INTRODUCTION TO LITERATURE OF THE XIX CENTURY•
The literature in the XIX century is usually divided into two periods: Romanticism and the Victorian Time.
There are to options to mark the beginning of Romanticism:
From 1780 (American independence) till 1882 (Reform Bill which widened the franchise).•
From 1789 (French Revolution) till 1850 (death of Wordsworth).•
The Victorian Time takes place starts around 1832/1850 and ends in 1901 (with the death of Queen Victoria
and the end of the Boer War).
There was a general clime of dissatisfaction because:
The Hannoverian Dynasty was very corrupted and extravagant and followed an autocratic system.•
There was an archaic excise system: the working class had to pay this direct taxation on diary
products to finance the war between England and France.
The enclosures, by which the low classes (farmers, small holders) were not allowed anymore to take
their cattle to breeze to communal fields. This situation provoked the emigration to industrial towns.
There was no theatre going because Puritanism considered it a reprehensible past time.•
The social gradations, which were similar to those of a feudal system, were very marked.•
But there were also improvements such us:
Relating to custom, the gentlemen were allowed to appear in public without wigs and ladies' dresses
were allowed to outline the body.
In architecture and furniture, there was simplicity of lines.•
The discover of the steam power.•
The opening of New Worlds (with expeditions like those of James Cook, who discovered Australia,
Tasmania, the Sandwich Islands...). These expeditions were important for the metallurgical industry,
due to the need of nautical gear.
The opening of canals, especially in the Midlands, improved the communication system (better postal
system and dealt of periodicals; easier transmission of culture).
The large−scale productions or big publishing like the atlases or the Encyclopedia Britannica.•
The literary men were real men of letters, devoted to Literature: writing began to be a vocation.•
There was a clime of unrest and dissatisfaction due to:
The French Revolution, which provoked confronted opinions against and for in England.♦
The Napoleonic Wars.♦
But there were also improvements like:
The Trade Unionism.♦
The abolition of slave trade.♦
The reform of the cruel penal system.♦
The reduction of the hours of child labour.♦
The creation of the Mechanics Institutes (in which workers could get education after work).♦
The Reform Bill.♦
The Utilitarian School of Philosophy, based on the idea of what is the use, defended by
Jeremy Bentham, James Mill and John Stuart Mill: this school was only interested on things
of use, a kind of dealing with machines instead of with humans.
The socialist experiment of the Community of New Lanark, directed by Robert Owen: the
idea was that workers needed to work in right conditions in order of getting a bigger
production and then the benefits were shared between them.
In the Renaissance, England had received its literary influence from Italy. During the XVIII century,
France was the model. In the XIX century the influence came from Germany.
England found in Germany a theoretical basis to what had already been going on for years: it was a
time of rebellion, tendency towards breaking the rules and the rejection of Classicism and
Romanticism didn't begin in a sudden, but after a period of transition. It was born with poets of the
XVIII century like Blake and McPherson (Ossian Poems; tendency towards Scandinavian
mythology), but the publishing of The Lyrical Ballads by Wordsworth (1798) is considered as the
started point because the main characteristics of Romanticism are expressed in this poem.
The first generation of poets (Wordsworth, Colleridge) were influenced by the French Revolution.
The second generation (Shelley, Keats, Byron) were influenced by the battle of Waterloo in 1850
(defeat of Napoleon). Anyway, both generations are united by a common faith in poetry.
General characteristics of Romanticism•
Authors use the language or ordinary men and women, in contrast with the artificial and
conventional language of the XVIII century.
Return to imagination, legend and human heart.♦
Poetry is more than a correct versification of philosophical truth as it had been in the previous
Imagination takes the place of reason.♦
The poet regains the leadership.♦
The poet is a guide, a prophet and a seer because he has more sensitivity than the rest.♦
The poet is not a mere embellisher of everyday life, but the one who gives life its meaning.♦
Poetry is not just a gentleman's hobby, but a vocation.♦
Poets use the blank verse (=without rhyme).♦
Their objects of scrutiny are the mysterious regions of instinct, feelings, senses and the subtle
relations between man and Nature.
Their language is less dulled by conventions. Instead, they use a fresh set of poetical
association of words.
They are Amorous of the Far.♦
Delight in the abnormal and the marvellous.♦
Authors go from trivial fantasies to exalted mysticism.♦
What is important is not the thing perceived, but the thing imagined.♦
Withdrawal from outer experiences and concentration upon inner experiences.♦
Authors are Contra−Mundum.♦
They like the exotic and disquieting forms like the femme fatal.♦
They like abnormal elements like the morbidly erotic insanity and the incest.♦
Influenced by the Oriental Mind.♦
Anti−intellectualism: they argue that learning is a vice and ignorance is a virtue. Then they♦
idealise the noble−savage based on Rousseau's L'Emile.
