English Literature

ABC of English Literature

The periods of English literature signifies the salient features of different eras and the specific types of works of that period. We have compiled a list of very important information for the students of English literature.

Table of Contents

  1. The Periods of English Literature
  2. The Greats of English Literature
  3. Genre and Specialty of Literary Figures
  4. Important Works and the Authors
  5. Some Important Quotations
English PeriodYears
The Old English Period450 – 1066
The Middle English Period1066 – 1500
The Renaissance Period1500 – 1660
Elizabethan1558 – 1603
Jacobean Period1603 – 1625
Caroline Period1626 – 1649
Commonwealth Period1649 – 1660
The Neoclassical Period1660 – 1785
The Romantic Period1798 – 1832
The Victorian1832-1901
Modern1901-1939
Post Modern1939

Note

Shakespeare belongs to Elizabeth Age (1564-1616)

Churchill got the Nobel Prize in 1953

The Nobel Award was introduced in the field of literature in 1901

T S Eliot was born in 1888

The Greats of English Literature

TitleName of the Literary Figure
Father of English PoetryChaucer
Father of English ProseJohn Wycliff
The Poet of PoetsEdmund Spencer
Bard of AvonWilliam Shakespeare
Epic PoetJohn Milton
Father of English NovelHenry Fielding
Poet of Nature / Lake Poet / Poet of ChildrenWilliam Wordsworth
Poet of RebelLord Byron
Revolutionary PoetP. B. Shelley
Poet of BeautyJohn Keats
Father of English EssayFrancis Bacon
Father of English Short StoryEdgar Allen Poe
Father of English TragedyChristopher Marlowe
Father of RomanticismS. T. Coleridge and William Wordsworth
Father of English GrammarLindley Murray
The Greatest Modern DramatistG. B. Shaw
Poet of SupernaturalismS. T. Coleridge
First Sonneteer in English LiteratureSir Thomas Wyatt
A Great Psycho-analystSigmund Freud

Genre and Specialty of Literary Figures

Literary FigureGenre/ Specialty
William Shakespeare Dramatist
Bertrand RusselBritish Philosopher
Charles DickensNovelist
GoetheGerman Poet
Henry Short Story Writer
S T Coleridge
William Wordsworth
Lyrical Ballads (Two poets belonging to the same age)
John Milton
Lord Tennyson
Epic Poet
William HazlititEssayist
Francis BaconEssayist
William WordsworthThe Lucy Poems
Charles LambEssayist
John MiltonLycidas (A Poem)
George Bernard ShawPlaywright

Important Works and the Authors

Important novelsAuthors
A Long Walk to FreedomNelson Mandela
India Wins FreedomAPJ Abdul Kalam
Ware and Peace/ Anna KareninaLeo Tolstoy
Of Human BondageWilliam Somerset Maugham
Paradise lostJohn Milton
Silas MarnerGeorge Eliot
The Rape of the LockAlexander Pope
To DaffodilsRobert Herrick
Elegy Written in a Country ChurchyardThomas Gray
Dover BeachMathew Arnold
Das KapitalKarl Marx
 UlyssesAlfred Lord Tennyson
Ode to a NightingaleJohn Keats
Ode to Autumn/On first looking onto Chapman’s HomerJohn Keats
A Passage to IndiaE.M.Forster
A Farewell to Arms, Old Man and the SeaEarnest Hemingway
A Tale of Two Cities, Great ExpectationsCharles Dickens
Hard Times /Oliver Twist /David CopperfieldCharles Dickens
Animal FarmGeorge Orwell
The God of Small ThingsArundhati Roy
Gulliver’s TravelsJonathan Swift
Ivanhoe/ Lady of the lakeSir Walter Scott
Lady Chatterley’s Lover, The Rainbow, Sons and LoversD. H. Lawrence
Emma, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and SensibilityJane Austen
Robinson CrusoeDaniel Defoe
Vanity FairW. M. Thackeray
The Return of the Native, Under the Greenwood TreeThomas Hardy
PamelaSamuel Richardson

