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History and Anthology of English Literature


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Title: History and Anthology of English Literature

History and Anthology of English Literature
  • Liao Haiyan
  • qq360337745 Tel 13574610991

  • Course Introduction
  • Periods of English Literature
  • The Early History
  • Beowulf
  • The Anglo-Norman Period
  • Geoffrey Chaucer and The Canterbury Tales

A Brief Introduction to Literature
What is literature?
  • Literature is broadly defined as any written or
    spoken material, but the term most often refers
    to creative works, which are of artistic value.
    Literature is the expression of life in words of
    truth and beauty it is the written record of
    mans spirit, of his thoughts, emotions and
    aspirations it is the history and the only
    history of human soul. It is characterized by its
    artistic, suggestive and permanent qualities.
  • Poetry
  • Drama
  • Essay
  • Fiction

Literary Genres
Functions of Literature
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Why do people need literature?
A. Reading for pleasure
  • Howells (American novelist,
    playwright and literary critic) observed that the
    study of literature should begin and end in
    pleasure. Apart from its role of protest,
    education, cognition and aesthetic appreciation,
    literature is primarily to give pleasure, to
    entertain those who voluntarily attend to it. We
    can enjoy ourselves and get enlightened in the
    course of reading. The greatest pleasure and
    satisfaction to be found in literature occurs
    when it brings us back to the realities of human
    situations, problems, feelings, and
  • 1.All the world 's a stage, and all the men
    and women merely players.

  • Shakespeare(1564-1
  • 2.It is a truth universally acknowledged that
    a single man in possession of a good fortune must
    be in want of a wife.

  • Jane Austen(1775-1817) Pride and
  • 3. Clothes make the man. Naked people have
    little or no influence on society.

  • Mark Twain (1835-1910)

B. Reading for relaxation
  • Generally speaking, literature offers the reader
    an exciting narrative. It leads the way for
    readers to an exciting world of experience that
    is different from their own. Thus, literature
    succeeds in temporarily getting readers away from
    their own time and place and sending them to some
    imaginary world that they otherwise would never
  • When readers are indulged in reading, they will
    put aside their problems and obligations of
    everyday life for the time being. Modern life is
    full of pressure. It is people's common desire to
    seek temporary relaxation from the stress in

C. Reading for acquiring knowledge
  • Literature gives readers not only
    pleasure but also knowledge and insight into the
    nature of reality. The readers' interest in
    reading lies partly in the fact that in the
    process of reading they acquire a good deal of
  • Literature gives readers an insight into
    the tradition, custom, beliefs, attitudes,
    folklore, values of the age in which it is
    written. Whether it is in the form of a story, a
    poem, a play, or an essay, literature always
    offers readers some new piece of information that
    broadens their knowledge of the world.

D. Reading to Confront Experience
  • Doris Lessing states"Literature maps the world
    for us, fleshing out what we get from newspaper
    articles and television reports, giving us a
    parallel landscape infinitely rich and various
    where we may stroll any time we like, tourists in
    imaginary world that mirror real ones."
  • Literature is appealing mainly because of its
    relationship to human experience. It sheds light
    on the complexity and ambiguity of human
    experiences and thus broadens readers' awareness
    of the possibilities of experiences. Readers get
    immediate access to a wide range of human
    experiences they otherwise might never know.
    Literature not only gives readers a chance to
    participate in the experience of others', but
    also tries to influence their attitudes and

E. Reading for Artistic Appreciation
  • Under perfect discipline, literature can be
    studied for artistic appreciation. The
    well-structured language manifests good
    craftsmanship, and the beauty of expression and
    form enjoy immortality. A story, a poem, a play
    or an essay is a self-contained piece of art,
    with its unique structure and texture. It can be
    analyzed according to literary theories and
  • When we approach literature in this way, we began
    to move in the direction of literary criticism.
    Literary criticism is by no means negative or
    fault finding. It is an attempt to clarify,
    explain and evaluate literature from an aesthetic
    point of view. In fact, the more we learn about
    how to analyze a story, a poem, a play, or an
    essay from an artistic point of view, the greater
    our understanding and appreciation of a literary
    work can be acquired, and greater the pleasure
    and enjoyment we can draw from it.

