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Дополнительный материал по внеаудиторному чтению "English Literature Spotlight"



More Texts and Tasks for




Compiled by Maria Eliferova

1. The Birth of English Literature (Beowulf)

From Beowulf (the beginning)

[In Denmark, a horrible man-eating troll called Grendel attacks the king’s palace. Beowulf, who is a young warrior from Sweden, decides to help the Danes and begins his travel across the sea].

A thane of Hygelac heard in his homeland

of Grendel's deeds. Great among Geats,

this man was more mighty than any then living.

He summoned and stocked a swift wave-courser,

and swore to sail over the swan-road

as one warrior should for another in need.

His elders could find no fault with his offer,

and awed by the omens, they urged him on.

He gathered the bravest of Geatish guardsmen.

One of fifteen, the skilled sailor

strode to his ship at the ocean's edge.

He was keen to embark: his keel was beached

under the cliff where sea-currents curled

surf against sand; his soldiers were ready.

Over the bow they boarded in armor,

bearing their burnished weapons below,

their gilded war-gear to the boat's bosom.

Other men shoved the ship from the shore,

and off went the band, their wood-braced vessel

bound for the venture with wind on the waves

and foam under bow, like a fulmar in flight.

Transl. by Adam Sullivan and Timothy Murphy.

From < http://www.beowulftranslations.net/sull.shtml>


thane – here: a noble warrior who is a close companion of the king [Russian дружинник]

Hygelac – the then king of Sweden

Geat – a tribe of early Sweden

to awe omens – here: to respect signs (of good luck)

fulmar – a sea bird


1. Make out what ‘wave-courser’ and ‘swan-road’ are. (Ship; sea). Why do you think these things are not named directly? What do we call such method in literature? (Metaphor).

2. Answer the questions:

  • Who is referred to as ‘a thane of Hygelac’?

  • What are ‘Grendel’s deeds’?

  • How many men were there on the ship?

3. What do you think made Beowulf help the Danes?


Click the link below. See the different translations (in prose and in verse) of the same Beowulf parts.


Pick three to five samples. How did the differences in translation strike you? Which of the translations was the easiest for your understanding? Which did you like best? Get ready for a discussion in class.


Theme 1.

Surf the Web and try to know more about Anglo-Saxons (be aware that ‘Anglo-Saxon’ can be used in multiple meanings, not always as ‘a person from early Medieval England’!). Then write your ideas of what the Anglo-Saxons and their lifestyle were like.

Theme 2.

From what you have read both in paper version and on the CD, make out how Beowulf, Hygelac and Edgetheow are related to each other. Create a story that would explain these relations.

Theme 3.

Beowulf in cinema (essay). Guidance points:

  • Have you ever seen any cinema adaptation of Beowulf?

  • Do you think it is good? In what way?

  • Do you think Beowulf is suitable for screen adaptations at all?

2. The Coming of King Arthur

(Le Morte d’Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory)

Section I.


How they were desired of a strange custom, the which they would not obey; wherefore they fought and slew many knights.

[The Round Table Knights Percivale and Galahad arrive to a strange castle, and a knight coming out of the castle asks them:]

THIS gentlewoman that ye lead with you is a maid? Sir, said she, a maid I am. Then he took her by the

bridle and said: By the Holy Cross, ye shall not escape me to-fore ye have yolden the custom of this castle. Let her go, said Percivale, ye be not wise, for a maid in what place she cometh is free. So in the meanwhile there came out a ten or twelve knights armed, out of the castle, and with them came gentlewomen which held a dish of silver. And then they said: This gentlewoman must yield us the custom of this castle. Sir, said a knight, what maid passeth hereby shall give this dish full of blood of her right arm. Blame have ye, said Galahad, that brought up such customs, and so God me save, I ensure you of this gentlewoman ye shall fail while that I live. So God me help, said Percivale, I had liefer be slain. And I also, said Sir Bors. By my troth, said the knight, then shall ye die, for ye may not endure against us though ye were the best knights of the world.

Then let they run each to other, and the three fellows beat the ten knights, and then set their hands to their swords and beat them down and slew them. Then there came out of the castle a three score knights armed. Fair lords, said the three fellows, have mercy on yourself and have not ado with us. Nay, fair lords, said the knights of the castle, we counsel you to withdraw you, for ye be the best knights of the world, and therefore do no more, for ye have done enough. We will let you go with this harm, but we must needs have the custom. Certes, said Galahad, for nought speak ye. Well, said they, will ye die? We be not yet come thereto, said Galahad. Then began they to meddle together, and Galahad, with the strange girdles, drew his sword, and smote on the right hand and on the left hand, and slew what that ever abode him, and did such marvels that there was none that saw him but weened he had been none earthly man, but a monster. And his two fellows help him passing well, and so they held the journey everych in like hard till it was night: then must they needs depart.

So came in a good knight, and said to the three fellows: If ye will come in to-night and take such harbour as here is ye shall be right welcome, and we shall ensure you by the faith of our bodies, and as we be true knights, to leave you in such estate to-morrow as we find you, without any falsehood. And as soon as ye know of the custom we dare say ye will accord therefore. For God's love, said the gentlewoman, go thither and spare not for me. Go we, said Galahad; and so they entered into the chapel. And when they were alighted they made great joy of them. So within a while the three knights asked the custom of the castle and wherefore it was. What it is, said they, we will say you sooth.


How Sir Percivale's sister bled a dish full of blood for to heal a lady, wherefore she died; and how that the body was put in a ship.

THERE is in this castle a gentlewoman which we and this castle is hers, and many other. So it befell many years agone there fell upon her a malady; and when she had lain a great while she fell unto a measle, and of no leech she could have no remedy. But at the last an old man said an she might have a dish full of blood of a maid and a clean virgin in will and in work, and a king's daughter, that blood should be her health, and for to anoint her withal; and for this thing was this custom made. Now, said Percivale's sister, fair knights, I see well that this gentlewoman is but dead. Certes, said Galahad, an ye bleed so much ye may die. Truly, said she, an I die for to heal her I shall get me great worship and soul's health, and worship to my lineage, and better is one harm than twain. And therefore there shall be no more battle, but to-morn I shall yield you your custom of this castle. And then there was great joy more than there was to-fore, for else had there been mortal war upon the morn; notwithstanding she would none other, whether they wold or nold.

That night were the three fellows eased with the best; and on the morn they heard mass, and Sir Percivale's sister bade bring forth the sick lady. So she was, the which was evil at ease. Then said she: Who shall let me blood? So one came forth and let her blood, and she bled so much that the dish was full. Then she lift up her hand and blessed her; and then she said to the lady: Madam, I am come to the death for to make you whole, for God's love pray for me. With that she fell in a swoon. Then Galahad and his two fellows start up to her, and lift her up and staunched her, but she had bled so much that she might not live. Then she said when she was awaked: Fair brother Percivale, I die for the healing of this lady, so I require you that ye bury me not in this country, but as soon as I am dead put me in a boat at the next haven, and let me go as adventure will lead me; and as soon as ye three come to the City of Sarras, there to enchieve the Holy Grail, ye shall find me under a tower arrived, and there bury me in the spiritual place; for I say you so much, there Galahad shall be buried, and ye also, in the same place.

Then Percivale understood these words, and granted it her, weeping. And then said a voice: Lords and fellows, to-morrow at the hour of prime ye three shall depart everych from other, till the adventure bring you to the Maimed King. Then asked she her Saviour; and as soon as she had received it the soul departed from the body. So the same day was the lady healed, when she was anointed withal. Then Sir Percivale made a letter of all that she had holpen them as in strange adventures, and put it in her right hand, and so laid her in a barge, and covered it with black silk; and so the wind arose, and drove the barge from the land, and all knights beheld it till it was out of their sight. Then they drew all to the castle, and so forthwith there fell a sudden tempest and a thunder, lightning, and rain, as all the earth would have broken. So half the castle turned up-so-down. So it passed evensong or the tempest was ceased.


From http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/Mal2Mor.html


ye = you [archaic and colloquial]

maid an unmarried girl

took her by the bridle = took her horse be the bridle (the girl is travelling on horseback)

to-fore before

yolden = yielded [archaic Past Participle]

cometh, passeth etc. = comes, passes etc. [archaic Present Simple]

of this gentlewoman ye shall fail = you won’t touch this gentlewoman

fellows here: friends

certes = for sure [French-based]

liefer better

to ween to think

everych every each

agone = ago

measles here a grave illness is implied, perhaps leprosy (today’s meaning of measles is a kind of non-lethal illness in children).

leech doctor [very archaic; related to the Russian лечить]

an = in case if

withal = with it

wold or nold = would or would not

to enchieve = to achieve

the Holy Grail the mystical object which Arthurian characters typically seek for (some authors believed it was a cup of Christ’s blood)

holpen = helped [archaic Past Participle]


1. Answer the questions:

  • What is the ‘strange custom’ of the castle?

  • How do Percivale and Galahad react to the requirement?

  • How is such a strange requirement explained?

  • Who chooses to solve the conflict? What is the solution?

2. How important is Percivale’a sister in the romance? (She is even unnamed and only appears in the text to die soon). How do you think Malory himself felt about her?

3. This is in fact Book 17, but some details parallel those of the story from Book 18 you have read (that of Elaine and Launcelot). Find which. How can you explain the parallels? Do you think it was just Malory’s lack of invention? Or did he repeat certain points on purpose? If so, on which purpose?

Section II.

How true love is likened to summer.

    AND thus it passed on from Candlemass until after Easter, that the month of May was come, when every lusty heart beginneth to blossom, and to bring forth fruit; for like as herbs and trees bring forth fruit and flourish in May, in like wise every lusty heart that is in any manner a lover, springeth and flourisheth in lusty deeds. For it giveth unto all lovers courage, that lusty month of May, in something to constrain him to some manner of thing more in that month than in any other month, for diverse causes. For then all herbs and trees renew a man and woman, and likewise lovers call again to their mind old gentleness and old service, and many kind deeds that were forgotten by negligence. For like as winter rasure doth always erase and deface green summer, so fareth it by unstable love in man and woman. For in many persons there is no stability; for we may see all day, for a little blast of winter's rasure, anon we shall deface and lay apart true love for little or nought, that cost much thing; this is no wisdom nor stability, but it is feebleness of nature and great disworship, whosoever useth this. Therefore, like as May month flowereth and flourisheth in many gardens, so in like wise let every man of worship flourish his heart in this world, first unto God, and next unto the joy of them that he promised his faith unto; for there was never worshipful man or worshipful woman, but they loved one better than another; and worship in arms may never be foiled, but first reserve the honour to God, and secondly the quarrel must come of thy lady: and such love I call virtuous love.

   But nowadays men can not love seven night but they must have all their desires: that love may not endure by reason; for where they be soon accorded and hasty heat, soon it cooleth. Right so fareth love nowadays, soon hot soon cold: this is no stability. But the old love was not so; men and women could love together seven years, and no licours lusts were between them, and then was love, truth, and faithfulness: and lo, in like wise was used love in King Arthur's days. Wherefore I liken love nowadays unto summer and winter; for like as the one is hot and the other cold, so fareth love nowadays; therefore all ye that be lovers call unto your remembrance the month of May, like as did Queen Guenever, for whom I make here a little mention, that while she lived she was a true lover, and therefore she had a good end.

From < http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/Mal2Mor.html>


beginneth, giveth etc. = begins, gives etc. [archaic Present Simple]

lusty – sensuous [in today’s English used in negative sense only, but in Middle English could be used neutrally, referring to earthly joys ].

Candlemass – the church festival in February (in England, Feb. 2nd), commemorating the day when Simeon saw infant Jesus; therefore, Malory means a time space of three months

rasure = eraser (in the Middle Ages, rubber was not known, and one would use a special knife to erase mistakes or to delete some parts of a written text, that is why Malory calls winter the eraser).

disworship – a negative formation of ‘worship’, i. e. ‘profanation’, ‘shame’.

man of worship = man in love

licours lusts – here: indecent passions


1. How does Malory liken love to various seasons? What is ‘summer’ in Malory’s poetic language and what is ‘winter’?

2. How does Malory feel about the contemporary people and their ways? What is the matter of his complaints? In what way, according to Malory, the people of old days were superior?

3. Do you believe his statement that in old times love was more ideal than now? (Think of the fact that Malory himself has been dead for over 500 years!).


Theme I.

Write your own essay about Malory’s idea of love. Guidance points:

  • Is it appropriate or at least thinkable for today’s people?

  • Do you feel it had been ever appropriate in real life at all?

  • Do you agree that Medieval people could actually behave and feel like that? Or did Malory just made everything up?

Theme II.

How does Malory’s manner of writing work? Guidance points:

  • What new light does the story of Percivale’s sister cast upon the ‘love’ theme in Malory’s romance?

  • How does it add new meanings to ‘love’ in Le Morte d’Arthur?

  • What do you think is ultimately ‘love’ for Malory?

Theme III (also possible as group work).

Render the story of Elaine and Launcelot into a script to be enacted at school. Think carefully how the characters might move and behave on stage. Use Malory’s essay on love in Chapter XXV as key.

3. The Age of Sonnets (Astrophil and Stella and other poems by Philip Sydney)

From Astrophil and Stella

Sonnet 2

Not at first sight, nor with a dribbèd shot,
      Love gave the wound, which, while I breathe will bleed;
      But known worth did in mine of time proceed,
Till by degrees it had full conquest got.
I saw, and liked; I liked, but lovèd not;
      I loved, but straight did not what Love decreed:
      At length to Love's decrees I forced agreed,
Yet with repining at so partial lot.
      Now even that footstep of lost liberty
Is gone; and now, like slave-born Muscovite,
I call it praise to suffer tyranny;
And now employ the remnant of my wit
      To make myself believe that all is well,
      While with a feeling skill I paint my hell.

From www.luminarium.org


dribbed Sidney’s description of falling in love remarkably modern? How does the psychology of his poem differ from that of a, loved – pronounced with a full ‘e’, to fit into the metre

slave-born Muscovite = a Russian serf (serfdom had been abolished in England centuries before Sidney’s birth, but in Russia had persisted until 1861).


1. Why does Sidney begin his love sonnet with a negation – “Not at first sight”? To which popular idea does he refer? (Falling in love at first sight). Why do you think Sidney rejects this idea?

