ththThe 17 Century English Literature The 17 Century English Literature
ththI. The Historical Background of the 17 Century I. The Historical Background of the 17 Century
; Major Political Changes:
1. Wars with Spain, France & Germany
2. the Civil War between 1642-48
a. Royalists vs. Parliamentarians or Cavaliers vs. round heads
b. Charles I taken as prisoner in 1646 & executed in 1949.
c. The Commonwealth under Cromwell from 1649 to 1660
d. The Restoration in 1660.
II. The Restoration Literature II. The Restoration Literature
Jacobean Period(1603—1625) Jacobean Period(1603—1625)
; A period rich in literary activity: in drama—William Shakespeare, Ben Jonson; in lyrics—John Donne, Dayton; in prose—Francis Bacon, Robert Burton ; The king himself published 4 books
; In 1611 the King James Bible was published.
The Metaphysical School The Metaphysical School
The Origin of the term:
th; The term generally applied to a group of 17 Century poets: chiefly Donne, Carew, Herbert, Crashaw, Vaughan, Marvel, Cleveland and Cowley. John Donne was the
founder father of the School.
; The term was imposed on them by later critics like Dryden and Samuel Johnson.
The Origin of the Term The Origin of the Term
; Dryden said in his essay in 1693: “Donne affects the metaphysics.
; Samuel Johnson in his one major essay in 1778—1779 used the term
“metaphysical” to describe Donne and his followers.
; Is concerned with spiritual and philosophical matters. ; Refers to a certain style of new poetry at the time with the features as follows:
use of paradox
use wit and conceit
highly inventive, original & intellectual
Paradox, Wit & Conceit Paradox, Wit & Conceit
; Paradox: The yoking together of dissimilar ideas
; Wit & conceit: simply put, the imagery is extremely elaborate and fanciful,
extremely unusual and inventive.
Critics’ Views on the Metaphysical Poets & Poetry Critics’ Views on the Metaphysical Poets & Poetry th; Dryden in the 17 century: 他喜弄玄学？不仅在他的讽刺诗中如此？在爱情诗中也如此。爱情诗本应言情？他却用哲学的微妙的思辩？把女性们的头脑弄糊涂了。
th; Samuel Johnson in the 18 century: Donne这一派的爱情诗不是抒写自然之情？只是炫耀学问？所以他们写的不是诗？只是韵文。他们有聪明机智(wit),但不是Pope所说的机智？而是把不和谐的东西聚在一起。The most heterogeneous
ideas are yoked by violence together. 把杂七杂八的思想生拉硬套？扭在一起？只是为了语不惊人死不朽？是雕虫小技。但话说回来？他的奇思妙想？conceits)？不多读书？不多思考？也是写不出来的。
thth; Obscure in the 18 & 19 centuries.
; T.S.Eliot saw this type of poetry not just the beginning of but also the end of
tradition in this organic union of English poetry. --“unified sensibility”. ; Yet it is also criticized because of not imitating nature or life.
John Donne John Donne
; Donne’s Works:
Love Poems, Satires (in the 1590s)
Holy Sonnets (later in his life)
; Two kinds of poetry:
secular poetry: love poetry
religious matter: sonnets
Qualities of poetry of John Donne Qualities of poetry of John Donne
; Dramatic opening
; Private and personal
; Use of colloquial language ; Reference to various new sciences
John Milton John Milton
His Works fall into 3 periods His Works fall into 3 periods
; Before the Civil War
both in Latin and English verses.
“Lycidas”(1637—1638): a pastoral elegy
; With the Civil War
Prose writing (1640—1660)
; The rest of 15 years of his life
Paradise Lost (1667)
Paradise Regained (1671)
Paradise Lost (1667) Paradise Lost (1667)
; The background:
disillusioned and blind
1. Democracy didn’t succeed
2. Became blind
3. Feeling insecure of future
; Contained 10 books, later became 12 books ; The Content: Satan, named Lucifer when still an angel, led his angels against God.
Defeated, thrown into Hell, and suffered there. Satan: prince of light and beauty,
aspired to be as high as God, a symbol of pride.
John Bunyan John Bunyan
His Writings: His Writings:
; Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners (1666)
; The Pilgrim’s Progress, Part I (1678), Part II(1684) ; The Life and Death of Mr. Badman (1680)
; The Holy War (1682)
Features and influences Features and influences
; Reflect religious elements
; Reflect dissatisfaction & protest of petty bourgeoisie, peasants, crafters after
English bourgeoisie revolution against capitalists & restored aristocrats.
; A soul full of optimism, confidence, and determination not to compromise
; Simple, clear, vivid and forceful
; Closer to modern prose
th; Important writer in the sense that he paved the way for the 18 C. Swift and Defoe in language and techniques of novel.
The Pilgrim’s Progress The Pilgrim’s Progress
; Unique as a work:
An allegory instead of a novel or autobiography.
Written by a man with little education
The characters’ names are not individuals
The journey is a symbolic one
Features of the allegory Features of the allegory
; Use of personification
; The whole work depends on an analogy
; Elements of myth, something archetypal
; Strong element of good psychology
; Strong sense of realism
; A super prose
; High dramatic
About The Pilgrim’s Progress About The Pilgrim’s Progress
; Pilgrim: one religious man going on a journey in order to obtain spiritual things. ; Progress: optimistic word suggesting forward movement, destination, getter better.
narrower meaning: a journey has a planned route.
Sum-up of the Work Sum-up of the Work
; The use of “I”-narrator
; Simple prose style of tremendous dignity
; Colloquial language & well-known cliches
; Concrete images, physical images & reality
; Wonderful choice of dream, advantage of dialogue of a play. ; Narration/ dialogue & dream
; Didactic element
th; A work foreshadowing the development of the novel in the early 18 century
Setting & Characters Setting & Characters
; Geographically simple: city, river, buildings, all medieval castles and houses ; Spiritual journey: leads to celestial city
; Allegorical names: of orthodoxy virtue and vice, of physical connotation, of moral tone
Moral of the Book Moral of the Book
; A didactic book, yet also entertaining
; Highly Christian & Puritan& Protestant
; Appreciates courage, strength of heart & body, good deeds, self-reliance ; Individual is weak. Needs help from others & God
Cavalier Poets Cavalier Poets th; Cavaliers: a name given to the adherents of the king in the Civil War of the 17
; Cavalier lyrics: a term applied to the lyrical poetry that had a remarkable outburst during the reign of Charles I, and of which the court was the center. ; The principal Cavalier poets/lyrists: Robert Herrick, Thomas Carew, Sir John
Suckling, Richard Lovelace, and Edmund Waller.
; Influenced by Ben Jonson & metaphysical poets, esp. John Donne.
Features of Cavalier Poetry Features of Cavalier Poetry
; witty, clever, balanced, graceful ; light, not serious
; highly aristocratic, anti-puritan one single theme: carpe diem theme—seize the day.