Down by the Salley Gardens
?????? ?? Yeats(??,1865-1939,?????????,?1923???
????) Down by the Salley gardens my love and I
did meet. She passed the salley gardens with
little snow-white feet. She bid me take love
easy, as the leaves grow on the tree But I,
being young and foolish, with her would not
agree. In a field by the river my love and I did
stand. And on my leaning shoulder she laid her
snow-white hand. She bid me take life easy, as
the grass grows on the weirs But I was young
and foolish, and now am full of tears.
Rhyme aabbccdd
How to improve reading skills?
  • Reading literature is different from reading
    texts of an average reading course. Therefore, it
    is important to improve the skills of reading
    literature. Here are a few tips for you
  • 1. You should form the habit of
    intelligent guessing at the meaning of new words
    with the clues provided by the context.
  • 2. You should learn to notice details, to
    get the main idea, and to skim to locate the most
    meaningful passages in a literary work.
  • 3. You should cherish a strong desire to
    extract greater meaning from a literary work by
    relating ideas found in your reading with your
    own experience.

Course Objectives
  • This course aims to provide different angles to
    interpret works and help improve students
    perception into literary works, expounding the
    historical background of England and showing the
    classical literary works of English literature.
  • In taking this course, students are expected to
  • 1) read the original works of major
  • 2) understand different periods of the
    history of English literature
  • 3) analyze the text, and communicate
    their critical responses orally or in written

  • ??????????,??????????????????????????
  • ???????????????????????
  • ???????????
  • ??????????????
  • a. analytical approach (poetry, novel, drama,
  • The elements of fiction include plot,
  • setting, point of view, theme, symbol,
    allegory, style,
  • and tone.
  • b. historical approach

Useful Books
  • 1. ??????(????)???,???.???????,2006?.
  • 2. ?????????.?????????, 2002?.
  • 3. ?????? ???,??????? 2006.
  • 4. ??????????Chris Baldick.?????????,2000?.
  • 5.???????????.???????,2001.
  • 6.????????(?????)????? ???????,2006.
  • 7.????????(?????)????? ???????,2002.

Explore the internet
  • Literature An Introduction
  • An Online Companion to the Norton Introduction to
  • The Bedford Introduction to Literature
  • Classics at the Online Literature Library
  • The Literature Network
  • BUBL LINK Catalogue of Internet Resources

Enjoy Web-Site-Seeing
  • British Literature Timeline
  • Britannia Panorama
  • Norton Anthology of British Literature
  • Norton Anthology - Audio Companion
  • Norton Anthology of American Literature
  • Listen to English literature
  • Nobel e-Museum

Suggestions for this course
  • Preview the part to be discussed before you
    attend my lecture.
  • Take down the notes efficiently, trying to find
    out the authors, texts, historical background and
    literary trends out of class.
  • Participate in the discussions actively and give
    your own opinions as possible.
  • Bring out your own experiences and feelings, and
    relate the texts to yourselfthis is the first
    step on the way towards critical appreciation.
  • Write comments on the discussed text.

  • Final score
  • Attendance (10) Participation (20)
    final exam (70)
  • Presentation
  • One topic, one presentation.
  • The volunteers have to register in advance.
  • The volunteers have to make PowerPoint files.
  • A presentation has to be finished in 5-8 minutes.
  • Classroom Rules
  • Come to the classroom on time.
  • Turn off your mobile phones.
  • Dont whisper to each other.
  • When having a discussion, please be active.
  • Dont forget to prepare.

  • Week 1 Brief Introduction and The Old-Medieval
    English Literature
  • Week 2 The Renaissance
  • Week 3 William Shakespeares The Merchant of
    Venice, Sonnet 18
  • Francis Bacons Of Studies
  • Week 4 The Literature of Revolution and
    Restoration John
  • Miltons Paradise Lost
  • Week 5 John Bunyans The Pilgrims Progress
  • Week 6 The 18th Century Literature Jonathan
    Swifts A Modest
  • Proposal
  • Week 7 Thomas Grays Elegy Written in a
    Country Churchyard
  • Week 8 William Blake s London Robert
    Burnss A Red, Red Rose

  • Week 9 The Romantic Period and William
    Wordsworths She Dwelt
  • Among the Untrodden Ways
  • Week 10 Percy Shellys To a Sky-Lark
    John Keatss Ode on a
  • Grecian Urn
  • Week 11 Jane Austens Pride and Prejudice
    and movie watching
  • Week 12 The Victorian Age and Charles
    Dickenss Oliver Twist
  • Week 13 Charlotte Brontes Jane Eyre and
    Emily Brontes
  • Wuthering Height Robert
    Brownings My Last Duchess
  • Week 14 Twentieth Century Literature
    Thomas Hardys Tess of
  • the DUrbervilles
  • Week 15 Introduction to Oscar Wilde and
    George Bernard Shaw
  • Week 16 D. H. Lawrences The Sons and
  • Week 17 Virginia Woolf James Joyces Araby