2. What makes Medieval romance? What is exactly new?

3. Why is Astrophil’s relationship with Stella likened to those of a Russian serf with his master? Are Astrophil and Stella socially unequal in fact? What kind of dependence does Sidney describe?

Sonnet 8

Love, borne in Greece, of late fled from his native place—
Forc'd by a tedious proof that Turkish hardened heart
Is not fit mark to pierce his fine-pointed dart—
And, pleas'd with our soft peace, staid here his flying race:
But, finding these north clymes too coldly him embrace,
Not used to frozen clips, he strove to find some part
Where with most ease and warmth he might employ his art;
At length he perch'd himself in Stella's joyful face,
Whose faire skin, beamy eyes, like morning sun on snow,
Deceiv'd the quaking boy, who thought, from so pure light,
Effects of lively heat must needs in nature grow:
But she, most faire, most cold, made him thence take his flight
To my close heart; where, while some firebrands he did lay,
He burnt unwares his wings, and cannot fly away.

From www.luminarium.org (spelling slightly modernized)


Love, born in Greece = Eros, or Cupid, the love god

of late recently

Turkish heart – Sidney refers to the Turkish conquest of Greece which happened a century earlier. Greece had been under the Ottoman Empire from 1453 to 1830. However, Sydney’s idea of the refugee Cupid should not be taken at face value: Greece had long been Orthodox Christian by then, rather than Greece of ancient gods, and as for the Turks, they indeed had their own tradition of cherishing and expressing love feelings.

clymes = climate

unwares = unwary


1. Where are the ‘north clymes’ mentioned by Sidney? (England). Use the map of Europe to explain the journey of Cupid’s.

2. We casually describe people or their feelings as ‘cold’ or ‘hot’. What use does Sidney make of this ‘temperature’ metaphor? Can you tell where in the sonnet the ‘temperature’ imagery should be taken literally and where it is purely metaphorical?

3. Who of the sonnet’s characters is being ‘cold’? Why?

Truth Doth Truth Deserve by Philip Sidney

Who doth desire that chaste his wife should be,
First be he true, for truth doth truth deserve:
Then such be he as she his worth may see,
And one man still credit with her preserve.
Not toying kind, nor causelessly unkind;
Not stirring thoughts, nor yet denying right;
Not spying faults, nor in plain errors blind;
Never hard hand, nor ever reins too light.
As far from want as far from vain expense
(The one doth force, the latter doth entice);
Allow good company, but keep from thence
All filthy mouths that glory in their vice.
      This done, thou hast no more, but leave the rest
      To virtue, fortune, time and woman's breast.

From www.luminarium.org


This sonnet is not from Astrophil and Stella, it is planned separately.


1. Explain the expression ‘truth does truth deserve’.

2. What is Sidney’s idea of a perfect marriage? What popular idea do you think he opposes?

3. Have you ever heard the modern expression ‘double standard’? What does it mean? How can it be used to describe what Sidney is talking about?


Learn one or two sonnets by Sidney for reciting in class. (You can also surf the Web and find other of his sonnets than shown here).


Choose one of the sonnets and write an essay about it. Guidance points:

  • What in the sonnet stroke you most?

  • Did the sonnet give you any new personal experience?

  • Why did you chose this particular sonnet?

Дополнительные рисунки к этому разделу:

[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Dorothy_penelope_devereaux.jpg – The ‘Stella’ of the sonnets, Penelope Devereux (right) with her sister Dorothy (left)]

[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Robert_Devereux,_2nd_Earl_of_Essex.jpg – Penelope’s brother Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex (beheaded by Queen Elizabeth for his revolt in 1601)]

[http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Assiette_Castel_Durante_Lille_130108.jpg – Cupid with his bow. An image on an Italian plate contemporary of Sidney]

[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Territorial_changes_of_the_Ottoman_Empire_1566.jpg – The Ottoman Empire in 1566 (modern reconstruction)]

[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Turkish_Empire_1606.jpg - A genuine 1606 map of the Ottoman Empire (not exactly Sidney’s lifetime, but Shakespeare’s at least)].

4. Shakespeare, Shakespeare (Macbeth)

Act 1, Scene 3

[Thunder. Enter the three Witches]

First Witch. Where hast thou been, sister?

Second Witch. Killing swine.

Third Witch. Sister, where thou?

First Witch. A sailor's wife had chestnuts in her lap,

And munch'd, and munch'd, and munch'd:—

'Give me,' quoth I:

'Aroint thee, witch!' the rump-fed ronyon cries.

Her husband's to Aleppo gone, master o' the Tiger:

But in a sieve I'll thither sail,

And, like a rat without a tail,

I'll do, I'll do, and I'll do.

Second Witch. I'll give thee a wind.

First Witch. Thou'rt kind.

Third Witch. And I another.

First Witch. I myself have all the other,

And the very ports they blow,

All the quarters that they know

I' the shipman's card.

I will drain him dry as hay:

Sleep shall neither night nor day

Hang upon his pent-house lid;

He shall live a man forbid:

Weary se'nnights nine times nine

Shall he dwindle, peak and pine:

Though his bark cannot be lost,

Yet it shall be tempest-tost.

Look what I have.

Second Witch. Show me, show me.

First Witch. Here I have a pilot's thumb,

Wreck'd as homeward he did come.

[Drum within]

Third Witch. A drum, a drum!

Macbeth doth come.

All. The weird sisters, hand in hand,

Posters of the sea and land,

Thus do go about, about:

Thrice to thine and thrice to mine

And thrice again, to make up nine.

Peace! the charm's wound up.


Macbeth. So foul and fair a day I have not seen.

Banquo. How far is't call'd to Forres? What are these

So wither'd and so wild in their attire,

That look not like the inhabitants o' the earth,

And yet are on't? Live you? or are you aught

That man may question? You seem to understand me,

By each at once her chappy finger laying

Upon her skinny lips: you should be women,

And yet your beards forbid me to interpret

That you are so.

Macbeth. Speak, if you can: what are you?

First Witch. All hail, Macbeth! hail to thee, thane of Glamis!

Second Witch. All hail, Macbeth, hail to thee, thane of Cawdor!

Third Witch. All hail, Macbeth, thou shalt be king hereafter!

Banquo. Good sir, why do you start; and seem to fear

Things that do sound so fair? I' the name of truth,

Are ye fantastical, or that indeed

Which outwardly ye show? My noble partner

You greet with present grace and great prediction

Of noble having and of royal hope,

That he seems rapt withal: to me you speak not.

If you can look into the seeds of time,

And say which grain will grow and which will not,

Speak then to me, who neither beg nor fear

Your favours nor your hate.

First Witch. Hail!

Second Witch. Hail!

Third Witch. Hail!

First Witch. Lesser than Macbeth, and greater.

Second Witch. Not so happy, yet much happier.

Third Witch. Thou shalt get kings, though thou be none:

So all hail, Macbeth and Banquo!

First Witch. Banquo and Macbeth, all hail!

Macbeth. Stay, you imperfect speakers, tell me more:

By Sinel's death I know I am thane of Glamis;

But how of Cawdor? the thane of Cawdor lives,

A prosperous gentleman; and to be king

Stands not within the prospect of belief,

No more than to be Cawdor. Say from whence

You owe this strange intelligence? or why

Upon this blasted heath you stop our way

With such prophetic greeting? Speak, I charge you.

[Witches vanish]

Banquo. The earth hath bubbles, as the water has,

And these are of them. Whither are they vanish'd?

From www.opensourceshakespeare.org


hast thou = have you [archaic 2nd person singular]

quoth say, says [archaic; Present Simple only]

Aroint thee! = Go away!

rump-fed ronyon a swear expression of unclear meaning; perhaps ‘fat rogue’

Tiger a ship’s name

thou’rt = you’re [archaic 2nd person singular]. It is highly ironical to call the witch ‘kind’, since what she is ‘kindly’ helping is drowning the sailor.

the quarters …in the shipman’s card – ‘Card’ is ‘map’ here. Old navigation maps were divided into four sections (North, South, East and West), in each of which winds were marked.

se'nnights = seven nights

tempest-tost = tempest-tossed

pilot here: helmsman (the witch expresses the belief that, through a finger of a sailor who died in a shipwreck, you can cause another ship to wreck).

doth = does [archaic]

the weird sisters – in Middle English weird meant ‘destiny’; however, the modern meaning ‘strange’ is not out of place, because the witches are strange creatures indeed. The ‘destiny’ meaning had been archaic by Shakespeare’s own time.

posters fast travellers

Forres King Duncan’s residence

chappy withered

Glamis, Cawdor parts of Medieval Scotland

thou shalt = you shall [archaic 2nd person singular]

Thou shalt get kings, though thou be none = You shall father some future kings, but shall not be king yourself

Sinel presumably the father of Macbeth, from whom he has inherited the title

how of Cawdor? – Macbeth is yet not informed of the revolt in Cawdor. After the revolt is suppressed, the former thane of Cawdor will be replaced by Macbeth.


1. Why do you think Shakespeare felt it necessary to introduce the witches? He could well have started with Macbeth planning how to kill King Duncan, yet he chose to write a whole conversation between the witches).

2. How do Macbeth and Banquo recognise that something unusual is happening?

3. What do you think made Macbeth murder King Duncan? How much did the witches influence upon his decision?

Act 5, Scene 1

[Enter a Doctor of Physic and a Waiting-Gentlewoman]

Doctor. I have two nights watched with you, but can perceive no truth in your report. When was it she last walked?

Gentlewoman. Since his majesty went into the field, I have seen her rise from her bed, throw her night-gown upon her, unlock her closet, take forth paper, fold it, write upon't, read it, afterwards seal it, and again return to bed; yet all this while in a most fast sleep.

Doctor. A great perturbation in nature, to receive at once the benefit of sleep, and do the effects of watching! In this slumbery agitation, besides her walking and other actual performances, what, at any time, have you heard her say?

Gentlewoman. That, sir, which I will not report after her.

Doctor. You may to me: and 'tis most meet you should.

Gentlewoman. Neither to you nor any one; having no witness to confirm my speech.

[Enter LADY MACBETH, with a taper]

Lo you, here she comes! This is her very guise; and, upon my life, fast asleep. Observe her; stand close.

Doctor. How came she by that light?

Gentlewoman. Why, it stood by her: she has light by her continually; 'tis her command.

Doctor. You see, her eyes are open.

Gentlewoman. Ay, but their sense is shut.

Doctor. What is it she does now? Look, how she rubs her hands.

Gentlewoman. It is an accustomed action with her, to seem thus washing her hands: I have known her continue in this a quarter of an hour.

Lady Macbeth. Yet here's a spot.

Doctor. Hark! she speaks: I will set down what comes from her, to satisfy my remembrance the more strongly.

Lady Macbeth. Out, damned spot! out, I say!—One: two: why, then, 'tis time to do't.—Hell is murky!—Fie, my lord, fie! a soldier, and afeard? What need we fear who knows it, when none can call our power to account?—Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him.

Doctor. Do you mark that?

Lady Macbeth. The thane of Fife had a wife: where is she now?— What, will these hands ne'er be clean?—No more o' that, my lord, no more o' that: you mar all with this starting.

Doctor. Go to, go to; you have known what you should not.

Gentlewoman. She has spoke what she should not, I am sure of that: heaven knows what she has known.

Lady Macbeth. Here's the smell of the blood still: all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. Oh, oh, oh!

Doctor. What a sigh is there! The heart is sorely charged.

Gentlewoman. I would not have such a heart in my bosom for the dignity of the whole body.

Doctor. Well, well, well,—

Gentlewoman. Pray God it be, sir.

Doctor. This disease is beyond my practise: yet I have known those which have walked in their sleep who have died holily in their beds.

Lady Macbeth. Wash your hands, put on your nightgown; look not so pale.—I tell you yet again, Banquo's buried; he cannot come out on's grave.

Doctor. Even so?

Lady Macbeth. To bed, to bed! there's knocking at the gate: come, come, come, come, give me your hand. What's done cannot be undone.—To bed, to bed, to bed!


Doctor. Will she go now to bed?

Gentlewoman. Directly.

Doctor. Foul whisperings are abroad: unnatural deeds

Do breed unnatural troubles: infected minds

To their deaf pillows will discharge their secrets:

More needs she the divine than the physician.

God, God forgive us all! Look after her;

Remove from her the means of all annoyance,

And still keep eyes upon her. So, good night:

My mind she has mated, and amazed my sight.

I think, but dare not speak.

Gentlewoman. Good night, good doctor.



doctor of physic = physician [archaic]

slumbery not exactly sleepy yet not awake

taper candle

How came she by that light? – i. e. ‘How did she manage to light a candle?’ (being supposedly asleep)

to do’t = to do it

on’s = of his


1. How is this scene linked to Act 2, Scene 2 (see the paper version or http://www.opensourceshakespeare.org/views/plays/play_view.php?WorkID=macbeth&Act=2&Scene=2&Scope=scene )? Has Lady Macbeth changed since Act 2? In what way?

2. Explain the expression: ‘Unnatural deeds do breed unnatural troubles’. What do you think Shakespeare meant by this?

3. Mark the shifts from verse to prose – between the scenes and within Scene 1 of Act 5. In the opinion of the 18th-century critics, they came from Shakespeare’s lack of writing skill. Do you agree with this idea? If not, explain why Shakespeare could do such shifts.


Theme 1 (using both the CD and the paper version). The Renaissance poets (Sidney and Shakespeare) seem to take great interest in the subject of sleep (or sleeplessness). Make your guesses why. Write an essay about it. Guidance points: What happens to a person (to Astrophil, to Macbeth, to Lady Macbeth) while asleep? What are their expectations? Does the reality fit into these expectations?

Theme 2. Find a video record of a stage production of Macbeth (any) and see it. Do you like it or not? Write an essay explaining your point of view.

Theme 3 (group work). Choose a scene from Macbeth (in English) for stage enacting. You can use other scenes than above (see http://www.opensourceshakespeare.org/). Mark that you need not to wear Elizabethan costumes if you have not got any or if you just have other ideas. Be creative!