Some Important Quotations

QuotationsWriters
“Beauty is truth, truth is beauty.”John Keats
“A thing of beauty is a joy forever.”John Keats
“To be or not to be, that is the question.”Shakespeare (Hamlet)
“Cowards die many times before their deaths.”Shakespeare
“Brevity is the soul of wit.”Shakespeare
“Example is better than precept.”S. Smiles
“Life is not life without delight.”Rabindranath Tagore
“If winter comes, can spring be far behind?”P.B. Shelley
“Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought.”P.B. Shelley
“Justice delayed is justice denied.”Gladstone
“Justice hurried is justice buried.”Gladstone
“Pain is the outcome of sin.”Gautam Buddha
“To err is human; to forgive is divine.”Alexander Pope
“Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.”Alexander Pope
“A little learning is a dangerous thing.”Alexander Pope
“He prayeth best who loveth best.”Coleridge
“Eureka! Eureka! (I have found it).”Archimedes
“Man is by nature a political animal.”Aristotle
“The child is the father of a man.”William Wordsworth
“Government of the people, by the people, for the people.”Abraham lincon
“Opportunity makes a thief.”Francis Bacon
“Man is born free and everywhere he is in chains.”Rousseau

In this part of English literature, we will find out about some of the literary figures and their full names. Also, the famous works of English and Bengali literature have been enlisted here. Finally, we will take a walk through the periods of English literature as listed in our previous post.

Writers and Their Full Names

Writer’s Shortened NameFull Name
P B ShellyPercy Bysshe Shelly
R K NarayanRasipuram Krishnaswami Iyer Narayanaswami
W B YeatsWilliam Butler Yeats
T S EliotThomas Stern Eliot
S T ColeridgeSamuel Taylor Coleridge
G B ShawGeorge Bernard Shaw
O HenryWilliam Sydney Porter
D H LawrenceDavid Herbert Lawrence
E M FosterEdward Morgan Forster

Bangladeshi Writers and Their Works

Bengali writersWorks
Kaiser HaqOde on the Lungi
Tahmina AnamA Golden Age
Monica AliBrick Lane

Famous Works and Translation

WORKS & AUTHORS ***ENGLISH TRANSLATIONS
গীতাঞ্জলি — রবিন্দ্রনাথ ঠাকুরSongs Offerings — W B Yeats
নকশী কাঁথার মাঠ — জসিম উদ্দিনThe Field of the Embroidered Quilt — E M Milford
অসমাপ্ত আত্মজীবনী — বঙ্গবন্ধু শেখ মুজিবুর রহমানThe Unfinished Memoirs — Professor Fakrul Alam
লাল সালু — সৈয়দ ওয়ালীউল্লাহTree Without Roots — Syed Waliullah

*** Works of famous Bengali writers and the English translations of the works


Periodical History and Writers’ Work


The 3rd part on the basics of English literature consists of some important terms. When we study literature, we come across different types of technical terms which are relevant to our studies. These terms are mandatory for deeper understanding of texts and references by your teachers.

Terms in Literature

Drama → A literary form intended to be performed on stage using physical movements and dialogues. It consists of three parts – exposition, climax and denouement.

Comedy Comedy is one kind of light or amusing plays with a happy ending. Its aim is to correct the follies and frivolities of the individuals of a particular society through laughter and ridicule.

Comedy of Manners Comedy of manners is a one kind of drama that flourished in the restoration period. It makes fun of individual human beings as well as social groups and their fashionable manners. It is more or less satirical and represents affection, artificial love, immorality, faithlessness, jealousy, intrigue etc. of the so-called aristocratic society. Example – The Way of the World by William Congreve.

Comedy of Humors A comedy in which characters behave according to their respective humors – the 5 fluids of human body. Example – Every man in his humor.

