Инфоурок / Иностранные языки / Конспекты / Учебно-методическое пособие по предмету "Детская иностранная литература" (на английском языке)
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Конкурс "Я люблю природу"

Учебно-методическое пособие по предмету "Детская иностранная литература" (на английском языке)

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Dear friends!

If you have been learning English for several years and want to know more about Britain and its people...

If you know the names of Shakespeare, Byron, Lewis Carroll, Stevenson, and Defoe, and have read some of their works in Russian...

If you haven't heard these names and haven't read their works...

We hope the following pages will help you understand Britain and its people a little better. It is an introductory course into English literature, and it will help you make up for your ignorance. We have compiled this material to give you an idea of how English literature developed through the centuries. You will read and talk about the life and work of great English writers and poets. And what is most exciting, you will have to stand up to the challenge of reading their works in the original.

Have an exciting journey into the wonderful land of English literature!



1. What English writers do you know? What books by English writers have you read? Can you match the authors and the titles of the books?

  1. Charles Dickens a) Gulliver's Travels

  2. Robert Louis Stevenson b) Alice in Wonderland

  3. William Shakespeare e) Jane Eyre

  4. Jonathan Swift d) Oliver Twist

  5. George Bernard Shaw e) The Hobbit

  6. Emily Bronte f) Treasure Island

  7. Lewis Carroll g) Wuthering Heights

  8. Charlotte Bronte h) Romeo and Juliet

  9. J.R.R. Tolkien i) The Problem of Thor Bridge

10. Arthur Conan Doyle j) Pygmalion

2. Read what the famous British writer John Priestly said about the contribution of English writers in world literature.

It can be claimed that the debt of world literature to English is immense. Only think of Shakespeare is ever alive and new; Richardson, beginning sentimentalism, was imitated everywhere; Byron and Scott: the most influential in the Romantic Age; Dickens was especially popular in Russia and Dostoevsky was admiring and enthusiastic reader; George Bernard Shaw conquered the theatre everywhere.


debt долг

immense огромный

influential влиятельный

admiring восхищенный

3. Cover the text and try to remember the writers and their achievements. Where in Russian literature you meet the name of Richardson?


1. Read this extract from English literary critic Igor Evans's
book English Literature. Which art forms made the English people
especially proud? What has always been the main subject of English

It can be claimed that literature is the art in which the English have most greatly excelled. Within this literature they have been engaged mainly with the study of human nature, of personality and individual. In the other arts (music, painting, architecture) there are figures in France, Italy and Germany that surpass the English origin. It might be claimed that where England has been outstanding in these other arts, it has been in the exploration of some aspect of the personal life of men and women. Take, for example, the country-houses of England - they are unparalleled in any European country in variety, distinction, splendour. Then, the most characteristic form of painting in England has always been portraits - which again are associated with the personal and domestic life.


excel выделяться unparalleled несравнимый

within внутри variety разнообразие

engaged занятый distinction оригинальность

surpass превосходить splendour великолепие

2. Finish these sentences.

a) French, Italian and German musicians, painters and architects are ...

  1. English country-houses are ...

  2. Portrait painting is the most typical English genre of painting because ...

d) All arts in England explore ...

3. Read the following extracts from the famous British writer John Priestley's book on English literature.

"English literature has been influenced by two major factors: by the British land with its highlands, lowlands, moors, fens, mountains, and its history with several conquests of the island and the nation forming about 150 years after the Norman Conquest...

The flexible social system, when aristocrats were not so haughty, made it possible for men to shift into a higher social class by inheritance or marriage. This system can be explained by a long tradition of independence among common people, with Parliament deciding whether to give or not to give King money on something or an army to fight a war...

That's why English literature has a sense of character and individuality - it takes delight in sheer variety and richness of characters and is full of odd, original ones...

Another characteristic of English literature is its artistic independence: there are no strict rules of structure form, the main thing which should be present in a book is life. An untidy and badly constructed story crowded with characters who seem alive is better for English authors and the reading public than a perfectly constructed story that appears to have in it nothing but ghosts. A typical English writer (and reader) will risk defects form and structure if the illusion of an energetic, complex, varied life is presented...

If we think of art as the product of an effort to create perfection -then English literature is outside art. French critics of the 18l and early 19th century (and famous dramatist Racine among them) regard Shakespeare as a wild barbarian, incapable of writing civilized drama. (Where are all these critics and even Racine now?) The artist, in their view, always knows exactly what he is doing, organizing his plan like a cabinet-maker. It is much too narrow a view of art. On the other hand, English authors feel that a writer can tell himself to be deeply tragic, or magical, or poetic, or gloriously comic, as if he were making a box or a clock, - writing is unconscious, something like a dream...

One of the most remarkable characteristics of English literature is its glorious humour. It has few satirical wits, most of them come from Ireland - Jonathan Swift, George Bernard Shaw. On the contrary, it is full of genuine, rich humour which is never a conscious product but shares with poetry the unconscious element. There is a wonderful gallery of great comic characters which can't be coldly constructed. English humour is not very funny, it is often close to tears because it is based on sympathy and has affection in it. The notorious attachment of the English to old things is not stingy and slavish; there is affection in it. Indeed, English literature has long been one of England's best exports."


moor - вересковая пустошь glorious - восхитительный

fen - болото wit - остроумец

haughty - высокомерный genuine - подлинный

inheritance - наследие conscious - сознательный

delight - восторг affection - любовь

odd - странный notorious - пресловутый

remarkable - замечательный attachment - привязанность

4. Name characteristic features of English literature according John Priestly.


What are the roots of literature? What is folklore?


No national literature is possible without its folklore. A nation's folklore - proverbs and sayings, tales and nursery rhymes, ballads and songs, games and riddles - are very often the root from which the most prominent works of literature grow. The word "folklore" means "people's wisdom", "people's knowledge". Indeed, if folklore weren't full of living wisdom and wit, it wouldn't have survived through the centuries. But apart from this, there is something else in folklore, and this is its beauty, its charm. These features attract to it. We are introduced to folklore in our childhood; perhaps that's why it is for us not only a particularity of literature but also something very dear to our hearts, like home, motherland, and our mother tongue. It is a property of both the whole nation and a particular person.


saying - поговорка survive - выжить

prominent - выдающийся charm - очарование
wit -
остроумие property - собственность



Nowhere is nation's wisdom and wit revealed so brightly as in its proverbs and sayings. They accumulated life experience of the community. But proverbs are not just wise phrases. Lots of phrases are wise, for example this: "The earlier you get up, the more you will do during the day". It is a true statement, but nobody would think of calling it a proverb. On the other hand, the following phrase expressing the same idea is surely a proverb: "The early bird catches a worm." Lots of proverbs have metre, rhyme and alliteration, as in the following: "Early to bed, early to rise - makes a man healthy and wise".


reveal - проявляться worm - червяк

accumulated - накопленный metre - размер

community — сообщество rhyme — рифма

Here are some of the most popular English proverbs and sayings. Think of their Russian equivalents.

1 .After rain comes fair weather.

2.A11 work and no play make Jack a dull boy.

3.Among the blind the one-eyed is king.

4.The appetite comes with eating

5.As the call, so the echo.

6.Birds of a feather flock together.

7.Curiosity killed the cat.

8.Cut your coat according to your cloth.

9.The devil is not so black as he is painted.

  1. Don't teach fishes to swim.

  2. Don't trouble trouble till trouble troubles you.

  3. The drowning man will clutch at a straw.

  4. Every dog has his day.

  5. Every family has a black sheep.

  6. A faint heart never won a fair lady.

  7. First catch your hare, and then cook him.

  8. Fortune favours the fools. / Fortune favours the brave.

  9. Two heads are better than one.

  10. A friend in need is a friend indeed.

  11. God helps those who help themselves.

  1. A good beginning makes a good ending.

  2. He laughs best who laughs last.

  3. If my aunt had been a man, she'd have been my uncle.

  4. In for a penny, in for a pound.

  5. Like father, like son.

  6. Live and learn.

  7. Look before you leap.

28. The more haste, the less speed.

  1. Never say die.

  2. No news is good news.

  3. Rome was not built in a day.

  4. So many men, so many minds.

  5. Strike while the iron is hot.

  6. There is many a slip between the cup and the lip.

  7. Too many cooks spoil the broth.

  8. What will be, will be.

  9. What you lose on the swings, you gam on the roundabouts.

  10. You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink.

  11. Where there's a will, there's a way.

40. Let sleeping dogs lie.



Do you think tales/fairy tales are enjoyed only by little children? Why do people like tales?

Is it by chance that many writers wrote tales? What is your favourite tale? Why? How do you think tales began?

  1. Read the tale and say whether it reminds you of any Russian ones.


Once upon a time there Jived a poor woodcutter. Every morning he took his axe and went to the forest. He worked all day long and returned home only at night.

One day, as he was trying to cut down a big oak-tree, he suddenly felt so exhausted that he dropped his axe and sat under the tree, breathing hard. Then he began talking to himself. "I've lived so many years, but I have known nothing but hard work and misery. Won't I ever see joy in life?" "I hope you will", said a soft voice behind him. The old man turned his head in surprise and saw a beautiful fairy. " 1 heard how you were complaining about your life", she said, "and I decided to help you. This evening I'll fulfil any of your wishes on condition that there are not more than three of them." And before the surprised woodcutter could thank her, the fairy disappeared.

In the evening the woodcutter told his wife what he had seen in the forest. The old woman got so excited that she began to speak about all the things she would like to have - a lot of money, new clothes, new furniture, a new house and what not - and just couldn't stop. At last the woodcutter who was very hungry interrupted her and asked for his supper. The woman brought some porridge and a piece of dry bread.

"What! Porridge and dry bread again! I'm sick and tired of them", yelled the man. "Oh, how I'd like to eat a nice, delicious sausage!"

As soon as he had pronounced these words a large sausage appeared on the table. Immediately the woman began to scold her husband, "Couldn't you think of something better than a sausage? Now one of the wishes is gone!" She was-so angry that she couldn't stop shouting at her husband. At last the man lost his patience and cried, "Shut up! Let that sausage stick to your nose!"

Right away the sausage jumped up from the table and stuck to the woman's nose — the fairy fulfilled the second wish. The woman tried hard to get rid of the sausage, but failed, of course. The woodcutter was embarrassed and he felt sorry for his wife. Now he had nothing else to do but to pronounce the last wish, "Oh, let this sausage come off her nose!"

The next moment the sausage lay again on the table. All that the woodcutter and his wife could do now was to sit down to table and eat the sausage.


  1. What is the moral of the tale?

  2. Think of the similarities and differences between the tale you have just read and the Russian one it reminded you of.

  3. How is the tone of the British tale different from the Russian one? Why?

  4. How can you explain the fact that there are similar plots in
    different national literatures?


You are a story-teller of many centuries ago. It is a cold winter day and you and your friends are sitting by the fire. Tell this tale adding as many details as you can.


1. Work in two teams. First, each team chooses ten proverbs and asks the opposing team to translate them into Russian. After that, each team gives the Russian equivalents of other ten proverbs for the opposite team to translate into English. Who is faster? For activities 2, 3 and 4,brainstorm the ideas in groups of 2 - 4.

2. Think of suitable proverbs to illustrate the following situations. Several variants are possible in some cases.

a. Your friend is very pessimistic about passing his exam. Try to reassure him he will do OK.

b. Your best friend has got a bad mark on a test. Try to cheer him up.

с Somebody wanted to start his own business. Other people laughed at him as they didn't believe he could do it. Now that person is the owner of a chain of shops.

d. Arkady Raikin's son Konstantin is also a very good comic actor.

e. Jane loves painting and she wants to be a professional painter. She has tried to enter an art school in London twice, but in vain. She still hopes she'll be lucky next time.

f. Mary thinks of nothing else but her homework. Her friends invite her to the theatre but she refuses. They ask her to join them in preparing a surprise party for another friend, but she again says she is short of time.

g. Your little brother always wants to know what you are doing or have done. You try to be patient. But finally, you get annoyed.

h. You can't solve a difficult problem and ask your friend for help.

3. Find a proverb which is appropriate to use.

a. Everybody's business is nobody's business.

b. Every cloud has a silver lining.

с Accidents will happen in the best regulated families.

d. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

e. A good beginning is half the battle.

f. Haste makes waste.

g. As a man sows, so shall he reap,
h. Any port in a storm.

i. Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today, j. If you want a thing done well, do it yourself.

4. Charades. Match the beginnings of the proverbs with their
endings. Then choose suitable Russian equivalents front the list below.

  1. Never too much a. makes a heavy heart.

  2. The best defense b. is never found again.

  3. Business before с by the company he keeps.

  4. Easier said d. is nobody's business.

  5. Everybody's business e. is a good offence.

  6. A light purse f. is a letter of recommendation.

  7. A man is known g. all cakes and ale (a bed of roses).

  8. A good face h. of a good thing.

  9. Life is not i. than done.

10. Lost time j. pleasure.

Делу время, потехе час. Жизнь прожить - не поле перейти.

Глаза - зеркало души. Скажи мне, кто твой друг, и я скажу - кто ты.
Кашу маслом не испортишь. Скоро сказка сказывается, но не дело.
У семи нянек дитя без глазу. Хуже всех бед, когда денег нет.

Потерянного времени не воротишь. Нападение - лучшая защита.

5. Comment on the proverbs.

a. Everybody's business is nobody's business.

b. Rome was not built in a day.
с So many men, so many minds.

d. First catch your hare, then cook him.

e. Live and learn.

6. Look for a new proverb and bring it to the class asking your friends to think of a Russian equivalent for it.

7. Just for fun. First-graders in one of the British schools were asked to complete several proverbs in any way they thought good. It was assumed they didn't know the original endings (you have them in the brackets). Read what they have thought of.

  1. Don't bite the hand that... (feeds you) LOOKS DIRTY.

  2. If at first you don't succeed, ... (then try again) GET NEW BATTERIES.

  3. Strike while ... (the iron is hot) THE BUG IS CLOSE.

  4. You can lead the horse to water but... (you can't make him drink) HOW?

  5. Love all, trust... (none) ME!

  6. Where there's smoke, there's ... (fire) POLLUTION.

  7. If the blind lead the blind, ... (both shall fall into the ditch) GET OUT OF THE WAY!

  8. Two is company, but three is ... (none) THE MUSKETEERS.



Poet, Author (c. 1343–1400)

English poet Geoffrey Chaucer wrote the unfinished work, The Canterbury Tales. It is considered one of the greatest poetic works in English.

Poet Geoffrey Chaucer was born circa 1340 in London, England. In 1357 he became a public servant to Countess Elizabeth of Ulster and continued in that capacity with the British court throughout his lifetime. The Canterbury Tales became his best known and most acclaimed work. He died October 25, 1400 of in London, England, and was the first to be buried in Westminster Abbey’s Poet’s Corner.

Early Life

Poet Geoffrey Chaucer was born circa 1340, most likely at his parents’ house on Thames Street in London, England. Chaucer’s family was of the bourgeois class, descended from an affluent family who made their money in the London wine trade. According to some sources, Chaucer’s father, John, carried on the family wine business.

Geoffrey Chaucer is believed to have attended the St. Paul’s Cathedral School, where he probably first became acquainted with the influential writing of Virgil and Ovid.

In 1357, Chaucer became a public servant to Countess Elizabeth of Ulster, the Duke of Clarence’s wife, for which he was paid a small stipend—enough to pay for his food and clothing. In 1359, the teenage Chaucer went off to fight in the Hundred Years’ War in France, and at Rethel he was captured for ransom. Thanks to Chaucer’s royal connections, King Edward III helped pay his ransom. After Chaucer’s release, he joined the Royal Service, traveling throughout France, Spain and Italy on diplomatic missions throughout the early to mid-1360s. For his services, King Edward granted Chaucer a pension of 20 marks.