5. Love, Fault and Imperfection (The Sonnets by William Shakespeare)

Sonnet 2

When forty winters shall besiege thy brow,
And dig deep trenches in thy beauty's field,
Thy youth's proud livery, so gazed on now,
Will be a tatter'd weed, of small worth held:
Then being ask'd where all thy beauty lies,
Where all the treasure of thy lusty days,
To say, within thine own deep-sunken eyes,
Were an all-eating shame and thriftless praise.
How much more praise deserved thy beauty's use,
If thou couldst answer: 'This fair child of mine
Shall sum my count and make my old excuse,'
Proving his beauty by succession thine!
    This were to be new made when thou art old,
    And see thy blood warm when thou feel'st it cold.

From http://www.opensourceshakespeare.org/


besiege… trenches – Shakespeare uses military images to describe how ageing would affect his friend (as if by a military attack).

thy, thou, thee, thine = your, you, yours [archaic 2nd person singular]

couldst, feel’st = could, feel [archaic 2nd person singular]

This fair child of mine…’ – the Friend presumably is unmarried and has got no children


1. Guess at what age the Friend and Shakespeare himself might be when Sonnet 2 was written. What is the idea of this sonnet?

2. Information: Shakespeare had a son who died 11-year-old, very likely before - or at the time - the Sonnets were written. Think how this fact might be linked to his sonnets addressed to the Friend.

Sonnet 130

My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips' red;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damask'd, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound;
I grant I never saw a goddess go;
My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground:
    And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
    As any she belied with false compare.


dun brown (here: ‘swarthy’)

wires – not electric wires (which did not exist then); Shakespeare alludes to a poetic tradition of comparing hair with gold wires of jewellery

damask’d (rose) – an Oriental sort of rose

to reek to smell bad

any she belied = any woman who has been belied


By Samuel Marshak.

Ее глаза на звезды не похожи,

Нельзя уста кораллами назвать,

Не белоснежна плеч открытых кожа,

И черной проволокой вьется прядь.

С дамасской розой, алой или белой,

Нельзя сравнить оттенок этих щек.

А тело пахнет так, как пахнет тело,

Не как фиалки нежный лепесток.

Ты не найдешь в ней совершенных линий,

Особенного света на челе.

Не знаю я, как шествуют богини,

Но милая ступает по земле.

И все ж она уступит тем едва ли,

Кого в сравненьях пышных оболгали.


1. What kind of poetic tradition is mocked in this sonnet? Think of the examples that might be keys (say, Olga’s portrait in Eugene Onegin, of which Pushkin also says he got ‘bored’).

2. There are two alternative views upon this sonnet:

a) It is a praise to natural beauty, a rejection of false ideals;

b) It is a satire of a woman whom Shakespeare knows to be plain and vulgar yet cannot help his affection towards her.

Which one do you believe is true? Discuss this.

3. Compare the original and the translation. What was altered by Marshak? Do his alterations affect the general idea of the poem? If they do, how?


Learn one or two sonnets for reciting in class.


Theme 1. Could the real Dark Lady have ever read Sonnet 130? Could Shakespeare have actually sent her this text? Think upon it and write and essay explaining your point of view.

Theme 2. Remember that the Fair Friend was also in love with the Dark Lady. While Shakespeare was ageing, the Friend was young and handsome and could certainly find a much better girlfriend. What do you think made both men choose the Dark Lady? Think and write an essay on it.

6. Humour and Humours: Ben Jonson (Volpone)

From Volpone (Act 1, Scene 1)

[Somebody knocks at the door]

MOS: 'Tis Signior Voltore, the advocate;

I know him by his knock.

VOLP: Fetch me my gown,

My furs and night-caps; say, my couch is changing,

And let him entertain himself awhile

Without i' the gallery.


Now, now, my clients

Begin their visitation! Vulture, kite,

Raven, and gorcrow, all my birds of prey,

That think me turning carcass, now they come;

I am not for them yet—


How now! the news?

MOS: A piece of plate, sir.

VOLP: Of what bigness?

MOS: Huge,

Massy, and antique, with your name inscribed,

And arms engraven.

VOLP: Good! and not a fox

Stretch'd on the earth, with fine delusive sleights,

Mocking a gaping crow? ha, Mosca?

MOS: Sharp, sir.

VOLP: Give me my furs.


Why dost thou laugh so, man?

MOS: I cannot choose, sir, when I apprehend

What thoughts he has without now, as he walks:

That this might be the last gift he should give;

That this would fetch you; if you died to-day,

And gave him all, what he should be to-morrow;

What large return would come of all his ventures;

How he should worship'd be, and reverenced;

Ride with his furs, and foot-cloths; waited on

By herds of fools, and clients; have clear way

Made for his mule, as letter'd as himself;

Be call'd the great and learned advocate:

And then concludes, there's nought impossible.

VOLP: Yes, to be learned, Mosca.

MOS: O no: rich

Implies it. Hood an ass with reverend purple,

So you can hide his two ambitious ears,

And he shall pass for a cathedral doctor.

VOLP: My caps, my caps, good Mosca. Fetch him in.

MOS: Stay, sir, your ointment for your eyes.

VOLP: That's true;

Dispatch, dispatch: I long to have possession

Of my new present.

MOS: That, and thousands more,

I hope, to see you lord of.

VOLP: Thanks, kind Mosca.

MOS: And that, when I am lost in blended dust,

And hundred such as I am, in succession--

VOLP: Nay, that were too much, Mosca.

MOS: You shall live,

Still, to delude these harpies.

VOLP: Loving Mosca!

'Tis well: my pillow now, and let him enter.


Now, my fain'd cough, my pthisic, and my gout,

My apoplexy, palsy, and catarrhs,

Help, with your forced functions, this my posture,

Wherein, this three year, I have milk'd their hopes.

He comes; I hear him--Uh! [COUGHING.] uh! uh! uh! O--


MOS: You still are what you were, sir. Only you,

Of all the rest, are he commands his love,

And you do wisely to preserve it thus,

With early visitation, and kind notes

Of your good meaning to him, which, I know,

Cannot but come most grateful. Patron! sir!

Here's signior Voltore is come--

VOLP [FAINTLY.]: What say you?

MOS: Sir, signior Voltore is come this morning

To visit you.

VOLP: I thank him.

MOS: And hath brought

A piece of antique plate, bought of St Mark,

With which he here presents you.

VOLP: He is welcome.

Pray him to come more often.

MOS: Yes.

VOLT: What says he?

MOS: He thanks you, and desires you see him often.

VOLP: Mosca.

MOS: My patron!

VOLP: Bring him near, where is he?

I long to feel his hand.

MOS: The plate is here, sir.

VOLT: How fare you, sir?

VOLP: I thank you, signior Voltore;

Where is the plate? mine eyes are bad.


To see you still thus weak.

MOS [ASIDE.]: That he's not weaker.

VOLP: You are too munificent.

VOLT: No sir; would to heaven,

I could as well give health to you, as that plate!

VOLP: You give, sir, what you can: I thank you. Your love

Hath taste in this, and shall not be unanswer'd:

I pray you see me often.

VOLT: Yes, I shall sir.

VOLP: Be not far from me.

MOS: Do you observe that, sir?

VOLP: Hearken unto me still; it will concern you.

MOS: You are a happy man, sir; know your good.

VOLP: I cannot now last long--

MOS: You are his heir, sir.


VOLP: I feel me going; Uh! uh! uh! uh!

I'm sailing to my port, Uh! uh! uh! uh!

And I am glad I am so near my haven.

MOS: Alas, kind gentleman! Well, we must all go--

VOLT: But, Mosca--

MOS: Age will conquer.

VOLT: 'Pray thee hear me:

Am I inscribed his heir for certain?

MOS: Are you!

I do beseech you, sir, you will vouchsafe

To write me in your family. All my hopes

Depend upon your worship: I am lost,

Except the rising sun do shine on me.

VOLT: It shall both shine, and warm thee, Mosca.

MOS: Sir,

I am a man, that hath not done your love

All the worst offices: here I wear your keys,

See all your coffers and your caskets lock'd,

Keep the poor inventory of your jewels,

Your plate and monies; am your steward, sir.

Husband your goods here.

VOLT: But am I sole heir?

MOS: Without a partner, sir; confirm'd this morning:

The wax is warm yet, and the ink scarce dry

Upon the parchment.

VOLT: Happy, happy, me!

By what good chance, sweet Mosca?

MOS: Your desert, sir;

I know no second cause.


thou dost = you do [archaic 2nd person singular]

Voltore – the name is in fact an Italian form of ‘vulture’ (a bird feeding on dead bodies)

gorcrow some kind of flesh-eating bird (a formation from gore ‘blood’ and crow)

a piece of plate here: a plate (as ‘a piece of tableware’)

sick dress the dress in which Volpone pretends to be sick

nought nothing

arms (engraved) = a coat of arms (a noble family’s emblem)

haven sea port; sounds like ‘heaven’, which makes Volpone’s point clear: he pretends to be dying

hath = has [archaic Present Simple]

desert here: the fact of deserving


1. What made Voltore pay a visit to Volpone?

2. What false assumptions has he got about Volpone? How is he being tricked?

3. Make your guesses why Volpone plays the trick and whether his last will exists in fact.


Theme 1. Look through the notes for the names of Volpone and Voltore. Write an essay explaining why Ben Jonson used these names in his play.

Theme 2. Do you think any of the characters in these scenes can win your sympathy? Write an essay on this question.


Learn the opening monologue of Volpone’s for enacting it in class (See either paper version or http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/4039 ). Comparing performances by different students might be of interest.

7. The Puritan Homer (Poetry by John Milton)

From the play Samson Agonistes

[The biblical hero Samson, confined and blinded, complaints about his state ]


<…>God, when he gave me strength, to show withal
How slight the gift was, hung it in my Hair.
But peace, I must not quarrel with the will

Of highest dispensation, which herein
Happ'ly had ends above my reach to know:
Suffices that to me strength is my bane,
And proves the
source of all my miseries;
So many, and so huge, that each apart

Would ask a life to wail, but chief of all,
O loss of sight, of thee I most complain!
Blind among enemies, O worse
then chains,
Dungeon, or
beggary, or decrepit age!
Light the prime work of God to me is extinct,

And all her various objects of delight
Annull'd, which might in part my grief have eas'd,
Inferior to the vilest now become
Of man or worm; the vilest here
excel me,
They creep, yet see, I dark in light
To daily fraud, contempt, abuse and wrong,
Within doors, or without, still as a fool,
In power of others, never in my own;
Scarce half I seem to live, dead more than half.
O dark, dark, dark, amid the blaze of noon,

Irrecoverably dark, total Eclipse
Without all hope of day!
O first created Beam, and thou great Word,
Let there be light, and light was over all;
Why am I thus
bereav'd thy prime decree?
The Sun to me is dark
And silent as the Moon,
When she deserts the night
Hid in her vacant interlunar cave.
Since light so necessary is to life,

And almost life itself, if it be true
That light is in the Soul,
She all in every part; why was the sight
To such a tender ball as
th' eye confin'd?
So obvious and so
easy to be quench't,
And not as feeling through all parts
That she might look at will through every pore?
Then had I not been thus
exil'd from light;
As in the land of darkness yet in light,
To live a life half dead, a living death,

And buried; but O yet more miserable!
My self, my Sepulcher, a moving Grave,
Buried, yet not exempt
privilege of death and burial
From worst of other evils, pains and wrongs,

But made hereby obnoxious more
To all the miseries of life,
Life in captivity
Among inhuman foes.

From www.luminarium.org (spelling slightly modernized)


withal = with it [archaic]

bane curse

decrepit old [bookish]

extinct died out, disappeared

vacant interlunar cave Milton’s wording for ‘dark moon phase’ when moon is not seen (‘interlunar’ means ‘between the periods when moon is seen’).

sepulcher tomb


1. Why do you think Milton chose the story of Samson, rather than of anyone else? Does this monologue give us any clue?

2. Do you know the rest part of the biblical story? If you do, retell it in English briefly. What has happened to Samson before the point where Milton begins his story? What is Samson to do afterwards?


Theme 1. Get yourself a copy of the Bible and find the stories corresponding to the pieces of Milton’s poetry above. (As the Bible is a lengthy book, you may search the Web for the names of Satan and Samson, to get references where exactly in the Bible they are found). Write an essay on the results of your search (even in case you fail to find corresponding texts). Make your own conclusions on Milton’s manner of using his sources.

Theme 2. Read the passage from Samson Agonistes once more and write an essay. Guidance points:

- What feelings do you have towards Samson?

- Did you hear or read his story before?

- Did Milton’s play give you any new insight or experience?

8. Who was Richardson? (Clarissa Harlowe by Samuel Richardson)

From Clarissa Harlowe


How you oppress me, my dearest friend, with your politeness! <…> So pray, my dear, be more sparing of your praise for the future, lest after this confession we should suspect that you secretly intend to praise yourself, while you would be thought only to commend another.

Our family has indeed been strangely discomposed.--Discomposed!--It has been in tumults, ever since the unhappy transaction; and I have borne all the blame; yet should have had too much concern from myself, had I been more justly spared by every one else.


My brother being happily recovered of his fever, and his wound in a hopeful way, although he has not yet ventured abroad, I will be as particular as you desire in the little history you demand of me. But heaven forbid that any thing should ever happen which may require it to be produced for the purpose you mention!

I will begin, as you command, with Mr. Lovelace's address to my sister; and be as brief as possible. I will recite facts only; and leave you to judge of the truth of the report raised, that the younger sister has robbed the elder.

It was in pursuance of a conference between Lord M. and my uncle Antony, that Mr. Lovelace (my father and mother not forbidding) paid his respect to my sister Arabella. My brother was then in Scotland, busying himself in viewing the condition of the considerable estate which was left him there by his generous godmother, together with one as considerable in Yorkshire. I was also absent at my Dairy-house, as it is called, busied in the accounts relating to the estate which my grandfather had the goodness to devise to me; and which once a year was left to my inspection, although I have given the whole into my father's power.

My sister made me a visit there the day after Mr. Lovelace had been introduced; and seemed highly pleased with the gentleman. His birth, his fortune in possession, a clear 2000₤. a year, as Lord M. had assured my uncle; presumptive heir to that nobleman's large estate: his great expectations from Lady Sarah Sadleir and Lady Betty Lawrence; who with his uncle interested themselves very warmly (he being the last of his line) to see him married.

