Chapter VI

Chapter VI
I. Fiction
1. Different types
A. Novels: the emergence of fictional prose
narrative from older verse forms, which led to
the mixture of genres and styles known as the
'modern novels'.
B. Stories: people used to tell each other orally
before they leant to read and write.
C. Fables: about animals or supernatural persons
or incidents and its purpose is teaching a moral.
Chapter VI
English literature has a long history
and a secure position in world literature.
 England has often produced fine novelists,
poets and playwrights.
I. Fiction
1. Different types
A. Novels: the emergence of fictional prose
narrative from older verse forms, which led to
the mixture of genres and styles known as the
'modern novels'.
B. Stories: people used to tell each other orally
before they leant to read and write.
C. Fables: about animals or supernatural persons
or incidents and its purpose is teaching a moral.
D. Legends: more serious so far as the themes are
concerned. They are unverifiable stories handed
down from earlier times and accepted as historical.
They bring in human heroes as well as gods with a
strong element of magic and a predominance of
The best-loved story is about Robin Hood.
2. In the 16th century
A. Thomas More (1478-1535):
a. Masterpiece: Utopia in two books
First: a long conversation on the social
condition of England
Second: detailed description of a communist society of
Main idea: the poverty of the labouring classes and
the greed and luxury of the rich
Principle of Utopia: From everyone according to his
capacities, to everyone according to his needs,
which is the practical basis for a communist society.
b. Thomas More:
 He was one of the giants of
Renaissance and a far-sighted
thinker, but was no revolutionary
movement among the exploited
 He could see what was wrong and
what was needed, but he could not
find the ideological means for
realizing his wishes.
3. 17th century- Puritan period
A. John Bunyan (1628-1668)
a. A commanding prose writer
b. great allegory--- Pilgrim’s Progress:
the most widely read book in England after the Bible.
c. It is a religious allegory which depicts the spiritual
pilgrimage of a Christian.
d. He cherished a deep hatred for the king and his
government and detested the injustices of the law.
4.the 18th century: modern novel
A. Daniel Defoe (1661-1731):
Robinson Crusoe
a. It carries factual realism to its limit.
b. One of the few novels which has held its popularity
undiminished for two centuries.
B. Jonathan Swift (1667-1745):
Gulliver’s Travels
a. Swift criticizes the vices of the age.
b. He hated all kinds of oppression
and had deep love for the people.
C. Samuel Richardson (1689-1761): story-teller
a. He chose the epistolary form and wrote the first
modern novel.
b. He was skillful in inventing the private letters of an
imagined girl to a young man.
D. Oliver Goldsmith (1728-1774):
a. one of the outstanding representatives of the
sentimentalist school
b. masterpiece: Vicar of Wakefield: appeals to human
sentiment as a means of achieving happiness and
social justice.
5. 19th century: Golden age of the novel
A. Charles Dickens (1812-1870):
a. the outstanding representative of critical realism:
wrote more about lower class
b. one of the greatest creative writers who ever lived.
c. a friend of the poor and a dangerous enemy to
certain types of “public Servants”
d. He was interested in public affairs and forcibly
exposed social life.
e. His humour and tremendous sympathy for the poor
and the exploited leave us with an impression of
happiness, faith and optimism.
f. Masterpieces: Picwick Papers, David Copperfield, The
Old Curiosity Shop, Hard Times, Great Expectation
and A Tale of Two Cities
B. Walter Scott (1771-1832)
a. A poet and famous Scottish historical novelist
b. He wrote much on a vast scale and the best-known
novel is Ivanhoe and his best novel is The Heart of
c. His language is difficult with Scottish dialect.
C. William Makepeace Thackeray (1811-1863)
a. A representative of critical realism, who wrote about
middle-class family.
b. masterpiece: Vanity Fair
c. He satirized various aspects of upper and middleclass society and the different kinds of people of the
ruling class at the time.
D. Women novelists
a. Jane Austen (1775-1817):
She wrote about middle-class family life with satire of
social snobbery.
widely-read novel is Pride and Prejudice , Sense and
Sensibility and Emma.
b. The Bronte sisters, Emily and Charlotte
 Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre
 Love story with social comment
They were talented but died tragically young.
c. Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell (1810-1865)
 She wrote six novels about the class struggle between
workers and capitalists.
 Humorous Cranford, tragic Ruth, realistic North and
South and Mary Barton
d. Mary Ann Evans (1819-1880): George Eliot
 She wrote about rural life influenced by the industrial
 Feature: detailed characterization of psychology
 Adam Bede, The Mill on the Floss, Silas Marner,
Middlemarch, Daniel Deronda
6. the 20th century
A. Joseph Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936):
a. He was the first British novelist to win the Nobel
b. He was a journalist and an assistant editor. He
depicted the British colonial army and its officers.