Romantic Comedy A form of comedy which deals with love, often love at first sight as its main theme. It starts with some problems that make the union of the lovers difficult but ends with their happy union. Example – William Shakespeare’s As You Like It.

Melodrama A kind of drama that provides sensational entertainment. It impersonates excessive virtue of exceptional evil and presents horror and bloodshed, thrill, and violence, witches and vampires on stage,

Tragedy Tragedy is a serious play with an unhappy ending and emotional appeal. In a tragedy, the hero or the heroine of the both suffer tremendously for their hamartia (tragic flaw) and ultimately die.

Heroic Tragedy A kind of drama written in grand and lofty style to show a disastrous end of a conflict between love and honor of love and duty. Example – Dryden’s All for Love.

Senecan Tragedy → A form of tragedy that consists the use of chorus sensational themes, ghost like characters, use of hyperbole, much use of philosophic soliloquies. Example Spanish Tragedy.

Revenge tragedy → A kind of tragedy which is based on revenge motives. The presences of ghosts, adultery, suicide, insanity, horrible incident like murder etc are the main themes of revenge tragedy. Example – Hamlet.

Poetry → Poetry is a metrical composition that conveys certain meaning or meanings. Poetry is also called verse. William Wordsworth says, “Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feeling, recollected in tranquility.” Mathew Arnold defines, “Poetry is a criticism of life. The middle age Poetry was used to mean literature.”

Epic → Epic is a long narrative poem that tells in grand style the history and aspiration of a national hero. The term epic comes from the Greek word ‘epos‘, which means narrative poetry, celebrating heroic incidents or achievement. There are two divisions of epic poetry — Primary and Secondary.

Ballad → Ballad is a long narrative poem that tells a grave story through action and dialogue. S. T. Coleridge’s The Rime of The Ancient Mariner is a famous literary ballad.

Lyric → Lyric is a kind of short poem, expressing subjective or personal thought and feelings of a single speaker. The word ‘lyric’ comes from the Greek word ‘lyre’. Lyre is a musical instrument used in ancient Greek.

Sonnet → A sonnet is a poem of fourteen iambic pentameter lines. There are three types of sonnet — Petrarchan, Shakespearean, Spenserian. Milton and Wordsworth have followed Petrarchan form in their sonnets.

Elegy: A lyric poem mourning for the death of an individual or lamenting over a tragic event. The famous English elegies are Milton’s Lycidas, Shelley’s Adonais, Tennyson’s In Memoriam, Arnold’s Thyrsis and Thomas Gray’s Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard.

ODE → An Ode is a an exalted lyric that begins with an address to some one expressing grief or agony but ends with consolation. It deals with a serious theme. For example — Shelley’s Ode to the West Wind.

The characteristics of an Ode are —
① Exalted theme
② High seriousness
③ Rhyme and rhythm
④ Philosophical thoughts (philosophy of life, love and nature)
⑤ Glorification
⑥ Musical appearance
⑦ Selected diction
⑧ Conveying

Dramatic Monologue → Dramatic monologue is a kind of lyric poem in which a speaker expresses his thoughts and feelings to a silent listener. Robert Browning was famous for his dramatic monologues such as ‘My Last Duchess’, ‘The Last Ride Together’.

Mock Epic → A narrative poem which aims at mockery and laughter by using almost all the characteristic features of an epic but for trivial subjects. Pope’s ‘The Rape of the Lock’ is a famous mock epic.

Metaphysical Poetry → The word metaphysical can be interpreted as beyond (Meta), physical (nature). It is a type of poetry which deals with abstract philosophical subjects. The characteristics of metaphysical poetry imply of complexity, intellectual tones, argumentative tone, conceit, dramatic tone, and philosophy or reflected elements.

Novel → Novel is a long narrative fiction where we see a complete picture a particular society. Narrative means the chronological order of events.

Simile → Simile is a figure of speech which indicates explicit or direct comparison between two unlike things. For example, ‘Your face is like the full moon’.