'So handsome a man!--O her beloved Clary!' (for then she was ready to love me dearly, from the overflowings of her good humour on his account!) 'He was but too handsome a man for her!--Were she but as amiable as somebody, there would be a probability of holding his affections!--For he was wild, she heard; very wild, very gay; loved intrigue--but he was young; a man of sense: would see his error, could she but have patience with his faults, if his faults were not cured by marriage!'

Thus she ran on; and then wanted me 'to see the charming man,' as she called him <…>

I congratulated her upon her prospects. She received my compliments with a great deal of self-complacency.

She liked the gentleman still more at his next visit; and yet he made no particular address to her, although an opportunity was given him for it. This was wondered at, as my uncle has introduced him into our family declaredly as a visitor to my sister. But as we are ever ready to make excuses when in good humour with ourselves for the perhaps not unwilful slights of those whose approbation we wish to engage; so my sister found out a reason much to Mr. Lovelace's advantage for his not improving the opportunity that was given him.--It was bashfulness, truly, in him.

(Bashfulness in Mr. Lovelace, my dear!)--Indeed, gay and lively as he is, he has not the look of an impudent man. But, I fancy, it is many, many years ago since he was bashful.

Thus, however, could my sister make it out--'Upon her word, she believed Mr. Lovelace deserved not the bad character he had as to women.--He was really, to her thinking, a modest man. He would have spoken out, she believed; but once or twice as he seemed to intend to do so, he was under so agreeable a confusion! Such a profound respect he seemed to show her! A perfect reverence, she thought: she loved dearly that a man in courtship should show a reverence to his mistress'--So indeed we all do, I believe: and with reason; since, if I may judge from what I have seen in many families, there is little enough of it shown afterwards.--And she told my aunt Hervey, that she would be a little less upon the reserve next time he came: 'She was not one of those flirts, not she, who would give pain to a person that deserved to be well-treated; and the more pain for the greatness of his value for her.'--I wish she had not somebody whom I love in her eye.

In his third visit, Bella governed herself by this kind and considerate principle: so that, according to her own account of the matter, the man might have spoken out.--But he was still bashful: he was not able to overcome this unseasonable reverence. So this visit went off as the former.

But now she began to be dissatisfied with him. She compared his general character with this his particular behaviour to her; and having never been courted before, owned herself puzzled how to deal with so odd a lover. 'What did the man mean, she wondered? Had not her uncle brought him declaredly as a suitor to her?--It could not be bashfulness (now she thought of it) since he might have opened his mind to her uncle, if he wanted courage to speak directly to her.--Not that she cared much for the man neither: but it was right, surely, that a woman should be put out of doubt early as to a man's intentions in such a case as this, from his own mouth.--But, truly, she had begun to think, that he was more solicitous to cultivate her mamma's good opinion, than hers!—Every body, she owned, admired her mother's conversation; but he was mistaken if he thought respect to her mother only would do with her.

And then, for his own sake, surely he should put it into her power to be complaisant to him, if he gave her reason to approve of him. This distant behaviour, she must take upon herself to say, was the more extraordinary, as he continued his visits, and declared himself extremely desirous to cultivate a friendship with the whole family; and as he could have no doubt about her sense, if she might take upon her to join her own with the general opinion; he having taken great notice of, and admired many of her good things as they fell from her lips. Reserves were painful, she must needs say, to open and free spirits, like hers: and yet she must tell my aunt,' (to whom all this was directed) 'that she should never forget what she owed to her sex, and to herself, were Mr. Lovelace as unexceptionable in his morals as in his figure, and were he to urge his suit ever so warmly.'

I was not of her council. I was still absent. And it was agreed upon between my aunt Hervey and her, that she was to be quite solemn and shy in his next visit, if there were not a peculiarity in his address to


But my sister it seems had not considered the matter well. <…> She must therefore, I doubt, have appeared to great disadvantages when she aimed to be worse tempered than ordinary.

How they managed it in their next conversation I know not. One would be tempted to think by the issue, that Mr. Lovelace was ungenerous enough to seek the occasion given, and to improve it. Yet he thought fit to put the question too:--But, she says, it was not till, by some means or other (she knew not how) he had wrought her up to such a pitch of displeasure with him, that it was impossible for her to recover herself at the instant. Nevertheless he re-urged his question, as expecting a definitive answer, without waiting for the return of her temper, or endeavouring to mollify her; so that she was under a necessity of persisting in her denial: yet gave him reason to think she did not dislike his address, only the manner of it; his court being rather made to her mother than to herself, as if he was sure of her consent at any time.

Here I am obliged to lay down my pen. I will soon resume it.

From www.gutenberg.org (spelling and punctuation slightly modernized)


discomposed out of order

tumults great disturbance

not unwilful = somewhat willing or eager

she should never forget what she owed to her sex = she must behave as a lady is expected to


1. What gets Clarissa puzzled? Whose behaviour is mysterious?

2. Do you think Lovelace is actually bashful?

3. Make your guesses how the fight between Lovelace and the brother of Clarissa and Arabella could be linked to this mystery.


Theme 1. How do you feel about Richardson’s epistolary style? Write an essay. Guidance points:

- Is it the first time you see a novel in letters? Were you amazed to see such literary form (instead of narration)?

- Do you think it is natural for people to write letters of such kind? Do you think people could write like that 200 years ago?

- Did this manner of writing give you any new reading experience? Of what kind?

Theme 2. Try to reconstruct what had happened between Arabella, Clarissa, their brother and Lovelace. Write a short story (as a 3d person narration).

Theme 3. Imitate Richardson and create your own letter to a friend so that it could be the beginning of an intriguing story. (You need not to set it in the 18th century – the letter may be an e-mail if you wish).

9. The Unclassifiable Blake (Songs of Innocence and Experience by William Blake)

From Songs of Innocence and Experience

The Lamb (Songs of Innocence)

Little Lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?
Gave thee life and bid thee feed
By the stream and o’er the mead;
Gave thee clothing of delight,
Softest clothing, wooly, bright;
Gave thee such a tender voice,
Making all the vales rejoice?
Little Lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?

Little Lamb, I’ll tell thee,
Little Lamb, I’ll tell thee:
He is callèd by thy name,
For he calls himself a Lamb.
He is meek, and he is mild;
He became a little child.
I a child, and thou a lamb,
We are callèd by his name.
Little Lamb, God bless thee!
Little Lamb, God bless thee!

From <http://www.wikisource.org>


thee, dost thou you, do you [archaic 2nd person singular; not used in normal speech in Blake’s lifetime]

bid told to

clothing of delight = delightful clothing

callèd ‘e’ is pronounced, for the sake of fitting into the verse metre


1. Who is the speaker addressing to the lamb?

2. The poem is in fact shaped as a riddle. What is the question posed in it? Is the answer actually given in the text?

3. Who is ‘he’ mentioned by the speaker? How soon did you get the idea?

4. Can you now tell why the poem is about a lamb? What links the lamb to the speaker?

The Tyger (Songs of Experience)

Tyger Tyger, burning bright,
In the forests of the night :
What immortal hand or eye,
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder, and what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? and what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain,
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears
And water'd heaven with their tears :
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger, Tyger burning bright
In the forests of the night :
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?


tyger an older spelling variation (not in use now)

burning bright Blake is referring to either a tiger’s eyes or its orange-coloured fur that looks like fire

thy, thine you, yours [archaic 2nd person singular; not used in normal speech in Blake’s lifetime]

eye – symmetry an example of so-called ‘eye-rhyme’ (while in Russia reciting poetry aloud is widespread, not all English poets wrote for recitation)


1. How is the poem linked to The Lamb? How different is its tone from that of The Lamb?

2. Is the speaker the same as in The Lamb or not?

3. The two poems begin in the same way: addressing an animal and asking it who had made it. Do they end in the same way?

4. What is disturbing in The Tyger? How do you personally feel about it?


Theme 1.

You have just read some poetry from Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience. Have you any ideas how the two collections are related to each other? What made Blake to write such an unusual sequence of poems?

Theme 2.

Write an essay on The Lamb and The Tyger. Guidance points:

  • Which poem do you like best?

  • Was The Tyger anything unexpected to you after The Lamb?

  • Did the difference between the two poems evoke any special thoughts of yours?

  • What are the most difficult questions Blake deals with?

10. The Lake Poets (Poetry by S. T. Coleridge, William Wordsworth and Robert Southey)

From Christabel by S. T. Coleridge

[Geraldine claims that she is a noble lady who abducted by some bandits and managed to escape. Christabel takes her home. Full of sympathy, she shares her bedroom with Geraldine, but strange things begin to happen]

So free from danger, free from fear,
They crossed the court: right glad they were.
And Christabel devoutly cried
To the Lady by her side,
Praise we the Virgin all divine
Who hath rescued thee from thy distress !
Alas, alas ! said Geraldine,
I cannot speak for weariness.
So free from danger, free from fear,
They crossed the court: right glad they were.

Outside her kennel, the mastiff old
Lay fast asleep, in moonshine cold.
The mastiff old did not awake,
Yet she an angry moan did make!
And what can ail the mastiff bitch ?
Never till now she uttered yell
Beneath the eye of Christabel.
Perhaps it is the owlet's scritch:
For what can aid the mastiff bitch ?

They passed the hall, that echoes still,
Pass as lightly as you will !
The brands were flat, the brands were dying,
Amid their own white ashes lying ;
But when the lady passed, there came
A tongue of light, a fit of flame ;
And Christabel saw the lady's eye,
And nothing else saw she thereby,
Save the boss of the shield of Sir Leoline tall,
Which hung in a murky old niche in the wall.
O softly tread, said Christabel,
My father seldom sleepeth well.

Sweet Christabel her feet doth bare,
And jealous of the listening air
They steal their way from stair to stair,
Now in glimmer, and now in gloom,
And now they pass the Baron's room,
As still as death, with stifled breath !
And now have reached her chamber door ;
And now doth Geraldine press down
The rushes of the chamber floor.

The moon shines dim in the open air,
And not a moonbeam enters here.
But they without its light can see
The chamber carved so curiously,
Carved with figures strange and sweet,
All made out of the carver's brain,
For a lady's chamber meet :
The lamp with twofold silver chain
Is fastened to an angel's feet.

The silver lamp burns dead and dim ;
But Christabel the lamp will trim.
She trimmed the lamp, and made it bright,
And left it swinging to and fro,
While Geraldine, in wretched plight,
Sank down upon the floor below.

O weary lady, Geraldine,
I pray you, drink this cordial wine !
It is a wine of virtuous powers ;
My mother made it of wild flowers.

And will your mother pity me,
Who am a maiden most forlorn ?
Christabel answered--Woe is me !
She died the hour that I was born.
I have heard the gray-haired friar tell
How on her death-bed she did say,
That she should hear the castle-bell
Strike twelve upon my wedding-day.
O mother dear ! that thou wert here !
I would, said Geraldine, she were !

But soon with altered voice, said she--
`Off, wandering mother ! Peak and pine !
I have power to bid thee flee.'
Alas ! what ails poor Geraldine ?
Why stares she with unsettled eye ?
Can she the bodiless dead espy ?
And why with hollow voice cries she,
`Off, woman, off ! this hour is mine--
Though thou her guardian spirit be,
Off, woman, off ! 'tis given to me.'

Then Christabel knelt by the lady's side,
And raised to heaven her eyes so blue--
Alas ! said she, this ghastly ride--
Dear lady ! it hath wildered you !
The lady wiped her moist cold brow,
And faintly said, `'Tis over now !'



hath, sleepeth etc. = has, sleeps [archaic]

kennel doghouse

mastiff bitch a female mastiff

scritch = screech (a noise made by an owl)

Christabel her feet doth bare = Christabel removes her shoes (to avoid making noise)


1. There are three points in this passage where strange things happen:

a) Geraldine avoids saying a prayer together with Christabel;

b) Christabel’s dog is disturbed by Geraldine’s coming;

c) ---

Find the third event.

2. How do you think these strange things are related to Geraldine?

3. Make your guesses:

- why it is only Geraldine who sees the ghost of Christabel’s mother, not Christabel herself;

- why Geraldine says:

`Off, woman, off ! this hour is mine--
Though thou her guardian spirit be,
Off, woman, off ! 'tis given to me.'


Choose a small section of the poem (10 to 20 lines) and learn it for recitation in class.


Theme 1. What impression the poem made on you? Describe your experience.

Theme 2. Coleridge did not in fact completed the poem. Sum up your guesses who Geraldine might be and your expectations what could happen next. Write your own version (in prose).

Theme 3. Did the poem give you any idea what ‘Romanticism’ is? Write why and how, in your opinion, Coleridge is Romantic. (Please note that ‘Romantic’ is not exactly the same as ‘romantic’ in combinations like ‘romantic love’ or ‘romantic journey’!).

Poems by William Wordsworth

Incident at Bruges

In Bruges town is many a street
Whence busy life hath fled;
Where, without hurry, noiseless feet
The grass-grown pavement tread.
There heard we, halting in the shade
Flung from a Convent-tower,
A harp that tuneful prelude made
To a voice of thrilling power.

The measure, simple truth to tell,
Was fit for some gay throng;
Though from the same grim turret fell
The shadow and the song.
When silent were both voice and chords,
The strain seemed doubly dear,
Yet sad as sweet, for 'English' words
Had fallen upon the ear.

It was a breezy hour of eve;
And pinnacle and spire
Quivered and seemed almost to heave,
Clothed with innocuous fire;
But, where we stood, the setting sun
Showed little of his state;
And, if the glory reached the Nun,
'Twas through an iron grate.

Not always is the heart unwise,
Nor pity idly born,
If even a passing Stranger sighs
For them who do not mourn.
Sad is thy doom, self-solaced dove,
Captive, whoe'er thou be!
Oh! what is beauty, what is love,
And opening life to thee?

Such feeling pressed upon my soul,
A feeling sanctified
By one soft trickling tear that stole
From the Maiden at my side;
Less tribute could she pay than this,
Borne gaily o'er the sea,
Fresh from the beauty and the bliss
Of English liberty?

