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A Brief History of English Literature Notes

A Brief History of English Literature Notes

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Published by The CSS Point
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Published by: The CSS Point on Sep 17, 2013
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 Note: This material is supposed to be original and authentic for theSubject English Literature. Although This Booklet is a complied work byThe CSS Point. All contents have been collected from different internetsources. The CSS Point is not responsible for any fact/informationmentioned in this booklet.Thank Youhttp://www.thecsspoint.com info@thecsspoint.com 
9/17/2013English Literature | The CSS Point
A brief history of English literature Notes
A brief history of English literature Notes
www.thecsspoint.com Page 2
Literary forms
 Literary forms such as the novel or lyric poem, or genres, such as thehorror-story, have a history. In one sense, they appear because they havenot been thought of before, but they also appear, or become popular forother cultural reasons, such as the absence or emergence of literacy. Instudying the history of literature (or any kind of art), you are challenged toconsider
what constitutes a given form,
how it has developed, and
whether it has a future.The novels of the late Catherine Cookson may have much in common withthose of Charlotte Brontë, but is it worth mimicking in the late 20th century,what was ground-breaking in the 1840s? While Brontë examines what iscontemporary for her, Miss Cookson invents an imagined past which may beof interest to the cultural historian in studying the present sources of hernostalgia, but not to the student of the period in which her novels are set.Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe is a long work of prose fiction, but critics donot necessarily describe it as a novel. Why might this be? Knowing works intheir historical context does not give easy answers, but may shed more orless light on our darkness in considering such questions.
A brief history of English literature Notes
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Old English, Middle English and ChaucerOld English
English, as we know it, descends from the language spoken by the northGermanic tribes who settled in England from the 5th century A.D. onwards.They had no writing (except runes, used as charms) until they learned theLatin alphabet from Roman missionaries. The earliest written works in OldEnglish (as their language is now known to scholars) were probablycomposed orally at first, and may have been passed on from speaker tospeaker before being written. We know the names of some of the laterwriters (Cædmon, Ælfric and King Alfred) but most writing is anonymous.Old English literature is mostly chronicle and poetry - lyric, descriptive butchiefly narrative or epic. By the time literacy becomes widespread, OldEnglish is effectively a foreign and dead language. And its forms do notsignificantly affect subsequent developments in English literature. (With thescholarly exception of the 19th century poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins, whofinds in Old English verse the model for his metrical system of "sprungrhythm".)
Middle English and Chaucer
From 1066 onwards, the language is known to scholars as Middle English.Ideas and themes from French and Celtic literature appear in English writingat about this time, but the first great name in English literature is that of Geoffrey Chaucer (?1343-1400). Chaucer introduces the iambic pentameterline, the rhyming couplet and other rhymes used in Italian poetry (alanguage in which rhyming is arguably much easier than in English, thanksto the frequency of terminal vowels). Some of Chaucer's work is prose andsome is lyric poetry, but his greatest work is mostly narrative poetry, which

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