Metaphor → Metaphor is a figure of speech that indicates implicit or indirect comparison between two unlike things. For example, ‘Saiful is a tiger’.

Personification → Personification is a figure of speech in which lifeless objects are given life. For example, ‘Joy whose hands is ever at his lips’ (John Keats).

Hamartia → Hamartia is an error or a flaw for which the hero of a tragedy falls from the zenith of his success to the nadir of misery. It is also called tragic flaw. For example, Dr. Faustus, King Lear.

Oxymoron → Oxymoron is a figure of speech in which two contradictory words are put together. For example, ‘I fear and hope, I burn and freeze in ice’.

Essay → A short composition in prose which analyses a subject often to make a view point for general people. It defers from a short story. For example, ‘The Future of Mankind’.

Poetic Justice → The natural judgment which gives the wicked his due punishment and the virtuous his due reward.

Irony → A statement of a situation or action which actually means the opposite of its surface meaning. It is a contrast between saying and action, between what one says and what one believes. An often quoted example of irony is ‘Brutus is an honorable ma’ from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.

Romance → A form of medieval narrative in which a brave and chivalric Knight moves from to place to place in search of extravagant adventures and finally wins the favor of a country lady. It may be in verse or in prose. Sir Thomas Mallory’s Le Morte d’Arthur is a famous romance in prose.

Allegory → A literary form in which one story is told in the guise of another story. In other words an allegory is a story of double meaning. Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress is a well known allegory in prose which deals with Christian notion of a soul’s salvation. 

Paradox → Paradox is a figure of speech that seems false apparently but actually indicates the truth. For instance, ‘Nine soldiers out of ten are cowards’ (G. B. Shaw).

Conceit → Conceits are similes or similarity between the two dissimilar things or objects drawn from the two different sources. Metaphysical poets, mainly Donne, were fond of using conceits. For example, Donne, in ‘Canonization of Love’, compares the souls of the poets and his beloved’s with the legs of compass.

Blank Verse → Poetry consisting of iambic pentameter lines without rhyme at the end. An iambic pentameter line is a verse line of five iambic feet.

Literature → Literature is nothing but the reflection of human characters. It is the criticism and interpretation of life through verbosity and ornamental languages which evokes deep feelings. Literature mirrors the true or realistic picture of the society and is particularly pleasure.

Pantheism → Pantheism is a new philosophy or ideology developed in the Romantic Era by William Wordsworth. It indicates the existence of God in every part of nature. Pantheism is an intuitive, transcendental belief in the unity of God. Actually we can say, God is all and all is God.

Romanticism → The term ‘romanticism’ is the new philosophy developed in the later part of 18th century and continued till 1st half of the 19th century. Deep feeling and imagination, escapism, subjectivity, worship of nature are the striking aspects of Romanticism.

Classicism: Classicism is a doctrine of art and literature which was followed by the ancient Greeks and Romans. It is opposite to romanticism. Restraint, clarity, simplicity, balance, respect for tradition etc. are the main features of Classicism.

Escapism → Escapism means aloofness from the hard reality of life. It means an attempt to escape into a world of imagination or imagery ideal world. Critics have called Keats an escapist. Keats’ escapism is based on not only his fear for the hard realities of the life but his longing for the dreamy world of permanent happiness of the joyous world.

Victorian Spirit → After coming in power the dynamic queen Victoria, the Victorian Spirit got its radical changes in all sections of society. Industrialization, urbanization, renaissance spirit, scientific progress, Victorian literature emancipation etc. are the outstanding progress in the Victorian Era. In short, the indomitable thrust for knowledge and remarkable development are the Victorian Spirit.

Renaissance Spirit → Renaissance means rebirth. It indicates rediscovery of ancient civilization of Greek and Rome. It refers the consciousness of mind. Freedom and thought was the chief traits of renaissance. The renaissance came to England in the 16th century and it flourished in the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods. Marlowe’s tragic heroes are the reprehensive of the renaissance spirit.