Periods of English Literature
The Old and Medieval English literature The Renaissance period The Neo-classical period The Romantic period The Victorian period The Modern period
(449-1350) (14th mid 17th century) (1660-1798) (1798-1832) (1837-1901) 20th century
The Early History
  • In the history, England, the early inhabitants
    were Celts, has been conquered three times. It
    was conquered by the Romans (78 A.D410 A.D), the
    Anglo-Saxons (4491066), and the Normans
    (10661350). England was not much affected by the
    Roman Conquest, but much affected by the other
    two conquests.
  • The Anglo-Saxons brought to England the Germanic
    language and culture, while the Normans brought a
    fresh wave of Mediterranean civilization, which
    includes Greek culture, Roman law, French
    language and Christian religion. It is the
    cultural influences of these two conquests that
    provided the source for the rise and growth of
    English literature.

Literature in Anglo-Saxon period
  • The literature of this period falls naturally
    into two divisions pagan (a person who is
    neither a Christian, a Jew and a Moslem), and
    Christian. The former is represented in the form
    of oral saga (??), the latter represents the
    writings developed under teaching of the monks,
    which is filled with religious coloring.
  • Two ecclesiastic poets Caedmon who lived in the
    latter half of the 7th century and who wrote a
    poetic Paraphrase of the Bible, and Cynewulf,
    the author of poems on religious subjects, who
    lived a century later.

????(???-?????,?????9 ???????????,???????10?????,?
The Song of Beowulf
  • Literary position
  • The song of Beowulf can be justly termed
    Englands national epic and its hero Beowulf one
    of the national heroes of the English people.
  • The main plot (3182 lines) (see page 3)
  • Its characters
  • Beowulf nephew of Hygelac
  • Hygelac king of Geats in Jutland
  • Hrothgar king of the Danes
  • Grendel a monster

fight with Grendel (a monster half-human,
devouring the warriors while they are feasting.
The monster died in the battle against Beowulf)
  • fight with Grendels mother
  • (she came to avenge the death of her son but
    was killed by Beowulf )

fight with firedrake (a fire-breathing dragon.
Beowulf came to steal the treasures of earth
namely the golden corn and ruddy fruits for his
people. he succeeded at last but got mortally
wounded and died at last.)
  • death and funeral
  • Thematically the poem presents a vivid
    picture of how the primitive people wage heroic
    struggles against the hostile forces of the
    natural world under a wise and mighty leader.

Comments on Beowulf
  • 1.  Beowulf is a grand hero. He is so, simply by
    his deeds. He is faithful to his people. He dies
    a heroic death for his people.
  • 2.  It is not Christian but a pagan poem, despite
    the Christian flavor given to it by the monastery
    scribe. It is the product of an advanced pagan
    civilization. The whole poem presents us an
    all-round picture of the tribal society. The
    social conditions and customs can be seen in it.
    So the poem also has a great social significance.

Features of Beowulf
  • 1.  The use of alliteration is another notable
    feature. In alliterative verse, certain accented
    words in a line begin with the same consonant
    sound. The following stanza serves as a good
  • Thus made their mourning the man of Geatland
  • For their heros passing, his hearth-companions
  • Quoth that of all the kings of earth,
  • Of men he was the mildest and most beloved,
  • To his kin the kindest, keenest to praise.
  • 4.       A lot of metaphors and understatements
    are used in the poem. For example, the sea is
    called the whale-road or the swan-road the
    soldiers are called shield-man the chieftains
    are called the treasure-keeper human body is
    referred to as the bone-house God is called
    wonder-wielder monster is called soul-destroyer.

The Anglo-Norman Period (1066-1350)
  • Historical Background
  • In the year 1066, at the battle of Hastings, the
    Normans headed by William, Duke of Normandy,
    defeated the Anglo-Saxons. The Normans brought
    the French civilization and the French language
    to England. Besides, the Normans brought Greek
    culture, Roman law and the Christian religion,
    which provided the source for the rise and growth
    of English literature. English literature is also
    a combination of French and Saxon elements. The
    Norman conquests marked the beginning of
    feudalism in England.

Literature in Anglo-Norman Period
  • In contrast with the Anglo-Saxon poetry, Medieval
    English literature deals with a wider range of
    subjects, is expressed in the form of romance
    (??). Romance which uses narrative verse or prose
    to sing knightly adventures or other heroic deeds
    is a popular literary form in the medieval
  • Romantic love is an important part of the plot in
    romance. While the structure is loose and
    episodic (???), the language is simple and
    straightforward. If the epic reflects a heroic
    age, the romance reflects a chivalric one. (Sir
    Gawain and the Green Knight).

