1 Early English Literature

By Stanley Murphy,2014-04-06 16:10
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1 Early English Literature

1 Early English Literature


    ; The national epic

    ; An oral tradition

    ; The first long poem in English

Three episodes related in the career of Beowulf

    ; 1. The fight with the monster, Grendel

    ; 2. The fight with Grendel’s mother, a still more frightful she-monster

    ; 3. The mortal combat with the Fire Dragon, (after being the king of the Geats for 50 years)

    Four important features

    ; Alliteration

    ; Metaphors

    ; Understatements

    ; The mixture of pagan and Christian elements

    ; Alliteration: The matching or repetition of consonants is called alliteration, or the repeating of the same letter (or sound) at the beginning of words following each other immediately or at short intervals. ; For example: sweet smell of success, a dime a dozen, bigger and better

    ; Metaphor is defined as the substitution of one idea or object with another, used to assist expression or understanding.

    ; A figure of speech in which a word or phrase that ordinarily designates one thing is used to designate another, thus making an implicit comparison, as in "a sea of troubles" or

"All the world is a stage Shakespeare".

    ; The Internet is an information superhighway.

    ; Understatement is used to make something appear smaller or less important than it really is. It can be used to entertain or to reduce the importance of the truth.

    ; In Beowulf, “not troublesome” is for very welcome; “need not praise” for a right to condemn.

    Geoffrey Chaucer


    ; The greatest poet of the Middle English period, “the father of English poetry”

    ; Life

    ; Westminster Abbey

    ; “Poets’ Corner”

    Chaucer’s Contributions to English


    ; A. the heroic couplet, the rhymed couplet of iambic pentameter

    ; B. the rhyme royal, a seven-line stanza in iambic pentameter, rhyming ababbcc.

    ; C. the terza rima, three-line stanzas, rhyming aba, bcb, cdc, etc.

    ; D. the octave, eight-line iambic pentameter stanza, rhyming ababbcbc.

    Chaucer’s Contributions to the English


    ; Making the dialect of London the foundation for modern

English language.

    ; Writing in current English languagethe first poet.

    ; An important factor in establishing English as the literary language of the country.


    Sonnet is a kind of lyric, consisting of 14 lines,usually in iambic pentameters with considerable variations in rhyme scheme.

    Three basic sonnet forms

    ; (1) the Petrarchan: which comprises an octave, (八行诗节),

    rhyming abba abba and a sestet (六行诗节) rhyming cde cde or cd

    cd cd.

    ; (2) the Spenserian of three quatrains (四行诗节) and a couplet

    (两行诗节), rhyming abab bcbc cdcd ee.

    ; (3) The Shakespearean, again with three quatrains

    and a couplet, rhyming abab cdcd efef gg.

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