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Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy Epic poem in terza rima (tercets or groups of three lines with interlocking rhymes: aba, bcb, cdc, etc.). Italian original. A trilogy: Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso. Each volume divided into sections called Cantos. Dante sets himself as the narrator and main character of this epic poem. The Inferno is an account of Dante's own journey, guided by the ancient Roman poet Virgil, through the nine levels of hell. During this journey Dante encounters and holds conversations with the souls of the damned. At the end of the journey, at the bottom of hell, Dante must face Satan and confront the problem of how to escape from the underworld. Beatrice serves as Dante's muse and inspiration. In The Divine Comedy it is Beatrice who, out of love for the poet, initiates Dante's journey because she believes that he has strayed from a righteous path and she thinks that this divine journey will save him from himself. Thus, she leaves her seat in Heaven to descend to Hell where she asks Virgil to serve as Dante's guide. Beatrice meets Dante in Earthly Paradise (Purgatorio) and acts as his guide through Heaven.
Sherwood Anderson: (1876-1941) Writer whose prose style, derived from everyday speech, influenced American short story writing between World Wars I and II. Anderson made his name as a leading naturalistic writer with his masterwork, WINESBURG, OHIO (1919), a picture of life in a typical small Midwestern town, as seen through the eyes of its inhabitants. Anderson's episodic bildungsroman has been compared often to Edgar Lee Masters' Spoon River Anthology. ""primal forces cannot be denied even though the machine-age wants them to be."" Encouraged both Faulkner and Hemingway. ""The young man's mind was carried away by his growing passion for dreams. One looking at him would not have thought him particularly sharp. With the recollection of little things occupying his mind he closed his eyes and leaned back in the car seat. He stayed that way for a long time and when he aroused himself and again looked out of the car window the town of Winesburg had disappeared and his life there had become but a background on which to paint his dreams of his manhood."" (from Winesburg, Ohio)
Matthew Arnold, Dover Beach The most poignant image is the sea. The sea includes the visual imagery, used to express illusion, as well as the auditory imagery, used to express reality. A vivid description of the calm sea in the first eight lines allows a picture of the sea to unfold. However, the next six lines call upon auditory qualities, especially the words ""Listen,"" ""grating roar,"" and ""eternal note of sadness."" The distinction between the sight and sound imagery continues into the third stanza. Sophocles can hear the Aegean Sea, but cannot see it. He hears the purposelessness ""of human misery,"" but cannot see it because of the ""turbid ebb and flow"" of the sea. The allusion of Sophocles and the past disappears abruptly, replaced by the auditory image, ""But now I only hear/ Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar/ Retreating to the breath/ Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear/ And naked shingles of the world"" (Lines 24-28). The image is intensely drawn by Arnold to vividly see the faith disappearing from the speaker's world. The image of darkness pervades the speaker's life just like the night wind pushes the clouds in to change a bright, calm sea into dark, ""naked shingles."" In the final stanza, the speaker makes his last attempt to hold on to illusion, yet is forced to face reality. John Ciardi affirms, ""Love, on the other hand, tries to imagine a land of dreams and certitude"" (196). Humanitarian sympathy becomes distinct in the spiritual image of love, even though the love which the speaker refers to is the unseen second person to which he communes. The sea is calm to-night. The tide is full, the moon lies fair Upon the straits; -on the French coast the light Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand, Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay. Come to the window, sweet is the night air!... Ah, love, let us be true To one another! for the world, which seems To lie before us like a land of dreams, So various, so beautiful, so new, Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light..
Honore de Balzac French journalist and writer, one of the creators of realism in literature. Balzac's huge production of novels and short stories are collected under the name La Comedie humaine, which originated from Dante's The Divine Comedy. Among the masterpieces of The Human Comedy are Le Pere Goriot, Les Illusions Perdues, Les Paysans, La Femme de Trente Ans, and Eugenie Grandet. In these books Balzac covered a world from Paris to Provinces. The primarly landscape is Paris, with its old aristocracy, new financial wealth, middle-class trade, demi-monde, professionals, servants, young intellectuals, clerks, criminals... In this social mosaic Balzac had recurrent characters, such as Eugene Rastignac, who came from an impoverished provincial family to Paris, mixed with the nobility, pursued wealth, had many mistresses, gambled, and was a successful politician. Henry de Marsay appeared in twenty-five different novels. Selected Novels: An Old Maid Bureaucracy Juana The Country Doctor
Samuel Beckett Samuel Beckett was born to a Protestant family near Dublin, Ireland. He moved to Paris and become good friends with Joyce. Samuel Beckett's first play, Eleutheria, mirrors his own search for freedom, revolving around a young man's efforts to cut himself loose from his family and social obligations. His first real triumph, however, came on January 5, 1953, when Waiting for Godot premiered at the Theatre de Babylone. He wrote all his major plays in French even though English was his native language. Other notable play: Endgame Characters from Godot: Estragon Vladimir Lucky Pozzo a boy Characters from Endgame: Hamm... Clov... Nagg... Nell...