In 1366, Chaucer married Philippa Roet, the daughter of Sir Payne Roet, and the marriage conveniently helped further Chaucer’s career in the English court.

Public Service

By 1368, King Edward III had made Chaucer one of his esquires. When the queen died in 1369, it served to strengthen Philippa’s position and subsequently Chaucer’s as well. From 1370 to 1373, he went abroad again and fulfilled diplomatic missions in Florence and Genoa, helping establish an English port in Genoa. He also spent time familiarizing himself with the work of Italian poets Dante and Petrarch along the way. By the time he returned, he and Philippa were prospering, and he was rewarded for his diplomatic activities with an appointment as Comptroller of Customs, a lucrative position. Meanwhile, Philippa and Chaucer were also granted generous pensions by the Duke of Gaunt.

In 1377 and 1388, Chaucer engaged in yet more diplomatic missions, with the objectives of finding a French wife for Richard II and securing military aid in Italy. Busy with his duties, Chaucer had little time to devote to writing poetry, his true passion. In 1385 he petitioned for temporary leave. For the next four years he lived in Kent but worked as a justice of the peace and later a Parliament member, rather than focusing on his writing.

When Philippa passed away in 1387, Chaucer stopped sharing in her royal annuities and suffered financial hardship. He needed to keep working in public service to earn a living and pay off his growing accumulation of debt.

Major Works

The precise dates of many of Chaucer’s written works are difficult to pin down with certainty, but one thing is clear: His major works have retained their relevancy even in the college classroom of today.

Chaucer’s body of best-known works includes the Parliament of Fouls, otherwise known as the Parlement of Foules, in the Middle English spelling. Some historians of Chaucer’s work assert that it was written in 1380, during marriage negotiations between Richard and Anne of Bohemia. Critic J.A.W. Bennet interpreted the Parliament of Fouls as a study of Christian love. It had been identified as peppered with Neo-Platonic ideas inspired by the likes of poets Cicero and Jean De Meun, among others. The poem uses allegory, and incorporates elements of irony and satire as it points to the inauthentic quality of courtly love. Chaucer was well acquainted with the theme firsthand—during his service to the court and his marriage of convenience to a woman whose social standing served to elevate his own.

Chaucer is believed to have written the poem Troilus and Criseyde sometime in the mid-1380s. Troilus and Criseyde is a narrative poem that retells the tragic love story of Troilus and Criseyde in the context of the Trojan War. Chaucer wrote the poem using rime royal, a technique he originated. Rime royal involves rhyming stanzas consisting of seven lines apiece, usually with an iambic pentameter rhyme scheme.

Troilus and Criseyde is broadly considered one of Chaucer’s greatest works, and has a reputation for being more complete and self-contained than most of Chaucer’s writing, his famed The Canterbury Tales being no exception.

The period of time over which Chaucer penned The Legend of Good Women is uncertain, although most scholars do agree that Chaucer seems to have abandoned it before its completion. The queen mentioned in the work is believed to be Richard II’s wife, Anne of Bohemia. Chaucer’s mention of the real-life royal palaces Eltham and Sheen serve to support this theory. In writing The Legend of Good Women, Chaucer played with another new and innovative format: The poem comprises a series of shorter narratives.

The Canterbury Tales is by far Chaucer’s best known and most acclaimed work. Initially Chaucer had planned for each of his characters to tell four stories a piece. The first two stories would be set as the character was on his/her way to Canterbury, and the second two were to take place as the character was heading home. Apparently, Chaucer’s goal of writing 120 stories was an overly ambitious one. In actuality, The Canterbury Tales is made up of only 24 tales and rather abruptly ends before its characters even make it to Canterbury. The tales are fragmented and varied in order, and scholars continue to debate whether the tales were published in their correct order. Despite its erratic qualities, The Canterbury Tales continues to be acknowledged for the beautiful rhythm of Chaucer’s language and his characteristic use of clever, satirical wit.

A Treatise on the Astrolabe is one of Chaucer’s nonfiction works. It is an essay about the astrolabe, a tool used by astronomers and explorers to locate the positions of the sun, moon and planets. Chaucer planned to write the essay in five parts but ultimately only completed the first two. Today it is one of the oldest surviving works that explain how to use a complex scientific tool, and it thought to do so with admirable clarity.

Later Life

From 1389 to 1391, after Richard II had ascended to the throne, Chaucer held a draining and dangerous position as Clerk of the Works. He was robbed by highwaymen twice while on the job, which only served to further compound his financial worries. To make matters even worse, Chaucer had stopped receiving his pension. Chaucer eventually resigned the position for a lower but less stressful appointment as sub-forester, or gardener, at the King’s park in Somersetshire.

When Richard II was deposed in 1399, his cousin and successor, Henry IV, took pity on Chaucer and reinstated Chaucer’s former pension. With the money, Chaucer was able to lease an apartment in the garden of St. Mary’s Chapel in Westminster, where he lived modestly for the rest of his days.


The legendary 14th century English poet Geoffrey Chaucer died October 25, 1400 of in London, England. He died of unknown causes and was 60 years old at the time. Chaucer was buried in Westminster Abbey. His gravestone became the center of what was to be called Poet’s Corner, a spot where such famous British writers as Robert Browning and Charles Dickens were later honored and interred.

Geoffrey Chaucer wrote The Canterbury Tales, a collection of stories in a frame story, between 1387 and 1400. It is the story of a group of thirty people who travel as pilgrims to Canterbury (England). The pilgrims, who come from all layers of society, tell stories to each other to kill time while they travel to Canterbury.

If we trust the General Prologue, Chaucer intended that each pilgrim should tell two tales on the way to Canterbury and two tales on the way back. He never finished his enormous project and even the completed tales were not finally revised. Scholars are uncertain about the order of the tales. As the printing press had yet to be invented when Chaucer wrote his works, The Canterbury Tales has been passed down in several handwritten manuscripts.

A KNYGHT ther was, and that a worthy man,

That fro the tyme that he first bigan

45 To riden out, he loved chivalrie,

Trouthe and honour, fredom and curteisie.

Ful worthy was he in his lordes werre,

And therto hadde he riden, no man ferre,

As wel in cristendom as in hethenesse,

50 And evere honoured for his worthynesse.

At Alisaundre he was, whan it was wonne.

Ful ofte tyme he hadde the bord bigonne

Aboven alle nacions in Pruce;

In Lettow hadde he reysed, and in Ruce,

55 No Cristen man so ofte of his degree.

In Gernade at the seege eek hadde he be

Of Algezir, and riden in Belmarye.

At Lyeys was he and at Satalye,

Whan they were wonne; and in the Grete See

60 At many a noble armee hadde he be.

At mortal batailles hadde he been fiftene,

And foughten for oure feith at Tramyssene

In lystes thries, and ay slayn his foo.

This ilke worthy knyght hadde been also

65 Somtyme with the lord of Palatye

Agayn another hethen in Turkye.

And everemoore he hadde a sovereyn prys;

And though that he were worthy, he was wys,

And of his port as meeke as is a mayde.

70 He nevere yet no vileynye ne sayde

In al his lyf unto no maner wight.

He was a verray, parfit gentil knyght.

But, for to tellen yow of his array,

His hors were goode, but he was nat gay.

75 Of fustian he wered a gypon

Al bismotered with his habergeoun,

For he was late ycome from his viage,

And wente for to doon his pilgrymage.

A KNIGHT there was, and what a gentleman,

Who, from the moment that he first began

45 To ride about the world, loved chivalry,

Truth, honour, freedom and all courtesy.

Full worthy was he in his sovereign's war,

And therein had he ridden, no man more,

As well in Christendom as heathenesse,

50 And honoured everywhere for worthiness.

At Alexandria, in the winning battle he was there;

Often put in the place of honour, a chair.

Above all nations' knights in Prussia.

In Latvia raided he, and Russia,

55 No christened man so oft of his degree.

In far Granada at the siege was he

Of Algeciras, and in Belmarie.

At Ayas was he and at Satalye

When they were won; and on the Middle Sea

60 At many a noble meeting chanced to be.

Of mortal battles he had fought fifteen,

And he'd fought for our faith at Tramissene

Three times in duels, always killed his foe.

This self-same worthy knight had been also

65 At one time with the lord of Palatye

Against another heathen in Turkey:

And always won he widespread fame for prize.

Though so strong and brave, he was very wise

And of temper as meekly as a maid.

70 He never yet had any vileness said,

In all his life, to whatsoever wight.

He was a truly perfect, noble knight.

But now, to tell you all of his array,

His steeds were good, but he was not gaily dressed.

75 A tunic of simple cloth he possesed

Discoloured and stained by his habergeon;

For he had lately returned from his voyage

And now was going on this pilgrimage.


Whello_html_m4d82343.pngilliam Shakespeare was born on April 23, 1564, in Stratford-on-Avon. The son of John Shakespeare and Mary Arden, he was probably educated at the King Edward IV Grammar School in Stratford, where he learned Latin and a little Greek and read the Roman dramatists. At eighteen, he married Anne Hathaway, a woman seven or eight years his senior. Together they raised two daughters: Susanna, who was born in 1583, and Judith (whose twin brother died in boyhood), born in 1585.

Little is known about Shakespeare’s activities between 1585 and 1592. Robert Greene’s A Groatsworth of Wit alludes to him as an actor and playwright. Shakespeare may have taught at school during this period, but it seems more probable that shortly after 1585 he went to London to begin his apprenticeship as an actor. Due to the plague, the London theaters were often closed between June 1592 and April 1594. During that period, Shakespeare probably had some income from his patron, Henry Wriothesley, earl of Southampton, to whom he dedicated his first two poems, Venus and Adonis (1593) and The Rape of Lucrece (1594). The former was a long narrative poem depicting the rejection of Venus by Adonis, his death, and the consequent disappearance of beauty from the world. Despite conservative objections to the poem’s glorification of sensuality, it was immensely popular and was reprinted six times during the nine years following its publication.

In 1594, Shakespeare joined the Lord Chamberlain’s company of actors, the most popular of the companies acting at Court. In 1599 Shakespeare joined a group of Chamberlain’s Men that would form a syndicate to build and operate a new playhouse: the Globe, which became the most famous theater of its time. With his share of the income from the Globe, Shakespeare was able to purchase New Place, his home in Stratford.

While Shakespeare was regarded as the foremost dramatist of his time, evidence indicates that both he and his contemporaries looked to poetry, not playwriting, for enduring fame. Shakespeare’s sonnets were composed between 1593 and 1601, though not published until 1609. That edition, The Sonnets of Shakespeare, consists of 154 sonnets, all written in the form of three quatrains and a couplet that is now recognized as Shakespearean. The sonnets fall into two groups: sonnets 1-126, addressed to a beloved friend, a handsome and noble young man, and sonnets 127-152, to a malignant but fascinating “Dark Lady," who the poet loves in spite of himself. Nearly all of Shakespeare’s sonnets examine the inevitable decay of time, and the immortalization of beauty and love in poetry.

In his poems and plays, Shakespeare invented thousands of words, often combining or contorting Latin, French, and native roots. His impressive expansion of the English language, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, includes such words as: arch-villain, birthplace, bloodsucking, courtship, dewdrop, downstairs, fanged, heartsore, hunchbacked, leapfrog, misquote, pageantry, radiance, schoolboy, stillborn, watchdog, and zany.

Shakespeare wrote more than thirty plays. These are usually divided into four categories: histories, comedies, tragedies, and romances. His earliest plays were primarily comedies and histories such as Henry VI and The Comedy of Errors, but in 1596, Shakespeare wrote Romeo and Juliet, his second tragedy, and over the next dozen years he would return to the form, writing the plays for which he is now best known: Julius Caesar, Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth, and Antony and Cleopatra. In his final years, Shakespeare turned to the romantic with Cymbeline, A Winter’s Tale, and The Tempest.

Only eighteen of Shakespeare’s plays were published separately in quarto editions during his lifetime; a complete collection of his works did not appear until the publication of the First Folio in 1623, several years after his death. Nonetheless, his contemporaries recognized Shakespeare’s achievements. Francis Meres cited “honey-tongued” Shakespeare for his plays and poems in 1598, and the Chamberlain’s Men rose to become the leading dramatic company in London, installed as members of the royal household in 1603.

Sometime after 1612, Shakespeare retired from the stage and returned to his home in Stratford. He drew up his will in January of 1616, which included his famous bequest to his wife of his “second best bed.” He died on April 23, 1616, and was buried two days later at Stratford Church.

Poetry The Rape of Lucrece (1594), The Sonnets of Shakespeare (1609), Venus and Adonis (1593)

Drama A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1595), All’s Well that Ends Well (1602), Antony and Cleopatra (1607), As You Like It (1599), Coriolanus (1608), Cymbeline (1609), Hamlet (1600), Henry IV (1597), Henry V (1598), Henry VI (Parts I, II, and III) (1590), Henry VIII (1612), Julius Caesar (1599), King John (1596), King Lear (1605), Love’s Labour’s Lost (1593), Macbeth (1606), Measure for Measure (1604), Much Ado About Nothing (1598), Othello (1604), Pericles (1608), Richard II (1595), Richard III (1594), Romeo and Juliet (1596), The Comedy of Errors (1590), The Merchant of Venice (1596), The Merry Wives of Windsor (1597), The Taming of the Shrew (1593), The Tempest (1611), The Winter’s Tale (1610), Timon of Athens (1607), Titus Andronicus (1590), Troilus and Cressida (1600), Twelfth Night (1599), Two Gentlemen of Verona (1592)


The Main Festivals of Shakespeare's plays by professional companies are given in the three Stratford — in England at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, in Canada at the Stratford (Ontario) Festival theatre, and in the United States at the American Shakespeare Theatre. Professional open-air festivals are also held in Central Park, Hew York City, under the auspices of Joseph Papp, and in regent's Park, London, where performances were given from 1900 onwards by Den Greet and his woodland Players, a permanent Open-Air Theatre being established there in 1933 and run for many years by Robert Atkins. London's St George's Theatre also provides all-the-year-round Shakespeare productions, and an attempt is being made by Sam Wanamaker to gather funds for the building of a new Globe Theatre near the site of the original one.

The oldest Shakespeare festival in America, founded in 1935, is that held out of doors during the summer at Ashland, Oregon. Plays were first given by students in roofless structure, which was damaged by fire in 1940. The festival was then suspended until 1947, when a new stage was built and professional actors were engaged. An Elizabethan-type theatre, the Old Globe, was designed by Thomas Wood Stevens for the 1935-6 California Pacific International Exposition, and later transported to Balboa Park, San Diego,, where a summer Shakespeare Festival was inaugurated by Ben Iden Payne in 1950. The first actors were local amateurs, but in 1754 student actors and technicians from colleges and drama schools throughout the country were enrolled, and since 1958 the major roles have been played by professionals. The theatre, originally roofless like its predecessor, was later roofed over. Since it was damaged by fire in 1978 plays have been performed on a Festival Stage adjacent to the Old Globe, but a 350-seat Elizabethan theatre is now being built to replace it. The Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival at Lakewood, Ohio, founded in 1962, stages plays by Shakespeare and others indoors in the summer. There are about 30 Shakespeare festivals in the United States.

A Danish festival, devoted entirely to productions of Hamlet, has been held in the courtyard of Kronborg Castle at Elsinore. It was inaugurated in 1937, with a performance by Laurence Olivier and the Old Vie company. In 1938 there was a German company headed by Grundgens, and in 1939 another English company under John Gielgud. After the Second World War efforts were made to revive this festival, and Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, American, and Irish Hamlets were seen, with Michael Redgrave heading a third English company in 1950. After 1954, however, there were no further productions until the Prospect Theatre Company's visit in 1978, with Derek Jacobi in the title role.

There are a number of amateur festivals in England, of which the most important is probably that held in London in the week nearest to Shakespeare's birthday (23 Apr.), which includes a production in the yard of the George Inn. Southwark, site which more nearly than any other appears to resemble the inn yards in which London companies appeared before the erection by James Burbage of the Theatre in 1576.