B. Thomas Hardy (1840-1928):
a. He was a novelist and poet, one of the
representatives of English critical
realism at the turn of the century.
b. He described the characters and environment of his
native countryside.
c. Under the Greenwood Tree, The Return of the Native,
Jude the Obscure, Tess of the D’Urbervilles (the
summit of his realism)
C. David Herbert Lawrence (1885-1930):
a. an innovator of psychological fiction and one of the
most controversial writers of the early 20th century.
b. He was disgusted with industrial civilization and
despaired for the future of the West.
c. major works: Sons and Lovers, the Rainbow, Women
in Love
D. James Joyce (1882-1941):
a. in the west the most important and
influential novelist writing in English
b. He surpassed Lawrence, second only
to Shakespeare in his command of English.
c. He revolutionized the methods of depicting
characters and of developing a plot.
d. His strength was the frank portrayal
of human nature and a mastery
of the English language.
e. Works: Ulysses, Finnegans Wake,
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
E. Virginia Woolf (1882-1941):
a. A novelist and a critic
b. the most important “stream-of-consciousness”
novelist with Joyce in Britain
c. New ways of looking at life and rich and expressive
use of language
d. Works: To the Lighthouse, Mrs. Dalloway, the Waves
F. Herbert George Wells (1866-1946):
a. He is closely associated with science fiction, such as
The Time Machine, The Island of Dr. Moreau, The
Invisible Man, etc.
b. He was a Fabian Society reformer and supported
progressive forces and opposed imperialist and
fascist invasion and aggression.
c. His works expose the crises
of the capitalist society by
means of fancies, visions
and hyperbole.
G. John Galsworthy (1867-1933):
a. Novelist and dramatist
b. He was a prolific writer. The Forsyte
Saga established him as a first-class writer.
c. In 1932, he won the Nobel Prize for literature.
H. Bertrand Russell (1872-1970):
a. Nobel Prize winner, a philosopher,
mathematician, logician and novelist.
b. Works on social problems:
Roads to Freedom, Marriage and Morals
c. Works on philosophy: Mysticism and logic, Skeptical
Essays, The Analysis of Mind, The History of Western
d. Works on mathematics: Principia Mathematica
e. Short novels: Satan in the Suburbs
I. William Golding (1911-1993):
He won the Nobel Prize in 1983
for his first novel Lord of the Flies.
J. Doris Lessing (1919- )
a. She won Nobel Prize in 2007.
b. One of her best-known novel is
The Golden Notebook
II. Poetry
1. Time: began in about the 7th century and
began to blossom in the Elizabethan and post
Elizabethan period
2. Preserved poem: Beowulf
A. Depicts the deeds and death
B. A folk legend brought to England
by Anglo-Saxons
C. Written down in the 10th century
D. A reflection of a tribal society
3. Geoffrey Chaucer (1340-1400)
A. The father of English poetry
B. His main contribution to English poetry is
the introduction of rhyming stanzas of
various types from France.
C. His masterpiece: The Canterbury Tales
D. His language is vivid and exact and he was
the first to write in London dialect.
4. Poems in the 17th century
A. John Milton (1608-1674):
a. the greatest English revolutionary poet
b. He wrote the long epic Paradise Lost in blank verse
as his masterpiece.
c. He is famous for his grand and majestic style
resulting from his use of heroic rhythms and
sentence structures and of highsounding names.
B. Metaphysical poets: John Donne, Richard
Crashaw, Andrew Marwell, etc.
5. 18th century – poets celebrated reason,
rule and custom
A. Thomas Gray (1716-1771):
a notable poet, whose famous Elegy
Written in a Country Churchyard, “ the bestknown poem in the English language”,
marked an early expression of “Romantic”
B. Robert Burns (1759-1796):
a. a Scottish peasant poet
b. Inspired by the lives and loves of the rural
people, he wrote many poems of democracy.
c. The Cotter’s Saturday Night, Tam O’Shanter
C. William Wordsworth (1770-1850):
a. a famous nature-poet at the turn of the century lived
in Lake District.
b. The rocks and streams had a mystical influence on
his mind.
c. His works: Daffodils, Lyrical Ballads, The Prelude,
Ode to Duty and The Excursion
6. In the19th century
A. George Gordon Byron (1788-1824):
Don Juan is his first work.
