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the force of chaos in Shelley’s poems, the properties and symbolism of wind and autumn (‘Ode to the West Wind’)

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the idea of revolution (as reinvigoration)

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the role of the poet and his powers (“Ode to the West Wind”, “The Cloud”)

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poetic inspiration

b) John Keats

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the relation between art and life

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the function of fancy/art and Death

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the significance of images on the urn

HISTORY OF ENGLISH LITERATURE (part 1)

LECTURES

1.

Old English literature: historical background (Anglo-Saxon conquest, Germanic legends, social life in Anglo-Saxon England, the advent of Christianity and its effects); early forms of OE writing: runic alphabet, the advent of Latin alphabet, manuscripts, charms, inscriptions, gnomes, memory jingles.

2.

Old English literature (cont.): formal features of OE literature: formulaic language, alliteration and alliterative line, anonymity, oral literature, kennings.

3.

Middle English literature: historical background – the Norman Conquest, the influence of Norman language, culture and literature; social origins of romantic love (social position of women in the feudal aristocracy; marriage as a political act; courtly love); the medieval romance (sources of medieval romance, subject matter, the Arthurian cycle, legends; characteristic features of romance; most frequent motifs, style); chanson de gestes, lays.

4.

Medieval theatre: origins of the medieval drama (tropes, liturgical dramas); different types of medieval drama (mystery, miracle and morality plays, interludes) and their characteristic features; the most frequent motifs: death, dance macabre, ars moriendi, memento mori, struggle between good and evil, psychomachia, character drawing etc.; the morality play as an allegory; examples of morality plays.

5.

Renaissance: historical background (the Tudors, the Reformation, humanism, geographical discoveries etc.)

6.

Renaissance theatre and theatre conventions; University Wits; Shakespeare’s contemporaries (Christopher Marlowe, Thomas Kyd, John Webster etc.); dramatic genres.

7.

The Puritan Age, the Restoration, the Augustan Age: historical background (the Civil War, influence of Puritanism etc.); literature of the period; Restoration theatre.

8.

Alexander Pope: Augustan ideas about art and literature, imitation of ancient models, satire, mock epic etc.

9.

The beginning of the novel; formal realism; Samuel Richardson’s Pamela, Daniel Defoe’s fiction.

10.

The beginning of the novel (cont.): a self-conscious novel, an epistolary novel; novelistic conventions, a novel as an artefact, an anti-novel Laurence Sterne’s Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones.

11.

The second half of the 18th c., preromanticism; criticism of neoclassical rules; sentimentalism, gothic novel and gothic romance: characteristic features (counterpoint to Neoclassical decorum, character drawing, supernatural elements, setting, the role of nature etc.)

12.

Romanticism: a historical background; romantic ideas of poetry.

13.

William Blake (romantic elements in Blake’s poetry, innocence and experience, the visionary quality of Blake’ poetry, Blake’s philosophy, mysticism, idea of the universe, Swedenborg, rational and mystical elements, children and their reality) and Robert Burns (the source of language of Burns’ poetry, folk tradition, Burns’ attitude to nature, humanistic views).

14.

The novel of the romantic period (different genres, Jane Austen, Walter Scott, fascination with history etc.)

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