Hellenism → The word ‘Hellenism’ is derived from Greek word Helene. Hellenism therefore symbolizes Greek culture and spirit.

Modernism → Modernism is the outburst of extra-ordinary advancement, state of the art technology, industrial revolution, indomitable thirst for knowledge, Skepticism, doubt, lack of emotion, felling, love for others etc.

Prose → The term prose is divided from Latin ‘prosa’ or ‘proversa oratio’ which means straight forward discourse. It   has thereby come to include a direct unadorned form of language, written or spoken, used in everyday life. Prose is divided into two parts – ① Fiction and ② Non-fictional.

Fictional → Novel ⚪ Tale of Adventure and Romance ⚪Horror tale ⚪Detective tale ⚪ Short story
Non-fictional → Essay ⚪ Literary criticism ⚪Biography and autobiography ⚪Chronicle and History ⚪ Social, historical and political treatise ⚪Journalistic writing

Plot → The plan, design or pattern of event of a literary product. In other words, the planned is serious of interpreted incident that make up the story being told. It is the logically arrangement of events designed to excite curiosity or suspense. It is the structure or scheme of a literary work.

Character → The plots of a literary work relate the chain of events or episode leading sad, happy, or even in conclusion. But such a chain of events or episodes is related to some persons or people. A literary work deals with the story of their life and death, love and hate, success and suffering. Without such materials of human life it remains incomplete. This person or people are caller character.

Theme → Themes are the fundamental and often universal ideas explored in a literary work.

Motif → One of the dominant ideas in a work of literature. It is recurring structure, contrasts, or literary devices that can helps to develop and inform the texts major themes.

Symbol → Symbols are objects, characters figures or colors used to present abstract ideas or concepts.

Soliloquy

A dramatic technique of speaking alone on the stage. It is a dramatic convention of exposing to the audience the intention, thoughts and feelings of a character who speaks to himself while no one remains on the stage. For example, Hamlet’s ‘To be, or not to be: that is the question.’

Objectivity

A mode of expression in which the writer’s personal life remains absent from his writing. Homer, Virgil, and Shakespeare are famous objective writers because no information about their lives or their likes and dislikes is found in their writings.

Subjectivity

A mode of expression in which information about the writer’s personal life find place. In this type of writings, the writer’s likes and dislikes are given importance. It is opposite to objectivity.

Fable

A very short, allegorical story of animal characters which teaches a moral for human beings. Aesop’s fables are best examples.

Rhythm

The sound pattern made by the rise and fall of the stresses in speech.

Classic

A piece of literature which has, for its excellence, lived through out the history. As for example paradise lost. The term is also used to mean all the literary products of Greece and Rome.

Climax

The peak of importance in a play or in a story. It is the point at which the rise of action ends and the fall of action begins. The climax of Macbeth, for example, is the point at which, so far ambitious and brave, Macbeth first gets afraid at the appearance of Banquo’s ghost. It is the turning point of his fall. A statement may also have a climax.

Diction

The selection of words in a writings or speech. A particular writer chooses a particular type of words and phrases. For example, Milton uses unusual, allusive words but Orwell uses simple, lucid, and common words. So the words chosen by a writer is called his diction.

In this part of our journey of the basics of English literature, we covered some important interview questions and topics that people come across during job interviews and competitive exams. In our previous posts, we presented some lists. However, this post will prove beneficial to those who are preparing for job interviews and yearly exams in English department.

Some Important Interview Questions

⦿ Why are we interested in reading literature ?
➼ Literature is mainly meant for giving pleasure. Pleasure and profit are two motives of reading of literature. Reading of literature may be profitable only when it is done properly. We can get immense pleasure from reading of literature. For these reasons we are very much interested to read literature.