From < http://www.famous-poems.org/poems/william-wordsworth>


Bruges a city in Belgium (Russian Брюгге)

many a street = many streets [poetic]

hath = has [archaic; not in normal use by Wordsworth’s lifetime]

a harp… a prelude made to a voice – i. e. the person first began playing a harp, then singing

English words – an English-speaking person is presumably either from Britain or USA which are Protestant countries. Protestantism does not have convents, and a person born in a Protestant country is unlikely to enter religious life. That is why the speaker is surprised.

pinnacle and spire details of Gothic architecture of the convent

twas = it was [poetic]


1. What does the poet call an ‘incident’? What is so remarkable about it?

2. Why does he feel pity for the singing nun?

3. How is his travelling companion (‘the Maiden at my side’) contrasted to the nun in the poem?

4. Think upon the saying: ‘Not always is the heart unwise’. What do you think means ‘being unwise’ from Wordsworth’s point of view?

Illustrated Books and Newspapers

Discourse was deemed Man's noblest attribute,
And written words the glory of his hand;
Then followed Printing with enlarged command
For thought, dominion vast and absolute
For spreading truth, and making love expand.
Now prose and verse sunk into disrepute
Must lacquey a dumb Art that best can suit
The taste of this once-intellectual Land.
A backward movement surely have we here,
From manhood, back to childhood; for the age
Back towards caverned life's first rude career.
Avaunt this vile abuse of pictured page!
Must eyes be all in all, the tongue and ear
Nothing? Heaven keep us from a lower stage!

From < http://www.famous-poems.org/poems/william-wordsworth>


discourse here: speech

lacquey = to polish up, to add attraction to (mind the grammar inversion in these lines!)

caverned life = life of a caveman

avaunt off with [archaic]


1. This poem was written before 1850, and now it is 2010. Do you feel it up-to-date? What makes you feel that way?

2. Have things changed much since Wordsworth’s lifetime? If Wordsworth had a chance to see the 2010 world, what would he say? Discuss the matter.

  • For teacher: if necessary, supply your students with information when cinema, radio and TV were first introduced.


Learn Illustrated Books and Newspapers for reciting in class. If you wish, you may choose another shorter poem by Wordsworth here: < http://www.famous-poems.org/poems/william-wordsworth >

Poems by Robert Southey

The Old Man’s Comforts and How He Gained Them

"You are old, father William," the young man cried,

"The few locks which are left you are grey;

You are hale, father William, a hearty old man;

Now tell me the reason, I pray."

"In the days of my youth," father William replied,

"I remember'd that youth would fly fast,

And abus'd not my health and my vigour at first,

That I never might need them at last."

"You are old, father William," the young man cried,

"And pleasures with youth pass away.

And yet you lament not the days that are gone;

Now tell me the reason, I pray."

"In the days of my youth," father William replied,

"I rememberd that youth could not last;

I thought of the future, whatever I did,

That I never might grieve for the past."

"You are old, father William," the young man cried,

"And life must be hast'ning away;

You are cheerful and love to converse upon death;

Now tell me the reason, I pray."

"I am cheerful, young man," father William replied,

"Let the cause thy attention engage;

In the days of my youth I remember'd my God!

And He hath not forgotten my age."



thy, hath = your [archaic 2nd person singular], has [archaic]


This poem is mostly famous for being parodied by Lewis Carroll (see the Carroll chapter). However, before you read the parody, have a closer look at the original.

1. What was Southey’s primary message in fact?

2. Do you think this poem can be still be taken seriously in our time? Whatever your point of view was, explain it.

You are old, Father William…’ by Lewis Carroll

"You are old, Father William," the young man said,
"And your hair has become very white;
And yet you incessantly stand on your head—
Do you think, at your age, it is right?"

"In my youth," Father William replied to his son,
"I feared it might injure the brain;
But now that I'm perfectly sure I have none,
Why, I do it again and again."

"You are old," said the youth, "As I mentioned before,
And have grown most uncommonly fat;
Yet you turned a back-somersault in at the door—
Pray, what is the reason of that?"

"In my youth," said the sage, as he shook his grey locks,
"I kept all my limbs very supple
By the use of this ointment—one shilling the box—
Allow me to sell you a couple?"

"You are old," said the youth, "And your jaws are too weak
For anything tougher than suet;
Yet you finished the goose, with the bones and the beak—
Pray, how did you manage to do it?"

"In my youth," said his father, "I took to the law,
And argued each case with my wife;
And the muscular strength which it gave to my jaw,
Has lasted the rest of my life."

"You are old," said the youth, "one would hardly suppose
That your eye was as steady as ever;
Yet you balanced an eel on the end of your nose—
What made you so awfully clever?"

"I have answered three questions, and that is enough,"
Said his father; "don't give yourself airs!
Do you think I can listen all day to such stuff?
Be off, or I'll kick you down stairs!"

From www.wikipedia.org


Lewis Carroll (actual name Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, 1832-1898) was the author of the famous Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865), where this poem first appeared. Now it is much better known than the original poem by Southey.

don’t give yourself airs here: do not be so annoying


1. Compare the two texts. How does Carroll’s parody work?

2. What in Southey’s poem is mocked by Carroll?


Theme 1. You have just known some works of Romantic poets – the ones called the Lake Poets. Write an essay on your reading experience. Guidance points:

  • What is your general impression of the poems? Did you like them?

  • Was it difficult to deal with the ideas of the poems?

  • Give reasons for your liking/ disliking particular poems

Theme 2. Both Wordsworth and Southey are the poets unpopular in Russia. Think why. Possible explanations:

  • Poor translation?

  • Ideas alien to the Russian reader?

  • Not matching Russian people’s expectations of what ‘Romantic’ should be?

  • Any other suggestions.

11. Carving on Ivory (Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen)

From Pride and Prejudice

Chapter 4

When Jane and Elizabeth were alone, the former, who had been cautious in her praise of Mr. Bingley before, expressed to her sister just how very much she admired him.

"He is just what a young man ought to be," said she, "sensible, good-humoured, lively; and I never saw such happy manners!--so much ease, with such perfect good breeding!"

"He is also handsome," replied Elizabeth, "which a young man ought likewise to be, if he possibly can. His character is thereby complete."

"I was very much flattered by his asking me to dance a second time. I did not expect such a compliment."

"Did not you? I did for you. But that is one great difference between us. Compliments always take you by surprise, and me never. What could be more natural than his asking you again? He could not help seeing that you were about five times as pretty as every other woman in the room. No thanks to his gallantry for that. Well, he certainly is very agreeable, and I give you leave to like him. You have liked many a stupider person."

"Dear Lizzy!"

"Oh! you are a great deal too apt, you know, to like people in general. You never see a fault in anybody. All the world are good and agreeable in your eyes. I never heard you speak ill of a human being in your life."

"I would not wish to be hasty in censuring anyone; but I always speak what I think."

"I know you do; and it is _that_ which makes the wonder. With _your_ good sense, to be so honestly blind to the follies and nonsense of others! Affectation of candour is common enough--one meets with it everywhere. But to be candid without ostentation or design--to take the good of everybody's character and make it still better, and say nothing of the bad--belongs to you alone. And so you like this man's sisters, too, do you? Their manners are not equal to his."

"Certainly not--at first. But they are very pleasing women when you converse with them. Miss Bingley is to live with her brother, and keep his house; and I am much mistaken if we shall not find a very charming neighbour in her."

Elizabeth listened in silence, but was not convinced; their behaviour at the assembly had not been calculated to please in general; and with more quickness of observation and less pliancy of temper than her sister, and with a judgement too unassailed by any attention to herself, she was very little disposed to approve them. They were in fact very fine ladies; not deficient in good humour when they were pleased, nor in the power of making themselves agreeable when they chose it, but proud and conceited. They were rather handsome, had been educated in one of the first private seminaries in town, had a fortune of twenty thousand pounds, were in the habit of spending more than they ought, and of associating with people of rank, and were therefore in every respect entitled to think well of themselves, and meanly of others. They were of a respectable family in the north of England; a circumstance more deeply impressed on their memories than that their brother's fortune and their own had been acquired by trade.

Mr. Bingley inherited property to the amount of nearly a hundred thousand pounds from his father, who had intended to purchase an estate, but did not live to do it. Mr. Bingley intended it likewise, and sometimes made choice of his county; but as he was now provided with a good house and the liberty of a manor, it was doubtful to many of those who best knew the easiness of his temper, whether he might not spend the remainder of his days at Netherfield, and leave the next generation to purchase.

His sisters were anxious for his having an estate of his own; but, though he was now only established as a tenant, Miss Bingley was by no means unwilling to preside at his table--nor was Mrs. Hurst, who had married a man of more fashion than fortune, less disposed to consider his house as her home when it suited her. Mr. Bingley had not been of age two years, when he was tempted by an accidental recommendation to look at Netherfield House. He did look at it, and into it for half-an-hour--was pleased with the situation and the principal rooms, satisfied with what the owner said in its praise, and took it immediately.

Between him and Darcy there was a very steady friendship, in spite of great opposition of character. Bingley was endeared to Darcy by the easiness, openness, and ductility of his temper, though no disposition could offer a greater contrast to his own, and though with his own he never appeared dissatisfied. On the strength of Darcy's regard, Bingley had the firmest reliance, and of his judgement the highest opinion. In understanding, Darcy was the superior. Bingley was by no means deficient, but Darcy was clever. He was at the same time haughty, reserved, and fastidious, and his manners, though well-bred, were not inviting. In that respect his friend had greatly the advantage. Bingley was sure of being liked wherever he appeared, Darcy was continually giving offense.

The manner in which they spoke of the Meryton assembly was sufficiently characteristic. Bingley had never met with more pleasant people or prettier girls in his life; everybody had been most kind and attentive to him; there had been no formality, no stiffness; he had soon felt acquainted with all the room; and, as to Miss Bennet, he could not conceive an angel more beautiful. Darcy, on the contrary, had seen a collection of people in whom there was little beauty and no fashion, for none of whom he had felt the smallest interest, and from none received either attention or pleasure. Miss Bennet he acknowledged to be pretty, but she smiled too much.

Mrs. Hurst and her sister allowed it to be so--but still they admired her and liked her, and pronounced her to be a sweet girl, and one whom they would not object to know more of. Miss Bennet was therefore established as a sweet girl, and their brother felt authorized by such commendation to think of her as he chose.


affectation of candour false pretence

unassailed here: never touched

private seminaries boarding schools

that their brother's fortune and their own had been acquired by trade – i. e. that they were from a merchant family, rather than from an actually noble one

was by no means unwilling = was willing

ductility softness

the Meryton assembly the party where the Bennet sisters (Jane and Elizabeth) first met Mr. Bingley


1. In this chapter, Jane Austen shows us two different sets of characters: 1) the Bennet sisters, Jane and Elizabeth; 2) Mr. Bingley, his sisters and his friend Darcy. The two groups had just met each other at a party. Was their acquaintance happy? Why? Or why not?

2. There are some problems about how the characters think of each other. What kind of problems? How do you think they can affect the future relationship between the characters?

3. How are the contents of the conversations in this chapter related to the novel’s title – Pride and Prejudice?


Theme 1. Give your ideas why Elizabeth is so unlike her sister and why she distrusts people.

Theme 2. Think upon the reasons of misunderstanding between the characters. Guidance points:

  • Do you think any of them is so good/ bad as some others see him/ her?

  • What might be the reasons for 1) Darcy’s prejudice against the Bennet sisters; 2) Elizabeth’s prejudice against the Bingley family?

Theme 3. Think of the modern kinds of prejudice that ruin people’s lives. Write an essay upon them.

12. The Last Romantic (Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë)

From Chapter 4

[The narrator becomes intrigued by the mysterious Heathcliff and soon meets the female servant who is willing to tell him the whole story]

WHAT vain weathercocks we are! I, who had determined to hold myself independent of all social intercourse, and thanked my stars that, at length, I had lighted on a spot where it was next to impracticable - I, weak wretch, after maintaining till dusk a struggle with low spirits and solitude, was finally compelled to strike my colours; and under pretence of gaining information concerning the necessities of my establishment, I desired Mrs. Dean, when she brought in supper, to sit down while I ate it; hoping sincerely she would prove a regular gossip, and either rouse me to animation or lull me to sleep by her talk.

'You have lived here a considerable time,' I commenced; 'did you not say sixteen years?'

'Eighteen, sir: I came when the mistress was married, to wait on her; after she died, the master retained me for his housekeeper.'


There ensued a pause. She was not a gossip, I feared; unless about her own affairs, and those could hardly interest me. However, having studied for an interval, with a fist on either knee, and a cloud of meditation over her ruddy countenance, she ejaculated - 'Ah, times are greatly changed since then!'

'Yes,' I remarked, 'you've seen a good many alterations, I suppose?'

'I have: and troubles too,' she said.

'Oh, I'll turn the talk on my landlord's family!' I thought to myself. 'A good subject to start! And that pretty girl-widow, I should like to know her history: whether she be a native of the country, or, as is more probable, an exotic that the surly INDIGENAE will not recognise for kin.' With this intention I asked Mrs. Dean why Heathcliff let Thrushcross Grange, and preferred living in a situation and residence so much inferior. 'Is he not rich enough to keep the estate in good order?' I inquired.

'Rich, sir!' she returned. 'He has nobody knows what money, and every year it increases. Yes, yes, he's rich enough to live in a finer house than this: but he's very near - close-handed; and, if he had meant to flit to Thrushcross Grange, as soon as he heard of a good tenant he could not have borne to miss the chance of getting a few hundreds more. It is strange people should be so greedy, when they are alone in the world!'

'He had a son, it seems?'

'Yes, he had one - he is dead.'

'And that young lady, Mrs. Heathcliff, is his widow?'


'Where did she come from originally?'

'Why, sir, she is my late master's daughter: Catherine Linton was her maiden name. I nursed her, poor thing! I did wish Mr. Heathcliff would remove here, and then we might have been together again.'

'What! Catherine Linton?' I exclaimed, astonished. But a minute's reflection convinced me it was not my ghostly Catherine. Then,' I continued, 'my predecessor's name was Linton?'

'It was.'

'And who is that Earnshaw: Hareton Earnshaw, who lives with Mr. Heathcliff? Are they relations?'

'No; he is the late Mrs. Linton's nephew.'

'The young lady's cousin, then?'

'Yes; and her husband was her cousin also: one on the mother's, the other on the father's side: Heathcliff married Mr. Linton's sister.'