Drown towards the simple, the rustic and the democratic.♦
Return to Nature.♦
Taste for the relics of ancient poetry.♦
Feeling for the Middle Ages (abbeys).♦
Nationalistic feeling, although the second generation was more cosmopolitan in outlook.♦
The Romantic is a dreamer, so a lot of importance is given to symbolism.♦
Upon the lower levels, Romanticism derives into Gothicism.♦
Romanticism comes from the word romance, which at the beginning was the name for vernacular
languages from Latin. Then it turned to mean the literature written in those vernaculars. Later on
came the adjective romantic:
XVII century: it meant the fabulous, the extravagant, the fictitious, the unreal.♦
XVIII century: it meant pleasant scenes.♦
XIX century: it meant the resurgence of instinct and emotion in literature.♦
THE FIRST GENERATION OF ROMANTIC POETS•
WORDSWORTH: TINTERN ABBEY
He graduated from Cambridge in 1791.♦
He spent two years in France where he was witness of the French Revolution. There he fell in
love with a French woman. When he came back to England he heard she was pregnant, but
the couldn't go to France due to the Napoleonic War.
Later on he became disillusioned with the Regime of Terror in France.♦
He settled down with his sister Dorothy in the Lake District (Northwest of England). They
began a quiet rural existence that inspired most of his best lyrics.
Then he began his friendship with Colleridge.♦
Wordsworth's contribute to the lyrical ballads was intended to deal with common place
themes and with the ordinary and simple situations which bring men into contact with Nature.
In 1799 the three friends visited Germany, although Wordsworth and his sister returned soon
Then Wordsworth married his cousin Mary Hutchinson.♦
In 1813 he was appointed distributor of stamps for the government, which enabled him to
have a pension and continue his idyllic existence in comfort.
In 1843 he was made Poet Laureate.♦
He died in 1850, as quietly as he had spent his life.♦
His work shows few outbursts of violence; only the raise of Napoleon inspired him to violent
In later years he lost his youthful enthusiasm and became conservative. He turned to be very
stiff in his lyrical expression.
When he was young he was attacked for being revolutionary, whereas later he was attacked
for his conservatism.
The more innovative aspect of his poetry is his interest in humble, dropout characters.♦
He is considered the poet of Nature par excellence but not because his descriptions are better
achieved than others, but because he gives importance on the influence of Nature on man's
TINTERN ABBEY BY WORDSWORTH
PART I: LOCATION
Author and title:♦
Wordsworth, Tintern Abbey.
Poetry (if it was a fragment, we need to comment its inkeeping).
Contextualization (what happens?):♦
Description of the surroundings of Tintern Abbey.♦
The tranquillity of the country versus the anxiety of town. Personal impression and influence
from body to soul on the poet.
The poet doesn't long for youth because then he couldn't appreciate Nature. Changing
relationships with Nature through time.
Addressing to the poet's sister. He advises her to remember Nature in times of depression.
Nature as the most powerful protector.
Structure (various possibilities):♦
Four parts: description (1−23), influence of the landscape during the stay in town (23−54), core of the
poem about the changing relationship with Nature (51−114), addressing to the poet's sister and look to
future (114 to the end).
Importance of the text (only with fragments) #♦
The setting is the country, the banks of the river Wyf, the Nature. Although the setting is still nature in
fragments 20−50, there is then a reference to towns.
The influence of Nature on the poet. His different attitudes towards Nature through time: in youth as a
source of simple pleasure and later as a comforter (spiritual insight).
The tone is melancholic, slow, evocative and serene, although in the core of the poem the tone is more
exalted (when the poet is talking about his youth).
PART II: COMMENTARY
There is only one voice represented in the text by the first personal pronoun I. As a romantic poet, he
is not a mere observer but an experiencer of feelings. The poet makes also indirect reference to the
river and to his sister.
Enjambements (1−2, 79−80...): They lengthen the verses and give continuity to the poem.•
Rhyme: without rhyme•
Parallelism (40−41): it contributes to remark the sense of heavy weight and of anxiety that the
poet felt in the city.
Alliterations (sense sublime weary weight nor mourn nor murmur): they give a calmer rhythm
to the poem.
Nouns, adjectives and verbs (semantic fields):•
Feelings (love, soul...)♦
Senses (sweet, green, perceive, behold...)♦
Activities of the intellect (believe, suffer, forget, think...)♦
Concretion in time (five years) and in space (here, Wye and demonstratives).♦
The pronoun I refers to the poet, which in Romanticism is a seer and a prophet.•
Syntax: there is hypotaxis that gives a slow rhythm to the poem, in consonance with the quiet feeling
Cultism (13): copses instead of coppices♦
Metaphor (58, 100)♦
Personification (15, 58, 64, 127...)♦
Simile (71): like a roe I...♦
Paradox (88): aching joys♦
Enumeration and anaphora (100−102, 103−105...)♦
COLLERIDGE − KUBLA KHAN
He was born in Devonshire and he was the 9th son and the 14th child of a clergyman. He was
favoured by his parents so he was resented by his older brothers. He withdrew to books onto
the world of imagination.
At the age of 10 he was sent to a free school in London.♦
He attended Cambridge University, but although he had been a brilliant student at boarding
school, the freedom and the temptations of Cambridge proved too much for him.
After two years, with debts of 150 pounds hanging over his head, he fled from college and
enlisted in a Cavalry Regiment. As a cavalryman he turned out a miserable failure.
When his brothers bought his discharge, he and Robert Southey conceived the plan of starting
a colony on the Susuehanna River, in America, a site they chose because of its poetic name.
