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HISTORY OF ENGLISH LITERATURE (part 1)

CLASSES

1.

Old English poetry: “The Wanderer”, “The Seafarer”, “Deor’s Lament”, “Charm for Unfruitful Land”.

a)

secular literature: courtly literature, elegies, laments, lyrical poems

b)

pagan and Christian elements, characteristic features of charms

c)

the reality of life in Anglo-Saxon England, the bond between the lord and his warriors, the motifs of exile, ruin, solitude, transitory nature of human splendour, Ubi sunt motif, the hardships of sea-life, the Anglo-Saxon values, loss and consolation, contrast between the past and present condition, etc.

2.

Beowulf (fragments), “The Dream of the Rood”

a)

Germanic and Scandinavian sources, myth and folklore.

b)

Beowulf as an example of courtly literature. Germanic court and customs.

c)

Beowulf as a heroic and an epic poem (definition of an epic, the role of the genre in literature; protagonists and their actions, heroic society, historical reality vs. the supernatural realm, Anglo-Saxon values, style and language: description, literary figures etc.)

d)

Christian and pagan elements. Pre-Christian mores infiltrated through Christian awareness.

e)

characteristics of OE religious poetry, parallels and differences between Dream of the Rood and heroic poetry

f)

definitions: dream vision technique, personification and prosopopoeia.

3.

Middle English literature: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.

a)

a romance hero and his code of behaviour (moral vs. physical strength, chivalric code).

b)

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight as an example of courtly literature.

c)

symbols in Sir Gawain (number three, the pentangle, the girdle, the green colour). Structure of the poem.

d)

pagan vs. Christian elements in Sir Gawain.

4.

Geoffrey Chaucer: The Canterbury Tales (The General Prologue, “The Miller’s Tale” and “The Knight’s Tale”)

a)

the form of The Canterbury Tales: the motif of a pilgrimage, frame story, links, iambic pentameter, heroic couplet.

b)

The Canterbury Tales as an encyclopaedia of literary genres: romances, saints’ lives or pious tales, exempla, fabliaux, folk tales, etc.

c)

ways of character drawing: characters representing all ranks of English society – panorama of medieval society; detailed descriptions of characters; irony, satire, realism.

d)

low culture and high culture.

5.

TEST: Medieval Literature.

Christopher Marlowe: Dr Faustus.

a)

Renaissance and medieval elements;

b)

medieval legend of the pact with the devil;

c)

central character (Faustus as a new man, an epitome of Renaissance aspirations and their deterioration);

d)

language, structure and technical devices (blank verse).

6.

William Shakespeare: Hamlet, Thomas Kyd: The Spanish Tragedy.

a)

tragedy (definition of a tragedy, influence of Seneca, revenge tragedies; dramatic irony, hamartia, catharsis, comic relief).

b)

Thomas Kyd: The Spanish Tragedy

-

The Spanish Tragedy as a Renaissance play

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