'I see the house at Wuthering Heights has "Earnshaw" carved over the front door. Are they an old family?'

'Very old, sir; and Hareton is the last of them, as our Miss Cathy is of us - I mean, of the Lintons. Have you been to Wuthering Heights? I beg pardon for asking; but I should like to hear how she is!'

'Mrs. Heathcliff? she looked very well, and very handsome; yet, I think, not very happy.'

'Oh dear, I don't wonder! And how did you like the master?'

'A rough fellow, rather, Mrs. Dean. Is not that his character?

'Rough as a saw-edge, and hard as whinstone! The less you meddle with him the better.'

'He must have had some ups and downs in life to make him such a churl. Do you know anything of his history?'

'It's a cuckoo's, sir - I know all about it: except where he was born, and who were his parents, and how he got his money at first. And Hareton has been cast out like an unfledged dunnock! The unfortunate lad is the only one in all this parish that does not guess how he has been cheated.'

'Well, Mrs. Dean, it will be a charitable deed to tell me something of my neighbours: I feel I shall not rest if I go to bed; so be good enough to sit and chat an hour.'

'Oh, certainly, sir! I'll just fetch a little sewing, and then I'll sit as long as you please. But you've caught cold: I saw you shivering, and you must have some gruel to drive it out.'

The worthy woman bustled off, and I crouched nearer the fire; my head felt hot, and the rest of me chill: moreover, I was excited, almost to a pitch of foolishness, through my nerves and brain. This caused me to feel, not uncomfortable, but rather fearful (as I am still) of serious effects from the incidents of to-day and yesterday. She returned presently, bringing a smoking basin and a basket of work; and, having placed the former on the hob, drew in her seat, evidently pleased to find me so companionable.

Before I came to live here, she commenced - waiting no farther invitation to her story - I was almost always at Wuthering Heights; because my mother had nursed Mr. Hindley Earnshaw, that was Hareton's father, and I got used to playing with the children: I ran errands too, and helped to make hay, and hung about the farm ready for anything that anybody would set me to. One fine summer morning - it was the beginning of harvest, I remember - Mr. Earnshaw, the old master, came down-stairs, dressed for a journey; and, after he had told Joseph what was to be done during the day, he turned to Hindley, and Cathy, and me - for I sat eating my porridge with them - and he said, speaking to his son, 'Now, my bonny man, I'm going to Liverpool to-day, what shall I bring you? You may choose what you like: only let it be little, for I shall walk there and back: sixty miles each way, that is a long spell!' Hindley named a fiddle, and then he asked Miss Cathy; she was hardly six years old, but she could ride any horse in the stable, and she chose a whip. He did not forget me; for he had a kind heart, though he was rather severe sometimes. He promised to bring me a pocketful of apples and pears, and then he kissed his children, said good-bye, and set off.

It seemed a long while to us all - the three days of his absence - and often did little Cathy ask when he would be home. Mrs. Earnshaw expected him by supper-time on the third evening, and she put the meal off hour after hour; there were no signs of his coming, however, and at last the children got tired of running down to the gate to look. Then it grew dark; she would have had them to bed, but they begged sadly to be allowed to stay up; and, just about eleven o'clock, the door-latch was raised quietly, and in stepped the master. He threw himself into a chair, laughing and groaning, and bid them all stand off, for he was nearly killed - he would not have such another walk for the three kingdoms.

'And at the end of it to be flighted to death!' he said, opening his great-coat, which he held bundled up in his arms. 'See here, wife! I was never so beaten with anything in my life: but you must e'en take it as a gift of God; though it's as dark almost as if it came from the devil.'

We crowded round, and over Miss Cathy's head I had a peep at a dirty, ragged, black-haired child; big enough both to walk and talk: indeed, its face looked older than Catherine's; yet when it was set on its feet, it only stared round, and repeated over and over again some gibberish that nobody could understand. I was frightened, and Mrs. Earnshaw was ready to fling it out of doors: she did fly up, asking how he could fashion to bring that gipsy brat into the house, when they had their own bairns to feed and fend for? What he meant to do with it, and whether he were mad? The master tried to explain the matter; but he was really half dead with fatigue, and all that I could make out, amongst her scolding, was a tale of his seeing it starving, and houseless, and as good as dumb, in the streets of Liverpool, where he picked it up and inquired for its owner. Not a soul knew to whom it belonged, he said; and his money and time being both limited, he thought it better to take it home with him at once, than run into vain expenses there: because he was determined he would not leave it as he found it. Well, the conclusion was, that my mistress grumbled herself calm; and Mr. Earnshaw told me to wash it, and give it clean things, and let it sleep with the children.

Hindley and Cathy contented themselves with looking and listening till peace was restored: then, both began searching their father's pockets for the presents he had promised them. The former was a boy of fourteen, but when he drew out what had been a fiddle, crushed to morsels in the great-coat, he blubbered aloud; and Cathy, when she learned the master had lost her whip in attending on the stranger, showed her humour by grinning and spitting at the stupid little thing; earning for her pains a sound blow from her father, to teach her cleaner manners. They entirely refused to have it in bed with them, or even in their room; and I had no more sense, so I put it on the landing of the stairs, hoping it might he gone on the morrow. By chance, or else attracted by hearing his voice, it crept to Mr. Earnshaw's door, and there he found it on quitting his chamber. Inquiries were made as to how it got there; I was obliged to confess, and in recompense for my cowardice and inhumanity was sent out of the house.

This was Heathcliff's first introduction to the family. On coming back a few days afterwards (for I did not consider my banishment perpetual), I found they had christened him 'Heathcliff': it was the name of a son who died in childhood, and it has served him ever since, both for Christian and surname. Miss Cathy and he were now very thick; but Hindley hated him: and to say the truth I did the same; and we plagued and went on with him shamefully: for I wasn't reasonable enough to feel my injustice, and the mistress never put in a word on his behalf when she saw him wronged.

He seemed a sullen, patient child; hardened, perhaps, to ill-treatment: he would stand Hindley's blows without winking or shedding a tear, and my pinches moved him only to draw in a breath and open his eyes, as if he had hurt himself by accident, and nobody was to blame. This endurance made old Earnshaw furious, when he discovered his son persecuting the poor fatherless child, as he called him. He took to Heathcliff strangely, believing all he said (for that matter, he said precious little, and generally the truth), and petting him up far above Cathy, who was too mischievous and wayward for a favourite.

So, from the very beginning, he bred bad feeling in the house; and at Mrs. Earnshaw's death, which happened in less than two years after, the young master had learned to regard his father as an oppressor rather than a friend, and Heathcliff as a usurper of his parent's affections and his privileges; and he grew bitter with brooding over these injuries.

From www.wikisource.org


what vain weathercocks we are! = how unstable we are in our intentions! (a weathercock is a device for showing the direction of the wind; it is put on the top of the roof)

intercourse communication [this meaning is out of date; today’s meaning of ‘intercourse’ is ‘sex’, so be careful using the word!]

indigenae native people (Latin; the narrator’s use of Latin is ironical)

not my ghostly Catherine not the ghost called Catherine whom the narrator had seen before

to be flighted to death to be nearly killed (with shock or surprise); ‘flighting’ is shooting flying birds

bairns children [Scottish dialect]

Miss Cathy and he were now very thick = Miss Cathy and he became friends


1. How different was the young Heathcliff’s position in the family from those of Hindley and Catherine? Why do you think Mr. Earnshaw loved him more than Hindley?

2. What light does the servant’s story cast upon the mystery of the adult Heathcliff?

3. How does Brontë show that Heathcliff was totally alien to the Earnshaw family?

4. Try to make out what happened to Catherine Earnshaw and how it affected Heathcliff.


Theme 1. Heathcliff is a good example of what literary critics call a ‘Byronic hero’ (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Byronic_hero). Though it is named after George Gordon Byron (1788-1824), now you see that other writers than Byron employed it as well. Guidance points:

  • What exactly makes Heathcliff ‘Byronic’?

  • How do other characters behave?

  • Why do you think Romantics were so pre-occupied with morally flawed characters?

Theme 2. Heathcliff’s tragedy may well be interpreted as that of social inequality (he was at a disadvantage of being a foundling). Do you think Emily Brontë’s point was social criticism? If it was, to what degree was it her intention? What else could be the nature of Heathcliff’s problems?

13. Vanity Fair and Its Author (William Makepeace Thackeray)

From Vanity Fair

[A rich girl called Amelia Sedley returns home from her boarding school, taking with her another girl, Rebecca Sharp, who is poor].

So that when the day of departure came, between her two customs of laughing and crying, Miss Sedley was greatly puzzled how to act. She was glad to go home, and yet most woefully sad at leaving school. For three days before, little Laura Martin, the orphan, followed her about like a little dog. She had to make and receive at least fourteen presents--to make fourteen solemn promises of writing every week: "Send my letters under cover to my grandpapa, the Earl of Dexter," said Miss Saltire (who, by the way, was rather shabby). "Never mind the postage, but write every day, you dear darling," said the impetuous and woolly-headed, but generous and affectionate Miss Swartz; and the orphan little Laura Martin (who was just in round-hand), took her friend's hand and said, looking up in her face wistfully, "Amelia, when I write to you I shall call you Mamma." All which details, I have no doubt, JONES, who reads this book at his Club, will pronounce to be excessively foolish, trivial, twaddling, and ultra-sentimental. Yes; I can see Jones at this minute (rather flushed with his joint of mutton and half pint of wine), taking out his pencil and scoring under the words "foolish, twaddling," &c., and adding to them his own remark of "QUITE TRUE." Well, he is a lofty man of genius, and admires the great and heroic in life and novels; and so had better take warning and go elsewhere.

Well, then. The flowers, and the presents, and the trunks, and bonnet-boxes of Miss Sedley having been arranged by Mr. Sambo in the carriage, together with a very small and weather-beaten old cow's-skin trunk with Miss Sharp's card neatly nailed upon it, which was delivered by Sambo with a grin, and packed by the coachman with a corresponding sneer -- the hour for parting came; and the grief of that moment was considerably lessened by the admirable discourse which Miss Pinkerton addressed to her pupil. Not that the parting speech caused Amelia to philosophise, or that it armed her in any way with a calmness, the result of argument; but it was intolerably dull, pompous, and tedious; and having the fear of her schoolmistress greatly before her eyes, Miss Sedley did not venture, in her presence, to give way to any ebullitions of private grief. A seed-cake and a bottle of wine were produced in the drawing-room, as on the solemn occasions of the visits of parents, and these refreshments being partaken of, Miss Sedley was at liberty to depart.

"You'll go in and say good-by to Miss Pinkerton, Becky!" said Miss Jemima to a young lady of whom nobody took any notice, and who was coming downstairs with her own bandbox.

"I suppose I must," said Miss Sharp calmly, and much to the wonder of Miss Jemima; and the latter having knocked at the door, and receiving permission to come in, Miss Sharp advanced in a very unconcerned manner, and said in French, and with a perfect accent, "Mademoiselle, je viens vous faire mes adieux."

Miss Pinkerton did not understand French; she only directed those who did: but biting her lips and throwing up her venerable and Roman-nosed head (on the top of which figured a large and solemn turban), she said, "Miss Sharp, I wish you a good morning." As the Hammersmith Semiramis spoke, she waved one hand, both by way of adieu, and to give Miss Sharp an opportunity of shaking one of the fingers of the hand which was left out for that purpose.

Miss Sharp only folded her own hands with a very frigid smile and bow, and quite declined to accept the proffered honour; on which Semiramis tossed up her turban more indignantly than ever. In fact, it was a little battle between the young lady and the old one, and the latter was worsted. "Heaven bless you, my child," said she, embracing Amelia, and scowling the while over the girl's shoulder at Miss Sharp. "Come away, Becky," said Miss Jemima, pulling the young woman away in great alarm, and the drawing-room door closed upon them for ever.

Then came the struggle and parting below. Words refuse to tell it. All the servants were there in the hall--all the dear friend--all the young ladies--the dancing-master who had just arrived; and there was such a scuffling, and hugging, and kissing, and crying, with the hysterical YOOPS of Miss Swartz, the parlour-boarder, from her room, as no pen can depict, and as the tender heart would fain pass over. The embracing was over; they parted--that is, Miss Sedley parted from her friends. Miss Sharp had demurely entered the carriage some minutes before. Nobody cried for leaving HER.

Sambo of the bandy legs slammed the carriage door on his young weeping mistress. He sprang up behind the carriage. "Stop!" cried Miss Jemima, rushing to the gate with a parcel.

"It's some sandwiches, my dear," said she to Amelia. "You may be hungry, you know; and Becky, Becky Sharp, here's a book for you that my sister--that is, I--Johnson's Dixonary, you know; you mustn't leave us without that. Good-by. Drive on, coachman. God bless you!"

And the kind creature retreated into the garden, overcome with emotion.

But, lo! and just as the coach drove off, Miss Sharp put her pale face out of the window and actually flung the book back into the garden.

This almost caused Jemima to faint with terror. "Well, I never"—said she--"what an audacious"--Emotion prevented her from completing either sentence. The carriage rolled away; the great gates were closed; the bell rang for the dancing lesson. The world is before the two young ladies; and so, farewell to Chiswick Mall.


When Miss Sharp had performed the heroical act mentioned in the last chapter, and had seen the Dixonary, flying over the pavement of the little garden, fall at length at the feet of the astonished Miss Jemima, the young lady's countenance, which had before worn an almost livid look of hatred, assumed a smile that perhaps was scarcely more agreeable, and she sank back in the carriage in an easy frame of mind, saying--"So much for the Dixonary; and, thank God, I'm out of Chiswick."

Miss Sedley was almost as flurried at the act of defiance as Miss Jemima had been; for, consider, it was but one minute that she had left school, and the impressions of six years are not got over in that space of time. Nay, with some persons those awes and terrors of youth last for ever and ever. I know, for instance, an old gentleman of sixty-eight, who said to me one morning at breakfast, with a very agitated countenance, "I dreamed last night that I was flogged by Dr. Raine." Fancy had carried him back five-and-fifty years in the course of that evening. Dr. Raine and his rod were just as awful to him in his heart, then, at sixty-eight, as they had been at thirteen. If the Doctor, with a large birch, had appeared bodily to him, even at the age of threescore and eight, and had said in awful voice, "Boy, take down your pant--"? Well, well, Miss Sedley was exceedingly alarmed at this act of insubordination.