This theatre, devoted to the production of plays by Shakespeare, stood on a riverside site in his birthplace, donated by Charles Edward Flower, member of a local family of brewers. A bright-red brick building in a pseudo-Gothic style, it opened in 1879 on 23 Apr., (Shakespeare's birthday), and attracted a good deal of adverse criticism on account of its gabled and turreted exterior, bare interior, and inadequate stage. It was, however, destined to house many fine productions with outstanding actors during the annual festival of Shakespeare's plays, which from 1886 to 1919 were directed mainly by Frank Season, and afterwards by W. Bridges-Adams, and even to gain the affection of some of these who visited it regularly, until on 6 Mar. 1926 it was destroyed by fire, leaving the library and picture gallery, added in 1883, still standing, though badly damaged. The company moved to a local converted cinema while plans were put in hand for a new theatre, on the same site but with an extension into the adjoining Bancroft gardens. The shell of the old theatre was converted into a conference hall, now used for rehearsals, much of the money needed to build a new theatre came from the United States of America, and the moving spirit of the appeal was again Sir Archibald.

The new building, designed by Elizabeth Scott, grandniece of the architect Sir Gilbert Scott, opened on 23 Apr. 1932. It was purely functional both inside and out, with high windowless walls, a fan-shaped auditorium seating about 1,500, and a wide stage. Again in caused widespread controversy; just as the first theatre had been dubbed 'a wedding cake', so the second was dismissed as 'a factory' or 'a tomb'. The actors suffered from cramped conditions backstage and from the distancing effect on their performances of the large orchestra pit.

Two years later Bridges-Adams retired, after extending the annual season From three or four weeks to five months and inviting Komisarjevsky to direct several plays, including a controversial production of Macbeth with aluminium screens and vaguely modern uniforms. He returned under Bridges-Adams's successor Ben Iden Payne, who introduced dramatists other than Shakespeare into the programme — Jonson for the tercentenary of his death in 1937, Goldsmith in 1340, Sheridan in 1941. This policy continued until 1946, since when Shakespeare has reigned virtually supreme. A full programme was maintained during the Second World War, Payne being succeeded by Milton Rosmer in 1943 and Robert Atkins in 1944; under the latter the forestage was carried out over the orchestra pit, with a welcome gain in contact between actors and audience. In 1945 Barry Jackson took over and initiated a number of reforms, including the spacing out of first nights over the whole season instead of crowding them all into the first fortnight and the appointment of a different director for each play instead of a resident director for the season. Improvements were made both in the auditorium and backstage, including the enlargement and refitting of the workshops.

Jackson also invited promising youngsters to join the company, including Paul Scofield and Peter Brook, and in 1948 Robert Hellmann appeared as King John, Shylock, and Hamlet. In the autumn of that year Anthony Quayle took over as director, and under him a number of leading players, including Peggy Ashcroft, John Gielgud, Diana Wynyard, and Michael Redgrave, appeared in series of brilliant productions. The front curtain was removed, thus further integrating stage and auditorium. Glen Byan Shaw succeeded Quayle in 1956, after being co-director for some years. Overseas touring, which began with tentative visits to North America and Australia before 1339, increased after the Second World War, and there were visits to Moscow in 1955 and Leningrad in 1958.

The formation of the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1961, with Peter Hall as director, began new era, with the company appearing not only at Stratford, where the theatre was renamed the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, but also in London, at the Aldwych Theatre.

Twelfth Night”

Twelfth Night Summary provides a quick review of the play's plot including every important action in the play. Twelfth Night Summary is divided by the five acts of the play and is an ideal introduction before reading the original text.

Act I.

Orsino, The Duke of Illyria reveals his great love for the rich Countess Olivia who we learn has decided to veil herself for seven years to honor her recently deceased brother's memory. Profoundly impressed by this, the Duke continues his pursuit of Olivia undeterred...

Viola is introduced to us as a survivor of a shipwreck. Her brother was lost at sea but may not be dead. Viola learns from the Sea Captain of their doomed ship that they are now in Illyria, which is ruled by Orsino. The Sea Captain explains to Viola that The Duke of Illyria is pursuing the fair Olivia, a woman who like Viola has lost a brother.

Identifying with Olivia's grief, Viola wishes to serve Olivia but when she learns this will be impossible, Viola instead has the Sea Captain disguise her as a boy so she can serve Orsino, The Duke of Illyria.

Sir Toby, Olivia's cousin is introduced. We quickly discover that he drinks a great deal, keeps late hours and is generally rowdy by nature. Maria, Lady Olivia's maid makes this clear to us in her unsuccessful attempts to quieten Sir Toby down. Maria also reveals Olivia's annoyance that Sir Toby has encouraged Sir Andrew Aguecheek to court her.

Sir Andrew Aguecheek is now introduced, quickly revealing himself to be rich but rather dim (unintelligent). Sir Toby has manipulated Sir Andrew into pursuing Olivia so Sir Toby can continue benefiting from Sir Andrew's great wealth.

Realizing Olivia will not be courted by him, Sir Andrew makes preparations to leave but Sir Toby convinces Sir Andrew to stay a month longer, no doubt so Sir Toby can use Sir Andrew and his great wealth further...

Viola has successfully disguised herself as a man named Cesario. Her success with Orsino has been so great that she is now a favorite with Orsino who believes Viola to be the man named Cesario. As such, Orsino entrusts Cesario (Viola) to express his love for Olivia. Cesario, (Viola) deeply divided by her own love for Orsino, nonetheless dutifully represents Orsino.

Olivia's maid is angry with Feste, Olivia's Clown. Feste redeems himself with Lady Olivia by telling her she should not mourn her brother since he is in a better place, namely heaven. Olivia is pleased, but Olivia's uptight steward, Malvolio is not, regarding Feste as old and lacking in wit.

Olivia gives us an insight into Malvolio's character by saying that he suffers from self-love or is arrogant and vain.

Cesario (Viola) petitions Lady Olivia, eventually gaining her audience. Olivia is quite taken by Cesario but tells him, she cannot return Orsino's affections for her.

Olivia would however like to see Cesario (Viola) again, asking him to come back to report to her how Orsino took the news. Intrigued by Cesario, Olivia sends Malvolio after him to give back a ring Cesario left behind as an excuse to express her affection for him...

Act II.

Sebastian, the twin brother Viola feared had died at sea, has also survived the shipwreck. Like Viola he mourns the loss of his sibling, believing his sister Viola to be dead.

Antonio, the man who saved Sebastian's life is touched by Sebastian's loss and decides to follow Sebastian to the Duke of Orsino's court even though he has many enemies there. Sebastian nobly tries to talk Antonio out of this, but Antonio is eventually accepted by Sebastian to travel with him to the Duke's court.

Malvolio catches up with Cesario (Viola), rudely returning Cesario's ring to him. Cesario is confused, he left no such ring at Lady Olivia's house. Malvolio also conveys Olivia's desire that Cesario return to confirm that Orsino has accepted the fact that she does not love him.

Cesario now realizes that the ring is a ploy by Olivia to express her affections for him. Realizing she has charmed Olivia, Cesario remarks that Olivia would do better chasing a dream than a man who really is a woman (Viola) in disguise. Cesario is distressed by this mess and hopes time will undo this tangled web.

Late at night, Sir Toby, Sir Andrew and later Feste the Clown are enjoying some late night drinking and singing. This gets Maria's attention who warns all three men to quieten down lest Malvolio notices.

The three men ignore Maria. Malvolio arrives, warning the men that he will speak to Olivia about this noise. The three men ignore him as they did Maria and now Malvolio threatens to make Maria look disrespectful in Olivia's eyes if she does not quieten these three men down.

Maria, resenting Malvolio's heavy-handed arrogance hatches a plan to write a letter, which will convince Malvolio that Olivia loves him. This news quietens down all three men, who each dislikes Malvolio but now are all enthusiastic accomplices in his downfall. Sir Toby, Sir Andrew and Feste will hide near where Malvolio will discover the letter so they can all enjoy what in their eyes is Malvolio's rightly deserved humiliation...

Orsino notices that Cesario (Viola) is in love. Cesario describes this person in terms that precisely describe Orsino but Orsino does not realize this. Cesario warns the Duke that Lady Olivia may not love him but Orsino refuses to even accept such a possibility. Cesario (Viola) remarks on the unreliability of men in relationships. Cesario starts to reveal "his" own past but quickly becomes vague when Orsino becomes too curious.

Orsino sends Cesario once more to Lady Olivia with a large jewel as a token of his love for her... Maria tells Fabian, Sir Toby and Sir Andrew, all of whom hate Malvolio, that she has penned the letter that will convince Malvolio that Lady Olivia loves him.

Malvolio, meanwhile having not yet found the letter, starts entertaining the idea that Olivia could love him and that he could marry her. Malvolio picks up Maria's counterfeit letter with its instructions that Malvolio be rude to kinsman like Sir Toby. It also suggests that he wear yellow stockings and be cross-gartered to win Olivia's love.

Maria explains to Sir Toby and company, that Lady Olivia hates yellow stockings and cross-gartered fashion and so Malvolio will be humiliated before Lady Olivia.

Act III.

Cesario has another private meeting with Lady Olivia on Duke Orsino's behalf.

Sir Toby and Sir Andrew meet Cesario (Viola) and Sir Toby learns from Cesario that he will soon speak with Lady Olivia. In private, Lady Olivia admits to Cesario that she used the ring she sent after him to lure him back to her.

Cesario (Viola) tries to put Olivia off him but she is smitten, ignoring all Cesario's attempts to diminish her enthusiasm for "him"...

Knowing Lady Olivia will never love him, Sir Andrew prepares to head for home. The sight of Olivia showing more affection to a youth (Cesario) than him was the last straw.

Fabian and Sir Toby don't deny the affectionate display but argue Olivia did it to spur Sir Andrew to woo her and regain her respect. Sir Toby and Fabian manipulate Sir Andrew into writing a challenge to the youth (Cesario) even though they know a fight between two cowards (Cesario and Sir Andrew) is unlikely.

Maria enters, telling Sir Toby and Fabian to watch the spectacle that is Malvolio wearing yellow stockings and being cross-gartered.

Sebastian has now reluctantly accepted Antonio as his companion in the streets of Illyria.

Antonio explains that his offence in Illyria, which was theft, was one the rest of his city have repaid but he has not and so he is still wanted in Illyria. Sebastian decides to look around, but Antonio fearful of his enemies, decides to head for lodging at a place called "the Elephant." Antonio gives Sebastian his purse (wallet) and directions to this lodging and the two part their separate ways...

Olivia makes plans to once more woo Cesario (Viola). Olivia sees Malvolio with yellow stockings and cross-gartered and considers him mad since he continues to smile no matter what the situation and makes crude, lustful interpretations of Olivia's words.

Malvolio makes his famous "'Some are born great,'-" speech.

Learning that Cesario has returned, Lady Olivia has Malvolio put into the care of her servants since in her eyes, Malvolio's behavior is some "midsummer madness."

Sir Toby, Maria and Fabian plot to have Malvolio placed in a "dark room," so they can have some fun with him. Sir Andrew arrives with his completed letter challenging Cesario. Sir Toby decides to verbally scare Cesario and Sir Andrew about their opponents instead of sending the letter.

Alone with Cesario once more, Lady Olivia makes no progress with Cesario who will not requit (return) her love. Olivia is undaunted by this. Sir Toby scares both Sir Andrew and Cesario into drawing their weapons on each other.

Antonio arrives, pledging to fight Sir Andrew on Cesario's (Viola's) behalf who he thinks is Sebastian since Viola disguised as a man now looks like her twin brother Sebastian.

The fight is stopped but Officers recognizing Antonio, capture him. Antonio asks Cesario (Viola) for his purse back but Cesario not recognizing him does not oblige.

Antonio thinks Sebastian has betrayed him, not realizing he has asked Cesario (Viola) for his purse, not Sebastian.

Act IV.

Confusion reigns as Sebastian is now mistaken for Cesario when Feste insists Sebastian sent for him and Sebastian is certain he did not (Cesario obviously did).

Sir Andrew finds Sebastian and thinking it is Cesario from the earlier "fight" that did not happen, hits Sebastian. Sebastian unlike Cesario is not afraid to return the favor and a fight is only stopped by Sir Toby's intervention. Sir Andrew decides to have Sebastian punished by the law of Illyria despite the fact that he started the fight.

Sir Toby and Sebastian are just about to fight when Olivia screams for her uncle, Sir Toby to stop. Olivia now scolds Sir Toby, hoping Sebastian, whom she thinks is Cesario (Viola), will forgive her uncle and not be displeased with her.

Sebastian, amazed that this beautiful woman he does not know, loves him, replies to Olivia that he will be ruled by her and the two set off to marry immediately...

In Olivia's house, Malvolio in a darkened room is teased mercilessly by Feste who tries unsuccessfully to convince Malvolio that he is mad.

Sir Toby, fearing that his fight with Cesario (actually Sebastian) has put him on thin ice with Olivia, wants Feste's teasing of Malvolio to stop. Feste has other ideas but eventually lets Malvolio write a letter to Olivia proclaiming his sanity...

Sebastian can barely believe his luck, a beautiful woman (Olivia) loves him and has given him a pearl. Sebastian briefly wonders if he is dreaming before he marries Olivia in a private chapel. Olivia explains that their now secret marriage will be revealed later...

Act V.

In the final scene, chaos ensues as the identical appearing Cesario (Viola) and Sebastian are each blamed for the other's actions. First Feste blames Sebastian for beckoning him, not realizing it was Cesario who called for him.

Cesario spots Antonio the man who saved him from fighting Sir Andrew but was taken prisoner by Orsino's officers in Act III. Antonio again asks Cesario for his wallet back thinking he is Sebastian. Cesario (Viola), who does not know Antonio, does not and so Antonio curses him for his betrayal, not realizing he is talking to Cesario not Sebastian whom he lent his wallet to. We learn that Antonio is an enemy of Illyria and especially of Orsino for plundering his ships as a pirate in the past.

Now a prisoner, Antonio baffles Orsino by telling him that he and Cesario (Viola) have been together night and day for three weeks when who Antonio is really thinking of is Sebastian. Orsino cannot believe this; Cesario has been with him for three weeks.

Olivia arrives and we see that Orsino still loves her. The feeling is not mutual... Olivia scolds Cesario (Viola) for neglecting her, revealing that "he" is her husband.

Cesario (Viola) amazed by this, pleads "his" innocence to Orsino who "he" truly loves and Orsino thinking his servant betrayed him by taking Olivia for himself, prepares to punish Cesario.

Olivia meanwhile despairs that her husband Cesario who really is Sebastian, would leave willingly with Orsino to be punished rather than be with his wife and she too claims betrayal by Cesario (Viola).

Sebastian arrives, apologizing for attacking Sir Toby and Sir Andrew. Orsino seeing both Cesario and Sebastian together is amazed that he sees two copies of the same man. Olivia too is amazed.

Sebastian and Cesario compare notes on how they arrived in Illyria each claiming that their sibling had drowned.

Eventually they realize that since they knew the same father they are indeed brother and sister, Cesario revealing "his" real identity as the woman named Viola. Malvolio storms in and the cruel prank against him is revealed by Fabian who confesses.

Orsino calls Olivia his sister, and Orsino takes Cesario for his mistress and we presume later his wife with Feste ending the play in song.

Jhello_html_m745e0fbd.pngohn Milton

John Milton was born in London on December 9, 1608, into a middle-class family. He was educated at St. Paul’s School, then at Christ’s College, Cambridge, where he began to write poetry in Latin, Italian, and English, and prepared to enter the clergy.

After university, however, he abandoned his plans to join the priesthood and spent the next six years in his father’s country home in Buckinghamshire following a rigorous course of independent study to prepare for a career as a poet. His extensive reading included both classical and modern works of religion, science, philosophy, history, politics, and literature. In addition, Milton was proficient in Latin, Greek, Hebrew, French, Spanish, and Italian, and obtained a familiarity with Old English and Dutch as well.