⦿ Literature and linguistics, which one is more important? Why?
➼Both the fields of knowledge are important in the present world. Undoubtedly, literature seems to be food of our soul and provides immense pleasure. But in the third world country like Bangladesh, the study of linguistics is much more emphasized because almost everybody gets educated in order to get jobs and for commercial purpose.

Short Questions for MCQ

  1. What was the life span of Geoffrey Chaucer?
    ⦿ The life span of Geoffrey Chaucer is (1340-1400).
  2. Which period is the most flourished period in English literature?
    ⦿ Elizabethan period (1558-1603).
  3. Name two great writers in the Elizabethan period.
    ⦿ William Shakespeare and John Milton.
  4. Name any two books of Chaucer.
    ⦿ The Canterbury Tales and House of Fame.
  5. What is the masterpiece of Shakespeare?
    ⦿ Macbeth.
  6. Which period does Ben Johnson belong to?
    ⦿ Elizabethan period (1558-1603).
  7. Who is Elizabeth?
    ⦿ Elizabeth was the 1st Queen of England.
  8. What is the life span of William Shakespeare?
    ⦿ The life span of William Shakespeare is (1564-1616).
  9. Who wrote the Farie Queen?
    ⦿ Edmund Spenser.
  10. What is Hamlet?
    ⦿ Hamlet is a tragic play written by William Shakespeare.
  11. What is the time of Restoration period?
    ⦿ 1660-1702.
  12. Why is Donne famous for?
    ⦿ Donne is famous for metaphysical poetry.
  13. When did Elizabeth come to her throne?
    ⦿ Elizabeth came to her throne in 1558.
  14. What is Dryden famous for?
    ⦿ Dryden is famous for bold critic.
  15. What is the life span of John Milton?
    ⦿ The life span of John Milton is 1608-1674.
  16. Which period dose John Milton belongs to?
    ⦿ John Milton belongs to Caroline period.
  17. Who wrote Paradise Lost?
    ⦿ John Milton.
  18. What type of work is Paradise Lost?
    ⦿ Paradise Lost is an epic.
  19. What is epic?
    ⦿ Epic is a long narrative poem of grand style.
  20. How many plays did Shakespeare write?
    ⦿ 37 plays.
  21. Name two books of Christopher Marlowe.
    ⦿ The Doctor Faustus and The Jew of Malta.
  22. What is William Congreve famous for?
    ⦿ William Congreve is a famous playwright.
  23. Who was the blind poet in English literature?
    ⦿ John Milton.
  24. Name two great tragedies of Shakespeare.
    ⦿ Macbeth and Hamlet.
  25. What was Milton’s purpose in writing Paradise Lost?
    ⦿ To justify ways of God to men.
  26. Why is the period called the Restoration period?
    ⦿ The exiled King Charles II was restored to the English throne after the death of Cromwell.
  27. Why is 1642 an important landmark?
    ⦿ 1642 an important landmark because puritans closed theatres at that age.
  28. Why is 1649 important?
    ⦿ Charles I was executed at that time.
  29. What is meant by the term Renaissance?
    ⦿ Renaissance means rebirth.
  30. Name any three essays of Francis Bacon.
    ⦿ ① Of Studies ② Of Truth ③ Of Friendship.
  31. What is the oldest period in English literature?
    ⦿ The Anglo-Saxon period.
  32. Name a book of Anglo-Saxon period.
    ⦿ Beowulf.
  33. Who wrote Beowulf?
    ⦿ The writer of Beowulf is unknown.
  34. What is the oldest period in English literature?
    ⦿ The oldest period in English literature is 450-1050.
  35. Who is called the father of English poetry?
    ⦿ Geoffrey Chaucer.
  36. Which poet was elected MP in the parliament?
    ⦿ Geoffrey Chaucer.
  37. Who used blank verse first in English Literature?
    ⦿ John Milton.
  38. What is blank verse?
    ⦿ Unrhymed verse of iambic pentameter.
  39. Name two famous books of Milton.
    ⦿ Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained.
  40. To whom the Faerie Queen was dedicated?
    ⦿ To Queen Elizabeth.
  41. Name first English tragedy in English literature.
    ⦿ Gorboduc by Thomas Norton.
  42. Who was Shakespeare’s wife?
    ⦿ Anne Hathaway who was eight years old to him.
  43. How many sonnets did Shakespeare write?
    ⦿ Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets.
  44. What is sonnet?
    ⦿ Sonnet is a poem of 14 lines.
  45. ‘To be or not to be that is the question’ — where is it mentioned?
    ⦿ It is mentioned in Hamlet, a tragedy by Shakespeare.
  46. What is the oldest form of literature?
    ⦿ Poem.
  47. Of which country’s literature was a great impact on English literature?
    ⦿ Greek literature.
  48. Name any two famous Greek or classical writers.
    ⦿ Homer and Sophocles.
  49. Name any two great works of Greek writers.
    ⦿ The Iliad and The Oedipus.
  50. What is Classicism?
    ⦿ Classicism is a literary term that has first been used in Latin and Greek literature. It is mainly objective that follows some hard fast rules and regulations. Its style is more great, humble, and pompous.
  51. What is Transcendentalism?
    ⦿ Transcendentalism means beyond and above hence a transcendentalist is one who believes in the existence of a divine world, beyond and above the world of essences. The divine can’t be known by reason or national analysis but it can be felt and experienced by the spirit through intuition.
  52. What is Phi Beta Kappa?
    ⦿ It is a society for college and university students who are very much successful in their studied.
  53. Why Ulysses is a dramatic monologue?
    ⦿ Ulysses is a dramatic monologue. It is dramatic because it expresses the feeling not of the poet but of Ulysses and it is monologue because only one person speaks throughout.
Abbreviated NameElaborated Name
P B ShelleyPercy Bysshe Shelley
W B YeatsWilliam Butler Yeats
T S EliotThomas Sterns Eliot
H G WellsHerbert George Wells
S T ColeridgeSamuel Taylor Coleridge
G B ShawGeorge Barnard Shaw
R K NarayanRashipuram Krisnaswami Narayan

