English Literature Exam 1

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Philip Sidney
Poetry is “unelected vocation”
English Nobleman; much time to write
Part of a deceased holy person’s body or a holy object; pilgrimages to be around the holy were common
“Fool”, said my Muse to me, “look in thy heart and write.”
Astrophil and Stella I by Sir Philip Sidney
-Astrophil is speaking of his overwhelming love for Stella, but he does not know how to express it properly through the sonnet
-This is Stella telling Astrophil to just look into his heart and write how he feels
English Sonnet
1. Three four-line quatrains
2. Concluding couplet
3. Numerous rhyme schemes
Italian Sonnet
1. 14 lines
2. 2 part structure: Octet (set up a problem) & Sestet (describe/tries to come up with a solution)
Radix malorum est cupiditas
Greed is the root of evil (1 Timothy 6:10)
“If all the world and love were young”
The Passionate Shepherd to His Love by Walter Raleigh
She does not believe the shepherd is able to give all that he offers
Conceit / Concetto
clever, elaborate comparison
Middle English
Modern English
1. 500-1100
2. 1100-1500
3. 1500-
All stem from Germanic
Three estates
1. Nobility (kings and the like)
2. Clerics (priest/religious leader)
3. Commoners
Taken by commoners in order to be around the ‘holy’
Beowulf: Kenning
to put something together (e.g., Sea: “Whale-road”; Body: “Life-house”)
Beowulf: Oral Culture
1. Not much literature; everything was memorized: stories, sayings, laws
2. Singan: sing
3. Secgan: say (tell stories)
Beowulf: Kinship
1. Tribes/clans
2. Everything won in battle belongs to the Chieftan (king)
3. King distributed wealth according to service in battle
4. Hlaf-Weard: loaf-guardian – eventually becomes the word “lord”
Beowulf: Comitatus
Compelled kings to rule in consultation with their warriors
Beowulf: Boasting
Warriors would tell their tales of battle afterwards – form of entertainment and a means of gaining respect for ones victories
Beowulf: “Wyrd”
“Fate” – the universe is fixed
Beowulf: Heorot
Palace; grand hall
Beowulf: Grendel
Creature that disturbs Hrothgar and his people
Pardoner’s Tale: Irony
1. “Killing death”
2. Fleeces audience “in the know” (they know he is a con-man yet trust him anyway)
Pardoner’s Tale: “lewed people”
Uneducated people
Forms of irony:
1. Verbal (sarcasm)
2. Situational
3. Dramatic (knowing something the character does not)
4. Cosmic (the whole universe is a reversal of expectation)
What is the pentangle?
Star on Gawain’s shield representing the:
1. Five senses
2. Five fingers
3. Five wounds of Christ
4. Five joys of Mary
5. Five Knightly virtues
Arguments against poetry
1. Waste of time
2. It is a lie
3. Stirs up evil desires
4. Plato banished poets from his Republic
Sydney’s defenses of poetry
1. Literature can make virtue attractive, and is therefore no waste of time
2. The poet affirms nothing, and is therefore the least of all liars
3. Ideal poetry stirs up desire for good and recognition of evil; we should not be ignorant of evil; we should be “children in malice”
4. Plato was a philosopher, of course he banished poetry
Pardoner’s Tale
1. Greed is the root of all evil
2. Relics will heal all ills
3. Admits he is a con-man and uses religion to steal (situational irony); “thus I can preach again that same vice / Which that I use, and that is avarice”
4. The pardoner is only willing to pardon the good people
The Tale:
1. The three men want to kill death, who eventually kills all of them because of their own greed
2. The old man is the one who cannot find death, whereas the young men find him
1. Pardoner knows that he himself is greedy, yet his job depends on others who are greedy
Gawain: double plot/ virtue and integrity
The Green Knight tests first Gawain’s virtue: will he act knightly in the presence of others, doing what he has promised to do.
The second test is one of Gawain’s integrity: will he act knightly when no one is watching, proving that it is he who holds himself to a high standard, not others.
Courtly love
A man becomes enamored with a woman who is already married, but they are virtuous people so they do nothing together; the woman uses the man’s love for her to his advantage, and the man serves her in every way.
-Begins in Italy (15th century)
-Spreads to England (16th century)
-Bible was read in Greek; many started reading for themselves; first generation of scholars able to study the Greek text (starting with Erasmus translating the NT); Reformers wanted everyone to be able to read the Bible
-Edenic memory: looking back to man’s perfect state
-Renaissance lead to Christians being educated in Scripture, literature, language, culture, history, theology, and philosophy.
-Training in professions, but especially Christian educations
Poet Courtier
A poet who writes for the royal court
Style of poetry by Francesco Petrarch (Italian)
Manuscript Coterie
Small and enclosed group that writes and shares and reads the manuscripts amongst each other
Christian Humanists and Education
-Used pagan philosophy and melded it with Christianity
-Calvin and Luther used pagan philosophy in their works
Supporting of those in the “arts”
Thomas Wyatt
Introduced England to Italian Sonnet form
Established English Sonnet form; established blank verse
Blank verse
Not rhymed; iambic meter (five sets of two, ten beats/line) (“mighty line”)
Roman: seer, prophet, inspired
Greek: maker, creator
“The Passionate Shepherd to His Love”; Dr. Faustus
Dr. Faustus
-Three-way split: secularism, mysticism, theism
-Accepts mysticism: “A sound magician is a mighty god”
-Continual offer of repentance; Satan tells Faustus that he cannot be saved
-Seven damnable sins: Faustus is guilty of all of these by the end of his life
-Desire for knowledge: heaven and hell, the universe
-Fleshly desires: wife (Satan cannot grant this, as it is a sacrament)
-“Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd”
-“If all the world and love were young”
Categories: English Literature