Aphra Behn (1640-1689) The first professional woman writer in English, lived from 1640 to 1689. After John Dryden, she was the most prolific dramatist of the Restoration, but it is for her pioneering work in prose narrative that she achieved her place in literary history. Her Satyr on Doctor Dryden is a harsh, reflexive critique on Dryden's conversion from Protestantism to Catholicism. A Satyr on Doctor Dryden is the Protestant rebuttal to Dryden's anti-Protestantism seen in MacFlecknoe. Behn begins the poem by getting right to her point, ""Scorning religion all thy life time past, / And now embracing popery at last.
Oroonoko, or The Royal Slave Oroonoko, an African prince and later a slave to the English who called him ""Caesar""; Imoinda, his lover, also enslaved and sometimes called ""Clemene""; Jamoan, an opposing warrior chief who, conquered by Oroonoko, becomes his vassal; the King of Coramantien, whom Oroonoko serves and later betrays, and who betrays him; the slave-running English ship captain; and various English colonists, especially the supposedly sympathetic plantation overseer named Trefrey, the colony's deputy governor named William Byam, the gallant Colonel Martin, and ""Bannister, a wild Irishman Synopsis: The prince, who has gotten to know Behn while he is a slave in Guiana and she is a sympathetic listener, tells her his story. Successful in battle, he falls in love with a young woman who also catches the eye of the king. Having pursued their love surreptitiously, the couple is discovered and Imoinda is sold into slavery. Oroonoko, a slave-owner himself, despairs and nearly is defeated in battle by Jamoan's army, but he is roused to martial prowess by the pleas of his own troops. Lured upon an English ship by a captain with whom he previously had bought and sold slaves, Oroonoko and all his men are betrayed and taken as slaves to Guiana. There he is reunited with Imoinda, and his noble bearing attracts the praise of all who know him. However, circumstances force him to rebel against his masters and to lead an army of ex-slaves to seek their freedom. His capture, his murder of his own wife, and his torture and execution by the English slave-owners end Behn's narrative.
Robert Browning English poet, noted for his mastery of dramatic monologue. Browning was long unsuccesful as a poet and financially depenent upon his family until he was well into adulthood. He became a great Victorian poet. In his best works people from the past reveal their thoughts and lives as if speaking or thinking aloud. A man can have but one life and one death, One heaven, one hell. Fra Lippo Lippi (First and Last) I am poor brother Lippo, by your leave! You need not clap your torches to my face. Zooks, what's to blame? you think you see a monk! What, 'tis past midnight, and you go the rounds, And here you catch me at an alley's end Where sportive ladies leave their doors ajar? [...] Your hand, sir, and good-bye: no lights, no lights! The street's hushed, and I know my own way back, Don't fear me! There's the grey beginning. Zooks! Porphria's Lover (First and Last) THE rain set early in to-night, The sullen wind was soon awake, It tore the elm-tops down for spite, And did its worst to vex the lake: I listened with heart fit to break. When glided in Porphyria; straight She shut the cold out and the storm [...] Porphyria's love: she guessed not how Her darling one wish would be heard. And thus we sit together now, And all night long we have not stirred, And yet God has not said a word! My Last Duchess (first and last) That's my last Duchess painted on the wall, Looking as if she were alive. I call That piece a wonder, now: Fra Pandolf's hands Worked busily a day, and there she stands. Will `t please you sit and look at her? I said ""Fra Pandolf"" by design, for never read Strangers like you that pictured countenance, [']Nay, we'll go Together down, sir. Notice Neptune, though, Taming a sea horse, thought a rarity, Which Claus of Innshruck cast in bronze for me! C
Albert Camus Born in Algeria and received a degree in philosophy before relocating to France.' He soon established an international reputation with such works as The Stranger (1946), The Plague (1948), The Rebel (1954) and The Myth of Sisyphus (1955).'
