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1. What are Shakespeare ’ s achievements?
a. Shakespeare represented the trend of history in giving voice to de desires and aspirations of the people.
b. Shakespeare’s humanism: more important than his historical sense of his time, Shakespeare in his plays reflects the spirit of his age.
c. Shakespeare’s characterization: Shakespeare was most successful in his characterization. In his plays he described a great number of characters.
d. Shakespeare’s originality: Shakespeare drew most of his materials from sources that were known to his audience. But his plays are original because he instilled into the old materials a new spirit that gives new life to his plays.
e. Shakespeare as a great poet: Shakespeare was not only a great dramatist, but also a great poet. Apart from his sonnets and long poems, his dramas are poetry.
f. Shakespeare as master of the English language.
2. What are the basic characteristics of ballads?
a. The beginning is often abrupt.
b. There are strong dramatic elements.
c. The story is often told through dialogue and action.
d. The theme is often tragic, though there are a number of comic ballads.
e. The ballad meter is used.
3. How do you interpret Humanism?
With the spreading of the Greek and Roman culture there appeared a number of humanist scholars who took great interest in the welfare of human beings. According to them it was against human nature to sacrifice the happiness of this life for an after life. They argued that man should be given full freedom to enrich their intellectual and emotional life. In religion they demanded the reformation of the church, in art and literature, instead of singing praise to God, they sang in praise of man and of the pursuit of happiness in this life. Humanism shattered the shackles of spiritual bondage of man’s mind by the Roman Catholic Church and opened his eyes to “a brave new world” in front of him.
4. How do you sum up the characteristics of Neo-Classicism?
a. People emphasized reason rather than emotion, form rather than content.
b. As reason was stressed, most of the writings of the age were didactic and satirical.
c. As elegance, correctness, appropriateness and restraint were preferred, the poet found closed couplet the only possible verse form for serious work.
d. It is almost exclusively a “town” poetry, catering to the interests of the “society” on great cities. The humbler aspects of life are neglected and it shows no love of nature, landscape, or country things and people.
e. It is entirely wanting in all those elements that are related with the “romantic”.
5. What is the significance of The Canterbury Tales ?
a. It gives a comprehensive picture of Chaucer’s time.
b. The dramatic structure of the poem has been highly commended by critics. In the Canterbury Tales, stories are related to the personalities of the tellers.
c. Chaucer’s humor: humor is a characteristic feature of the English literature. His gentle satire and mild irony.
d. Chaucer’s contribution to the English language. Chaucer greatly increased the prestige of the English language.
6. Please summarize the characteristic features of the Romantic Movement .
a. Subjectivism: romantic poets describe poetry as “the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings” which expresses the poet’s mind.
b. Spontaneity: Wordsworth defines poetry as “the spontaneous overflow of feelings”. The role of instinct, intuition, and the feelings of “the heart” is stressed.
c. Singularity: romantic poets have a strong love for the remote, the unusual, the strange, the supernatural, the mysterious, the splendid, the picturesque, and the illogical.
d. Worship of nature: the romantic poets are worshippers of nature, especially the sublime aspect of a natural scene.
e. Simplicity: romantic poets take to using everyday language spoken by the rustic people as opposed to the poetic diction used by neo-classic writers. There is a dominating note of melancholy in the poems of the romantic poets.
f. It was an age of poetry by which the poets outpoured their feelings and emotions.
7. What is William Wordsworth ’ s definition of the word “ poet ” ?
He defines poetry as “the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings”.
8. What are the main factors that explain the rise of novels as a dominant literary genre during the Victorian age?
First, the growth of urban population resulted in the appearance of a new reading public.
Second, with the development of the method of printing and paper making, the price of books dropped, and besides regular books, there were serial publications. In addition, many libraries were set up by philanthropists so that books were now available to readers who could not afford to buy books.
Third, writing had become a profession, which made it possible for the writers to make a living by writing.
Fourth, with the ascendancy of the industrial capitalists, the majority of whom lived an idle life on interests, there was a large idle class who needed recreation and entertainment. Novels met with their desires.
Fifth, the conditions of the time and the dire poverty on the one hand and the enormous wealth on the other hand needed a secular form to explore human relations rather than sermons given in the church.
Finally, the feminist movement had much to do with the growth of the novel.
9. Please summarize Dickens ’ artistic techniques.
a. Dickens has a tendency to depict the grotesque (very odd or unusual, fantastically ugly or absurd) characters or events.
b. Dickens loves to instill life into inanimate things and to compare animate beings to inanimate things.
c. Dickens is noted for his descriptions of pathetic scenes that aim to arouse people’s sympathy.
10. Please define Robert Browning ’ s dramatic monologue.
A poem in which there is one imaginary speaker addressing an imaginary audience.
In his dramatic monologues, he penetrates to depth the psychology of his characters and through their own speeches, he analyzes and dissects his characters and reveals the innermost secret of their lives.