B. Percy Bysshe Shelly (1792-1822):
a. “the genius, the prophet”
b. Ode to the West Wind, Ode to
a Skylark, Queen Mab
c. His poems are full of optimism, expressing his
confidence in the future and the final victory of the
C. John Keats (1795-1821):
a. He “lived apart from men and all political measures,
worshiping beauty like a devotee, perfectly content to
write what was in his own heart, or to reflect some
splendor of the nature world as he saw and dreamed it
to be”
b. Isabella, Hyperion
All of them are prominent romantic poets
D. Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892):
a. an artist and a teacher
b. His works have a grave and noble beauty.
c. He was influenced by romantic revival and chose
subjects daintily.
d. His message reflects the order of the period and is
summed up by “law’.
e. The Princess, Maud, Enoch Arden,
Idylls of the King, In Memoriam
E. Robert Browning (1812-1889)
a. He was conservative, full of energy and confidence.
b. He showed that truth lay hidden in both the evil and
the good.
c. His descriptions are bold, rough, humorous.
d. His message is the triumph of the individual will
over all obstacles.
e. Masterpiece: The Ring and The Book
7. The 20th century
A. William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)
a. 1890s: musical romantic poetry
b. Early 20th C.: combination of colloquial language
and realistic utterance with poetic formality; realistic
detail and freer rhythm
c. 1920s-1930s: realistic, symbolic and visionary poetry
with lyrical themes
d. The Second Cpming,The Wind Among
the Weeds, Responsibilities, The Tower,
The Winding Star
e. Won the Nobel Prize in 1923
B. Thomas Stearns Eliot (1888-1965)
a. best-known work: The Waste Land --originality and the attack on English
and American society
b. The Hollow Men, The Love Song of J. Alfred
Prufrock, Ash-Wednesday
Parted from the techniques and subject matter of
Victorian poetry and helped to reshape modern
literature, won the Nobel Prize for literature in
C. Ted Hughes (1930-):
The Tribe of Ted: emphasizing the savagery
animal life and is written on rough lines.
III. Drama
1. William Shakespeare’s time
A. English drama is completely dominated by
William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
a. Greatest genius of the world theater
b. 37 plays, mostly in verse
c. His plays contained a surprising variety of human
qualities and moods, and
a wealth of eloquence and
d. His comedies: As You Like It, A Midsummer Night’s
Dream, A Winter’s Tale, The Merchant of Venice, The
Tempest and Twelfth Night
e. His tragedies: Hamlet, Macbeth, King Lear, Othello
B. Cristopher Marlowe (1564-1593)
a. Tamburlaine, The Jew of Malta, The Tragical History
of Doctor Faustus (masterpiece)
b. His heroes have resolute character and
overpowering passion.
c. The theme is the praise of individuality and the
human effect in conquering the universe.
C. Ben Jonson (1572-1637)
a. The finest neo-classical dramatist of his day.
b. Volpone: the medieval theory of “humours”
2. the 18th century
A. Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751-1816):
a. the most outstanding dramatist of the realistic school,
b. well-known comedy The School for Scandal
B. Oliver Goldsmith (1728-1774):
a. satirical comedy She Stoops to Conquer
b. best poem The Deserted Village
C. Henry Fielding (1707-1754)
The Coffeehouse Politician, The Historical Register
for the Year
3. the 19th century
A. Oscar Wilde (1856-1900):
a. an Irish playwright, an aesthete
advocating “art for art’s sake”.
b. His language is concise, witty and sharp. He
criticizes the hypocrisy and corruption of the upper
class. His attacks are more like jokes.
c. Lady Windermere’s Fan, A Woman of No Importance,
An Ideal Husband and The Importance of Being
B. George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950):
a. He was against “art for art’s sake”.
b. In popularity, he comes next to Shakespeare, and he
won the
Nobel Prize for literature in 1925.
c. He opposed the imperialist war,
sympathized and supposed the U.S.S.R.
d. He wrote 51plays such as Pygmalion,
Too True To Be Good
e. He is good at different means of
artistic expression.
4. the 20th century
A. Irish playwrights: George Bernard Shaw,
John Millington Synge, William Butler Yeats
and Sean O’Casey
B. English drama developed in two new
directions after the WW II:
a. the Theater of the Absurd.
b. Those of Existentialism or “kitchen sink” drama
which had been popular on the English stage for
nearly a century.
C. Angry Young Men
a. a title often to the playwrights who wrote drama
which described the lower class life.
b. Look Back in Anger, The Entertainer
c. Arnold Wesker (1932-): Chicken Soup With Barley,
The Old Ones
D. Samuel Beckett (1906-1989):
a. He was best known for his “absurd” plays, such as
Waiting for Godot.
b. He was awarded the
Nobel Prize in 1969.
The End
Robin Hood
He was a popular hero living under the
greenwood with his men, taking from rich and
giving to the poor and waging war against
bishops and archbishops.
three great allegories
The world’s literature has three great allegories:
 Spenser’s Faery Queen
 Dante’s Divina Commedia
Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress
Art for art’s sake
It is a theory advocated by
Irish playwright Oscar Wilde.
His novel “the Picture of
Dorian Gray” is the product
of this theory.