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History and Anthology of English Literature

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Presentation on theme: "History and Anthology of English Literature"— Presentation transcript:

1 History and Anthology of English Literature
Mickey Xu

2 The Victorian age: English Critical Realism
Background The Novels of Critical Realism The Poetry of the Victorian Age The Prose of the Victorian Age

3 Background: Social and Cultural Background 1
Background: Social and Cultural Background 1. Victorian Literature: all the writings produced during the period from 1837—1901 when Queen Victoria ruled over England The Early Victorian Period( ), a time of troubles. The Mid-Victorian Period( ), a time of economic prosperity and religious controversy. The Last Period ( ), a time in which the Victorian values decay. 3. Social background 4. Cultural background 5. The Women Question

4 Literary Characteristics:
1. The Victorian novelists were primarily concerned with people in society and with their relation to other people. 2. Prose was also an important literary form in this age. Famous historians, critics and essayists abounded. Thomas Carlyle, Matthew Arnold, John Ruskin. 3. Great Poetry were also produced. Lord Alfred Tennyson and Robert Browning.

5 Critical Realism Term: In Victorian period appeared a new literary trend-critical realism. English critical realism of the 19th century flourished in the forties and in the early fifties. It found its expression in the form of novel. The critical realists, most of whom were novelists, described with much vividness and artistic skill the chief traits of the English society and criticized the capitalist system from a democratic viewpoint. The greatest realist of the time was Charles Dickens. Other novelists who adhered to critical realism were Charlotte and Emily Bronte, Elizabeth Gaskell, George Eliot and Thomas Hardy.

6 Charles Dickens

7 Charles Dickens Life: ﹡Dickens was bron in 1812 at Portsmouth, where his father was a clerk in the Navy Pay Office. At four, his family moved to Chatham, where he studied in a day-school. ﹡In 1821, the family bankrupted and they moved into the Marshalsea Prison, London. At 12, Dickens had to work twelve hours a day in an underground cellar at a blacking factory in London. The miserable life there left an everlasting, painful brand on the boy’s mind. ﹡When he was 15, he became a lawyer’s clerk. He visited the British Museum Library, filling up the gaps in his education by reading. The work at the lawyer’s office afforded him the basis of a confirmed opinion of the law of England. Then he became a Parliamentary reporter for newspapers. Thus Dickens got a first-hand knowledge of the parliamentary government of it as an instrument for wielding and disguising the power of the upper classes. ﹡The rest of his life is a story of writing. In 1870, he died suddenly.

8 Works: Dicken’s Novels: ---The First Period( ): fun, high spirit, and a tendency even to literary boisterous play-----alternating sometimes with spells of sentimentality. Naïve optimism. ---The Second Period ( )-----a transitional period when his naïve optimism about capitalist society was thus profoundly shaken.

9 ---The Third Period ( ): novels in this period are much darker in content which showed the novelist’s loss for English bourgeois society.

10 Distinct features of his novels: 1
Distinct features of his novels: 1. Character sketches and exaggeration 2. Broad humor and penetrating satire. 3. Complicated and Fascinating Plot 4. The power of exposure

11 Analysis of Major Characters
Oliver Twist He is a saintlike figure. As the child hero of a melodramatic novel of social protest, Oliver Twist is meant to appeal more to our sentiments than to our literary sensibilities.

12 Nancy As a child of the streets, Nancy has been a thief and drinks to excess. The narrator’s reference to her “free and agreeable manners” indicates that she is a prostitute. Nancy’s moral complexity is unique among the major characters in Oliver Twist. In much of Oliver Twist, morality and nobility are black-and-white issues, but Nancy’s character suggests that the boundary between virtue and vice is not always clearly drawn.

13 Fagin He is ugly, simpering, miserly, and avaricious. Constant references to him as “the Jew” seem to indicate that his negative traits are intimately connected to his ethnic identity. However, Fagin is more than a statement of ethnic prejudice.

14 Themes The Failure of Charity Purity in a Corrupt City

15 Thackeray, William Makepeace(1811–63)
﹡ English novelist, b. Calcutta, India. He is important not only as a great novelist but also as a brilliant satirist. In 1830, Thackeray left Cambridge without a degree and later entered the Middle Temple to study law. In 1833 he became editor of a periodical, the National Standard, but the following year he settled in Paris to study art. There he met Isabella Shawe, whom he married in 1836. ﹡ ﹡ Thackeray’s eldest daughter, Anne, Lady Ritchie, was also an author; ﹡ He died in 1863.

16 Works --Vanity Fair, a masterpiece, published in in monthly parts. The sub-title of the book, “A Novel Without a Hero”, emphasizes the fact that the writer’s intention was not to portray individuals, but the bourgeois and aristocratic society as a whole. The title was taken from Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress”. In this novel Thackeray describes the life of the ruling classes of England in the early decades of the 19th century, and attacks the social relationship of the bourgeois world by satirizing the individuals in the different strata of the upper society. --Pendennis ( ) --Henry Esmond (1852) and The Virginians (1859), both are historical novels.