During his period of private study, Milton composed a number of poems, including "On the Morning of Christ’s Nativity," "On Shakespeare," “L’Allegro," “Il Penseroso," and the pastoral elegy "Lycidas.” In May of 1638, Milton began a 13-month tour of France and Italy, during which he met many important intellectuals and influential people, including the astronomer Galileo, who appears in Milton’s tract against censorship, “Areopagitica.”

In 1642, Milton returned from a trip into the countryside with a 16-year-old bride, Mary Powell. Even though they were estranged for most of their marriage, she bore him three daughters and a son before her death in 1652. Milton later married twice more: Katherine Woodcock in 1656, who died giving birth in 1658, and Elizabeth Minshull in 1662.

During the English Civil War, Milton championed the cause of the Puritans and Oliver Cromwell, and wrote a series of pamphlets advocating radical political topics including the morality of divorce, the freedom of the press, populism, and sanctioned regicide. Milton served as secretary for foreign languages in Cromwell’s government, composing official statements defending the Commonwealth. During this time, Milton steadily lost his eyesight, and was completely blind by 1651. He continued his duties, however, with the aid of Andrew Marvell and other assistants.

After the Restoration of Charles II to the throne in 1660, Milton was arrested as a defender of the Commonwealth, fined, and soon released. He lived the rest of his life in seclusion in the country, completing the blank-verse epic poem Paradise Lost in 1667, as well as its sequel Paradise Regained and the tragedy Samson Agonistes both in 1671. Milton oversaw the printing of a second edition of Paradise Lost in 1674, which included an explanation of “why the poem rhymes not," clarifying his use of blank verse, along with introductory notes by Marvell. He died shortly afterwards, on November 8, 1674, in Buckinghamshire, England.

Paradise Lost, which chronicles Satan’s temptation of Adam and Eve and their expulsion from Eden, is widely regarded as his masterpiece and one of the greatest epic poems in world literature. Since its first publication, the work has continually elicited debate regarding its theological themes, political commentary, and its depiction of the fallen angel Satan who is often viewed as the protagonist of the work.

The epic has had wide-reaching effect, inspiring other long poems, such as Alexander Pope‘s The Rape of the Lock, William Wordsworth‘s The Prelude and John Keats‘s Endymion, as well as Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein, and deeply influencing the work of Percy Bysshe Shelley and William Blake, who illustrated an edition of the epic.

Paradise Lost

The poem is separated into twelve "books" or sections, the lengths of which vary greatly (the longest is Book IX, with 1,189 lines, and the shortest Book VII, with 640). The Arguments at the head of each book were added in subsequent imprints of the first edition. Originally published in ten books, a fully "Revised and Augmented" edition reorganized into twelve books was issued in 1674, and this is the edition generally used today.

The poem follows the epic tradition of starting in medias res (Latin for in the midst of things), the background story being recounted later.

Milton's story has two narrative arcs, one about Satan (Lucifer) and the other following Adam and Eve. It begins after Satan and the other rebel angels have been defeated and banished to Hell, or, as it is also called in the poem, Tartarus. In Pandæmonium, Satan employs his rhetorical skill to organise his followers; he is aided by Mammon and Beelzebub. Belial and Moloch are also present. At the end of the debate, Satan volunteers to poison the newly created Earth and God's new and most favoured creation, Mankind. He braves the dangers of the Abyss alone in a manner reminiscent of Odysseus or Aeneas. After an arduous traversal of the Chaos outside Hell, he enters God's new material World, and later the Garden of Eden.

At several points in the poem, an Angelic War over Heaven is recounted from different perspectives. Satan's rebellion follows the epic convention of large-scale warfare. The battles between the faithful angels and Satan's forces take place over three days. At the final battle, the Son of God single-handedly defeats the entire legion of angelic rebels and banishes them from Heaven. Following this purge, God creates the World, culminating in his creation of Adam and Eve. While God gave Adam and Eve total freedom and power to rule over all creation, he gave them one explicit command: not to eat from the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil on penalty of death.

The story of Adam and Eve's temptation and fall is a fundamentally different, new kind of epic: a domestic one. Adam and Eve are presented for the first time[citation needed] in Christian literature as having a full relationship while still being without sin. They have passions and distinct personalities. Satan, disguised in the form of a serpent, successfully tempts Eve to eat from the Tree by preying on her vanity and tricking her with rhetoric. Adam, learning that Eve has sinned, knowingly commits the same sin. He declares to Eve that since she was made from his flesh, they are bound to one another ‒ if she dies, he must also die. In this manner, Milton portrays Adam as a heroic figure, but also as a greater sinner than Eve, as he is aware that what he is doing is wrong.

After eating the fruit, Adam and Eve have lustful sex. At first, Adam is convinced that Eve was right in thinking that eating the fruit would be beneficial. However, they soon fall asleep and have terrible nightmares, and after they awake, they experience guilt and shame for the first time. Realizing that they have committed a terrible act against God, they engage in mutual recrimination.

Eve's pleas to Adam reconcile them somewhat. Her encouragement enables Adam and Eve both to approach God, to "bow and sue for grace with suppliant knee", and to receive grace from God. In a vision shown to him by the angel Michael, Adam witnesses everything that will happen to mankind until the Great Flood. Adam is very upset by this vision of the future, so Michael also tells him about humankind's potential redemption from original sin through Jesus Christ (whom Michael calls "King Messiah").

Adam and Eve are cast out of Eden, and Michael says that Adam may find "a paradise within thee, happier far". Adam and Eve also now have a more distant relationship with God, who is omnipresent but invisible (unlike the tangible Father in the Garden of Eden).


Milton first presents Adam and Eve in Book IV with impartiality. The relationship between Adam and Eve is one of "mutual dependence, not a relation of domination or hierarchy." While the author does place Adam above Eve in regard to his intellectual knowledge, and in turn his relation to God, he also grants Eve the benefit of knowledge through experience. Hermine Van Nuis clarifies that although there is a sense of stringency associated with the specified roles of the male and the female, each unreservedly accepts the designated role because it is viewed as an asset. Instead of believing that these roles are forced upon them, each uses the obligatory requirement as a strength in their relationship with each other. These minor discrepancies could be interpreted as an indication of the author’s view on the importance of mutuality between a husband and a wife.

When examining the relationship between Adam and Eve, critics tend to accept an either Adam- or Eve-centered view in terms of hierarchy and importance to God. David Mikics argues, by contrast, these positions "overstate the independence of the characters' stances, and therefore miss the way in which Adam and Eve are entwined with each other". Milton's true vision reflects one where the husband and wife (in this instance, Adam and Eve) depend on each other and only through each other’s differences are able to thrive.

Although Milton does not directly mention divorce, critics posit theories on Milton's view of divorce based on inferences found within the poem, and, of course, the tracts on divorce Milton wrote earlier in his life. Other works by Milton suggest he viewed marriage as an entity separate from the church. Discussing Paradise Lost, Biberman entertains the idea that "marriage is a contract made by both the man and the woman". Based on this inference, Milton would believe that both man and woman would have equal access to divorce, as they do to marriage.

Feminist critics of Paradise Lost suggest that Eve is forbidden the knowledge of her own identity. Moments after her creation, before Eve is led to Adam, she becomes enraptured by an image reflected in the water (her own, unbeknownst to Eve).[20] God urges Eve to look away from her own image, her beauty, which is also the object of Adam’s desire. Adam delights in both her beauty and submissive charms, yet Eve may never be permitted to gaze upon her individual form. Critic Julia M. Walker argues that because Eve “neither recognizes nor names herself ... she can know herself only in relation to Adam.” “Eve’s sense of self becomes important in its absence ... [she] is never allowed to know what she is supposed to see.” Eve therefore knows not what she is, only what she is not: male. Starting in Book IV, Eve learns that Adam, the male form, is superior and “How beauty is excelled by manly grace/ And wisdom which alone is truly fair.” Led by his gentle hand, she yields, a woman without individual purpose, destined to fall by “free will.”

Ahello_html_m6f71fb2.png ballad /ˈbælɪd/ is a form of verse, often a narrative set to music. Ballads derive from the medieval French chanson balladée or ballade, which were originally "dancing songs". Ballads were particularly characteristic of the popular poetry and song of the British Isles from the later medieval period until the 19th century and used extensively across Europe and later the Americas, Australia and North Africa. Many ballads were written and sold as single sheet broadsides. The form was often used by poets and composers from the 18th century onwards to produce lyrical ballads. In the later 19th century the term took on the meaning of a slow form of popular love song and is now often used for any love song, particularly the pop or rock power ballad.


The ballad derives its name from medieval French dance songs or "ballares" (L: ballare, to dance), from which 'ballet' is also derived, as did the alternative rival form that became the French ballade. As a narrative song, their theme and function may originate from Scandinavian and Germanic traditions of storytelling that can be seen in poems such as Beowulf. Musically they were influenced by the Minnesinger. The earliest example of a recognisable ballad in form in England is "Judas" in a 13th-century manuscript.

The traditional, classical or popular (meaning of the people) ballad has been seen as beginning with the wandering minstrels of late medieval Europe. From the end of the 15th century there are printed ballads that suggest a rich tradition of popular music. A reference in William Langland's Piers Plowman indicates that ballads about Robin Hood were being sung from at least the late 14th century and the oldest detailed material is Wynkyn de Worde's collection of Robin Hood ballads printed about 1495.

Early collections of English ballads were made by Samuel Pepys (1633–1703) and in the Roxburghe Ballads collected by Robert Harley, 1st Earl of Oxford and Mortimer (1661–1724).[16] In the 18th century there were increasing numbers of such collections, including Thomas d'Urfey's Wit and Mirth: or, Pills to Purge Melancholy (1719–20) and Bishop Thomas Percy's Reliques of Ancient English Poetry (1765). The last of these also contained some oral material and by the end of the 18th century this was becoming increasingly common, with collections including John Ritson's, The Bishopric Garland (1784), which paralleled the work of Walter Scott and Robert Burns who, in Scotland, collected and compiled major collections of Border ballad and Scottish song in Scott's Minstrelsy and through Burns' contributions to James Johnson's Scots Musical Museum and George Thomson's Scottish Airs.

It has been suggested that the increasing interest in traditional popular ballads during the eighteenth century was prompted by social issues such as the enclosure movement as many of the ballads deal with themes concerning rural laborers. James Davey has suggested that the common themes of sailing and naval battles may also have prompted the use (at least in England) of popular ballads as naval recruitment tools.

Key work on the traditional ballad was undertaken in the late 19th century in Denmark by Svend Grundtvig and for England and Scotland by the Harvard professor Francis James Child. They attempted to record and classify all the known ballads and variants in their chosen regions. Since Child died before writing a commentary on his work it is uncertain exactly how and why he differentiated the 305 ballads printed that would be published as The English and Scottish Popular Ballads. There have been many different and contradictory attempts to classify traditional ballads by theme, but commonly identified types are the religious, supernatural, tragic, love ballads, historic, legendary and humorous.

The 19th century ballad scholar Francis Child collected 38 separate Robin Hood ballads (and variant versions of them) in his ballad collection -- as well as a few other ballads which featured Robin Hood in some versions but not in others. Composed over hundreds of years, these ballads form the Robin Hood legend. Scenes from these tales have been used in many novels, movies and television shows.

Mostly I have used ballads from the 17th century and afterwards. I prefer the earlier ballads, but I think these later ones are written in easily understood English and don't need footnotes. The ballads include introductions, and in some cases I've included multiple versions of the same story (including excerpts from the 15th century ballads). The numbers are those assigned by the great 19th century scholar Francis Child in his multi-volume collection The English and Scottish Popular Ballads (the volume with the Robin Hood ballads appeared in 1888.)

Also, I've included two excepts from Howard Pyle's classic 1883 children's novel The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood (retelling the ballads available here). And you'll find Alfred Noyes' Sherwood, the first of Clayton Emery's Robin and Marian mysteries and two comic book stories from the 1950s on here too.

Robin Hood (spelled Robyn Hode in older manuscripts) is a heroic outlaw in English folklore, a highly skilled archer and swordsman. Although such behaviour was not part of his original character, since the beginning of the 19th century he has become known for "robbing from the rich and giving to the poor" assisted by a group of fellow outlaws known as his "Merry Men Traditionally, Robin Hood and his men are depicted wearing Lincoln green clothes. The origin of the legend is asserted by some to have been actual outlaws, or ballads or tales of outlaws

Robin Hood became a popular folk figure in the medieval period, continuing through to modern literature, films and television. In the earliest sources, Robin Hood is a yeoman, but he was often later portrayed as an aristocrat wrongfully dispossessed of his lands and made into an outlaw by an unscrupulous sheriff.


1 When Robin Hood was about twenty years old,

With a hey down down and a down

He happend to meet Little John,

A jolly brisk blade, right fit for the trade,

For he was a lusty young man.

2 Tho he was calld Little, his limbs they were large,

And his stature was seven foot high;

Where-ever he came, they quak'd at his name,

For soon he would make them to fly.

3 How they came acquainted, I'll tell you in brief,

If you will but listen a while;

For this very jest, amongst all the rest,

I think it may cause you to smile.

4 Bold Robin Hood said to his jolly bowmen,

Pray tarry you here in this grove;

And see that you all observe well my call,

While thorough the forest I rove.

5 We have had no sport for these fourteen long days,

Therefore now abroad will I go;

Now should I be beat, and cannot retreat,

My horn I will presently blow.

6 Then did he shake hands with his merry men all,

And bid them at present good b'w'ye;

Then, as near a brook his journey he took,

A stranger he chancd to espy.

7 They happend to meet on a long narrow bridge,

And neither of them would give way;

Quoth bold Robin Hood, and sturdily stood,

I'll show you right Nottingham play.

8 With that from his quiver an arrow he drew,

A broad arrow with a goose-wing:

The stranger reply'd, I'll liquor thy hide,

If thou offerst to touch the string.

9 Quoth bold Robin Hood, Thou dost prate like an ass,

For were I to bend but my bow,

I could send a dart quite thro thy proud heart,

Before thou couldst strike me one blow.

10 'Thou talkst like a coward,' the stranger reply'd;

'Well armd with a long bow, you stand,

To shoot at my breast, while I, I protest,

Have nought but a staff in my hand.'

11 'The name of a coward,' quoth Robin, 'I scorn,

Wherefore my long bow I'll lay by;

And now, for thy sake, a staff I will take,

The truth of thy manhood to try.'

12 Then Robin Hood stept to a thicket of trees,

And chose him a staff of ground-oak;

Now this being done, away he did run

To the stranger, and merrily spoke:

13 Lo! see my staff, it is lusty and tough,

Now here on the bridge we will play;

Whoever falls in, the other shall win

The battel, and so we'll away.

14 'With all my whole heart,' the stranger reply'd;

'I scorn in the least to give out;'

This said, they fell to't without more dispute,

And their staffs they did flourish about.

15 And first Robin he gave the stranger a bang,

So hard that it made his bones ring:

The stranger he said, This must be repaid,

I'll give you as good as you bring.

16 So long as I'm able to handle my staff,

To die in your debt, friend, I scorn:

Then to it each goes, and followd their blows,

As if they had been threshing of corn.

17 The stranger gave Robin a crack on the crown,

Which caused the blood to appear;

Then Robin, enrag'd, more fiercely engag'd,

And followd his blows more severe.

18 So thick and fast did he lay it on him,

With a passionate fury and ire,

At every stroke, he made him to smoke,

As if he had been all on fire.

19 O then into fury the stranger he grew,

And gave him a damnable look,

And with it a blow that laid him full low,

And tunbld him into the brook.

20 'I prithee, good fellow, O where art thou now?'

The stranger, in laughter, he cry'd;

Quoth bold Robin Hood, Good faith, in the


And floating along with the tide.