But like many others of Coleridge's projects, this one was never carried out.
In 1795 he met his neighbour Wordsworth and the two men published the Lyrical Ballads.
Coleridge's contribution to them refers to supernatural themes: Kubla Khan Christabelle and
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.
His marriage was an unhappy one. He fell in love with Sarah Hutchinson (Wordsworth's
sister in law), but she did not return his love.
To ease the pain of rheumatism he began to take laudanum (an opium preparation), and soon
he became addict: he was no longer the happy poet with hundreds of potential poems to sign,
but the victim of pain and despair.
He turned more and more to literary criticism. He studied German Philosophy and he founded
a newspaper. Although he was ill his last years were not inactive. He became a famous
lecturer. He enjoyed the homage of many young literary men like Ralph Waldo Emerson
(American writer and philosopher who was not so much interested in medievalism as other
Romantic writers like Lord Byron and Scott; his interest was in the subtler and more spiritual
spheres of romance).
His literary reputation is based on a small group of poems and on the chapters in his Biographia
Literaria, in which he presents his general theory of poetry. His reputation is also based on his
comments on Wordsworth's poems and on his writings on Shakespeare.
At various times he was a great poet, a brilliant critic and a profound theoretican. He planned great
projects but he only completed a small part of what he had planned.
Colleridge described his own character as indolence capable of energies. His friend Robert Southey
wrote a poem about Colleridge, in which it says: his mind is perpetual St. Vitu's Dance, meaning an
external activity without action. If he had completed everything that he projected, now he would be
one of the giants of English Literature.
The origin of Kubla Khan♦
Coleridge was ill in a farm in Somerset. He took two grams of opium and he fell asleep. In dreams, he
had the vision of the paradise, the gardens of Kubla Khan, but this vision was interrupted by the
arrival of a visitor. When the visitor left, the vision had disappeared: this explains the fragmentary
character of the poem. The poem is then the transcription of a dream.
KUBLA KHAN BY COLERIDGE
PART I: LOCATION
1. Author, title and date
2. Literary Genre: poetry
It's the story of a prince (Kubla Khan) who creates a paradise. He builds a dome or cupola of a palace
surrounded by artificial nature. Out of this paradise, the nature is more savage. Inside of it, there is a
fountain that forms a river; this river runs along the paradise of Kubla Khan. But suddenly, the
elements of nature crash making a big noise: the prince first thinks that it is a declaration of war, but
in fact the sound was the force of nature. Nature finally reaches the harmony when an Abyssinian
woman appears, and the poet promises to build a more harmonic paradise.
4. Structure (various possibilities)
Four parts: 1−11 (general description), 12−35 (the savage nature), 35−38 (transition), 39−54 (reach of
5. Importance of the text #
Nature and the dream of the author.
The Paradise regained as a result of the poet's creative force♦
In the first part (1−11) the tone is calm, exotic, dreamer.
The rest of the poem as a gradual tone of passion, uncontrolled, mighty, savage, excited thing.
PART II: COMMENTARY
The voice of the poet (I)
Enjambements to give continuity and a feeling of tranquillity: 8−9♦
Rhyme doesn't obey a particular pattern; it is an imperfect rhyme or eye−rhyme (far−war: the
spelling is the same, but the pronunciation is not) and it has free verses. It contributes to give
musicality to the poem
Alliterations (river − ran)...♦
Interpretations of various schools:
a) Psychoanalytic School (Freud and Yung)
This school bases its theories in archetypes all along history, in the collective subconscious of
mankind. The river of Coleridge is then an archetype that had also appeared in Seneca as an immense
underground sea from which the rivers Nile and Alpheus spring. The mount Abora would be the
mount Amara in Milton's Paradise Lost and the mount Abola in books of travels. Kubla Khan and
Xanadu appear also in Milton's, where we find a similar line as the one which opens Coleridge's poem
(of Cambalu, seat of Cathaian Can).
The psychoanalytic critics consider that we find personal fantasies and the repressed erotic urges.
These urges can be seen in the fountain, which represents the ejaculation or the pains of parturition.
The pleasure dome would be the female's breast. The last lines of the poem (honey−dew, milk of
paradise) would correspond to fellatio. The force of the fountain would be an over stimulation of
gastrointestinal functions (diarrhoea). The birth dream is then a return to the mother's womb in search
of security and warmth. The damsel from Abyssinia represents Coleridge's liking for the mixture of
Natural school: The poem is a landscape poem, a poetical daydream.•
Politic school: The poem represents the confrontation between the profane power and the sacred
power of the poet.
Theological school: The poem explores the visionary and apocalyptic theme of fallen man's wish to
recover the lost paradise.
−Charles Lamb: This poem is like and owl that won't bear daylight.
Senses: vision, saw, heard... especially of hearing to give musicality♦
Music: song, symphony, dulcimer...♦
Ancient, exotic and mythical background: Xanadu, Kubla Khan, Mount Abora, Abyssinian,
Magic rituals: demon lover, holy dread...♦
Water: river, sea, fountain...♦
The poem begins with an inversion subject−verb. The aim of this first part of the poem is to
attract the reader's attention. It is also an advance of the later power that the poem reaches by
the description of Kubla Khan's power to obtain pleasure. In this part there are negative terms
like measureless, sunless. There is also an acumulation of sounds /f, w/ which give more
emphasis on the enclosure of Kubla Khan's dominions (claustrophobic feeling). The
conjunction and doesn't unit similar ideas, but different.