"How could you do so, Rebecca?" at last she said, after a pause.

"Why, do you think Miss Pinkerton will come out and order me back to the black-hole?" said Rebecca, laughing.

"No: but--"

"I hate the whole house," continued Miss Sharp in a fury. "I hope I may never set eyes on it again. I wish it were in the bottom of the Thames, I do; and if Miss Pinkerton were there, I wouldn't pick her out, that I wouldn't. O how I should like to see her floating in the water yonder, turban and all, with her train streaming after her, and her nose like the beak of a wherry."

"Hush!" cried Miss Sedley.

"Why, will the black footman tell tales?" cried Miss Rebecca, laughing. "He may go back and tell Miss Pinkerton that I hate her with all my soul; and I wish he would; and I wish I had a means of proving it, too. For two years I have only had insults and outrage from her. I have been treated worse than any servant in the kitchen. I have never had a friend or a kind word, except from you. I have been made to tend the little girls in the lower schoolroom, and to talk French to the Misses, until I grew sick of my mother tongue. But that talking French to Miss

Pinkerton was capital fun, wasn't it? She doesn't know a word of French, and was too proud to confess it. I believe it was that which made her part with me; and so thank Heaven for French. Vive la France! Vive l'Empereur! Vive Bonaparte!"

"O Rebecca, Rebecca, for shame!" cried Miss Sedley; for this was the greatest blasphemy Rebecca had as yet uttered; and in those days, in England, to say, "Long live Bonaparte!" was as much as to say, "Long live Lucifer!" "How can you--how dare you have such wicked, revengeful thoughts?"

"Revenge may be wicked, but it's natural," answered Miss Rebecca. "I'm no angel." And, to say the truth, she certainly was not.


twaddling meaningless, silly

ebullitions outbursts

je viens vous faire mes adieux – ‘I want to say good-bye’ [French]

Semiramis the name of an ancient Oriental queen (Miss Pinkerton wears a turban-like hat which makes her look like Semiramis)

parlour-boarder the one who has a separate room (being the richest pupil)

Dixonary = Dictionary

threescore and eight = 68 (‘score’ is 20)

wherry a kind of boat

mother tongue – Rebecca is half-French

capital good [old-fashioned slang]


1. How are the two girls feeling about leaving their school? What is the reason for such difference?

2. Why is Amelia so shocked at Rebecca’s words ‘Vive Bonaparte’?

3. In the middle of the story, Thackeray tells us about a certain ‘Jones’. Is he one of the characters of the story or not? Who is Jones in fact?

4. There are some phrases characteristic of Thackeray:

  • between her two customs of laughing and crying, Miss Sedley was greatly puzzled how to act.

  • Miss Pinkerton did not understand French; she only directed those who did.

  • When Miss Sharp had performed the heroical act mentioned in the last chapter –

What kind of literary manner does Thackeray use here? (Irony). What exactly makes each of these phrase funny?


Theme 1. Write an essay commenting upon Rebecca Sharp. Guidance points:

- In literature, there are many poor girls who try to enter a higher social class. What is normally expected of such a heroine?

- Is Rebecca typical? Do you think she will fulfil her purpose?

- Do you sympathize with Rebecca or not? Why?

Theme 2. After having read some of the novel, have you got any ideas why it is titled Vanity Fair? Write your explanation.

14. Poetry by Alfred Tennyson

From In Memoriam A. H. H. (Cantos 54-56)

[The poem is dedicated to the memory of Tennyson’s friend, Arthur Henry Hallam, who died young in 1833. The actual time when Tennyson composed it is 1849, which shows that he had been thinking of it for many years].


Oh yet we trust that somehow good

Will be the final goal of ill,

To pangs of nature, sins of will,

Defects of doubt, and taints of blood;

That nothing walks with aimless feet;

That not one life shall be destroy'd,

Or cast as rubbish to the void,

When God hath made the pile complete;

That not a worm is cloven in vain;

That not a moth with vain desire

Is shrivell'd in a fruitless fire,

Or but subserves another's gain.

Behold, we know not anything;

I can but trust that good shall fall

At last--far off--at last, to all,

And every winter change to spring.

So runs my dream: but what am I?

An infant crying in the night:

An infant crying for the light:

And with no language but a cry.


The wish, that of the living whole

No life may fail beyond the grave,

Derives it not from what we have

The likest God within the soul?

Are God and Nature then at strife,

That Nature lends such evil dreams?

So careful of the type she seems,

So careless of the single life;

That I, considering everywhere

Her secret meaning in her deeds,

And finding that of fifty seeds

She often brings but one to bear,

I falter where I firmly trod,

And falling with my weight of cares

Upon the great world's altar-stairs

That slope thro' darkness up to God,

I stretch lame hands of faith, and grope,

And gather dust and chaff, and call

To what I feel is Lord of all,

And faintly trust the larger hope.


'So careful of the type?' but no.

From scarped cliff and quarried stone

She cries, `A thousand types are gone:

I care for nothing, all shall go.

'Thou makest thine appeal to me:

I bring to life, I bring to death:

The spirit does but mean the breath:

I know no more.' And he, shall he,

Man, her last work, who seem'd so fair,

Such splendid purpose in his eyes,

Who roll'd the psalm to wintry skies,

Who built him fanes of fruitless prayer,

Who trusted God was love indeed

And love Creation's final law?

Tho' Nature, red in tooth and claw

With ravine, shriek'd against his creed?

Who loved, who suffer'd countless ills,

Who battled for the True, the Just,

Be blown about the desert dust,

Or seal'd within the iron hills?

No more? A monster then, a dream,

A discord. Dragons of the prime,

That tare each other in their slime,

Were mellow music match'd with him.

O life as futile, then, as frail!

O for thy voice to soothe and bless!

What hope of answer, or redress?

Behind the veil, behind the veil.

From www.wikisource.org


pangs pains

hath = has [archaic Present Simple; normally, not in use in the 19th century]

not a worm/ moth = not a single worm/ moth

cloven here: cut in two (when gardening, you are likely to cut some worms with your spade, even if you do not want to)

the likest God within the soul = God’s likeness within the soul

thro’ = through

tho’ = though

red in tooth and claw = showing tooth and claws red with blood

dragons of the prime prehistoric animals (perhaps dinosaurs whose fossils had been discovered by English scientists shortly before Tennyson’s poem was written)

tare = tore [spelling variation]


1. This is a poem about the death of the friend. Why does a personal loss make Tennyson think of God, Nature, evolution and suchlike things? Comment upon the lines:

So careful of the type she seems,

So careless of the single life.

2. What are the contradictory ideas Tennyson is trying to reconcile? How successful are his efforts?

3. What do you think is this poem generally about? Is it only about the tragedy of the friend’s death, or about something else?


Theme 1. You are in your teens, and this is the age at which people most commonly think how to make sense out of their lives. How did the poem impress you? Was it of any relevance to your own problems? Was it upsetting or encouraging? Write an essay on your reading experience.

(For more of the poem, see http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/In_Memoriam_A._H._H. )

Theme 2. Do you think that religion is capable of solving the dilemma presented in the poem? Give your reasons why it is (or why it is not).

Theme 3. Explain the final line of Canto 56 (‘Behind the veil, behind the veil’).

Рисунки:[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Duria_Antiquior.jpg – A 1830 reconstruction of prehistoric fauna. Tennyson’s lines about ‘dragons of the prime, / that tare each other in their slime’ are apparently inspired by one of such pictures].

15. Virginia Woolf (The Voyage Out)

From The Voyage Out

[Rachel, a 24-year-old girl, is travelling on her family’s yacht. They give a lift to the Dalloways, a travelling couple of intellectuals. On one occasion, Mr. Dalloway kisses Rachel and gets her embarrassed. After the Dalloways disembark, Rachel goes to her aunt Helen for advice]

.Helen was anxious to make things straight again after the visitors had gone. Rachel's obvious languor and listlessness made her an easy prey, and indeed Helen had devised a kind of trap. That something had happened she now felt pretty certain; moreover, she had come to think that they had been strangers long enough; she wished to know what the girl was like, partly of course because Rachel showed no disposition to be known. So, as they turned from the rail, she said:

"Come and talk to me instead of practising," and led the way to the sheltered side where the deck-chairs were stretched in the sun. Rachel followed her indifferently. Her mind was absorbed by Richard; by the extreme strangeness of what had happened, and by a thousand feelings of which she had not been conscious before. She made scarcely any attempt to listen to what Helen was saying, as Helen indulged in commonplaces to begin with. While Mrs. Ambrose arranged her embroidery, sucked her silk, and threaded her needle, she lay back gazing at the horizon.

"Did you like those people?" Helen asked her casually.

"Yes," she replied blankly.

"You talked to him, didn't you?"

She said nothing for a minute.

"He kissed me," she said without any change of tone.

Helen started, looked at her, but could not make out what she felt.

"M-m-m'yes," she said, after a pause. "I thought he was that kind of man."

"What kind of man?" said Rachel.

"Pompous and sentimental."

"I like him," said Rachel.

"So you really didn't mind?"

For the first time since Helen had known her Rachel's eyes lit up


"I did mind," she said vehemently. "I dreamt. I couldn't sleep."

"Tell me what happened," said Helen. She had to keep her lips from twitching as she listened to Rachel's story. It was poured out abruptly with great seriousness and no sense of humour.

"We talked about politics. He told me what he had done for the poor somewhere. I asked him all sorts of questions. He told me about his own life. The day before yesterday, after the storm, he came in to see me. It happened then, quite suddenly. He kissed me. I don't know why." As she spoke she grew flushed. "I was a good deal excited," she continued.

"But I didn't mind till afterwards; when--" she paused, and saw the figure of the bloated little man again--"I became terrified."

From the look in her eyes it was evident she was again terrified. Helen was really at a loss what to say. From the little she knew of Rachel's upbringing she supposed that she had been kept entirely ignorant as to the relations of men with women. With a shyness which she felt with women and not with men she did not like to explain simply what these are. Therefore she took the other course and belittled the whole affair.

"Oh, well," she said, "He was a silly creature, and if I were you, I'd think no more about it."

"No," said Rachel, sitting bolt upright, "I shan't do that. I shall think about it all day and all night until I find out exactly what it does mean."

"Don't you ever read?" Helen asked tentatively.

"_Cowper's_ _Letters_--that kind of thing. Father gets them for me or my Aunts."

Helen could hardly restrain herself from saying out loud what she thought of a man who brought up his daughter so that at the age of twenty-four she scarcely knew that men desired women and was terrified by a kiss. She had good reason to fear that Rachel had made herself incredibly ridiculous.

"You don't know many men?" she asked.

"Mr. Pepper," said Rachel ironically.

"So no one's ever wanted to marry you?"

"No," she answered ingenuously.

Helen reflected that as, from what she had said, Rachel certainly would think these things out, it might be as well to help her.

"You oughtn't to be frightened," she said. "It's the most natural thing in the world. Men will want to kiss you, just as they'll want to marry you. The pity is to get things out of proportion. It's like noticing the noises people make when they eat, or men spitting; or, in short, any small thing that gets on one's nerves."

Rachel seemed to be inattentive to these remarks.

"Tell me," she said suddenly, "what are those women in Piccadilly?"

"In Picadilly? They are prostituted," said Helen.

"It _is_ terrifying--it _is_ disgusting," Rachel asserted, as if she

included Helen in the hatred.

"It is," said Helen. "But--"

"I did like him," Rachel mused, as if speaking to herself. "I wanted to talk to him; I wanted to know what he'd done. The women in Lancashire--"

It seemed to her as she recalled their talk that there was something lovable about Richard, good in their attempted friendship, and strangely piteous in the way they had parted.

The softening of her mood was apparent to Helen.

"You see," she said, "you must take things as they are; and if you want friendship with men you must run risks. Personally," she continued, breaking into a smile, "I think it's worth it; I don't mind being kissed; I'm rather jealous, I believe, that Mr. Dalloway kissed you and didn't kiss me. Though," she added, "he bored me considerably."

But Rachel did not return the smile or dismiss the whole affair, as Helen meant her to. Her mind was working very quickly, inconsistently and painfully. Helen's words hewed down great blocks which had stood there always, and the light which came in was cold. After sitting for a time with fixed eyes, she burst out:

"So that's why I can't walk alone!"

By this new light she saw her life for the first time a creeping hedged-in thing, driven cautiously between high walls, here turned aside, there plunged in darkness, made dull and crippled for ever—her life that was the only chance she had--a thousand words and actions became plain to her.

"Because men are brutes! I hate men!" she exclaimed.

"I thought you said you liked him?" said Helen.

"I liked him, and I liked being kissed," she answered, as if that only added more difficulties to her problem.

Helen was surprised to see how genuine both shock and problem were, but she could think of no way of easing the difficulty except by going on talking. She wanted to make her niece talk, and so to understand why this rather dull, kindly, plausible politician had made so deep an impression on her, for surely at the age of twenty-four this was not natural.

"And did you like Mrs. Dalloway too?" she asked.

As she spoke she saw Rachel redden; for she remembered silly things she had said, and also, it occurred to her that she treated this exquisite woman rather badly, for Mrs. Dalloway had said that she loved her husband.

"She was quite nice, but a thimble-pated creature," Helen continued. "I never heard such nonsense! Chitter-chatter-chitter-chatter--fish and the Greek alphabet--never listened to a word any one said--chock-full of idiotic theories about the way to bring up children--I'd far rather talk to him any day. He was pompous, but he did at least understand what was said to him."

The glamour insensibly faded a little both from Richard and Clarissa. They had not been so wonderful after all, then, in the eyes of a mature person.

"It's very difficult to know what people are like," Rachel remarked, and Helen saw with pleasure that she spoke more naturally. "I suppose I was taken in."

There was little doubt about that according to Helen, but she restrained herself and said aloud:

"One has to make experiments."

From www.gutenberg.org


languor and listlessness weariness and apathy

instead of practising – i. e. practising music (Rachel loves to play the piano)

indulged in commonplaces = said many trivial things

Cowper's Letters – the ‘Cowper’ mentioned by Rachel must be William Cowper, a 18th-century moralistic poet (1731-1800), which makes her reading absurdly outdated.