21 I needs must acknowledge thou art a brave soul;

With thee I'll no longer contend;

For needs must I say, thous hast got the day,

Our battle shall be at an end.

22 Then unto the bank he did presently wade,

And pulld himself out by a thorn;

Which done, at the last, he blowd a loud blast

Straitway on his fine bugle-horn.

23 The eccho of which through the vallies did fly,

At which his stout bowmen appeard,

All clothd in green, most gay to be seen;

So up to their master they steerd.

24 'O what's the matter?' quoth William Stutely;

'Good master, you are wet to the skin:'

'No matter,' quoth he; 'the lad which you see,

In fighting, hath tumbld me in.'

25 'He shall not go scot-free,' the others reply'd;

So strait they were seizing him there,

To duck him likewise; but Robin Hood cries,

He is a stout fellow, forbear.

26 There's no one shall wrong thee, friend, be not afraid;

These bowmen upon me do wait;

There's threescore and nine; if thou wilt be mine,

Thou shalt have my livery strait.

27 And other accoutrements fit for a man;

Speak up, jolly blade, never fear;

I'll teach you also the use of the bow,

To shoot at the fat fallow-deer.

28 'O here is my hand,' the stranger reply'd,

'I'll serve you with all my whole heart;

My name is John Little, a man of good mettle;

Nere doubt me, for I'll play my part.'

29 His name shall be alterd,' quoth William Stutely,

'And I will his godfather be;

Prepare then a feast, and none of the least,

For we will be merry,' quoth he.

30 They presently fetchd in a brace of fat does,

With humming strong liquor likewise;

They lovd what was good; so, in the green wood,

This pretty sweet babe they baptize.

31 He was, I must tell you, but seven foot high,

And, may be, an ell in the waste;

A pretty sweet lad; much feasting they had;

Bold Robin the christning grac'd.

32 With all his bowmen, which stood in a ring,

And were of the Notti[n]gham breed;

Brave Stutely comes then, with seven yeomen,

And did in this manner proceed.

33 'This infant was called John Little,' quoth he,

'Which name shall be changed anon;

The words we'll transpose, so where-ever he goes,

His name shall be calld Little John.'

34 They all with a shout made the elements ring,

So soon as the office was ore;

To feasting they went, with true merriment,

And tippld strong liquor gillore.

35 Then Robin he took the pretty sweet babe,

And cloathd him from top to the toe

In garments of green, most gay to be seen,

And gave him a curious long bow.

36 'Thou shalt be an archer as well as the best,

And range in the greenwood with us;

Where we'll not want gold nor silver, behold,

While bishops have ought in their purse.

37 'We live here like squires, or lords of renown,

Without ere a foot of free land;

We feast on good cheer, with wine, ale, and beer,

And evry thing at our command.'

38 Then musick and dancing did finish the day;

At length, when the sun waxed low,

Then all the whole train the grove did refrain,

And unto their caves they did go.

39 And so ever after, as long as he livd,

Altho he was proper and tall,

Yet nevertheless, the truth to express,

Still Little John they did him call.

DANIEL DEFOE (1660 - 1731)

The eighteenth century in England was an age of rapid industrial development. English ships and colonizers appeared in various parts of the world. And it was quite natural that the hero of the first bourgeois novel of that period was a shipwrecked man who lived on a desert island.

The name of this man is Robinson Crusoe. The title of the first bourgeois novel in English literature is "The Life and Strange Surprising Adventures of Robinson Crusoe". The name of its author is Daniel Defoe, who wrote this novel when he was nearly 60 years old.

Thello_html_fd365f8.jpghe story of "Robinson Crusoe" was based on the real adventures of a shipwrecked sailor, Alexander Selkirk by name, who had lived alone for four years on a desert island. But the book, of course, contains a great deal of the author's imagination as well.

When the first volume of the book was published in 1719, it became popular at once. Defoe made his story so realistic that everyone believed it. (The hawkers even sold "bits of wood from Crusoe's boat" or "pieces of skin from Crusoe's goats".)

Defoe did not write his book for children. But every child now knows Robinson Crusoe, how he learned to catch goats and to make pots, how he invented аи umbrella, found Friday's footprints, and met with a hundred other adventures.

Daniel Defoe wrote many other books, but it is for his "Robinson Crusoe" that he is called "Father of English prose".

Daniel Defoe (1660—1731) was an English novelist and journalist. He wrote «Robinson Crusoe», one of the first English novels and one of the most popular adventure stories in Western literature. Some critics have called Defoe the father of the English novel. Others rate him as much less important. But he was one of the great masters of realistic narrative long before such writers as Theodore Dreiser and Ernest Hemingway.

His life. Defoe was born in London, the son of a butcher and candle merchant. He started a business career, but he went bank-rapt and turned to writing. His earliest writings dealt with such controversial subjects as politics and religion. A political pamphlet led to his imprisonment in 1703 for about 4 months.

For about 25 years, Defoe earned his living writing for newspapers. He produced his own periodical, «The Review», single-handedly from 1704 to 1713. Many politicians hired him to write for newspapers. At times he was secretly writing for the Whig Party in one paper and the Tories in another. Not much is known about his last years, but he continued to write much political journalism, as well as other kinds of work.

His writings. Defoe is unique in the quantity and variety of his works. It is difficult to tell how many works he produced, because most were published anonymously. The latest estimate is almost 550, including works of poetry, theology, economics, and geography.

For most readers today, Defoe is known primarily as a novelist. However, this was really a minor part of his writing, and not the part that gave him the most pride. Defoe's two most famous novels are «Robinson Crusoe» (1719) and «Moll Flanders» (1722),

Defoe's novels reflect the growing power and wealth the new English middle class developed through new business opportunities at home and abroad. Many of this new class were Puritans and they tended to believe in the glory of hard work and getting ahead through one's own efforts. The Puritans also stressed education, and therefore became a large part of the reading public. So for the first time, Defoe and other writers treated trade, capitalism, and individualism favorably.

«Robinson Crusoe» is the story of a man marooned on an island. It is a memorable adventure story and a study of what it is like to be truly alone. It is also a success story, because Crusoe's hard work, inventiveness, and ability to take advantage of others turns his island into a successful colony.

«Moll Flanders» has been generally accepted as Defoe's best example of a genuine novel. Moll Flanders, the heroine, is a thief and a prostitute. Although her surroundings differ from those of Robinson Crusoe, there are basic similarities between the two characters. They both seem like real persons determined to get ahead and gain security. And eventually they both repent of their sins, and end very prosperously.

Defoe's novels marked an important break with the fiction of the past. He offered the ordinary lives of real people who were the normal products of their social and economic surroundings. Defoe makes us believe in the reality of what we are reading as we are hurried from scene to scene by his breathless prose. Only after we have finished do we realize that we have not really been given much psychological insight into the characters.

Robinson Crusoe By Daniel Defoe

Robinson Crusoe, as a young and impulsive wanderer, defied his parents and went to sea. He was involved in a series of violent storms at sea and was warned by the captain that he should not be a seafaring man. Ashamed to go home, Crusoe boarded another ship and returned from a successful trip to Africa. Taking off again, Crusoe met with bad luck and was taken prisoner in Sallee. His captors sent Crusoe out to fish, and he used this to his advantage and escaped, along with a slave.

He was rescued by a Portuguese ship and started a new adventure. He landed in Brazil, and, after some time, he became the owner of a sugar plantation. Hoping to increase his wealth by buying slaves, he aligned himself with other planters and undertook a trip to Africa in order to bring back a shipload of slaves. After surviving a storm, Crusoe and the others were shipwrecked. He was thrown upon shore only to discover that he was the sole survivor of the wreck.

Crusoe made immediate plans for food, and then shelter, to protect himself from wild animals. He brought as many things as possible from the wrecked ship, things that would be useful later to him. In addition, he began to develop talents that he had never used in order to provide himself with necessities. Cut off from the company of men, he began to communicate with God, thus beginning the first part of his religious conversion. To keep his sanity and to entertain himself, he began a journal. In the journal, he recorded every task that he performed each day since he had been marooned.

As time passed, Crusoe became a skilled craftsman, able to construct many useful things, and thus furnished himself with diverse comforts. He also learned about farming, as a result of some seeds which he brought with him. An illness prompted some prophetic dreams, and Crusoe began to reappraise his duty to God. Crusoe explored his island and discovered another part of the island much richer and more fertile, and he built a summer home there.

One of the first tasks he undertook was to build himself a canoe in case an escape became possible, but the canoe was too heavy to get to the water. He then constructed a small boat and journeyed around the island. Crusoe reflected on his earlier, wicked life, disobeying his parents, and wondered if it might be related to his isolation on this island.

After spending about fifteen years on the island, Crusoe found a man's naked footprint, and he was sorely beset by apprehensions, which kept him awake many nights. He considered many possibilities to account for the footprint and he began to take extra precautions against a possible intruder. Sometime later, Crusoe was horrified to find human bones scattered about the shore, evidently the remains of a savage feast. He was plagued again with new fears. He explored the nature of cannibalism and debated his right to interfere with the customs of another race.

Crusoe was cautious for several years, but encountered nothing more to alarm him. He found a cave, which he used as a storage room, and in December of the same year, he spied cannibals sitting around a campfire. He did not see them again for quite some time.

Later, Crusoe saw a ship in distress, but everyone was already drowned on the ship and Crusoe remained companionless. However, he was able to take many provisions from this newly wrecked ship. Sometime later, cannibals landed on the island and a victim escaped. Crusoe saved his life, named him Friday, and taught him English. Friday soon became Crusoe's humble and devoted slave.

Crusoe and Friday made plans to leave the island and, accordingly, they built another boat. Crusoe also undertook Friday's religious education, converting the savage into a Protestant. Their voyage was postponed due to the return of the savages. This time it was necessary to attack the cannibals in order to save two prisoners since one was a white man. The white man was a Spaniard and the other was Friday's father. Later the four of them planned a voyage to the mainland to rescue sixteen compatriots of the Spaniard. First, however, they built up their food supply to assure enough food for the extra people. Crusoe and Friday agreed to wait on the island while the Spaniard and Friday's father brought back the other men.

A week later, they spied a ship but they quickly learned that there had been a mutiny on board. By devious means, Crusoe and Friday rescued the captain and two other men, and after much scheming, regained control of the ship. The grateful captain gave Crusoe many gifts and took him and Friday back to England. Some of the rebel crewmen were left marooned on the island.

Crusoe returned to England and found that in his absence he had become a wealthy man. After going to Lisbon to handle some of his affairs, Crusoe began an overland journey back to England. Crusoe and his company encountered many hardships in crossing the mountains, but they finally arrived safely in England. Crusoe sold his plantation in Brazil for a good price, married, and had three children. Finally, however, he was persuaded to go on yet another voyage, and he visited his old island, where there were promises of new adventures to be found in a later account.

Jhello_html_3357e996.pngONATHAN SWIFT

Born on November 30, 1667, Irish author, clergyman and satirist Jonathan Swift grew up fatherless. Under the care of his uncle, he received a bachelor's degree from Trinity College and then worked as a statesman's assistant. Eventually, he became dean of St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin. Most of his writings were published under pseudonyms. He best remembered for his 1728 book Gulliver's Travels.

Early Life

Irish author and satirist Jonathan Swift was born in Dublin, Ireland on November 30, 1667. His father, an attorney, also named Jonathan Swift, died just two months before he arrived. Without steady income, his mother struggled to provide for her newborn. Moreover, Swift was a sickly child. It was later discovered that he suffered from Meniere's Disease, a condition of the inner ear that leaves the afflicted nauseous and hard of hearing. In an effort to give her son the best upbringing possible, Swift's mother gave him over to Godwin Swift, her late husband's brother and a member of the respected professional attorney and judges group Gray's Inn. Godwin Swift enrolled his nephew in the Kilkenny Grammar School (1674–1682), which was perhaps the best school in Ireland at the time. Swift's transition from a life of poverty to a rigorous private school setting proved challenging. He did, however, make a fast friend in William Congreve, the future poet and playwright.

At age 14, Swift commenced his undergraduate studies at Trinity College in Dublin. In 1686, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree, and went on to pursue a master's. Not long into his research, huge unrest broke out in Ireland. The king of Ireland, England and Scotland was soon to be overthrown. What became known as the Glorious Revolution of 1688 spurred Swift to move to England and start anew. His mother found a secretary position for him under the revered English statesman, Sir William Temple. For 10 years, Swift worked in London's Moor Park and acted as an assistant to Temple, helping him with political errands, and also in the researching and publishing of his own essays and memoirs. Temple was impressed by Swift's abilities and after a time, entrusted him with sensitive and important tasks.

During his Moor Park years, Swift met the daughter of Temple's housekeeper, a girl just 8 years old named Esther Johnson. When they first met, she was 15 years Swift's junior, but despite the age gap, they would become lovers for the rest of their lives. When she was a child, he acted as her mentor and tutor, and gave her the nickname "Stella." When she was of age, they maintained a close but ambiguous relationship, which lasted until Johnson's death. It was rumored that they married in 1716, and that Swift kept of lock of Johnson's hair in his possession at all times.


During his decade of work for Temple, Swift returned to Ireland twice. On a trip in 1695, he took all necessary requirements to become an ordained priest in the Anglican tradition. Under Temple's influence, he also began to write, first short essays and then a manuscript for a later book. In 1699, Temple died. Swift completed the task of editing and publishing his memoirs—not without disputes by several of Temple's family members—and then, grudgingly, accepted a less prominent post as secretary and chaplain to the Earl of Berkeley. After making the long journey to the Earl's estate, Swift was informed the position had been filled. Discouraged but resourceful, he leaned on his priestly qualifications and found work ministering to a pea-sized congregation just 20 miles outside of Dublin. For the next 10 years, he gardened, preached and worked on the house provided to him by the church. He also returned to writing. His first political pamphlet was titled A Discourse on the Contests and Dissentions in Athens and Rome.

In 1704, Swift anonymously released A Tale of a Tub and The Battle of the Books. Tub, although widely popular with the masses, was harshly disapproved of by the Church of England. Ostensibly, it criticized religion, but Swift meant it as a parody of pride. Nonetheless, his writings earned him a reputation in London, and when the Tories came into power in 1710, they asked him to become editor of the Examiner, their official paper. After a time, he became fully immersed in the political landscape and began writing some of the most cutting and well-known political pamphlets of the day, including The Conduct of the Allies, an attack on the Whigs. Privy to the inner circle of Tory government, Swift laid out his private thoughts and feelings in a stream of letters to his beloved Stella. They would later be published as The Journal to Stella.

Later Years

When he saw that the Tories would soon fall from power, Swift returned to Ireland. In 1713, he took the post of dean at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin. Although he was still in contact with Esther Johnson, it is documented that he engaged in a romantic relationship with Esther Vanhomrigh (whom he called Vanessa). His courtship with her inspired his long and storied poem, "Cadenus and Vanessa." He is also rumored to have had a relationship with the celebrated beauty Anne Long.

While leading his congregation at St. Patrick's, Swift began to write what would become his best-known work. In 1726, at last finished with the manuscript, he traveled to London and benefited from the help of several friends, who anonymously published it as Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World, in Four Parts. By Lemuel Gulliver, First a Surgeon, and then a Captain of Several Ships—also known, more simply, as Gulliver's Travels. The book was an immediate success, and hasn't been out of print since its first run. Interestingly, much of the storyline points to historical events that Swift had lived through years prior, during intense political turmoil.

Not long after the celebration of this work, Swift's longtime love, Esther Johnson, fell ill. She died in January 1728. Her life's end moved Swift to write The Death of Mrs. Johnson. Shortly after her death, a stream of Swift's other friends also died, including John Gay and John Arbuthnot. Swift, always bolstered by the people around him, was now quite troubled.

In 1742, Swift suffered from a stroke and lost the ability to speak. On October 19, 1745, Jonathan Swift died. He was laid to rest next to Esther Johnson inside Dublin's St. Patrick's Cathedral.