The second part of the poem is full of allusions to force (19), life (green) and personifications
(earth). The repetition of the sounds / m r / contribute to a general feeling of movement. The
appearance and death of the river happen in tumult. Everything takes place in a mythical
scenario. The character of Kubla Khan re−appears again.
Verses 35 and 36 describe the miracle, the climax of the scene. The dome of pleasure is now
reflected on the sea (31), so the sunny dome gives light to the sunless sea. Finally (35), vision
(the shadow of dome) and sound (the river) unit and give life to the sea.
In the final part of the poem, the damsel appears. She is a nexus between the poet and Kubla
Khan, a kind of muse. The tone is softer, more positive. The verse 38 (In a vision once I saw)
is a dream inside a dream; it gives a sense of sight. The next verses incline to the mixture of
elements, the music, and the mythological. In verse 42 the I, referring to the poet, appears and
puts end to the dream inside the dream. The verse 50 is the typical romantic appearance of the
poet; the poet unfolds himself into a third person and makes an indirect speech. Verses 50−54
have a transcendental tone and a sublime feeling.
3.JANE AUSTEN'S NOVELS. STUDY OF PRIDE AND PREJUDICE.
Life of Jane Austen (1775−1817)♦
She was born in 1775. Her father was a clergyman and the family was made up of 8 children. Her
brothers were either in the Church or in the navy (which accounts for the professions of the main
characters of her novels).
She attended school until she was 11. Then she studied at home and mainly she read 18th century
writers (Samuel Johnson, Henry Fielding, Samuel Richardson, Fanny Burney).
She started writing when she was 10. All the family was very talented. She and her sister Cassandra
had boyfriends, but they lost them in tragic circumstances.
She spent her last years in Hampshire. She died of small pox in Winchester, where she had gone for a
cure. She's buried there.
Sense and Sensibility, 1811 − Emma, 1816♦
Pride and Prejudice, 1813 − Northanger Abbey♦
Mansfield Park, 1814 − Persuasion (posthumous)♦
The upper classes:
Old gentry: aristocracy (Lady Catherine, Mr Darcy)♦
New gentry: new aristocracy(Mr Bingley)♦
Lesser gentry: aristocracy who had lost money (the Bennets)♦
That was a society of a Christian revival. The aristocracy controlled the Church. In order to have a
living, people of lesser rank were given a parish to work in (as Mr Collins). The Church was very
worldly, as Mr Collins is (he is very interested in material possessions).
What type of novel is Pride and Prejudice?♦
Didactic, although the moral is never heavy or obscure. Even the title of the novel is a broad
allegory, in which vices and virtues are presented and commented upon.
Satirical, although it's very gentle. It is presented through situational and verbal irony.♦
Love and marriage novel; novel of development: it deals with all the obstacles that a couple
has to overcome in order to get married.
Novel of manners♦
Domestic life in the Regency period, which is presented with photographic realism. There are no
violent scenes, no passion, no tragedy, no death, no poverty, no crime...Then there are not really
wicked characters, no real low class, no real adventure, no deep psychological analysis and no feeling
Love and marriage is a theme common to all Jane Austen's novels. It refers to the difficulties that
people have to overcome before getting married. Although there are several marriages in the novel,
the theme applies mainly to Eliza and Mr Darcy: both of them have to gain self−knowledge.
Eliza is very attractive, intelligent and individualistic; she has to overcome prejudices and she will
have to learn not to make quick judgements, not to be taken up by appearances (because she didn't see
through Darcy's haughty exterior or through Wickham's easy manners).
According to Jane Austen's novels, marriage should be based on affection and understanding. It
shouldn't be the result of immediate blind impulses (as Lydia does). A list of qualities are needed to
Understanding each other's character♦
Good disposition of partners♦
Similarity of feeling and tastes♦
Affection and attraction♦
A lot of money♦
Good breeding and social rank. Jane Austen accepted the hierarchical order (lords and ladies, gentry,
aristocracy, clergy, land owners...). She thought wealth desirable, but she did not believe that wealthy
people were necessarily the most educated ones.
Although she defended the Church, she also admitted its worldliness. For example, she rejects Mr
Collins' concise remark that Lydia should be forgiven, but never spoken to as unchristian.
Jane Austen's moral is that of the classical period:
Feelings should be controlled by reason and they should follow the moral laws accepted by
society and taught by religion. Then characters that follow their passions are punished or
Standards or society are not to be broken, but according to Austen, they should not be
followed blinded: they have to be used as the measure of good sense.
Setting: parties, balls and visits♦
The characters meet under realistic society settings, but they meet under etiquette (which limits
communication between them).
Jane Austen pays little attention to descriptions. The environment is rural, where social life is a
mixture of parties, balls and visits.
A party is a small gathering where people entertain themselves, play cards, dance or play the
piano. They usually take place after evening meals.