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
  • It was regarded as the best of Arthurian romance.
  • Plots
  • The Green Knights challenges
  • Sir Gawains hard journey
  • Three days of Gawains sojourn at the castle
  • Gawain went to the Green Chaple
  • Themes The tests of faith, courage, purity and
    the human weakness for self-preservation give us
    the characteristics traits of the chivalric

  • The romance falls into 3 cycles or categories
    matters of Britain, matters of France and matters
    of Rome. (see page 18)
  • a. The matters of France deal with the
    exploits of Charlemagne, known as Charles the
    Great, King of Frank and Emperor of the West
    Empire. The famous romance in this group is
    Chanson de Roland.
  • b. The matters of Rome deal with tales from
    Greek and Roman sources. Alexander the Great
    (356B.C.323B.C.), king of Macedonia and
    conqueror of Greece, Egypt, India and Persian
    Empire is the major hero of this group. Besides
    this, Trojan War is a hot topic in this group.
  • c. The matters of Britain deal with the
    exploits of King Arthur and his knights of Round
    Table. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight heads the
    list of Arthurian romances.

Popular Ballads
  • It is a folk song or orally transmitted poem
    telling in a direct and dramatic manner some
    popular stories usually derived from a tragic
    incident in local history or legend. The story is
    told simply, impersonally, and often with vivid
  • Ballads(??)are anonymous narrative songs that
    have been preserved by oral transmission. (Robin
    Hood) Ballads are normally composed in quatrains
    with alternating four-stress and three-stress
    lines, the second and fourth lines rhyming, but
    some ballads are in couplet form, and some others
    have six-line stanzas.
  • There are various kinds of ballads historical,
    legendary, fantastical, lyrical and humorous.
    (see page 52)

Geoffrey Chaucer (1340?-1400)
Chaucers literary career He is acclaimed
as father of English poetry and one of the
greatest narrative poets of England. He is the
first poet to be buried in Poets Corner in
Westminster Abbey. We are indebted to him for his
most vivid description of the fourteenth-century
England. Chaucers life (see page
41-43) Chaucers works The Romance of the
Rose (translated from French), Troilus and
Cressie (adapted from Italian), The
Canterbury Tales ( purely English)
Full wise is he that can himselven knowe.
Geoffrey Chaucer
The Canterbury Tales (1387-1400)
  • It is Chaucers masterpiece and one of the
    monumental works in English literature.
  • Outline of the Story
  • The Prologue
  • The Tales
  • Social Significance
  • Chaucers Contribution
  • Appreciation

Outline of the Story
  • On a spring evening, the poet, moved by the
    passion for wandering, drops himself at the
    Tabard Inn in Southwark, a suburb of London. He
    joins this company. At the suggestion of the host
    of the inn, each pilgrim should tell two tales on
    the way to Canterbury and two more on the way
    back. The pilgrims being 32 in all the total
    number of tales, according to Chaucers plan, was
    to exceed that of Boccaccios Decameron, but the
    author failed to carry out his plan and only 24
    tales were written.
  • The best story-teller will be treated with a fine
    supper at the general expense at the end. The
    host is to be the judge of the contest.

The Prologue(??)
  • The prologue provides a framework for the tales.
  • It contains a group of vivid sketches of typical
    medieval figures.
  • All classes of the English feudal society,
    except the royalty and the poorest peasant, are
    represented by these thirty pilgrims. They range
    from knight, squire, prioress, tradesman, to the
    drunken cook and humble plowman, doctor, lawyer,
    sailor and Oxford scholar. Finally, in the centre
    of the group is the Wife of Bath, the owner of a
    large cloth-factory.
  • It provides a miniature of the English society of
    Chaucers time.
  • It is no exaggeration to say that the
    Prologue supplies a miniature of the English
    society of Chaucers time. Looking at his
    world-pictures, we know how people lived in that
    era. That is why Chaucer has been called the
    founder of English realism.

The Tales
  • The structure of The Canterbury Tales is indebted
    to Boccaccio's Decameron .
  • Each of the narrator tells his tale in a peculiar
    manner, thus revealing his own views and
  • The tales of the Wife of Bath, the Knight, the
    Pardoner, the Nuns Priest and the prologue are
    generally regarded as the best of the whole

Social significance
  • The Canterbury tales is more than a collection
    of true-tolife pictures. Taking the stand of the
    rising bourgeoisie, Chaucer affirms men and
    womens right to purse their happiness on earth,
    opposes the dogma of asceticism (????) preached
    by the church and attacks the corruption of the
    church and so on. As a forerunner of humanism, he
    praised mans energy, intellect, quick wit and
    love of life. Chaucer bears marks of humanism and
    anticipates a new era to come.

