History of British Literature
th，The 4 Time, 2 Hours！
I. Title: Renaissance Literature (II): Elizabethan Drama-Blooming Flower of British Literature
II. Aim: Basic knowledge about Elizabethan Drama. III. Emphases and Difficulties:
(1) Shakespeare’s works.
(2) Shakespeare’s achievements.
IV. Type of the Class: New Lesson Taught
V. Means of Teaching(Lecture
VI. Teaching Process:
(I) English Drama before Shakespeare
; They laid foundation for William Shakespeare’s plays.
; 7 writers, Thomas Kyd, Robert Greene, and Christopher Marlowe are famous for their dramas. III. English Drama before Shakespeare
3.1 Thomas Lodge (1558-1625), p.40
Chiefly known for his pastoral romance, wrote only one insignificant play
3.2 Thomas Nashe (1567-1601) known for his picaresque romance “The Unfortunate Traveller, or Life of Jack Wilton”, wrote two unimportant dramas倒霉的旅行家
3.3George Peele (1558-1598) wrote several plays, which were known for the lyrics in them.
3.4 John Lyly (1553-1606), His comedies are full of wit and charm. He also wrote a satirical comedy.
3.5 Thomas Kyd (1558-1594) is important chiefly for his revenge play, “The Spanish Tragedy”
(1585 or 1592?), which followed the Roman dramatic tradition, and which employed blank verse.
3.6 Robert Greene (1558-1592) represented the adventurous spirit and the resourcefulness and many
sidedness of the man of the Renaissance in England. Wrote many works in different genres
His plays influenced Shakespeare.
3.7 Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593)
# The greatest playwright before Shakespeare and the most gifted of the “University Wits.”
# It is Marlowe who first? made blank verse (unrhymed iambic pentameter) the principal instrument of English drama.
# Expressed fully the spirit of Humanism, and skillfully criticized human desire for infinite power, wealth, and knowledge.
; Tamburlaine 《帖木尔》 (1587) , ambition;
; The Jew of Malta 《马尔他的犹太人》,greed for wealth;
; The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus 《浮士德博士的悲剧》,knowledge.
(II) Shakespeare (1564-1616)
; Shakespeare the greatest dramatist of British Literature
; A realist, one of the founders of realism in English literature (and romanticist) ; 37 plays
; 154 sonnets
; 4~5 long narrative poems
; He was not of an age, but for all time. –Ben Jonson
2.1. Life and Literary Career
; On 26 April, 1564, born in Stratford-on-Avon, 埃文河
; His father, glover and dealer of other commodities, alderman, later bailiff (副司法官！in 1568
justice of the peace治安法官, whose fortune declined.
History of British Literature
; Shakespeare Attended grammar school, learned Latin & Greek ; Didn’t finish his schooling for his father’s financial difficulties ; His mother had 8 children but only four boys and a girl survived childhood.
; 1582, got married to Anne Hathaway of Shottery, a village close to Stratford. His wife 8 years his
; A daughter, Susanna, 1583.
; And twins, Hamnet and Judith, 1585.
; He had been a schoolmaster?
; 1585 or 1586 went to London, for deer stealing? Prosecuted起诉 by Sir Thomas Lucy. ; Got employed in or near a playhouse? Taking care of gentlemen’s horses? serving as a
; Then Became an actor.
; Probably in 1588-1590, began to write plays, in collaboration with, imitation of, or revision of
; 1592, achieved some success, attacked ostensibly表面上的 by Robert Greene, “an upstart
Crow” who “supposes he is as well able to bombast out a blanke verse as the best of you” and
who “is in his owne conceit the onely Shakescene in a countrey” suggests parody of a line from
; Non-dramatic poems:
; 1593, Venus and Adonis
; 1594, The Rape of Lucrece
; 1609, 154 sonnets published without the author’s consent
; His plays published without his permission known as “quartos”四开本
; 1623， 36 of his plays (Pericles 伯利克里not included)
; In his later years, Shareholder in playhouses ; 1611 or 1612, retired partly from London, bought a house in Stratford, and lived there.