Balls are larger gatherings, mainly for dancing. They are important occasions where people
from different circles are joined together. Young women are expected to make a display of
themselves (boast). Young men are expected to make social advances; if they don't, it will be
considered suspicious. Balls mark crisis in the hero/heroine relationships. They occur with
regularity, either at the beginning of the novel or at the critical point.
These public assemblies sometimes cause misunderstanding, but they also help to bring unhappy
crisis to a climax. Genuine intimacy is very difficult in balls, so wrong conclusions are likely to be
drawn. The triumph of the intimate over the public occurs mainly in the open air (e.g. the park at
Pemberly in the case of Eliza and Darcy).
Visits can be either for a few hours or long stays for weeks or even months.♦
The heroines in Jane Austen's novels are not static not caricatures. They grown and develop. They
exhibit two qualities in their outgoing and generous personalities: endurance in times of despair and
disappointment. Jane Austen is not like her predecessors, who glamorised the heroine (Eliza has no
exceptional talent or beauty). The author's concern is with complexity of character; Eliza has wit and
intelligence as her father and sense of humour. She's impulsive, affectionate, neither jealous nor vain.
Sometimes she does the unexpected but nevertheless she remains sensible. She's very original in her
liveliness: she has more life than conventional heroines in sentimental novels. She is not so beautiful
as her sister Jane, but Eliza's eyes have a lively expression that attracts Darcy's attention.
The heroes influence the heroines but they are also opened to misjudgement due to the complexity of
their character. The heroine's point of view is crucial in our understanding of the hero. The heroine
doesn't know how the hero behaves when he's with other men. The task of the hero is to provoke (e.g.
Darcy considered Eliza and his family as provincial at the first ball). In the case of Darcy, Jane Austen
delineates him not only through Eliza's point of view, but also through Bingley's. Pride prevents
Darcy from showing his authentic virtues. He's very generous with his servants, affectionate with his
sister and discrete in his dealings with Wickham. He is a true gentleman (with 10000 pounds a year, a
house in the country and a house in town) belonging to the old gentry.
The seducers. Wickham is one of the most plausible villainous of Jane Austen's seducers. He's
handsome, persuasive, disingenuous, calculator and dishonourable. We know him through Eliza, so
we are also taken in by her favourable opinion about him and by her prejudice towards Darcy.
Wickham is outward and deceives everyone.
Male confidant: Mr Bingley♦
He has simplicity, common− sense, openness and frankness. He is very straightforward. He is not a
snob like his sisters are. But he is very easily influenced.
We know about his physical appearance and his social position (new gentry), although he does not
have a state yet.
Female confidant: Jane Benet♦
She is beautiful. She never thinks ill of anyone, but her judgement is faulty (then she is not a good
The caricatures: Mr Collins and Mrs Benet♦
They are mainly secondary characters. They are marked by a single characteristic and they do not
show unexpected traits in the development of the novel (those are called flat and round characters).
There is no hope of reforming their personalities, but we end up laughing at their behaviour because
they are invariably comic. They sometimes are more hostile than the seducer, but the heroine is never
mistaken about them. They are an annoyance, but never dangerous.
Their function is, by contrast, to highlight the hero or heroine.
Mr Collins' character is revealed in letters and in his pompous behaviour. He shows formality and
affected humility. He considers things in terms of their cost or external appearance (e.g. when he
shows the number of windows of his house). Although he is a minister of the Church, he does not
show a real Christian feeling.
Mrs Benet is the chief comic character. She is zealous of her neighbours. She is obsessed in marrying
her daughters. She very easily changes her mind (e.g. about the elopement of Lydia and Wickham).
Mr Benet is an intelligent gentleman. He is very sarcastic: he and Elizabeth are the source of Jane
Austen's irony. That's why he ridicules is wife and daughters (silly). But this sarcasm does not justify
his neglect towards his family. In fact, he is faulty but he is also a very likeable man.
Points of view♦
The narrator is omniscient (also called extra−fictional, third person...) but within it, we can discover
Objective account: it refers to the narrator acting as an historian in possession of all the facts;
he/she presents things as they have happened. He is a neutral observer, a chronicler of the past
and a narrator of the present.
Indirect account: by means of a word or sentence, the narrator discloses a personal note of
qualification (mainly irony).
Direct account: it refers to the introduction of the narrator in the narration (I or the royal we).
It is very typical of 19th century novels, but not very frequent in Jane Austen's.
The universally acknowledge truth: it is a dogmatic truth. Jane Austen likes introduce them in
Dramatic mode: it refers to dialogues, because they can add drama to the story and humour.
Jane Austen's dialogues are very realistic although sometimes they are a bit polished. She has
a perfect sense of timing and a perfect instinct for climax vs. anticlimax.
Interior disclosures: it is similar to the stream of consciousness of 20th century novels
(internal dialogues of the characters).
Jane Austen's novels have a broad structure, which proceed in three phases:
The heroine is shown in her original circumstances: her family, her circle or acquaintances, her
economical state, her temperament...
The primary antagonists or intrigues: their function is to make the heroine away to her confinement
(the marriage), which seems to be inevitable and permanent (e.g. Lydia's elopement).