Gulliver's Travels By Jonathan Swift

Gulliver's Travels is an adventure story (in reality, a misadventure story) involving several voyages of Lemuel Gulliver, a ship's surgeon, who, because of a series of mishaps en route to recognized ports, ends up, instead, on several unknown islands living with people and animals of unusual sizes, behaviors, and philosophies, but who, after each adventure, is somehow able to return to his home in England where he recovers from these unusual experiences and then sets out again on a new voyage.

Book I: When the ship Gulliver is traveling on is destroyed in a storm, Gulliver ends up on the island of Lilliput, where he awakes to find that he has been captured by Lilliputians, very small people — approximately six inches in height. Gulliver is treated with compassion and concern. In turn, he helps them solve some of their problems, especially their conflict with their enemy, Blefuscu, an island across the bay from them. Gulliver falls from favor, however, because he refuses to support the Emperor's desire to enslave the Blefuscudians and because he "makes water" to put out a palace fire. Gulliver flees to Blefuscu, where he converts a large war ship to his own use and sets sail from Blefuscu eventually to be rescued at sea by an English merchant ship and returned to his home in England.

Book II: As he travels as a ship's surgeon, Gulliver and a small crew are sent to find water on an island. Instead they encounter a land of giants. As the crew flees, Gulliver is left behind and captured. Gulliver's captor, a farmer, takes him to the farmer's home where Gulliver is treated kindly, but, of course, curiously. The farmer assigns his daughter, Glumdalclitch, to be Gulliver's keeper, and she cares for Gulliver with great compassion. The farmer takes Gulliver on tour across the countryside, displaying him to onlookers. Eventually, the farmer sells Gulliver to the Queen. At court, Gulliver meets the King, and the two spend many sessions discussing the customs and behaviors of Gulliver's country. In many cases, the King is shocked and chagrined by the selfishness and pettiness that he hears Gulliver describe. Gulliver, on the other hand, defends England.

One day, on the beach, as Gulliver looks longingly at the sea from his box (portable room), he is snatched up by an eagle and eventually dropped into the sea. A passing ship spots the floating chest and rescues Gulliver, eventually returning him to England and his family.

Book III: Gulliver is on a ship bound for the Levant. After arriving, Gulliver is assigned captain of a sloop to visit nearby islands and establish trade. On this trip, pirates attack the sloop and place Gulliver in a small boat to fend for himself. While drifting at sea, Gulliver discovers a Flying Island. While on the Flying Island, called Laputa, Gulliver meets several inhabitants, including the King. All are preoccupied with things associated with mathematics and music. In addition, astronomers use the laws of magnetism to move the island up, down, forward, backward, and sideways, thus controlling the island's movements in relation to the island below (Balnibarbi). While in this land, Gulliver visits Balnibarbi, the island of Glubbdubdrib, and Luggnagg. Gulliver finally arrives in Japan where he meets the Japanese emperor. From there, he goes to Amsterdam and eventually home to England.

Book IV: While Gulliver is captain of a merchant ship bound for Barbados and the Leeward Islands, several of his crew become ill and die on the voyage. Gulliver hires several replacement sailors in Barbados. These replacements turn out to be pirates who convince the other crew members to mutiny. As a result, Gulliver is deposited on a "strand" (an island) to fend for himself. Almost immediately, he is discovered by a herd of ugly, despicable human-like creatures who are called, he later learns, Yahoos. They attack him by climbing trees and defecating on him. He is saved from this disgrace by the appearance of a horse, identified, he later learns, by the name Houyhnhnm. The grey horse (a Houyhnhnm) takes Gulliver to his home, where he is introduced to the grey's mare (wife), a colt and a foal (children), and a sorrel nag (the servant). Gulliver also sees that the Yahoos are kept in pens away from the house. It becomes immediately clear that, except for Gulliver's clothing, he and the Yahoos are the same animal. From this point on, Gulliver and his master (the grey) begin a series of discussions about the evolution of Yahoos, about topics, concepts, and behaviors related to the Yahoo society, which Gulliver represents, and about the society of the Houyhnhnms.

Despite his favored treatment in the grey steed's home, the kingdom's Assembly determines that Gulliver is a Yahoo and must either live with the uncivilized Yahoos or return to his own world. With great sadness, Gulliver takes his leave of the Houyhnhnms. He builds a canoe and sails to a nearby island where he is eventually found hiding by a crew from a Portuguese ship. The ship's captain returns Gulliver to Lisbon, where he lives in the captain's home. Gulliver is so repelled by the sight and smell of these "civilized Yahoos" that he can't stand to be around them. Eventually, however, Gulliver agrees to return to his family in England. Upon his arrival, he is repelled by his Yahoo family, so he buys two horses and spends most of his days caring for and conversing with the horses in the stable in order to be as far away from his Yahoo family as possible.

Ahello_html_m5200e28b.jpgUGUST 15 is the birthday of Walter Scott, the famous writer of Scotland.

WALTER SCOTT (1771—1832)

Walter Scott is a creator of the historical novel in English literature. He was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. He loved his native land deeply and was greatly interested in its past. In his youth he made a good collection of old Scottish ballads.

Walter Scott first became known as a poet. But in 1814 his first novel "Waverley" appeared. During the next few years Scott published many novels among which are "Guy Mannering", "Rob Roy", "Ivanhoe"[ai'venhou], and he became one of the most famous novelists of his days.

Scott worked with unusual speed. "Guy Mannering", for example, was written in six weeks.

For most of his life which he spent at the farm at Abbotsford he used to get up at five, light his own fire in cold weather, dress and go out to see his horses. At six he sat down at his writing-table and wrote till nine or ten, when he had breakfast. Then he went on writing for two hours more, and afterwards went out riding or fishing, spending the rest of the day with his family or visiting friends. In his novels Scott describes the historical past of his country. Sometimes he idealizes the old times, and his historical facts are not always exact, but his great love for Scotland helped him to understand the history of his people. His description of the life, customs and habits of his people are very realistic, as he studied them deeply.

Through his stories he made Scotland known and loved by the world. Scott showed that the past is not cut off completely from the present but influences it. This is why his novels are read nowadays with no less interest.

Sir Walter Scott

Sir Walter Scott (1771—1832), was a Scottish romantic writer. He created and popularized historical novels in a long series of works called the «Waverley» novels. In such novels as «Ivanhoe», «The Heart of Midlothian», and «The Talisman», Scott showed his unique genius for recreating social history. He arranged his plots and characters so the reader can enter into the lives of both great and ordinary people who were caught up in violent, dramatic changes in history.

Scott's art shows the influence of the Enlightenment of the 1700's. He believed every human was basically decent, regardless of class, religion, politics, or ancestry. Tolerance for different ways of life is a major theme in his historical works. The «Waverley» novels express his belief in the need for social progress that does not reject the traditions of the past. He was the first novelist to portray peasant characters sympathetically and realistically. He was equally just to people in business, professional soldiers, and even kings.

Scott's amiability, generosity, and modesty made him popular with his fellow writers. He declined the offer of poet laureate in 1813 and supported Robert Southey, who received the honor. Scott entertained on a grand scale at Abbotsford, his famous estate. Scott's influence can be seen in the works of Victor Hugo and Honore de Balzac of France, James Fenimore Cooper of the United States, and Leo Tolstoy of Russia. But despite his influence, Scott's reputation declined from the late 1800's to the mid-1900's. His reputation has begun to rise again. But it probably will never reach the heights it attained during Scott's lifetime, when Goethe exclaimed, «All is great in the «Waverly» novels: material, effect, characters, execution». Literary historians regard Scott's death in 1832 as marking the close of the romantic age in English literature.

His life. Scott was born in Edinburgh. His father, who was a successful lawyer, had young Walter trained for a law career. Scott became an attorney in 1792, and he practiced law actively for many years. A childhood illness, probably polio, left Scott lame in his right leg. But he had unusual physical strength, and was an enthusiastic outdoorsman. He enjoyed taking trips into the Scottish countryside. These trips gave him firsthand knowledge of the life of rural people, and provided material for his first major publication, «Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border» (1802—1803). This book was one of the great early collections of popular songs and ballads. «Minstrelsy» led to his first long verse poem «The Lay of the Last Minstrel» (1805). The poem tells the legend of a famous goblin, and describes much about life along the English-Scottish border in the 1500's.

Scott continued his success at narrative poetry with «Marmion» (1808), which includes his best-known ballad «Lochinvar». bi 1810, Scott wrote his most popular story-poem, «The Lady of the Lake». This romantic tale, set in the famous Trossach Mountains, deals with picturesque Highland customs and history.

The Waverley novels. After the publication of his first novel, «Waverley», in 1814, Scott devoted himself primarily to fiction. Scott's progress to historical novels was natural. His talents as a storyteller and as a creator of character, as well as his gift for realistic Scottish dialect, could never find full expression in poetry.

«Waverley» describes a Scottish rebellion against England in 1745. The novel was published anonymously, without the benefit of Scott's name. However, the book was a success. From 1814 to 1832, Scott published 27 other novels, four plays, and much non-fiction. All of Scott's novels were referred to as part of the «Waverley» series, because the author was identified on the title page only as «The Author of Waverley». Scott's author-ship was officially revealed in 1827, but it had been known for years,

Scott wrote frequently about the conflicts between different cultures. «Ivanhoe» (1819) deals with the struggle between Normans and Saxons, and «The Talisman» (1825) describes the conflict between Christians and Muslims. The novels dealing with Scottish history are probably Scott's best. They deal with clashes between the new commercial English culture and an older Scottish culture. Scott contrasted the earthy vividness of the Scottish peasants with the formal, stilted language of his English-speaking, upper-class characters. Many critics consider «The Heart of Midlothian» (1818) Scott's best novel. Others prefer «Old Mortality» (1816), which depicts religious strife in Scotland during the late 1600's. Scott's other novels in the «Waverley» series include «Rob Roy» (1817), «A Legend of Montrose» (1819), and «Quentin Durward» (1823).

Scott's Sense of History

Scott's formula for the historical novel was an unmistakable innovation which became a pattern for those who followed him. His story is pure fiction, his hero is imaginary. For example, it is Ivanhoe who is the hero, not Richard Coeur de Lion; the setting is as authentic as possible, and the events of history are quite accurate. As Henry Beers says, "He possessed the true enchanter's wand, the historic imagination. With this in his hand he raised the dead past to life, made it once more conceivable, made it even actual."

Furthermore, he made history romantic, and to those who feel history to be dull, he makes it exciting. Many authors have written histories more accurate in detail and with more attention to chronology; some have written romances more tender and ethereal, but no one combines history and romance and makes them both more lovely and believable.

Scott read history with an avidity probably unequaled by any novelist so that, although he was sometimes careless, his work is authentic in spite of it. He loved scenery only when it had a castle or a battle site which related it to history. Where this happy combination resulted he fashioned a story. His friend Mr. Morritt of Rokesbury said of him, "He was but half-satisfied with the most beautiful scenery when he could not connect it with some local legend."

In his historical romances in general, and in Ivanhoe in particular, Scott captured the spirit of the age; he imitated the speech, the rude humor, the customs, and reconstructed a past age until it became a living present. He did not go deep into the cause of a historical event, just as he did not go deep into spiritualities, or men's thoughts, but he described in vivid detail and told a whopping good story. More particularly in Ivanhoe he was not always accurate, but he did more for the medieval era historically than almost anyone else to make it a part of the body of knowledge.

It is with the description of battles and the external aspects of knighthood, the outlaws bands, and the Norman-Saxon conflict that Scott is especially interesting. He is never satirical and only mildly ironic, but he has a verve for color and action that is his specialty. Only at times, when he interrupts his story to add extraneous material, is the reader led away from the action.

One writer sees historical value in the treatment of the smoldering hatred by the Saxon for the Normans which was brought into harmony and finally dissolved under King Richard. He also believes that the account of the brothers Richard and John is quite accurate, except that King Richard was probably less gallant than he appears here. He allows the bigotry of the Grand Master of the Templars and discredits the love of Bois-Guilbert for the Jewess as highly improbable.

Another point of historical interest is the resemblance of Shakespeare's King John to the Prince John of Ivanhoe. That Scott was indeed a student of Shakespeare is evident from the many quotes from Shakespeare's plays.

Scott drew heavily on Shakespeare as well as Chaucer. Isaac and Rebecca hark back to Shylock and Jessica of the Merchant of Venice. Wamba resembles the fools of King Lear, Twelfth Night, and As You Like It. Richard I has the qualities of a national leader found in Henry V. Even the device of a funeral for one not dead can be traced to Cymbeline and Romeo and Juliet; Athelstane echoes Cloten.

Ivanhoe marks a departure from the Scottish themes employed by Scott prior to the year 1819. He felt that he was exhausting his material and that he needed a change of scene. As a result he produced a masterpiece that has influenced most tales of derring-do written since.

Ivanhoe By Sir Walter Scott

Four generations and approximately one hundred years had passed since the decisive Battle of Hastings in 1066. Richard the Lion-Hearted (1157-1199), now King of England, on returning from the Crusades, was made prisoner of the Duke of Austria, abetted by the machinations of Richard's brother, Prince John. Prince John hoped, by the help of his Norman confederates, to seize the throne.

Wilfred of Ivanhoe, son of Cedric, had been disinherited by his father for two reasons: because of his allegiance to Richard, the exiled King of England, and because of his romantic interest in Rowena, ward of Cedric, whom Cedric intended as bride to Athelstane, a descendant of Saxon royalty.

In the guise of the Disinherited Knight, Ivanhoe wins the tournament at Ashby-de-la-Zouche with the aid of the Black Knight and crowns Rowena his Queen of Beauty and Love. He suffers severe wounds in the contest and is ministered to by Rebecca, daughter of the Jewish moneylender, Isaac of York.

On the way home from the tournament the Saxon party, together with the Jews and the wounded Ivanhoe, are captured by De Bracy, who fancies Rowena as his wife. They are taken to the castle of Front-de-Boeuf and imprisoned there. The Black Knight, Locksley and his band, Cedric, and others attack the castle and, with the help of Ulrica, an old Saxon hag, succeed in freeing the prisoners. Brian de Bois-Guilbert, Knight Templar, escapes to Templestowe, taking Rebecca with him.

Rebecca, accused of sorcery, is sentenced to die as a witch. Ivanhoe champions her in a trial by combat against the unwilling Bois-Guilbert. Rebecca is set free when the Templar falls dead from his horse.

The Black Knight reveals himself as King Richard, Ivanhoe and Rowena are married, and Rebecca and her father leave England for Granada.


Rhello_html_7d38ffcd.jpgobert Burns (25 January 1759 – 21 July 1796) (also known as Robbie Burns Rabbie Burns, Scotland's favourite son, the Ploughman Poet, Robden of Solway Firth, the Bard of Ayrshire and in Scotland as The Bard) was a Scottish poet and lyricist. He is widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland and is celebrated worldwide. He is the best known of the poets who have written in the Scots language, although much of his writing is also in English and a light Scots dialect, accessible to an audience beyond Scotland. He also wrote in standard English, and in these his political or civil commentary is often at its bluntest.

He is regarded as a pioneer of the Romantic movement, and after his death he became a great source of inspiration to the founders of both liberalism and socialism, and a cultural icon in Scotland and among the Scottish Diaspora around the world. Celebration of his life and work became almost a national charismatic cult during the 19th and 20th centuries, and his influence has long been strong on Scottish literature. In 2009 he was chosen as the greatest Scot by the Scottish public in a vote run by Scottish television channel STV.

As well as making original compositions, Burns also collected folk songs from across Scotland, often revising or adapting them. His poem (and song) "Auld Lang Syne" is often sung at Hogmanay (the last day of the year), and "Scots Wha Hae" served for a long time as an unofficial national anthem of the country. Other poems and songs of Burns that remain well known across the world today include "A Red, Red Rose"; "A Man's A Man for A' That"; "To a Louse"; "To a Mouse"; "The Battle of Sherramuir"; "Tam o' Shanter"; and "Ae Fond Kiss".


