A History of English Literature in 20 minutes!!!! Who said detail is important?
This is a zippy overview of Literature in terms of cultural movements...It is quick, brutal and very brief. It will be useful for you in revision for mocks (but you need much more depth than provided here for the real thing!)
Classical MythologyKey Writers- Homer (Iliad and Odyssey)- Sophocles and Euripides (Greek tragic playwrights – distorted love)- OVID – The Art of Love (tips on seduction) and Metamorphoses (the power of love to change people).These provide us with myths – Oedipus, Pygmalion, Zeus’s raping, Orpheus, Narcissus and Echo etc. – that will be drawn upon throughout.You will NOT be asked to comment in your exams.
Medieval Courtly LoveKey Writers- Chaucer Troilus and Criseyde- Chaucer The Knights Tale (The Canterbury Tales)- Malory Le Morte d’ArthurCourtly Love Conventions:• Knight in shining armour puts beautiful, unavailable woman on pedestal.• Knight will be in physical pain though will be inspired by love to achieve great deeds.• Woman will deign to fall in love only with help of the messenger/ inbetween.• Woman is both idealised AND objectified.• Courtly love will re-establish order and nobility.Stylistic• Narrative Poetry, Apostrophes and Idealised imagery.
Medieval FabliauxKey Works• Chaucer The Canterbury Tales (especially The Miller’s Tale, The Merchants Tale, The Wife of Bath’s Prologue)Fabliaux Conventions• Farcical, sexually explicit and lower class.• Puns, rude jokes and innuendos abound.• Subverts and parodies courtly lover conventions.• Uses bodily imagery and scatological humour to emphasise the disruption to the world.• Often a more realistic depiction of marriage and society – money grabbing wives, stupidity, sexual desire and lechery.• Represents rebellion and disorder from the norms of society.
Italian HumanismKey Writers• Petrarch Canzoniere (Sonnets)• Dante The Divine ComedyKey ideas• A sense of the individual in conflict with the forces of lower desires.• The human should aim for transcendence and the higher order of reason and truth.
Medieval BalladsKey Writers• Anonymous – folktales passed through generations portraying a sense of organic, natural love.• Greensleeves – Anon.Conventions• Pastoral (countryside) setting.• A story or narration of a dramatic events• a combination of storytelling, speech and song.• Popular themes are love and supernatural.
Tudor Court PoetryKey Writers• Thomas Wyatt – They Flee From Me• Thomas NasheKey features• Development of lyric poetry – a more subjective individual voice.• Were performed in court, so often feature a world of intrigue, deception and lies.• Draws on ideas of courtly love with mistress as beautiful and unattainable love// a woman’s cruelty.
Renaissance SonnetsKey Writers• Thomas Wyatt (‘I find no peace and all my war is done’)• Philip Sidney – Astophil and Stella• William Shakespeare – 18, 130, (the whole collection!!!)• John Donne – Batter My Heart (inversion using religious theme)Key Stylistic Features• Wyatt translates Petrarchan sonnets but using Shakespearean couplet at end.• The sonnet addresses an unattainable woman (like Laura in Petrarch) and admires her.• Extended similes are used with images of nature and exploration.• The volta indicates the tension and conflict within the poetry.
Metaphysical PoetsKey Writers• John Donne – A Valediction, The Sun Rising etc.• Andrew Marvell – To His Coy Mistress• George Herbert - The CollarKey Stylistic Forms• Often poems of seduction using extended conceits with unexpected objects to seduce woman.• Combine sensuality with wit and clever intellectual arguments.• Often use a range of religious imagery...• Uses paradoxes, puns and elaborate syntax.
Cavalier PoetsKey Writers• Rochester (very rude poetry)• Richard LovelaceKey Stylistic Features• ‘Seize the day’ and seduction poetry.• Often addresses women and presents a heartless male poetic persona.• Wit and sarcasm used to explain bad behaviour.
AugustineKey Writers• Alexander Pope – The Rape of the LockKey Stylistic Features• Satirical voice• Mock Epic poetry – uses high flown language to depict everyday events (e.g. Stealing a lock of hair)• Uses the heroic couplet – has a sense of insignificance.
‘Old’ Romantic PoetryKey Writers• Old Romantics – Wordsworth and Coleridge• William Blake.Key Stylistic Features• Reaction against the ideas of the 18th century with focus on order, control and rationality.• Emotion is valued – Wordsworth writes “all good poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings”• Individual consciousness, imagination and personal experience..• A Love of Nature and an obsession with the ‘sublime’ infuses work.• Traditional forms but use simpler everyday speech to mimic simple rural life and childhood.
‘Young’ RomanticsKey Writers• Percy Bysshe Shelley• Lord Byron• John KeatsKey Stylistic Features• A love of nature and concern with the sublime.• Keats = sensuous imagery (synaesthesia), negative capability (the openness of texts with many voices), sense of mortality.• Shelley = political and social issues explored through Romantic Expectations• Byron = Long narrative poems, e.g. Don Juan, with rude, crude and anarchic events. Irrevent humour and satires mixed with Romantic imagery,
Victorian WomenKey Writers• Emily Dickinson• Christina Rossetti• Elizabeth Barrett Browning.Key Features• EBB sonnets are concerned with exploration of love for Robert Browning and personal.• Dickinson and Rossetti more concerned with transience of life, death and nostalgia.
Victorian PoetsKey Writers• Tennyson• Browning• HopkinsKey Features• Not a clear break from the past like Romantics but share belief that poetry is a vehicle for emotional expression.• Use formal and traditional verse forms with lots of religion and nature.
Turn of the centuryKey writers• Hardy• YeatsKey Features• Still using traditional verse forms – Hardy using narrative poems in particular.• Sense of nostalgia for earlier times.
ModernismKey Writers• T.S. Eliot• Ezra Pound• Hart Crane• William Carlos Williams• e.e. cummingsKey Stylistic Features• A clear break from Victorian poetry• Stream-of-consciousness writing• Lack of form – out of verses, stanzas, sentences, etc. To symbolise the breakdown of modern society.
Thirties PoetsKey Writers• W. H. Auden• Louis Macneice• Dylan ThomasKey Features• Use common and everyday language to represent the feelings of normal people.• Often use domestic and insignificant imagery to represent larger emotions.• Use regular poetic rhyme schemes, though often rhymes are shocking or unexpected.
Mid-CenturyKey Writers• John Betjeman• Philip Larkin• Ted Hughes• Sylvia PlathKey Features• Continue from Thirties Poets to base poetry in everyday language, though often its more raucous and negative.• Humour expresses disappointment at the repetitiveness of life.
Post-ModernismKey Writers• Carol Ann Duffy• Adrienne Rich• Douglas Dunn• Wendy Cope• Roger McGoughKey Stylistic Features• An awareness of the flexibility and lack of meaning in the world.• Use media and unexpected imagery to express everyday feelings.• Often use free verse and break conventions.
Read the two poems (Item A and Item B) carefully, bearing in mind that they were written at different writers and are open to different interpretations.Write a comparison of these two poems.In your answer you should consider the ways in which Writer 1 and Writer 2 use form, structure and language to present their thoughts and ideas; make relevant references to your wider reading in the poetry of love.