; After that, visited London at times.
; 1616, Died in Stratford.
2.2 Division of His Literary Career
(1) Early Period (1590/88~1600/01)
A) Period of apprenticeship, collaboration or imitation of other playwrights. ; 9 of his 10 history plays,
; 2 of his early tragedies, Romeo and Juliet (1594-96), Julius Caesar (1599)
B) All his important “romantic” comedies.
; A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1595-6)
; The Merchant of Venice (1596-7)
; As You Like It ( 1599-1600)
; The Twelfth Night (1599-1600)
(2) Maturing Period (1601-1608)
A) All the great tragedies
Hamlet (1600-1601) )《哈姆雷特》
Othello (1603-1604) 《奥赛罗》
King Lear (1605-1606) 《李尔王》
Macbeth (1605-1606) 《麦克白》
Antony and Cleopatra (1600-1601)安东尼和克利奥帕特拉/克娄巴特拉
Coriolanus (1603-1604) 科里奥兰纳斯
Timon of Athens (1605-1606)
B) Some earlier tragi-comedies
; Measure for measure (1604)
; All’s Well That Ends Well (1602-1604)
History of British Literature
; Troilus and Cressida (1601-1602)
(3) Last Period (1609-1612/13)
3 Last tragi-comedies
; Cymbeline (1609-10) 辛白林
; The Winter’s Tale (1610-11)
; The Tempest (1611)
2.3. Summary on Shakespeare
2.3.1 General Comments on his Works
; narratives poems are common
; Some of his sonnets are far more superior than other Elizabethan sonnet sequences.
; Of the 37 plays, about 20 achieved their eminence in degrees. 2.3.2 His Achievements (contributions)
(1) Characterization: typical characters in typical situations. The characters are revealed in their
conflicts with their surroundings & with their fellowmen;
(2) Serious themes reflecting the social problems (conflicts in his time and in his country). His
comedies lay emphasis on emancipation of women; anti-feudalism, contradictions between the rich
the poor; revealed the early colonization, racial problem arising with capitalism; the powerful and
effect of money;
(3) His plays broke the “three unities” of time, place and action.
(4) Psychological revelation of the characters
(5) He combines in his drama the majestic and the funny, the poetic and the prosaic, the tragic and
(6) Plot Construction: parallel threads, suspense, and dramatic irony (7) He used and developed the traditional dramatic skills. (ghost, play within a play, madness of the
character, The Spanish Tragedy, Kyd)
(8) Excellence in language.
; Poetry (sonnets and blank verse); he employed blank verse as the major language of his dramas.
; Prose (16000 words vocabulary) development of euphuism of Lyly 2.3.3 Defect:
; Not much regards to morality. (Or probably he is just telling the truth?) ; Looseness in plot or structure. (the latter half of the plays are inferior) ; Neglect of historical reality. (dislocation of social conventions) 2.3.4. Shakespeare on Dramatic Creation
; Drama’s purpose is “to hold, as it were, the mirror up to nature; to show virtue her own feature,
scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time his form and pressure.”
戏剧的宗旨: 那由古迄今都是模彷事实, 展示道德, 揭发丑陋, 及忠实的反映社会生活。
Compare with Engels’ definition of “Realism”:
; Realism “implies, besides truth in detail, the truthful reproduction of typical characters under
(III) English Drama after Shakespeare
Ben Jonson (1573-1637)本杰明?琼森 known as Ben，
; Buried in the Westminster Abbey “O Rare Ben Jonson”
; 1616, first poet laureate by James I (not officially given the title at that time).
; Fought against the romantic tendency, tried to restore the classical standards (3 unities).
; Followed by the Cavalier Poets of the 17th century.
3.2 Jonson’s Works
; Every Man in His Humour (1598) 人人有自己的脾气, misunderstanding among people of
; Volpone or The Fox (1606) 优尔波恩,狐狸, the most excellent satirical comedy by Ben Jonson.