Burns was born two miles (3 km) south of Ayr, in AllowaySouth Ayrshire, Scotland, the eldest of the seven children of William Burnes(1721–1784) (Robert Burns spelled his surname Burnes until 1786), a self-educated tenant farmer from DunnottarThe Mearns, andAgnes Broun (or Brown) (1732–1820), the daughter of a tenant farmer from Kirkoswald, South Ayrshire.

He was born in a house built by his father (now the Burns Cottage Museum), where he lived until Easter 1766, when he was seven years old. William Burnes sold the house and took the tenancy of the 70-acre (280,000 m2) Mount Oliphant farm, southeast of Alloway. Here Burns grew up in poverty and hardship, and the severe manual labour of the farm left its traces in a premature stoop and a weakened constitution.

He had little regular schooling and got much of his education from his father, who taught his children reading, writing, arithmetic, geography, and history and also wrote for them A Manual Of Christian Belief. He was also taught by John Murdoch (1747–1824), who opened an "adventure school" in Alloway in 1763 and taught Latin, French, and mathematics to both Robert and his brother Gilbert(1760–1827) from 1765 to 1768 until Murdoch left the parish. After a few years of home education, Burns was sent to Dalrymple Parish School during the summer of 1772 before returning at harvest time to full-time farm labouring until 1773, when he was sent to lodge with Murdoch for three weeks to study grammar, French, and Latin.

By the age of 15, Burns was the principal labourer at Mount Oliphant. During the harvest of 1774, he was assisted by Nelly Kilpatrick(1759–1820), who inspired his first attempt at poetry, "O, Once I Lov'd A Bonnie Lass". In the summer of 1775, he was sent to finish his education with a tutor at Kirkoswald, where he met Peggy Thompson (b.1762), to whom he wrote two songs, "Now Westlin' Winds" and "I Dream'd I Lay".


Despite his ability and character, William Burnes was consistently unfortunate, and migrated with his large family from farm to farm without ever being able to improve his circumstances. At Whitsun, 1777, he removed his large family from the unfavourable conditions of Mount Oliphant to the 130-acre (0.53 km2) farm at Lochlea, near Tarbolton, where they stayed until William Burnes' death in 1784. Subsequently, the family became integrated into the community of Tarbolton. To his father's disapproval, Robert joined a country dancing school in 1779 and, with Gilbert, formed the Tarbolton Bachelors' Club the following year. His earliest existing letters date from this time, when he began making romantic overtures to Alison Begbie (b. 1762). In spite of four songs written for her and a suggestion that he was willing to marry her, she rejected him.

Robert Burns was initiated into masonic Lodge St David, Tarbolton, on 4 July 1781, when he was 22.

In December 1781, Burns moved temporarily to Irvine, North Ayrshire, to learn to become a flax-dresser, but during the workers' celebrations for New Year 1781/1782 (which included Burns as a participant) the flax shop caught fire and was burnt to the ground. This venture accordingly came to an end, and Burns went home to Lochlea farm. During this time he met and befriended Captain Richard Brown who encouraged him to become a poet.

He continued to write poems and songs and began a commonplace book in 1783, while his father fought a legal dispute with his landlord. The case went to the Court of Session, and Burnes was upheld in January 1784, a fortnight before he died.

Love affairs

His first child, Elizabeth Paton Burns (1785–1817), was born to his mother's servant, Elizabeth Paton (1760–circa 1799), while he was embarking on a relationship with Jean Armour, who became pregnant with twins in March 1786. Burns signed a paper attesting his marriage to Jean, but her father "was in the greatest distress, and fainted away". To avoid disgrace, her parents sent her to live with her uncle in Paisley. Although Armour's father initially forbade it, they were eventually married in 1788. Armour bore him nine children only three of whom survived infancy.

Burns was in financial difficulties due to his want of success in farming, and to make enough money to support a family he took up a friend's offer of work in Jamaica, at a salary of £30 per annum. The position that Burns accepted was as a bookkeeper on a slave plantation. Burns's egalitarian views were typified by "The Slave's Lament" six years later, but in 1786 there was little public awareness of the abolitionist movement that began about that time.

At about the same time, Burns fell in love with Mary Campbell (1763–1786), whom he had seen in church while he was still living inTarbolton. She was born near Dunoon and had lived in Campbeltown before moving to work in Ayrshire. He dedicated the poems "The Highland Lassie O", "Highland Mary", and "To Mary in Heaven" to her. His song "Will ye go to the Indies, my Mary, And leave auld Scotia's shore?" suggests that they planned to emigrate to Jamaica together. Their relationship has been the subject of much conjecture, and it has been suggested that on 14 May 1786 they exchanged Bibles and plighted their troth over the Water of Fail in a traditional form of marriage. Soon afterwards Mary Campbell left her work in Ayrshire, went to the seaport of Greenock, and sailed home to her parents in Campbeltown.

In October 1786 Mary and her father sailed from Campbeltown to visit her brother in Greenock. Her brother fell ill with typhus, which she also caught while nursing him. She died of typhus on 20 or 21 October 1786 and was buried there.

My Heart's In The HighlandsВ горах мое сердце

Farewell to the Highlands,

farewell to the North,

The birth-place of Valour,

the country of Worth;

Wherever I wander,

wherever I rove,

The hills of the Highlands

for ever I love.

Chorus.-My heart's in the Highlands,

my heart is not here,

My heart's in the Highlands,

a-chasing the deer;

Chasing the wild-deer,

and following the roe,

My heart's in the Highlands,

wherever I go.

Farewell to the mountains, high-cover'd with snow,

Farewell to the straths and green vallies below;

Farewell to the forests and wild-hanging woods,

Farewell to the torrents and loud-pouring floods.

My heart's in the Highlands. (1789)

Вhello_html_m7098d276.png горах мое сердце...

Доныне я там.

По следу оленя

лечу по скалам.

Гоню я оленя,

встречаю зарю.

В горах мое сердце,

а сам я внизу.

Прощайте, вершины

под кровлей снегов,

Прощайте, долины

и скаты лугов,

Прощайте, поникшие в бездну леса,

Прощайте, потоков лесных голоса.

Прощай,моя родина!


Отечество славы

и доблести край.

По белому свету судьбою гоним,

Навеки останусь я сыном твоим!


George Gordon Byron, who is usually referred to as Lord Byron, was a prominent British writer, most famous for the influence of his poetry on the romantic movement that originated in the eighteenth century. Byron was also the 6th Baron of the Byron family, hence his being known as Lord Byron. The title of Lord is typically given formally to a baron in England. He was born on January 22nd 1788 in London. Byron was to be one of the most illustrious poets of British literary history. Even though his writing style was quite classical, he would become one of the great figures of British Romanticism together with William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Shelley and Keats. Lord Byron’s best known works are not only the short poems She walks in beauty ; When We Two Parted ; and, So, we’ll go no more a roving, but also his two narrative poems Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, and, of course the more than famous Don Juan.

Byron descends from a branch of an old Norman family (situated in France), the “de Buron". Counting amongst his ancestors are both violent and eccentric characters. His own mother, Catherine Gordon of Gicht was a passionate and extravagant woman. George Gordon Byron’s childhood would be spent in Scotland in the seaport city of Aberdeen. His father was Captain John Byron, nicknamed the “Mad Jack" because of his dissolute life, the fact that he abandoned George and his mother, leaving them in dire financial straits. If we can trust the British aristocrat and novelist Lady Caroline Lamb, who would have an affair with Byron, he had inherited from his father at least some of his so-called madness. Indeed she described Lord Byron as being “mad, bad, and dangerous to know."

It is up for debate the extent to which this description is true but it is clear that as a writer Lord Byron would have an adventurous life, where the the constant search for freedom would often put him in tension with the lyrical norms of his time, which in turn would arguably make him an unparalleled romantic poet. Thankfully, at the age of ten he would inherit the title of Lord from his great uncle, Lord William, together with his estate of Newstead Abbey in Nottinghamshire, England. Byron would study at Dulwich in south London, and then at Harrow School in northwest London before attending Cambridge University in 1805.

Byron’s first book, Hours of Idleness, would be published before the end of his studies, after which he would travel throughout Europe, including Greece. In 1811 he would return to England and would soon after successfully publish the first two Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage cantos in 1812. The same year he made his first noticed speech in the House of Lords. Naturally sincere, Byron would not care that he could offend and would thus, for many, be refreshingly satirical. As a liberal, he would hate equally hypocrisy and tyranny. Overall his life would be filled with writing, travels and women.

Byron would indeed become one of the greatest British poets and that in spite of the rather high level of competition at the time. For example, he is today considered the equal of Keats (1795 - 1821) and Shelley (1792 - 1822). However Byron would at one time overshadow them all by the extent of the glory he experienced during his lifetime. Because of that many argue that his fame went beyond that of even Scott (1771 - 1832), Wordsworth (1770 - 1850), Southey (1774 - 1843), Moore (1779 - 1852) and Campbell (1777 - 1844).

Byron has sometimes been compared to the Scottish poet Robert Burns (1759 - 1796). This is mostly because both would write from their personal impressions and feelings, showing themselves almost completely in their work. The flip side of that, however, is that in this way both would also be slaves to their pressing passions. Additionally, perhaps also because of that they would both tend to sometimes doubt themselves and suffer from melancholy. Finally, both would die prematurely after leading a life of extraordinary physical and mental activity.

Byron was indeed involved in his work in such a way that it is often said that there was no difference between the man and his writing. Fairly early in his career he would often show how much he despised British society, which he considered hypocritical, as well as the English climate, which he found too rainy. But his relationship to his home country is more subtle than it first may appear. Indeed, he would include the following telling epigraph in French in Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage. It does not seem to have been formally translated into English and could be translated in English as follows:

“The universe is a kind of book that the one who only has seen his own country has only read the first page of. I have flicked through a rather large number of them, all of which I have found to be equally bad. Doing such a review, however, did not end up being for nothing. I used to hate my country. All of the impertinence of the various peoples amongst whom I experienced have reconciled me with her. Even if that had been the only benefit I would have gotten from my travels, I would not regret either their cost or physical weariness."

From Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage on Byron would write several works strongly influenced by orientalism. This included the following successful short stories in verse: The Giaour (1813), The Bride of Abydos (1813), The Corsair (1814) which was partly autobiographical, and Lara, A Tale (1814). There as well as in other pieces, the dark aspects of his characters would start to be confused in the mind of many his readers for that of the poet himself. Through such an amalgam would thus be born a kind of Byron myth around his persona, which, would in the long run cause him as much harm as benefit.

Amongst his most personal pieces we find Beppo (1818), written in Venice, and which would serve as the antecedent to his satiric masterpiece: Don Juan. This one, however, would never be completed but we nonetheless have sixteen cantos, the seventeenth being unfinished. It is noteworthy that even though the poem is based on the legend of Don Juan, Byron purposefully reverses the plot in a most interesting way. Indeed, he would choose to portray Juan not as the famous seducer but on the contrary as a man who easily succumbs under women’s charm and seduction. Byron himself would call the piece an “Epic Satire". This is only a brief example, however, of Byron’s unique talent. Byron indeed had a wild and bold imagination. His style is energetic and filled with shiny imageries. He was a virtuoso of verse and rhyme, often audacious and very expressive.

The reputation of Byron’s oeuvre, however, was to be discredited some by his most conservative readers who have a hard time forgiving his adventurous life and his passionate stance in favor of the disadvantage, which he forcefully did when he served in the House of Lords. In fact, England would even go as far as getting some sort of revenge by denying him a tomb in Westminster Abbey, which is typically the burial place of not only many British monarchs but leading English figures as well.

In 1823 Byron would be elected to the Greek committee of liberation against the Turks. He would become enthusiastically committed to the cause but would unfortunately see his health deteriorate at the same time. Lord Byron died from a bad fever in Greece on April 19th 1824 at Messolonghi, a town in the west part of the country, which was then occupied by the Ottoman Empire (1466 - 1830). Byron had gone there in order to fight along the people for the independence of Greece. The cause of Greek independence from the Ottoman Empire would certainly end up being a high point for the romantic movement at an international level. Victor Hugo (1802 - 1885), for instance, would write Les Orientales (1829), which is a poetry collection written on the events of the Greek War of Independence (1821 - 1832). While Eugène Delacroix (1798 - 1863), for example, painted the famous Scènes des Massacres de Scio (The Massacre at Chios), a painting which would end up becoming the second major oil painting for him. Indeed, no artist at the time seemed to have remained unaffected by such wind of freedom but Byron was the only one who paid with his life for it. Today still the Greeks revere the memory of the eminent English poet.

So we'll go no more a-roving

So we'll go no more a-roving

So late into the night,

Though the heart still be as loving,

And the moon still be as bright.

For the sword outwears its sheath,

And the soul outwears the breast,

And the heart must pause to breathe,

And love itself have rest.

Though the night was made for loving,

And the day returns too soon,

Yet we'll go no more a-roving

By the light of the moon.

Уж не безумствовать, увы

Уж не безумствовать, увы,

Нам по ночам с тобой,

Хоть сердцу хочется любви

Под яркою луной.

Как ножны, острый меч сотрут,

Душа иссушит грудь,

Сердца успокоенья ждут,

Чтоб чувствам отдохнуть.

Пусть ночь прекрасна для любви,

Но вновь спешит рассвет,

Уж не безумствовать, увы,

Под этот лунный свет.

She walks in Beauty

She walks in beauty, like the night

Of cloudless climes and starry skies;

And all that's best of dark and bright

Meet in her aspect and her eyes:

Thus mellow'd to that tender light

Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,

Had half impair'd the nameless grace

Which waves in every raven tress,

Or softly lightens o'er her face;

Where thoughts serenely sweet express

How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

And on that cheek, and o'er that brow,

So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,

The smiles that win. the tints that glow,

But tell of days in goodness spent,

A mind at peace with all below,

A heart whose love is innocent!

Она идет во всей красе

Она идет во всей красе —

Светла, как ночь её страны.

Вся глубь небес и звёзды все

В её очах заключены.

Как солнце в утренней росе,

Но только мраком смягчены.

Прибавить луч иль тень отнять —

И будет уж совсем не та

Волос агатовая прядь,

Не те глаза, не те уста

И лоб, где помыслов печать

так безупречна, так чиста.

А этот взгляд, и цвет ланит,

И лёгкий смех, как всплеск морской, —

Всё в ней о мире говорит.

Она в душе хранит покой.

И если счастье подарит,

То самой щедрою рукой.

My soul is dark

My soul is dark—Oh! quickly string

The harp I yet can brook to hear;

And let thy gentle fingers fling

Its melting murmurs o'er mine ear.—

If in this heart a hope be dear,

That sound shall charm it forth again—

If in these eyes there lurk a tear,

'Twill flow—and cease to burn my brain—

But bid the strain be wild and deep,

Nor let thy notes of joy be first—

I tell thee—Minstrel! I must weep,

Or else this heavy heart will burst—

For it hath been by sorrow nurst,

And ached in sleepless silence long—

And now 'tis doom'd to know the worst,

And break at once—or yield to song.

J. G. Byron, 1815

Еврейская мелодия

Душа моя мрачна. Скорей, певец, скорей!

Вот арфа золотая:

Пускай персты твои, промчавшися по ней,

Пробудят в струнах звуки рая.

И если не навек надежды рок унес,

Они в груди моей проснутся,

И если есть в очах застывших капля слез -

Они растают и прольются.

Пусть будет песнь твоя дика. - Как мой венец,

Мне тягостны веселья звуки!

Я говорю тебе: я слез хочу, певец,

Иль разорвется грудь от муки.

Страданьями была упитана она,

Томилась долго и безмолвно;

И грозный час настал - теперь она полна,

Как кубок смерти яда полный.

