crecy and Poitiers in the middle of the century, then fruitless campaigns
    • Black Death - killed 1/4 - 1/3 of Europe
    • Resentment against venial, wealthy clergy and labor uprisings
    • Dante opens the century, Petrarch and Boccaccio peak at the middle (both live ~1304-1375), admire each other
  3. War of the Roses
    What period? Who fights? How does it end?
    • Civil war (1455-1485) for Throne after Henry V dies and (Henry VI still an infant)
    • Red Rose = House of Lancaster (Henries); White Rose = House of York (Edward III, IV, Richard III)
    • Ends with accession of Tudor Henry VII
  4. Hundred Years War
    What period? Who fights? Results?  Who loses?
    What follows?
    • England vs. France, 1337-1453.
    • England wins early, then loses all but Calais.
    • Henry VI loses war in 1453, and then War of Roses begin!
  5. Henry Fielding
    • 1707-1754
    • Tom Jones (1749)
    • English novelist and dramatist known for his rich earthy humour and satirical prowess. Founded London's first police force.
    • Tom Jones is a foundling discovered on the property of a very kind, wealthy landowner, Squire Allworthy, in Somerset in England's West Country. Tom grows into a vigorous and lusty, yet honest and kind-hearted, youth. He develops affection for his neighbour's daughter, Sophia Western.

    "In that part of the western division of this kingdom which is commonly called Somersetshire, there lately lived, and perhaps lives still, a gentleman whose name was Allworthy, and who might well be called the favourite of both nature and fortune; for both of these seem to have contended which should bless and enrich him most. In this contention, nature may seem to some to have come off victorious, as she bestowed on him many gifts, while fortune had only one gift in her power; but in pouring forth this, she was so very profuse, that others perhaps may think this single endowment to have been more than equivalent to all the various blessings which he enjoyed from nature. From the former of these, he derived an agreeable person, a sound constitution, a solid understanding, and a benevolent heart; by the latter, he was decreed to the inheritance of one of the largest estates in the county.
  6. Laurence Sterne
    • 1713-1768
    • Anglo-Irish novelist and an Anglican clergyman. He is best known for his novels The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, and A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy; but he also published many sermons, wrote memoirs.
    • The book is ostensibly Tristram's narration of his life story. But it is one of the central jokes of the novel that he cannot explain anything simply, that he must make explanatory diversions to add context and colour to his tale, to the extent that Tristram's own birth is not
    • even reached until Volume III. Consequently, apart from Tristram as narrator, the most familiar and important characters in the book are his father Walter, his mother, his Uncle Toby, Toby's servant Trim, and a supporting cast of popular minor characters, including the chambermaid, Susannah, Doctor Slop, and the parson, Yorick. Most of the action is concerned with domestic upsets or misunderstandings, which find humour in the opposing temperaments of Walter—splenetic, rational, and somewhat sarcastic—and Uncle Toby, who
    • is gentle, uncomplicated, and a lover of his fellow man.

    "I wish either my father or my mother, or indeed both of them, as they were in duty both equally bound to it, had minded what they were about when they begot me; had they duly consider'd how much depended upon what they were then doing;—that not only the production of a rational Being was concerned in it, but that possibly the happy formation and temperature of his body, perhaps his genius and the very cast of his mind;—and, for aught they knew to the contrary, even the fortunes of his whole house might take their turn from the humours and dispositions which were then uppermost;—Had they duly weighed and considered all this, and proceeded accordingly,—I am verily persuaded I should have made a quite different figure in the world, from that in which the reader is likely to see me."

    • "So long as a man rides his Hobby-Horse peaceably and quietly along the King's highway, and neither compels you or me to get up behind him -- pray, Sir, what have
    • either you or I to do with it?"
  7. Chiasmus
    Inversion of a sequence after it is used: "The crime was common, common be the pain" (Pope, "Eloisa to Abelard")
  8. Bathos
    Sudden and sometimes ridiculous descent of tone: "Not louder shrieks to pitying heaven are cast / When husbands, or when lapdogs breathe their last" (Pope, "Rape of the Lock")
  9. periphrasis
  10. synechdoche
    part to express whole, or vice versa
  11. Zeugma
    Pun in which one word turns out to have more than one sense in the sentence as a whole, eg "take" in "Here thou, great Anna! whom three realms obey, / Dost sometimes counsel take--and sometimes tea" (Pope, "Rape of the Lock")
  12.  Ottava Rima
    • 8-line stanza form: abababcc in iambic pentamenter
    • Yeats: Sailing to Byzantium
  13. Rhyme Royal
    • 7-line stanza form: ababbcc in iambic pentameter
    • introduced by Chaucer, eg. "Troilus Song"
  14. Spenserian stanza
    • nine-line iambic form, rhyming ababbcbcc
    • 8 lines pentameter, last line hexameter
    • Eg, Shelley's "Adonais" and Keats's "Eve of St. Agnes"
  15. 1) hypotaxis
    2) parataxis
    1) Subordination of different elements of a sentence to a single main verb

    2) Coordination, by the use of coordinating conjunctions, of different clauses in a single sentence
  16. free indirect style
    Narratorial voice that manages, without explicit reference, to imply (and often implicitly comment on) the voice of a character in the narrative
  17. fabliau
    a short, funny, often bawdy narrative in low style imitated/developed from French models by Chaucter, eg. Miller's tale
  18. Georgic
    countryside as a place of rough labor (unlike pastoral)
  19. peripeteia
    sudden reversal of fortune
  20. Sensibility
    18th-century concept derived from moral philosophy stressing the social importance of fellow feeling and particularly sympathy in social relations
  21. polysyndeton
    Use of several conjunctions in close succession, especially where some might be omitted (as in "he ran and jumped and laughed for joy")
  22. picaresque
    Prose fiction which is usually satirical and depicts, in realistic and often humorous detail, the adventures of a roguish hero of low social class who lives by his wits in a corrupt society. Eg. Defoe's Moll Flanders
  23. periphrasis
    elaborate, roundabout way of speaking. "I appear to be entirely without financial resources" ("I'm broke"
  24. Spenserian stanza rhyme scheme
    • One day I wrote her name upon the strand,
    • But came the waves and washed it away:
    • Agayne I wrote it with a second hand,
    • But came the tyde, and made my paynes his pray.
    • "Vayne man," sayd she, "that doest in vaine assay.
    • A mortall thing so to immortalize,
    • For I my selve shall lyke to this decay,
    • and eek my name bee wyped out lykewize."
    • "Not so," quod I, "let baser things devize,
    • To dy in dust, but you shall live by fame:
    • My verse your vertues rare shall eternize,
    • And in the heavens wryte your glorious name.
    • Where whenas death shall all the world subdew,
    • Our love shall live, and later life renew."
Card Set
English literary history
English literary history