Life is a tale told by an idiot full of fury,
Signifying nothing

As You Like It

To be or not to be that is the question.

Hamlet

Have more than thou showest
Speak less than thou knowest
Lend less than thou owest
Ride more than thou goest

King Lear

All the world’s stage
And all the men and women are merely players

As You Like It


To err is human, to forgive divine.

An Essay on Criticism

A little learning is a dangerous thing.

An Essay on Criticism

Charms strikes the sight
but merit wins the soul.

Rape of The Lock


A thing of beauty is a joy for ever

Endymion

Beauty is truth, truth is beauty

Ode On a Grecian Urn


If winter comes can spring be far behind

Ode to The West Wind

Our sweetest songs are those that tells of saddest thought

To a Skylark

Drive my dead thoughts over the universe
Like withered leaves to quicken a new birth

Ode to The West Wind


Haunted me like passion; the tall rock,
The mountain, and the deep and the gloomy wood,
Their colours and their forms, were then to me
An appetite.

Tintern Abbey

Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings; it takes it’s origin from emotion recollected in tranquility.

Preface to The Lyrical Ballads

The anchor of my purest thoughts, the nurse,
The guide, the guardian of my heart, and my soul
Of all moral

Tintern Abbey

Nature never did betray the heart that loved her.

Tintern Abbey


I may assert Eternal providence,
And justify the ways of God to men.

Paradise Lost (Book I)

For books are not absolutely dead things, but do contain a potency of life.

Areopagitica

To live a life half dead, a living death.

Samson Agonistes


For God’s sake hold your tongue and let me love.

The Canonization

Love all alike, no season know, nor clime,
Nor hours, days, months, which are the rags of time.

The Sun Rising

Busy old fool unruly Sun,
Why dost thou thus,
Through windows, and through curtains call on us?
Must to thy motions, lovers’ seasons run?