The secondary antagonists: the main one is society, which is opposed to true personal relationships. It
sets constrains on the individual and deceitful opportunities of escape. The individual has to find out
his own way of release.
Structure in Pride and Prejudice: two parts♦
It refers to the meeting between Darcy and Elizabeth and the impressions they had one another. Darcy
falls in love and when he asks Eliza to marry hi, he is rejected (climax).
It refers to the better understanding of one another, their acquaintance is renewed. They are about to
get married but an obstacle appears: the elopement of Lydia and Wickham. But finally it is overcome
and they get married.
Plots: nothing occurs that we might consider unnatural♦
Bingley's courtship of Jane. It is a parallel with Darcy and Eliza. There is interaction between the two
couples. Darcy's influence separates Bingley and Jane.
Charlotte's marriage to William Collins. It is important in the development of the novel because
thanks to Eliza's visit to them, she meets Darcy (while she is living with the Collins, they receive an
invitation from Lady Catherine). All this shows the careful construction of the plot.
Darcy's dealings with Wickham. All this has started before the beginning of the novel. Wickham's
prejudices against Darcy. From Darcy's letter, Eliza learns the truth. This strengthens her regard for
Darcy. But Wickham's elopement with Lydia delays Darcy's second proposal of marriage.
Structure within characterisation. Sections:♦
Wickham seems to have all the good qualities, but Darcy has them. Wickham and Darcy are opposed
but both are the opposite of what they seem.
Miss Bingley seems to have the good manners of a lady, while Eliza seems to be an unlady like
woman. In the end, it turns out to be the opposite.
Mr Collins' courtship with Eliza and Charlotte. They have different attitudes towards marriage,
because Eliza has greater sense and higher ideals.
Mr Collin and Darcy's pride. Both men are sure that their marriage proposals are going to be accepted,
but Eliza rejects both.
Jane Austen uses irony in order to make a social criticism. In this respect, Eliza is her mouthpiece.
Austen's language is based in the 18th century style (Addison and Steele).
Sometimes the style seems slow, pompous and a bit stiff, but on the whole, her prose is elegant, witty,
vivid and powerful (especially in love scenes). She has a special gift for comic dialogue.
Austen's style is controlled with gentle but penetrating satirical humour. There are no excesities of
rhetoric or verbosity.
Jane Austen does not fall completely in the didactic tradition. Her heroines are more nature, they do
not have an abnormal beauty or virtues nor feminine accomplishments.
Jane Austen criticises the reduction of female education to the pursuit of trivial accomplishments. She
wants a better status for women but within the established order.
She is aware of the influence of social deprivation on the characters, at least, in what refers to the
disadvantages suffered by women. She believes in women's capacity for intellectual and moral
Stages in Dickens' style:♦
Setting: the Regency years, in which the new gentry developed♦
The vanity of entertaining false expectations.•
Confusion between appearance and reality. For Dickens, what is important is the inner world because
wealth and position are corrupted.
Education and the progress towards maturity (buildung roman).•
Criticism of social injustice (although Dickens was no social reformer). In the social classes, the
world of responsibility is opposed to the world of ignominy (oppressed vs. oppressor; death vs.
Victorian melodrama (good vs. evil; honest loyal man vs. selfish schemer).•
− Light − Blackness − The marshes
− Clothes − Graveyards − Hands
− Food and meals − Names (Satis, Estella, Magwitch)
Structure: circular structure divided in three parts.♦
Chapters 1−19: the village and the marshes•
Chapters 19−39: London•
Chapters 39−59: the return to the village•
The structure can be read:
As in a fairy tale, but in this case we find a reversal because the hero does not end up successful. He
gets moderately well paid middle−aged businessman, with his marriage to the princess not well
assured. In the end, who seemed to be the monster turns out to be his fairy godmother (and vice
In terms of a Greek tragedy: a man who prospers and achieves success becomes the hero or the king,
but in the course of his career he commits the sin of pride (hybrid). In trying to solve a problem he
makes a vital discovery that leads to his downfall as a punishment for his pride.
As a bildung roman because it is the story of a young man of talent but humble origins who travels
from town to city and gradually climbs the social ladder. There are reminiscences of Milton's paradise
lost: the village is like a paradise from which Pip is expelled.
Style: fictional autobiography (1st person narrator)♦
More complicity between the reader and the characters. It implies a higher effort of the
The narrator of the story is Mr Pirrip, talking first about himself in different stages of his life:
Pip, Mr Pip and Mr Pirrip. Then he is not an omniscient narrator. From the point of view of a
middle−aged person he might refer humorously to an event that in the past had been painful.
He mixes past and present.♦
He uses the language of an uneducated boy.♦
Use of theatrical devices, in which we can distinguish dialogues accompanied by gestures.♦
Pictorial and dramatic presentations (tableau, as if it were a painting).♦
Different types of languages belonging to different groups: vernacular (Joe, Mrs Joe),
legalistic (Mrs Jaggers, Wemmick).
It is an important means of characterisation (everyone has a tag).♦
In Dickens' novels, the heroes are orphans who don't fit in society even though they try it. They are
lonely heroes characterised by desire rather than by possession. The rest of the characters are
secondary but have an influence on the hero (Biddy, Wemmick, Herbert).