Albert Camus, Caligula The two most important of Camus' plays are Caligula (performed 1945, written 1938) and Cross Purpose (1944). In Caligula, a young Roman emperor comes face to face with the terrible lack of meaning in the universe after the senseless death of his beloved sister Drusilla. In order to teach the world the true nature of life, Caligula goes on a murderous spree, killing his subjects indiscriminately. After this act of rebellion fails, he chooses to court his own assassination.
Albert Camus, The Plague One April morning in the 1940's in Oran, Algeria, Dr. Rieux, preoccupied with his ill wife's imminent departure to a sanatorium, discovers a dead rat. This unusual event marks the beginning of an epidemic of bubonic plague that will besiege the city until the following February. Over the long ten months Rieux, his acquaintances, friends, colleagues and fellow citizens labor, each in his own way, with the individual and social transformations caused by the all-consuming illness. Separation, isolation, and penury become the common lot of distinct characters whose actions, thoughts and feelings constitute a dynamic tableau of man imprisoned.
Albert Camus, The Stranger At the beginning of the novel, Monsieur Mersault's mother dies. Mersault is then forced to go the home in which he sent her to in order to pay his last respects. After his mother's funeral, Mersault returns home and the next day he begins a relationship with Marie. Shortly after his return home he also befriends Raymond, his neighbor/pimp. Mersault, Marie and Raymond decide to go the beach and it is while at the beach that the group recognizes the brother of one of Raymond's ex-girlfriends. Mersault goes for a walk to the stream and ends up shooting the Arab man 5 times. He is then taken away and put in jail. At his trial, Mersault seals his fate by his existentialistic ways. He is then sentenced to the guillotine and then the novel ends, leaving the reader wanting a bit of closure.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Biographia Literaria In his Biographia Literaria, the English Romantic poet Samuel T. Coleridge propounded the organic principle as the constitutive definition of the poem: the whole is in every part, and every part can be found in the whole. The poem is that species of composition characterized, unlike works of science, by the immediate purpose of pleasure, and also by special metric and phonetic arrangements; it produces delight as a whole and this delight is compatible with the distinct gratification generated by each component part, which harmonizes with the other elements. T. S. Hulme, a 20th century English thinker, elucidated Coleridge's concept quite graphically in his Speculations: Essays on Humanism and the Philosophy of Art: unlike mechanical complexity, vital or organic is that kind of complexity ""in which the parts cannot be said to be elements as each one is modified by the other's presence, and each one to a certain extent is the whole. The leg of a chair by itself is still a leg. My leg by itself wouldn't be."" In Coleridge's view, expounded in Biographia Literaria, a great poem is the product of both the primary imagination. ""The secondary imagination"" dissolves, disperses, scatters, in order to re-create the material of the primary imagination; it represents creation as against vision. Another important principle which the New Critics borrowed from Coleridge's poetic is contextualism. The English poet viewed the poem as a product of the form-creating man; it had an independent existence, within the organic system of mutual relationships among the terms that made up the context of the poem. Thus the poem was regarded outside any and all non-poetic contexts. ***This piece is very important to the new critics
Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Christabel OVERVIEW: This poem, the first part of which was written in 1797, is also a fragment. Coleridge had wanted to include it in the 1800 Lyrical Ballads, but it was not yet finished; it was still incomplete when he finally published it in 1816. As it stands, the poem is the beginning of a medieval tale about a demon or witch.' It is writen in a strange meter of four stresses to a line, and a varying number of unstressed syllables. (Such a meter was used in medieval Anglo-Saxon poetry.)
Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Christabel PART 1. At the poem's opening, it is midnight in Landdale Castle. Everyone is asleep except Christabel, the lovely daughter of Sir Leoline, the lord of the castle. Christabel is roaming in the woods, thinking about her lover, a knight to whom she is betrothed but who is now far away. Hearing a moaning coming from the other side of an oak tree, Christabel discovers a beautiful pale lady, barefoot and with jewels in her hair, who begs for help. Her name is Geraldine. She tells Christabel that she was abducted from her home by five warriors, who tied her to a white horse and brought her to this oak tree and left her, vowing to return. Geraldine begs Christabel for help. They walk back to the castle of Sir Leoline, at the entrance to which Geraldine falls down and must be lifted over the doorstep. This is the first of several hints that Geraldine is an evil spirit, because such beings cannot pass on their own through a doorway that has been blessed. Likewise, when Christabel utters a prayer of thanks to ""the Virgin"" that they are safe inside, Geraldine cannot join in the prayer. The old watchdog does not bark at this stranger; he only mutters in his sleep, and the ashes in the fireplace suddenly flame up as Geraldine passes by. In Christabel's chamber the two ladies undress for sleep. They lie down together, Christabel wrapped in the arms of Geraldine. As Christabel sleeps, the guardian spirit of her dead mother is driven away by Geraldine. Thus, by the end of the first part, the poet has led the reader to the conclusion that Geraldine is entrapping Christabel or trying to seduce her, to capture her soul. But he reminds us that ""saints will aid if men will call.""
Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Christabel PART 2. It is morning. Geraldine and Christabel rise and dress, but Christabel retains an uneasy sense of the sinister influence of Geraldine. They visit Sir Leoline, to whom Geraldine introduces herself as the daughter of Lord Roland de Vaux, a man who had once been Sir Leoline's closest friend but had since become a bitter enemy. Captivated by the beauty of Geraldine, who embraces and kisses him, Sir Leoline tells his bard Bracey to travel to the castle of Lord Roland and invite him to come back to Langdale Castle. Meanwhile, Sir Leoline challenges the five scoundrels who abducted Geraldine to appear at a tournament one week later to defend, if they can, their honor. But, seeing Geraldine's influence over her father, Christabel asks that the guest be sent home at once. Sir Leoline, captivated by Geraldine and in a fury at this breech of hospitality, responds angrily to his daughter. Christabel cannot explain her fears because her tongue has been bewitched by Geraldine. The second part ends with the poet's meditation about the irrational anger of a parent toward an innocent child.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Kubla Khan In his introduction to the poem, Coleridge mentions an ""anodyne"" which he took before he conceived it. The drug was laudanum--opium dissolved in alcohol--and the vision was an opium dream. (This explains so much.) A poem about nothing: --Xanadu --pleasure dome --Ancestral voices prophesying war --Abyssinian maid --Mount Abora In Xanadu did Kubla Khan A stately pleasure-dome decree : Where Alph, the sacred river, ran Through caverns measureless to man Down to a sunless sea. So twice five miles of fertile ground With walls and towers were girdled round : And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills, Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree ; And here were forests ancient as the hills, Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.
William Congreve, The Way of the World LADY WISHFORT has a daughter MRS FAINALL, a niece MILLAMANT and a nephew SIR WILFULL WITWOUD. Millamant has two admirers, WITWOUD and PETULANT. Millamant's money is held in trust by her aunt, and if she marries without Lady Wishfort's consent half of it passes to Mrs Fainall. MIRABELL has previously had an affair with Mrs Fainall but is now in love with Millamant. When Mrs Fainall was thought to be pregnant Mirabell arranged for her to marry his penniless friend FAINALL. Mirabell has angered Mrs Marwood by rejecting her advances and Lady Wishfort by flirting with her to gain entry to her house where Millamant and her maid MINCING also live. Mirabell plans to get both Millamant and her fortune by dressing his servant WAITWELL as his uncle Sir Rowland and have him seduce Lady Wishfort ~ she will agree to marry him to disinherit Mirabell, and be publicly embarrassed when he is revealed to be only a servant. Mirabell will then be able to step in to release her from the contract, on condition that he may have Millamant and all her fortune. He has married Waitwell to Lady Wishfort's servant FOIBLE as security that morning. When they discover his plan, Fainall and Mrs Marwood try to turn the tables by revealing Mrs Fainall's affair with Mirabell, on condition that Lady Wishfort turn over all her estate to Fainall.
Hart Crane (1899-1932) American poet whose tumultuous life ended when he committed suicide by jumping from a boat.' Writes about New York a lot in his collection of poems called The Bridge. Always talks about ships and technology. Crane ""At Melville's Tomb"" Often beneath the wave, wide from this ledge The dice of drowned men's bones he saw bequeath An embassy.' Their numbers as he watched, Beat on the dusty shore and were obscured. And wrecks passed without sound of bells, The calyx of death's bounty giving back A scattered chapter, livid hieroglyph, The portent wound in corridors of shells. Then in the circuit calm of one vast coil, Its lashings charmed and malice reconciled, Frosted eyes there were that lifted altars; And silent answers crept across the stars. Compass, quadrant and sextant contrive No farther tides . . . High in the azure steeps Monody shall not wake the mariner. This fabulous shadow only the sea keeps.