17 The comparison between Dickens and Thackeray:
Thackeray portrayed the upper half, whose parasites, snobbery, greed and cruelty formed his chief theme, and the pictures in his novels are accurate and true to life. Both of them are moralists. Thackeray is also a satirist. Thackeray is inferior to Dickens in imaginative and creative power.

18 Charlotte Brontë ( )

19 Charlotte Brontë English novelist Birth April 21, 1816
Death March 31, 1855 Place of Birth Thornton, Yorkshire, England

20 1847 Published the novel Jane Eyre
1849 Published the novel Shirley, a story set during anti-industrial riots that took place in the final years of the Napoleonic Wars Brontë's first novel, The Professor, was turned down by numerous publishers, and she eventually withdrew the book. It was finally published after her death in 1857.

21 Jane Eyre Analysis of Major Characters
The protagonist and narrator of the novel, Jane is an intelligent, honest, plain-featured young girl forced to contend with oppression, inequality, and hardship.

22 Edward Rochester Jane’s employer and the master of Thornfield, Rochester is a wealthy, passionate man with a dark secret that provides much of the novel’s suspense.

23 St. John Rivers St. John Rivers is a foil to Edward Rochester. Whereas Rochester is passionate, St. John is austere and ambitious.

24 Theme Love versus Autonomy

25 Emily Bronte ( ) Emily Brontë lived an eccentric, closely guarded life. She was born in 1818, two years after Charlotte and a year and a half before her sister Anne, who also became an author. Her father worked as a church rector, and her aunt, who raised the Brontë children after their mother died, was deeply religious. According to Charlotte Bronte’s description, Emily was clever, benevolent, but very stubborn: “Stronger than a man, simpler than a child, her nature stood alone.”

26 Analysis of Major Characters
Heathcliff -  An orphan brought to live at Wuthering Heights by Mr. Earnshaw, Heathcliff falls into an intense, unbreakable love with Mr.

27 Catherine is free-spirited, beautiful, spoiled, and often arrogant.
Edgar--Edgar is born and raised a gentleman. He is graceful, well-mannered, and instilled with civilized virtues.

28 Themes The Destructiveness of a Love that Never Changes

29 Goerge Eliot Scenes of Clerical Life: her first three stories. Adam Bede: her first full length novel, Eliot's first experiment with the type of new fiction that she pioneered The Mill on the Floss: rural life Silas Marner: rural life Romala: a historical novel Felix Holt: English politics Middlemarch: her masterpiece Daniel Deronda: the best work in Eliot’s opinion. Major Themes Honor Love

30 Eliot's realism stems from her tendency to avoid caricature and stereotype, instead creating complex and ambiguous characters whose faithful representation makes them not only believable, but difficult to pigeonhole. Her novels are attempts to analyze the subtleties of the human mind, rather than just plot structures (like many of her contemporaries). This allows Eliot to present human situations as they really occur, reproducing the mental and physical aspects of people's actions.

31 Lord Alfred Tennyson Alfred Tennyson ( ), English poet often regarded as the chief representative of the Victorian age in poetry. Tennyson succeeded Wordsworth as Poet Laureate in 1850. Among Tennyson's major poetic achievements is the elegy mourning the death of his friend Arthur Hallam, "In Memoriam" (1850).

32 The patriotic poem "Charge of the Light Brigade", published in Maud (1855), is one of Tennyson's best known works In the 1870s Tennyson wrote several plays, among them the poetic dramas Queen Mary (1875) and Harold (1876). In 1884 he was created a baron. Tennyson died at Aldwort on October 6, 1892 and was buried in the Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey.

33 Robert Browning ( )

34 Robert Browning ( ) Robert Browning was born in Camberwell, a suburb of London. Young Robert spent much of his time in his father's private library of 6000 volumes in several languages. The chief source of his education Robert did not become recognized as a poet, until after Elizabeth's death in After which, he was honored for the rest of his life as a literary figure. Below is a picture of Robert Browning's grave. He is buried in Westminster Abbey, in Poet's Corner.

35 Works and Achievement --The Ring and the Book, the longest and perhaps the greatest work of Browning. --He and Tennyson were the two most important poets of the Victorian Period. -- He introduced a new form to English poetry, the dramatic monologue. --praised as a “gallant, courageous and high-hearted figure”, well-known for buoyant optimism.

36 Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861)
Elizabeth Barrett was born at Coxhoe Hall, Durham, England. Elizabeth's father disapproved of the courtship and engagement. In 1846, Elizabeth and Robert were secretly wed. Soon the couple ran off to Italy where Elizabeth's health improved. She continued to live in the villa of Casa Guidi for the remainder of her life. In 1861, Elizabeth Barrett Browning died at the age of 55. Her son, born 1849, and husband returned to England after her death.

37 Works: The Battle of Marathon translation of the Greek tragedy “Prometheus Unbound” The Cry of the Children Sonnet from the Portuguese

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