Chaucers Contribution to English Literature
  • Chaucer is regarded as the father of English
    poetry and has been called the founder of
    English realism. He is the first great poet who
    wrote in the English language.
  • He introduced from France the rhymed stanza of
    various types, especially the heroic coupletto
    English poetry.
  • heroic couplet (?????/????)
  • It contains two lines in iambic pentameter with
    the same end rhyme, or a rhymed pair of iambic
    pentameter lines.
  • His masterpiece The Canterbury Tales is one of
    the monumental works in English literature.

Attempts to Define Poetry
  • Texts in rhythmic form, often employing rhyme and
    usually shorter and more concentrated in language
    and ideas than either prose or drama.
  • Poetry is an imaginative awareness of experience
    expressed through meaning, sound, and rhythmic
    language choices so as to evoke an emotional
    response. Poetry has been known to employ
    meter(?) and rhyme, but this is by no means
    necessary. Poetry is an ancient form that has
    gone through numerous and drastic reinvention
    over time.

Rhythm Foot
  • Rhythm(??) is mainly made up of by the regular
    repetition of stressed syllables and unstressed
  • Foot (feet) (??)is a certain fixed combination of
    syllables, each of which is counted as being
    either stressed (/) or unstressed (?).
  • Monometer one foot per line
  • Dimeter two feet per line
  • Trimeter three feet per line
  • Tetrameter four feet per line
  • Pentameter five feet per line
  • Hexameter six feet per line
  • Heptameter seven feet per line
  • Octometer eight feet per line

  • Meter (?)
  • iambic (????) ? / a metrical unit (foot) of
    verse, having one unstressed syllable followed by
    one stressed syllable, as in the word beyond.
  • trochaic (???) / ? a metrical unit (foot) of
    verse, having one stressed syllable followed by
    one unstressed syllable, as in the word tiger
  • anapestic (????) ? ? / contradict
  • dactylic (????) / ? ? foolishness
  • Spondaic(???) / / moonstone

??????? ??
The Canterbury Tales General
As soon as April pierces to the root The drought
of March, and bathes each bud and shoot Through
every vein of sap with gentle showers From whose
engendering liquor spring the flowers When
zephyrs have breathed softly all about Inspiring
every wood and field to sprout, And in the zodiac
the youthful sun His journey halfway through the
Ram has run When little birds are busy with
their song Who sleep with open eyes the whole
night long Life stirs their hearts and tingles in
them so, Then off as pilgrims people long to
go, And palmers to set out for distant
strands And foreign shrines renowned in many
lands. And specially in England people ride To
Canterbury from every countryside To visit there
the blessed martyred saint Who gave them strength
when they were sick and faint.
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  • ???????????

  • ???????????,
  • ???????????
  • ??????????,
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  • ??????????
  • ???????????,
  • ????????????

In Southwark at the Tabard one spring day It
happened, as I stopped there on my way, Myself a
pilgrim with a heart devout Ready for Canterbury
to set out, At night came all of twenty-nine
assorted Travellers, and to that same inn
resorted, Who by a turn of fortune chanced to
fall In fellowship together, and they were
all Pilgrims who had it in their minds to
ride Toward Canterbury. The stables doors were
wide, The rooms were large, and we enjoyed the
best, And shortly, when the sun had gone to
rest, I had so talked with each that presently I
was a member of their company And promised to
rise early the next day To start, as I shall
show, upon our way.
Points to be reviewed
  • The early history of England (Anglo-Saxon and
    Norman period) and their influence upon the
    making of England. ??
  • The features of Anglo-Saxon period and Norman
    period ??
  • Beowulf and Chaucers The Canterbury Tales ??
  • Literary terms Romance, Ballads, and Heroic
    Couplet ??
  • Homework
  • Selected readings of The Prologue
  • The Renaissance

  • ???.??????. ???????, 2006.
  • ?????.??????. ???????,2001.
  • ???.????????(???).??????????,1988.
  • ??? ????.???????????????(???),?????????,2002.10.
  • http//

  • http//www.librarius.com/cantales.htm
  • ???????????????????
  • http//www.siue.edu/CHAUCER
  • ??????????????????????,?????????????????????????

Thank You!
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