М. Ю. Лермонтов, 1836

Phello_html_293b6d4.pngERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY (1792—1822)

Percy Bysshe Shelley was born at Field Place, Sussex, in 1792, the son of a well-to-do landowner. At the age of ten, he was sent to Syon House Academy near London. There he was bullied and often lonely, but there too he acquired an interest in science, especially astronomy and chemistry, and became an avid reader of juvenile thrillers filled with horrors of various kinds. Shelley reacted to the bullying he was subjected to with violent anger and a determination to devote himself to opposing every form of tyranny.

In 1804, Shelley entered Eton College, where he encountered more of the same bullying he had been subjected to at Syon House. His outbursts of rage and his inability to fight encouraged the other boys to provoke him. He became known as "Mad Shelley" because of his rather unconventional behavior. However, he made a number of friends at Eton and embarked on his literary career. His "Gothic" horror novel, Zastrozzi, was published in 1810. In the same year, with his sister, he coauthored a volume of poems, most of them in the Gothic tradition, entitled Original Poetry by Victor [Shelley] and Cazire [Elizabeth Shelley]. It was also in 1810 that Shelley began his short career at Oxford University. And, in addition, he published a second Gothic novel of terror, St. Irvyne, most of which he had written at Eton. A short volume of poems, Posthumous Fragments of Margaret Nicholson, purporting to be edited by a John Fitz-Victor, was also published by Shelley in 1810. A third publication, a pamphlet entitled The Necessity of Atheism, brought Shelley's university career to an abrupt end. On March 25, 1811, he was summoned to appear before the master of University College and, when he refused to admit or deny his authorship of the pamphlet, he was immediately expelled.

Shortly after his expulsion, he eloped to Scotland with Harriet Westbrook, a schoolgirl companion of his sister, Hellen. Shelley's marriage further alienated him from his father, whose pride had been deeply hurt by Shelley's expulsion from Oxford. Shelley and his young wife drifted from one locality to another, living precariously on whatever money they could borrow. Eventually Shelley's father settled an allowance on him. During this period Shelley continued to read incessantly. His reading helped to confirm him in the radical political and social opinions he had acquired.

In February 1812, Shelley and Harriet were in Ireland distributing Shelley's pamphlet, Address to the Irish People. In this publication, Shelley urged virtue on the Irish, who were living in misery because of the English Parliament. The remedy for their wrongs, he told the Irish people, was to be found in the practice of sobriety, moderation, and wisdom. As soon as virtue prevailed, government must succumb because government's only excuse for existing was the absence of virtue.

Toward the middle of 1813, Shelley's first poem of any merit, Queen Mab, made its appearance. Queen Mab incorporated many of Shelley's radical ideas. To Shelley, Christianity was the worst of tyrannies. God was an evil creature of the human mind. Priests, kings, and commerce were sources of evil. Marriage was a form of tyranny. The eating of meat was a cause of human vices.

A major turning point in Shelley's life occurred in July 1814, when he eloped to the continent with Mary Godwin, the daughter of the radical philosopher William Godwin, author of Political Justice. Shelley, who did not believe in marriage, had convinced himself that his wife Harriet, now the mother of two children, no longer supplied him with the complete sympathy he craved and that Mary did. It is characteristic of Shelley's sometimes blind idealism that he invited Harriet to live with Mary and himself; she refused, however, but Shelley could never understand her unwillingness to do so. The months that followed were difficult ones for Shelley. The elopement had cost him the loss of old friends, including Mary's father, and he was in constant financial difficulties. He even went so far as to ask Harriet for money to avoid being arrested for debt.

The difficulties of Shelley's life in 1814 and 1815 interfered with the writing of poetry. Not until February 1816, did he publish a poem that was on a par with Queen Mab. In that month appeared a volume in which "Alastor" was the major poem. The theme of "Alastor" is that concentration on high ideals has the effect of making the world seem dark and ugly. The volume, however, received little critical notice, and even that was unfriendly.

In May 1816, Shelley and Mary, who had been living in England, left for the Continent. The death of Shelley's wealthy grandfather made Shelley financially independent on an income of £1000 a year, the chief drain on which was the endless necessity of helping Mary's father out of his recurrent financial difficulties. In Switzerland, Shelley met Byron, who had left England only ten days before Shelley. The two developed a warm friendship which lasted until Shelley's death. The months that they spent together in Switzerland were among the happiest in Shelley's life. They found each other's company very stimulating.

It was at this time that Byron wrote the third, and best, canto of Childe Harold's Pilgrimage and Mary wrote her famous Frankenstein. This almost idyllic period in Shelley's life came to an end when Shelley had to return to England to take care of money matters in late August, 1816. Two calamities befell him shortly after his return to England: the suicide of Fanny Imlay, Mary's half sister and a member of the Godwin household, and, shortly after, the suicide of his wife Harriet. Shelley tried to gain custody of his two children but was denied it by a decision of the Lord Chancellor. On December 29, 1816, he legalized his association with Mary by marrying her.

Shelley's longest poem, The Revolt of Islam, in part a heavily symbolic account of a bloodless revolution, and in part a restatement of the radical social views of Queen Mab, was the work of more than half of 1817. It is not only Shelley's longest poem, but it is also one of his least readable poems, partly because of its symbolism and partly because of its structural weakness. Besides writing The Revolt of Islam in 1817, Shelley also wrote "Rosalind and Helen," the story of two pairs of lovers, one pair of which appears to be Shelley and Mary, whose love without marriage is justified.

In 1818, Shelley left England for Italy, never to return. During that summer, he occupied himself in reading and translating Plato's Symposium. Following a journey to Venice, where Shelley visited Byron, the Shelleys suffered a severe loss in the death of their little daughter, Clara. The death of Clara caused a strain to develop between Shelley and his wife, Mary, who felt that the journey to Venice, which was made on the insistence of Shelley, was responsible for the death of their daughter. Shelley's "Julian and Maddalo," written in the fall of 1818, reflects this tension.

After spending the winter of 1818-19 in Naples, the Shelleys moved on to Rome, where they remained from March to June 1819. The year 1819 proved to be Shelley's annus mirabilis. He completed Prometheus Unbound, the embodiment of his dream of a brave new world; he composed his play, The Cenci, a study in human wickedness which is probably the best play written by a romantic poet; and he began a political pamphlet entitled A Philosophical View of Reform, in which he made some practical suggestions for political reforms in England; in addition, he wrote a number of short poems on the political situation in England, which he was convinced bordered on revolution. In these poems, as well as in Prometheus and The Cenci, oppression is exposed and attacked. 1819 was also a sad year for the Shelleys; their only surviving child, William, died in Rome early in June.

In June 1819, the Shelleys left Rome for Leghorn, where they remained until October. In October, they moved to Florence so that Mary, who was pregnant, could be near a doctor she had confidence in. Mary's last child, Percy Florence, the only one who lived to maturity, was born on November 2. Late in January 1820, the Shelleys were again on the move. This time their destination was Pisa. The Shelleys lived either in or near Pisa until Shelley's death in 1822.

The Cenci was Shelley's last long poem. The poetry that he wrote in Pisa was either short pieces or poems of a few hundred lines. As was his custom, he read continually, partly to keep his mind stimulated and partly because he was a reader by nature. His reading, however, does not seem to have been undertaken as a preparation for writing such a great poem as Milton's Paradise Lost. Outstanding among his Pisan poems are "Epipsychidion," a work in which he extols the charms of Emilia Viviani, the young daughter of the governor of Pisa, and Adonais, an elegy in which he laments the death of John Keats and, at the same time, attacks the critics who had heaped opprobrium on himself and had, Shelley thought, been the cause of the death of Keats. A good deal of the poetry of his last years is marked by melancholy. Both Shelley and his wife were subject to periodic attacks of depression. The melancholy in Shelley's last poems is probably due to a feeling that a rift had developed between himself and his wife and also to the conviction that his attempt to improve the world through poetry had not succeeded to any noticeable degree. The critics remained hostile.

In spite of Shelley's growing disenchantment with the world, he experienced some of the deepest happiness of his life during his last months. Ironically, this happiness was associated with the boat in which he met his death. At the end of April 1822, the Shelleys and their friends the Williamses rented a house in San Terenzo, a village on the Gulf of Spezia, not far from Pisa. To San Terenzo they brought a boat, the Don Juan, built for them in Genoa according to Edward Williams' specifications. Shelley and Williams found the boat completely satisfactory and a constant source of delight. On the eighth of July, as the Don Juan was carrying the two friends from Leghorn to San Terenzo, a heavy squall suddenly came up and the Don Juan disappeared from sight. Several days later, the bodies of Shelley and Williams were washed up on the shores of the Bay of Lerici. The body of Shelley was cremated and the ashes buried in the Protestant Cemetery in Rome, not far from the grave of Keats.

Scatter, as from an unextmguished hearth

Ashes and sparks, my words among mankind!

Be through my lips to unawakened earth

The trumpet of a prophecy!


I met a traveller from an antique land

Who said: `Two vast and trunkless legs of stone

Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,

Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,

And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,

Tell that its sculptor well those passions read

Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,

The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.

And on the pedestal these words appear --

"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:

Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay

Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare

The lone and level sands stretch far away.'

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If you have been learning English for several years and want to know more about Britain and its people...

If you know the names of Shakespeare, Byron, Lewis Carroll, Stevenson, and Defoe, and have read some of their works in Russian...

If you haven't heard these names and haven't read their works...

We hope the following pages will help you understand Britain and its people a little better. It is an introductory course into English literature, and it will help you make up for your ignorance. We have compiled this material to give you an idea of how English literature developed through the centuries. You will read and talk about the life and work of great English writers and poets. And what is most exciting, you will have to stand up to the challenge of reading their works in the original.

Have an exciting journey into the wonderful land of English literature!



1. What English writers do you know? What books by English writers have you read? Can you match the authors and the titles of the books?

1.                        Charles Dickens                               a) Gulliver's Travels

2.                        Robert Louis Stevenson                    b) Alice in Wonderland

3.                        William Shakespeare                        с) Jane Eyre

4.                        Jonathan Swift                                d) Oliver Twist

5.                        George Bernard Shaw                       e) The Hobbit

6.                        Emily Bronte                                   f) Treasure Island

7.                        Lewis Carroll                             g) Wuthering Heights

8.                        Charlotte Bronte                        h) Romeo and Juliet

9.                        J.R.R. Tolkien                        i) The Problem of Thor Bridge

10.   Arthur Conan Doyle                                     j) Pygmalion

2. Read what the famous British writer John Priestly said about the contribution of English writers in world literature.

It can be claimed that the debt of world literature to English is immense. Only think of Shakespeare is ever alive and new; Richardson, beginning sentimentalism, was imitated everywhere; Byron and Scott: the most influential in the Romantic Age; Dickens was especially popular in Russia and Dostoevsky was admiring and enthusiastic reader; George Bernard Shaw conquered the theatre everywhere.


debt             долг

immense      огромный

influential    влиятельный

admiring      восхищенный

3. Cover the text and try to remember the writers and their achievements. Where in Russian literature you meet the name of Richardson?


1.                Read this extract from English literary critic Igor Evans's
book English Literature. Which art forms made the English people
especially proud? What has always been the main subject of English

It can be claimed that literature is the art in which the English have most greatly excelled. Within this literature they have been engaged mainly with the study of human nature, of personality and individual. In the other arts (music, painting, architecture) there are figures in France, Italy and Germany that surpass the English origin. It might be claimed that where England has been outstanding in these other arts, it has been in the exploration of some aspect of the personal life of men and women. Take, for example, the country-houses of England - they are unparalleled in any European country in variety, distinction, splendour. Then, the most characteristic form of painting in England has always been portraits - which again are associated with the personal and domestic life.


excel        выделяться                                             unparalleled     несравнимый

within       внутри                                                      variety            разнообразие

engaged      занятый                                                 distinction       оригинальность

surpass     превосходить      

splendour         великолепие

2.        Finish these sentences.

a)      French, Italian and German musicians, painters and architects are ...

b)     English country-houses are ...

c)      Portrait painting is the most typical English genre of painting because ...

d) All arts in England explore ...

3. Read the following extracts from the famous British writer John Priestley's book on English literature.

"English literature has been influenced by two major factors: by the British land with its highlands, lowlands, moors, fens, mountains, and its history with several conquests of the island and the nation forming about 150 years after the Norman Conquest...

The flexible social system, when aristocrats were not so haughty, made it possible for men to shift into a higher social class by inheritance or marriage. This system can be explained by a long tradition of independence among common people, with Parliament deciding whether to give or not to give King money on something or an army to fight a war...

That's why English literature has a sense of character and individuality - it takes delight in sheer variety and richness of characters and is full of odd, original ones...

Another characteristic of English literature is its artistic independence: there are no strict rules of structure form, the main thing which should be present in a book is life. An untidy and badly constructed story crowded with characters who seem alive is better for English authors and the reading public than a perfectly constructed story that appears to have in it nothing but ghosts. A typical English writer (and reader) will risk defects form and structure if the illusion of an energetic, complex, varied life is presented...

If we think of art as the product of an effort to create perfection -then English literature is outside art. French critics of the 18 and early 19th century (and famous dramatist Racine among them) regard Shakespeare as a wild barbarian, incapable of writing civilized drama. (Where are all these critics and even Racine now?) The artist, in their view, always knows exactly what he is doing, organizing his plan like a cabinet-maker. It is much too narrow a view of art. On the other hand, English authors feel that a writer can tell himself to be deeply tragic, or magical, or poetic, or gloriously comic, as if he were making a box or a clock, - writing is unconscious, something like a dream...

One of the most remarkable characteristics of English literature is its glorious humour. It has few satirical wits, most of them come from Ireland - Jonathan Swift, George Bernard Shaw. On the contrary, it is full of genuine, rich humour which is never a conscious product but shares with poetry the unconscious element. There is a wonderful gallery of great comic characters which can't be coldly constructed. English humour is not very funny, it is often close to tears because it is based on sympathy and has affection in it. The notorious attachment of the English to old things is not stingy and slavish; there is affection in it. Indeed, English literature has long been one of England's best exports."


moor - вересковаяпустошь                                                glorious - восхитительный

fen -болото                                                                                       wit - остроумец

haughty - высокомерный                                                          genuine - подлинный

inheritance - наследие                                                           conscious - сознательный

delight - восторг                                                                             affection - любовь

odd - странный                                                                        notorious - пресловутый

remarkable - замечательный                                             attachment - привязанность

4. Name characteristic features of English literature according John Priestly.


What are the roots of literature? What is folklore?


No national literature is possible without its folklore. A nation's folklore - proverbs and sayings, tales and nursery rhymes, ballads and songs, games and riddles - are very often the root from which the most prominent works of literature grow. The word "folklore" means "people's wisdom", "people's knowledge". Indeed, if folklore weren't full of living wisdom and wit, it wouldn't have survived through the centuries. But apart from this, there is something else in folklore, and this is its beauty, its charm. These features attract to it. We are introduced to folklore in our childhood; perhaps that's why it is for us not only a particularity of literature but also something very dear to our hearts, like home, motherland, and our mother tongue. It is a property of both the whole nation and a particular person.


saying - поговорка              survive - выжить

prominent - выдающийся     charm - очарование
wit -
остроумие                   property - собственность



Nowhere is nation's wisdom and wit revealed so brightly as in its proverbs and sayings. They accumulated life experience of the community. But proverbs are not just wise phrases. Lots of phrases are wise, for example this: "The earlier you get up, the more you will do during the day". It is a true statement, but nobody would think of calling it a proverb. On the other hand, the following phrase expressing the same idea is surely a proverb: "The early bird catches a worm." Lots of proverbs have metre, rhyme and alliteration, as in the following: "Early to bed, early to rise - makes a man healthy and wise".


reveal - проявляться                                  worm - червяк

accumulated - накопленный                        metre - размер

community — сообщество                           rhyme — рифма

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