Original ending (Dickens wrote two different endings)♦
Pip tells the reader how he meets Estella again in a carriage while walking in London. She had left her
first husband and married again. They shake hands and talk briefly before parting. This ending is
more in−keeping with the serious story.
Blackness: ambiguity, falseness. Mawitch is even dressed in coarse grey uncovered with
In the first chapter, the beacon means the extinguished hope of clarity and the gibbet is the
Satis house: Miss Havisham's wedding dress is yellow, not white♦
Mawitch: when he reappears, we find him going up darkened stars to Pip's lodgings.♦
Marshes: mutt is the breeding place of death. It indicates the class of society to which
Mawitch belongs: the oppressed in life. Social evil and corruption of the judicial system.
Graveyard: Mawitch is death in the eyes of respectable society.♦
Light: it means growing perception, truth and goodness. That's why Joe and Pip are
associated with the fire of the forge.
The fire at Satis House is redentive.♦
The mourning mist had solemnly risen when Pip first left the forge.♦
When Mawitch meets Pip again in London there is a bright slight of recognition.♦
Torches are lit to penetrate the darkness f the marshes and look for the convict.♦
The evening mist finally rises when Pip abandons his false posture (a broad expanse of
tranquil light) to indicate that he will not part again with Estella.
Mrs Joe brings up Pip by hand; she has a heavy had.♦
Pip is criticised by Estella for having coarse hands, and he is worried because she sees his
black hands after working in the forge.
Estella's mother, who is a convict, has an immense grip (asidero) in her hands.♦
Mr. Jaggers is continuously washing his hands.♦
Joe shakes hands with Pip when he visits him in London.♦
Mawitch dies holding Pip's hands.♦
Pip's hands are badly burned when trying to save Miss Havisham at Satis House.♦
Pip is called Hendel, which belongs to a classical melody about a blacksmith.♦
Parallelisms: not only in the text♦
In the novel as a whole, because the first six chapters find a parallel in the last six:♦
Pip's encounter with Mawitch♦
A terrified young boy vs. a prosperous young man♦
Pip's meeting Estella again at Miss Havisham's garden♦
In characters: Pip's expectations find a parallelism in:♦
Pumblechoock's expectations (he wants a share in Pip's fortune and that makes him excessive
in his congratulations)
Woopsole's expectations (he wants to renew the drama but he makes a fool of himself)♦
Sarah and Camilla Pocket's expectations (they expect to be named in Miss Havisham's will
and they are torn by jealousy)
Satis: enough Magwitch: magician + witch Stella: star
Orlik: old dick, the name of devil (Pip's fights with Orlik: descend to hell)
Food and meals•
Magwitch devouring a piece of bread: the desperate need of his social class♦
Meal at Christmas Eve: introduction to Pip's acquaintances and their believes and values♦
Miss Havisham's decayed wedding meal: her ruined hopes♦
Herbert's use of the knife and fork: delicacy and good manners♦
Second hand: life thriving upon death (men in prison wear those of dead prisoners)♦
Clothes of the dock attendant: taken from the bodies of drown men♦
New clothes (Pip's new suit): transformation in his character, ridiculed by Trabb's boy♦
Magwitch's attempt to disguise himself with new clothes results to be unsuccessful♦
Joe's new clothes: also a failure♦
He becomes aware of himself as isolated from all that is outside himself. The world appears as cold,
wild and unfriendly as a graveyard. He's alienated from the community (orphan). He's characterised
by desire rather than by possession, an emptiness that will be filled. He's aware of himself as guilty
because of his very existence. Any status that he acquires in the world will be the result of his own
Pip is the hero, but flat characters have a lot of influence on him. Educators and confidants:
Biddy: Pip's formal education; she teaches him that dignity and pride can be derived from the
forge as well as from the possession of money
Herbert: teaches him manners and how to become a gentleman; introduces Pip into London
Wemmick: teaches Pip about the world of criminals♦
Opposed characters also influenced him. They reveal the witness and negation in Pip's period of great
expectations (Trabb's boy).
There is other group whose life is parallel to Pip's. It is made up of Orlik and Drummle. They can be
considered as single character and they face the achievements of Orlick and Drummle against Pip's
Drummle walks behind Pip and Herbert the same as Orlick has walked behind Pip and Biddy.♦
Orlik works at the forge as Pip does; he is insulted by Mrs Joe as Pip; he feels on attraction
for Biddy the same as Pip; he goes from the forge to Miss Havisham's; he goes from Satis
House to London... Orlik's interest for Biddy is sexual whereas Pip's is platonic; he peruses a
career at Satis House. Orlik attacks Miss Joe while Pip is beaten by Mrs Joe.
The vanity of entertaining false expectations in a world where hope is so easily compromised or
destroyed. Wealth and position are corrupted.
Confusion between appearance and reality. Wemmick and Jagger seem cold at first by they have kind
impulses beneath their business−like exterior. Magwitch, though ugly and uncouth appearance,
proves to be a man of loveable personality. Pip's first deception about the origin of his wealth
parallels his moral deception about what he thinks will bring happiness.
