English 112
Oct 2014
Poetry Test I Review
The Anglo-Saxon Period
(to 1066)
 a king and his noble warriors bonded by
love and loyalty
 conversion of the Anglo-Saxons to
Christianity from pagan
The Middle English Period
 new words, literary forms, and social
attitudes entered England from France
 dominated by two great institutions:
feudalism and the Church
 chivalry and romance
Characteristics of Literature and Poetry
much poetry entirely Christian in origin
shared emotional values, such as stoicism and
longer poems, many telling stories from the
Vulgate Bible
many compound words, such as ‘sad-minded’ or
lack of rhyme and stanzaic forms
each single verse unified by alliteration which
spans a central caesura [/ / ] (a complete pause in
a line of poetry)
Old English literature as vigorous, virile, and
stirring, but stark, humorless, and foreboding
Warrior as hero
stresses love and tenderness as much as strength
and courage, and possesses a gaiety and delicacy
Warrior replaced by Knight.
focused on the strange, the fanciful, and the
stress on love and respect for women
full of colour and elaborate description. (E.g.
exploits of King Arthur and the Knights of the
Round Table)
stress moral aspiration and seek religious
significance by means of allegory.
stories of the lives of the saints
tales and fables that taught a moral lesson
songs which glorified the Virgin, a saint, or Jesus
miracle and morality plays
Secular: praise of natural scenery or earthly love;
scandalous or racy stories of mistaken identity
and farcical pranks
ballads relating violent or pathetic events of
everyday experience in a simple, memorable,
repetitive style
Mostly anonymous until time of Chaucer.
The Sixteenth Century
 The Tudor period (incl. Elizabethan Period)
 great political, religious, economic and
cultural change
 shift from feudalism to rule by a few elite
 Luther and Calvin lead the Protestant Revolt
 King Henry VIII broke from the Catholic
Church and created the Church of England
with himself as head
 extreme Protestants called Puritans
 rapid growth of trade and industry
 Columbus ‘discovered’ America in 1492
 a world-wide system of trade
 power shift from the landed aristocracy to
the commercial middle class
 Renaissance
 leisure and learning.
 man-centered; individuality, scrutiny,
analysis, and
 moral laxity and the attitude of “Eat, drink,
and be merry, for tomorrow you die.”
The Seventeenth Century
( 1603-1660)
great stress and strain
violent political struggle; democratic liberty
against monarchial absolutism
Civil War in 1642
Religious conflict; Puritans left England for
Holland and America.
Reformation -- a move from moral laxity
and religious scepticism to a greater purity
of belief and conduct
Rationalism--old accepted ideas scrutinized
and often rejected as superstitious
conflict between religion and science
questioning of accepted thought caused
anxiety and apprehension
Puritans--theatre as immoral; closed
old values were crumbling
Poetry: earthly love and beauty
Fiction: problems of men of action, with
questions of statecraft, military ambition, sexual
Prose: improvement of the individual and
society, and religious controversies.
Essay form birthed via Francis Bacon
three schools of poets
“Donne and his metaphysical followers, whose
work stressed wit and passion and who revolted
against the sweetness and conventionality of the
Elizabethan lyrical tradition
Jonson and his disciples…who prided themselves
on the classical polish of their verse, its neatness
and economy against the elaborate eloquence of
the Spenserians…who sought to perpetuate the
majestic, magnificent, sensuous verse…”
Drama: realistic comedies or classical tragedies
Prose: great diversity: historical writing,
biography, works of religion, books of scientific
thought and philosophical speculation