The Sun Rising


A mixture of a lie doth ever add pleasure.

Of Truth

Studies serve for delight, for ornament, and for ability.

Of Studies

Wives are young men’s mistresses, companions for middle ages, and old men’s nurse.

Of Marriage and Single Life

Reading maketh a full man, conference a ready man; and writing an exact man.

Of Studies


At the immortal touch of thy hands my little heart
Loses it’s limit in joy and gives birth to utterance ineffable.

Gitanjali

I touch by the edge of the far-speeding wings of my
Song thy feet which I could never aspire to reach.

Gitanjali

Life of my life, I shall ever try to keep my body pure,
Knowing that thy living touch is upon all my limbs.

Gitanjali

In this final episode of our posts on English literature, we will go through some short notes on some legends like John Donne, William Shakespeare, William Wordsworth, Matthew Arnold, John Dryden.

A Short Note on John Donne

John Donne is a contemporary writer of Marlow and Shakespeare, shares with them the spirit and the quality of the renaissance. John Donne was born in 1572. After receiving education privately, Donne matriculated at Oxford in 1584. He was admitted as a law student to Lincolns Ill in May in 1592. He wrote of songs elegies and satires before his twenty fifth years. He got married to Anne More, daughter of Sir George More. Donne’s conversation of Anglicanism Donne had two love poetry.

① The mistress of his youth.
② Divinity or love for God.

John Donne died in London in 31 March, 1631.

Seven characters of Faerie Queen with allegorical meaning —

1. The Red Cross Knight symbolizes Holiness.

2. Una symbolizes Truth.

3. Archimago symbolizes the vices of hypocrisy.

4. Duessa symbolizes falsehood or duplicity.

5. Sansfoy represents faithlessness.

6. Lucifer represents pride or arrogance.

7. Sons joy, represent joylessness.

A Short Note on William Shakespeare

Shakespeare means a virtuous writer, legend dramatist, a consummate poet and a good performer on the stage, who remains as a glittering star in the sky not only in English literature but also in the world literature. He was born about the 23rd April in 1564,at Stratford on Avon, Warwickshire. In his 19th year he married Anne Hathaway, a woman eight year senior to him. As you like it, Hamlet, Macbeth, king Lear, Othello, Julius Caesar, Tempest are well known creation of Shakespeare. His famous remark is, ‘ all’s well that ends well’. He is famous for the objective presentation of his deep knowledge about human psychology. He wrote 37 plays, 154 sonnets, and 3 narrative poems. He died in 23rd April, 1616.

A Short Note on William Wordsworth

William Wordsworth was born in 7th April, at Cockermouth, Cumberland, 1770.He is a romantic poet of all romantic poet of nature. He was the worship of nature. He enjoyed nature, felt nature, and found divinity in nature. He is a spokesman of pantheism. He believes that there is a divine spirit pervading all the objects of nature. So his view is ‘God is all and all is God’. This believes finds a complete expression in Tintern Abbey. The solitary Reaper, Tintern Abbey, Michael, Prelude, Lyrical Ballads are his remarkable creation. He wrote about 500 sonnets. He died in 1850.

Contradiction between W Wordsworth and S T Coleridge according to Nature

Wordsworth is the high priest of nature. According to him nature can dominate the mind of human being. But according to Coleridge nature has no color and power to dominate that mind of human being. In other words if we are happy, nature looks happy too and if we are dejected, nature also looks dejected. Nature therefore has no moods and feelings of her own. We receive from nature only that which we give to her.

A Short Note on ‘Dover Beach’

Dover Beach is one of the greatest short poems of Mathew Arnold. This poem reflects the lost hope, faith, and devotion to God. He rightly mentions —

Oh, the sea of faith
Was once at the full

Dover Beach, Mathew Arnold

Here the poet laments over the loss of faith on God as well as human beings.

A Short Note on John Dryden