Education and the progress towards maturity: as it corresponds to a bildung roman.•
Social injustice. Dickens was not a social reformer. This is a secondary theme (6 chapters). He did
criticise injustices (e.g. child's mistreatment in Oliver Twist, non−impartiality of the court of justice;
corruption of the judicial system). Unlike Oliver and Copperfield, Pip has someone to rely on (Joe).
In the first six chapters the different social classes are represented in the Christmas dinner: the
criminal, the military, artisan classes, wealthy entrepreneurs... The world of respectability vs. the
world of ignominy / oppressor vs. oppressed / living vs. death. These social dashes are also
represented through the outdoors and indoor scenes; each one is coincidence with a chapter's division.
It indicates separated worlds, a steady movement back and forth. There is an alter−nation between
London and the marshes. Dickens was against paying lip services given to the idea of equality in
America; he thought the class distinctions were valid. Dickens supports Pip and Herbert.
THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING ERNEST
Oscar Wilde takes his inspiration from the 18th century.
This play is full of puns, mysteries, falsebility of identity, childlike innocence...
It can be considered a comedy of manners or even an eating comedy (because Algernon is always
eating) (see photocopies).
We must take into account The Portrait of Dorian Gray and The Crime of Lord Arthur Sevile to
understand this play.
Theme: a light criticism of Victorian society♦
Characteristics of Victorian society:
Marriages were arranged, but women had the power to refuse.♦
Women didn't have the chance to speak alone with men because it was considered unmoral.
Even when they went out, they had to be accompanied by a chaperon (a governess).
Women (like Gwendolyn) could attend a university extension scheme.♦
Women were at home. If they needed to work, they could be employed in dusting or as
Servants lived under good conditions in households, where they had free meals,
accommodation and access to the library (although they were not very well paid).
The aristocracy felt threatened by the industrial revolution and the fall of agriculture, so they
had to welcome the new riches. They felt in a way ashamed and retreated from public view
(in contrast with the 18th C).
Aristocrats covered whatever qualms (remordimientos) by doing charity jobs.♦
Oscar Wilde (who was aristocrat) was for socialism because he criticised private property.
Paradoxically enough, he said socialism would only work in a society where the individual could
realise his full potential.
Puns (juegos de palabras)•
Reversal of accepted truths and clichés•
Artificial and invented mode of speech (a purely verbal opera)•
Jack is more idealistic but Algernon is straighter forward, materialistic and cynical.
Cecily adds more silly statements like Algernon. She writes diaries, which is, together with the
constant eating of Algernon, a sign of existentialism (creating an identity). Algernon is witty so he
needs energy to create his own identity: it can be so tiring to be himself all the time that he needs to
create his won identity.
Characters are represented in pairs.
Reductions to absurd:
Jack and Algernon have both double personalitiesThe Portrait of Dorian Gray.♦
The question of their baptismsJohn, the Baptist is Salomé.♦
Both characters want to kill their doubles (Bunbury and Earnest) Lord Arthur Savile's crime.♦
The lost of the cigarrete case Sybil, Arthur's Savile girlfriend♦
Lady Bracknell says many nonsensical statements; she has a monstrous behaviour (reduction to
absurd of Dorian Gray's private Satan, Lord Henry Wooton). Lady Bracknell is also a reduction of
Oscar Wilde's ideas of socialism because she dislikes private property and doesn't want to invest
money in land.
In this novel, the myth of the masculine superiority is deconstructed (the male character ends up
badly), whereas Jane gets a fortune.
Mr Rochester is a Byronic hero: he's not handsome, but he has an attractive personality.
There are two Janes: Jane as voice (the narrator, when she is more than 30) and Jane as focus (the
character along the novel).
The outdoors (Thornfield) are in contrast with the indoors (Lowood, Gateshead).
The romantic passion appears even at the beginning of the novel, when Jane is enclosed in the red
In the school, Jane still has a desire for freedom, although she is prevented by other characters as
Bertha Manson or Miss Ingram.
In religion, there are two branches which have influence on Charlotte Bronte: the Methodism (her
aunt) and the Celtic (her father and Irish family).
The Methodism is severe and strict, like Helen Burns.
The Celtic is seen as crazy, superstitious and with premonitions, like Bertha Manson.
Both characters appear at the same time in Jane's life, but she can only unite both personalities when
On the other hand, St. John Rivers (fair, blond, strict and religious) is related to Helen, whereas Mr
Rochester (fire, passion and obscure) is related to Bertha.
Symbology of red:
The red room where Jane is enclosed is related with the menstruation (it was thought that
women should be kept apart during those days). In the feminist critic, the menstruation is also
related with the madness of Bertha Manson and with the passion of Jane.
The fire is the element that puts an end to Mr Rochester's mansion♦
The attacks of Bertha Manson were in nights of full and red moon, she had red eyes, etc.♦
Bronte is accused of lack of irony and humour. She also makes an excessive use of rhetoric.
Important sentence: angel in the house, devil in the flesh (by Charlotte Bronte)
Excise system = impuesto sobre artículos de comercio interior
Wigs = pelucas
Hypotaxis: subordinate sentences // Parataxis: sentences in juxtaposition or co−ordination.
Anaphora: repetition of and