Mr. Pepper a friend of Rachel’s family, who is old and intolerably boring

a creeping hedged-in thing = a miserable, over-protected thing

thimble-pated silly

fish and the Greek alphabet the subjects of conversation earlier in the novel

chock-full = very full

The glamour insensibly faded a little both from Richard and Clarissa = Richard and Clarissa lost some of their significance in Rachel’s eyes.


1. We see just another girl who faces the problem of growing up. What is special about Virginia Woolf’s manner of presenting this theme? What makes her novel different from earlier literary works, say, from Jane Austen’s? Why is it a 20th-century novel, rather than a Victorian one?

2. Is Rachel in love with Mr. Dalloway? What kind of inward conflict does she feel?

3. What do you think of Helen’s behaviour in this situation? Comment upon the phrase: ‘With a shyness which she felt with women and not with men she did not like to explain simply what these [the relationships between men and women] are’.


Theme 1. Each person has to discover his/ her identity, and this process can be painful. This is what The Voyage Out is about. But Rachel is the person who lived in early 1900s. Do you think that the problems tackled by Virginia Woolf still exist? In what way her novel is still up-to-date? In what way it is not? Think upon it and write an essay.

Theme 2. Imagine what could happen to Rachel next. Could she be happy finally? If not, why? Write down your ideas.

18. When Language is a Matter of Morals (1984 by George Orwell)

From 1984

It had happened that morning at the Ministry, if anything so nebulous could be said to happen.

It was nearly eleven hundred, and in the Records Department, where Winston worked, they were dragging the chairs out of the cubicles and grouping them in the centre of the hall opposite the big telescreen, in preparation for the Two Minutes Hate. Winston was just taking his place in one of the middle rows when two people whom he knew by sight, but had never spoken to, came unexpectedly into the room. One of them was a girl whom he often passed in the corridors. He did not know her name, but he knew that she worked in the Fiction Department. <…> He disliked nearly all women, and especially the young and pretty ones. It was always the women, and above all the young ones, who were the most bigoted adherents of the Party, the swallowers of slogans, the amateur spies and nosers-out of unorthodoxy. But this particular girl gave him the impression of being more dangerous than most. Once when they passed in the corridor she gave him a quick sidelong glance which seemed to pierce right into him and for a moment had filled him with black terror. The idea had even crossed his mind that she might be an agent of the Thought Police. That, it was true, was very unlikely. Still, he continued to feel a peculiar uneasiness, which had fear mixed up in it as well as hostility, whenever she was anywhere near him.

The other person was a man named O'Brien, a member of the Inner Party and holder of some post so important and remote that Winston had only a dim idea of its nature. A momentary hush passed over the group of people round the chairs as they saw the black overalls of an Inner Party member approaching. O'Brien was a large, burly man with a thick neck and a coarse, humorous, brutal face. In spite of his formidable appearance he had a certain charm of manner. He had a trick of resettling his spectacles on his nose which was curiously disarming--in some indefinable way, curiously civilized. It was a gesture which, if anyone had still thought in such terms, might have recalled an eighteenth-century nobleman offering his snuffbox. Winston had seen O'Brien perhaps a dozen times in almost as many years. He felt deeply drawn to him, and not solely because he was intrigued by the contrast between O'Brien's urbane manner and his prize-fighter's physique. Much more it was because of a secretly held belief--or perhaps not even a belief, merely a hope--that O'Brien's political orthodoxy was not perfect. <…>At this moment O'Brien glanced at his wrist-watch, saw that it was nearly eleven hundred, and evidently decided to stay in the Records Department until the Two Minutes Hate was over. He took a chair in the same row as Winston, a couple of places away. A small, sandy-haired woman who worked in the next cubicle to Winston was between them. The girl with dark hair was sitting immediately behind.

The next moment a hideous, grinding speech, as of some monstrous machine running without oil, burst from the big telescreen at the end of the room. It was a noise that set one's teeth on edge and bristled the hair at the back of one's neck. The Hate had started.

As usual, the face of Emmanuel Goldstein, the Enemy of the People, had flashed on to the screen. There were hisses here and there among the audience. The little sandy-haired woman gave a squeak of mingled fear and disgust. Goldstein was the renegade and backslider who once, long ago (how long ago, nobody quite remembered), had been one of the leading figures of the Party, almost on a level with Big Brother himself, and then had engaged in counter-revolutionary activities, had been condemned to death, and had mysteriously escaped and disappeared. The programmes of the Two Minutes Hate varied from day to day, but there was none in which Goldstein was not the principal figure. He was the primal traitor, the earliest defiler of the Party's purity. All subsequent crimes against

the Party, all treacheries, acts of sabotage, heresies, deviations, sprang directly out of his teaching. Somewhere or other he was still alive and hatching his conspiracies: perhaps somewhere beyond the sea, under the protection of his foreign paymasters, perhaps even--so it was occasionally rumoured--in some hiding-place in Oceania itself.

Winston's diaphragm was constricted. He could never see the face of Goldstein without a painful mixture of emotions. It was a lean Jewish face, with a great fuzzy aureole of white hair and a small goatee beard—a clever face, and yet somehow inherently despicable, with a kind of senile silliness in the long thin nose, near the end of which a pair of spectacles was perched. It resembled the face of a sheep, and the voice, too, had a sheep-like quality. Goldstein was delivering his usual venomous attack upon the doctrines of the Party--an attack so exaggerated and perverse that a child should have been able to see through it, and yet just plausible enough to fill one with an alarmed feeling that other people, less level-headed than oneself, might be taken in by it. He was abusing Big Brother, he was denouncing the dictatorship of the Party, he was demanding the immediate conclusion of peace with Eurasia, he was advocating freedom of speech, freedom of the Press, freedom of assembly, freedom of thought, he was crying hysterically that the revolution had been betrayed--and all this in rapid polysyllabic speech which was a sort of parody of the habitual style of the orators of the Party, and even contained Newspeak words: more Newspeak words, indeed, than any Party member would normally use in real life. And all the while, lest one should be in any doubt as to the reality which Goldstein's specious claptrap covered, behind his head on the telescreen there marched the endless columns of the Eurasian army—row after row of solid-looking men with expressionless Asiatic faces, who swam up to the surface of the screen and vanished, to be replaced by others exactly similar. The dull rhythmic tramp of the soldiers' boots formed the background to Goldstein's bleating voice.

Before the Hate had proceeded for thirty seconds, uncontrollable exclamations of rage were breaking out from half the people in the room. The self-satisfied sheep-like face on the screen, and the terrifying power of the Eurasian army behind it, were too much to be borne: besides, the sight or even the thought of Goldstein produced fear and anger automatically. He was an object of hatred more constant than either Eurasia or Eastasia, since when Oceania was at war with one of these Powers it was generally at peace with the other. But what was strange was that although Goldstein was hated and despised by everybody, although every day and a thousand times a day, on platforms, on the telescreen, in newspapers, in books, his theories were refuted, smashed, ridiculed, held up to the general gaze for the pitiful rubbish that they were--in spite of all this, his influence never seemed to grow less. Always there were fresh dupes waiting to be seduced by him. A day never passed when spies and saboteurs acting under his directions were not unmasked by the Thought Police. He was the commander of a vast shadowy army, an underground network of conspirators dedicated to the overthrow of the State. The Brotherhood, its name was supposed to be. There were also whispered stories of a terrible book, a compendium of all the heresies, of which Goldstein was the author and which circulated clandestinely here and there. It was a book without a title. People referred to it, if at all, simply as THE BOOK. But one knew of such things only through vague rumours. Neither the Brotherhood nor THE BOOK was a subject that any ordinary Party member would mention if there was a way of avoiding it.

In its second minute the Hate rose to a frenzy. People were leaping up and down in their places and shouting at the tops of their voices in an effort to drown the maddening bleating voice that came from the screen. The little sandy-haired woman had turned bright pink, and her mouth was opening and shutting like that of a landed fish. Even O'Brien's heavy face was flushed. He was sitting very straight in his chair, his powerful chest swelling and quivering as though he were standing up to the assault of a wave. The dark-haired girl behind Winston had begun crying out 'Swine! Swine! Swine!' and suddenly she picked up a heavy Newspeak dictionary and flung it at the screen. It struck Goldstein's nose and bounced off; the voice continued inexorably. In a lucid moment Winston found that he was shouting with the others and kicking his heel violently against the rung of his chair. The horrible thing about the Two Minutes Hate was not that one was obliged to act a part, but, on the contrary, that it was impossible to avoid joining in. Within thirty seconds any pretence was always unnecessary. A hideous ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, a desire to kill, to torture, to smash faces in with a sledge-hammer, seemed to flow through the whole group of people like an electric current, turning one even against one's will into a grimacing, screaming lunatic. And yet the rage that one felt was an abstract, undirected emotion which could be switched from one object to another like the flame of a blowlamp. Thus, at one moment Winston's hatred was not turned against Goldstein at all, but, on the contrary, against Big Brother, the Party, and the Thought Police; and at such moments his heart went out to the lonely, derided heretic on the screen, sole guardian of truth and sanity in a world of lies. And yet the very next instant he was at one with the people about him, and all that was said of Goldstein seemed to him to be true. At those moments his secret loathing of Big Brother changed into adoration, and Big Brother seemed to tower up, an invincible, fearless protector, standing like a rock against the hordes of Asia, and Goldstein, in spite of his isolation, his helplessness, and the doubt that hung about his very existence, seemed like some sinister enchanter, capable by the mere power of his voice of wrecking the structure of civilization.


The Hate rose to its climax. The voice of Goldstein had become an actual sheep's bleat, and for an instant the face changed into that of a sheep. Then the sheep-face melted into the figure of a Eurasian soldier who seemed to be advancing, huge and terrible, his sub-machine gun roaring, and seeming to spring out of the surface of the screen, so that some of the people in the front row actually flinched backwards in their seats. But in the same moment, drawing a deep sigh of relief from everybody, the hostile figure melted into the face of Big Brother, black-haired, black-moustachio'd, full of power and mysterious calm, and so vast that it almost filled up the screen. Nobody heard what Big Brother was saying. It was merely a few words of encouragement, the sort of words that are uttered in the din of battle, not distinguishable individually but restoring confidence by the fact of being spoken. Then the face of Big Brother faded away again, and instead the three slogans of the Party stood out in bold capitals:




But the face of Big Brother seemed to persist for several seconds on the screen, as though the impact that it had made on everyone's eyeballs was too vivid to wear off immediately. The little sandy-haired woman had flung

herself forward over the back of the chair in front of her. With a tremulous murmur that sounded like 'My Saviour!' she extended her arms towards the screen. Then she buried her face in her hands. It was apparent that she was uttering a prayer.

At this moment the entire group of people broke into a deep, slow, rhythmical chant of 'B-B!...B-B!'--over and over again <…>. It was a refrain that was often heard in moments of overwhelming emotion. Partly it was a sort of hymn to the wisdom and majesty of Big Brother, but still more it was an act of self-hypnosis, a deliberate drowning of consciousness by means of rhythmic noise. Winston's entrails seemed to grow cold. In the Two Minutes Hate he could not help sharing in the general delirium, but this sub-human chanting of 'B-B!...B-B!' always filled him with horror. Of course he chanted with the rest: it was impossible to do otherwise. To dissemble your feelings, to control your face, to do what everyone else was doing, was an instinctive reaction. But there was a space of a couple of seconds during which the expression of his eyes might conceivably have betrayed him. And it was exactly at this moment that the significant thing happened--if, indeed, it did happen.

Momentarily he caught O'Brien's eye. O'Brien had stood up. He had taken off his spectacles and was in the act of resettling them on his nose with his characteristic gesture. But there was a fraction of a second when their eyes met, and for as long as it took to happen Winston knew--yes, he KNEW!--that O'Brien was thinking the same thing as himself.

From http://gutenberg.net.au


the Fiction Department the Department whose task is to censure fiction

the swallowers of slogans – compare Marina Tsvetayeva’s expression глотатели газет

nosers-out spies or secret agents

physique appearance

O'Brien's political orthodoxy was not perfect = O’Brien was not so devout to the Party as he seemed to be.

polysyllabic either too bulky or containing lengthy words

climax peak


1. Answer the questions:

  • What is a ‘Two Minutes Hate’?

  • What does the figure of Goldberg stands for?

  • What implications are there that either Goldberg or his speech could be non-existent?

  • Who do you think ‘Big Brother’ is?

2. In what way is Winston different from the other participants? In what way does he share their behaviour?

3. What Winston has to conceal about himself? Why is he observing O’Brien’s behaviour so carefully?

4. How do you feel about the whole scene? Discuss your experience.


Theme 1. 1984 is generally defined as ‘dystopia’, showing an imaginary world of future. However, there might be another reading – as a caricature, satirizing the real world of the mid-20th century.

  • Dystopia or satire?

Which word do you think describes Orwell’s world best? Give you reasons which and why.

Theme 2. For Orwell, the year 1984 was distant future. You are born well after 1984. Are the problems outlined in the novel relevant to the 21st century?

Theme 3. Using both the paper version and the CD part, deduce what ‘Newspeak’ was meant for. Find out about the Soviet language of abbreviations (you can ask your elder relatives). Think upon the question:

  • When the style of abbreviations was quitted, did it help to make language healthier?

  • What language problems do exist now?

17. The Living Classic Who is a Fan of Eminem (Poetry by Seamus Heaney)

As Seamus Heaney is the poet who is still alive, we cannot reprint his text without permission. However, we can provide hyperlinks to his poetry on the Web. Here is the link to the website with more poems by Seamus Heaney: http://www.poetryarchive.org/poetryarchive/singlePoet.do?poetId=1392

Read the poem St. Kevin and the Blackbird.



The poem is based on a popular legend saying that one of Medieval saints was so still at his prayer that a blackbird made a nest in his hands. Discovering that, he had to stay motionless more, because he did not want to disturb the chicken until they grew up.

1. Originally, the legend was to emphasise how devout was the person. Do you think it is what Heaney cares for? Or is the poet interested in anything else?

2. How do you feel about Heaney’s paradoxical idea that, to take care of the blackbird, one must forget about the blackbird?

3. Explain the last two lines of the poem.


Choose a section (10 to 20 lines) from any of Heaney’s poems you like. Learn it for recitation in class.

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