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Some great English writers

English 12
English and American literature

Submitted to: Mr. carlos manlapus

Submitted by: Vanessa may ibaos
William Shakespeare (1564 1616)


Shakespeare was born and brought up in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire. At

the age of 18, he married Anne Hathaway, with whom he had three children: Susann, and
twins Hamnet and Judith. Sometime between 1585 and 1592, he began a successful
career in London as an actor, writer, and part-owner of a playing company called the Lord
Chamberlain's Men, later known as the King's Men. He appears to have retired to
Stratford around 1613, at age 49, where he died three years later. Few records of
Shakespeare's private life survive, which has stimulated considerable speculation about
such matters as his physical appearance, sexuality and religious beliefs and whether the
works attributed to him were written by others.

Contribution to English Literature

He was an English poet, playwright, and actor, widely regarded as the greatest
writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called
England's national poet, and the "Bard of Avon". His extant works, including
collaborations, consist of approximately 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems,
and a few other verses, some of uncertain authorship. His plays have been translated
into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other

Literary Works
The Comedy of Errors
Antony and Cleopatra
Julius Caesar
The Sonnets
A Lover's Complaint
The Rape of Lucrece
Venus and Adonis

Prince Hamlet is depressed. Having been summoned home to Denmark from school in Germany
to attend his father's funeral, he is shocked to find his mother Gertrude already remarried. The Queen has
wed Hamlet's Uncle Claudius, the dead king's brother. To Hamlet, the marriage is "foul incest." Worse still,
Claudius has had himself crowned King despite the fact that Hamlet was his father's heir to the throne.
Hamlet suspects foul play.

When his father's ghost visits the castle, Hamlet's suspicions are confirmed. The Ghost complains
that he is unable to rest in peace because he was murdered. Claudius, says the Ghost, poured poison in
King Hamlet's ear while the old king napped. Unable to confess and find salvation, King Hamlet is now
consigned, for a time, to spend his days in Purgatory and walk the earth by night. He entreats Hamlet to
avenge his death, but to spare Gertrude, to let Heaven decide her fate. Hamlet vows to affect madness
puts "an antic disposition on" to wear a mask that will enable him observe the interactions in the castle,
but finds himself more confused than ever. In his persistent confusion, he questions the Ghost's
trustworthiness. What if the Ghost is not a true spirit, but rather an agent of the devil sent to tempt him?
What if killing Claudius results in Hamlet's having to relive his memories for all eternity? Hamlet agonizes
over what he perceives as his cowardice because he cannot stop himself from thinking. Words immobilize
Hamlet, but the world he lives in prizes action. In order to test the Ghost's sincerity, Hamlet enlists the help
of a troupe of players who perform a play called The Murder of Gonzago to which Hamlet has added scenes
that recreate the murder the Ghost described. Hamlet calls the revised play The Mousetrap, and the ploy
proves a success. As Hamlet had hoped, Claudius' reaction to the staged murder reveals the King to be
conscience-stricken. Claudius leaves the room because he cannot breathe, and his vision is dimmed for
want of light. Convinced now that Claudius is a villain, Hamlet resolves to kill him. But, as Hamlet observes,
"conscience doth make cowards of us all."

In his continued reluctance to dispatch Claudius, Hamlet actually causes six ancillary deaths. The
first death belongs to Polonius, whom Hamlet stabs through a wall hanging as the old man spies on Hamlet
and Gertrude in the Queen's private chamber. Claudius punishes Hamlet for Polonius' death by exiling him
to England. He has brought Hamlet's school chums Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to Denmark from
Germany to spy on his nephew, and now he instructs them to deliver Hamlet into the English king's hands
for execution. Hamlet discovers the plot and arranges for the hanging of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern
instead. Ophelia, distraught over her father's death and Hamlet's behavior, drowns while singing sad love
songs bemoaning the fate of a spurned lover. Her brother, Laertes, falls next. Laertes, returned to Denmark
from France to avenge his father's death, witnesses Ophelia's descent into madness. After her funeral,
where he and Hamlet come to blows over which of them loved Ophelia best, Laertes vows to punish Hamlet
for her death as well. Unencumbered by words, Laertes plots with Claudius to kill Hamlet. In the midst of
the sword fight, however, Laertes drops his poisoned sword. Hamlet retrieves the sword and cuts Laertes.
The lethal poison kills Laertes. Before he dies, Laertes tells Hamlet that because Hamlet has already been
cut with the same sword, he too will shortly die. Horatio diverts Hamlet's attention from Laertes for a moment
by pointing out that "The Queen falls." Gertrude, believing that Hamlet's hitting Laertes means her son is
winning the fencing match, has drunk a toast to her son from the poisoned cup Claudius had intended for
Hamlet. The Queen dies. As Laertes lies dying, he confesses to Hamlet his part in the plot and explains
that Gertrude's death lies on Claudius' head. Finally enraged, Hamlet stabs Claudius with the poisoned
sword and then pours the last of the poisoned wine down the King's throat. Before he dies, Hamlet declares
that the throne should now pass to Prince Fortinbras of Norway, and he implores his true friend Horatio to
accurately explain the events that have led to the bloodbath at Elsinore. With his last breath, he releases
himself from the prison of his words: "The rest is silence."

The play ends as Prince Fortinbras, in his first act as King of Denmark, orders a funeral with full
military honors for slain Prince Hamlet.
Geoffrey Chaucer (1343-1400)


Poet Geoffrey Chaucer was born circa 1340, most likely at his parents house on
Thames Street in London, England. Chaucers family was of the bourgeois class,
descended from an affluent family who made their money in the London wine trade.
According to some sources, Chaucers father, John, carried on the family wine business.
Geoffrey Chaucer is believed to have attended the St. Pauls Cathedral School, where he
probably first became acquainted with the influential writing of Virgil and Ovid. In 1357 he
became a public servant to Countess Elizabeth of Ulster and continued in that capacity
with the British court throughout his lifetime.

Contribution to English Literature

English poet Geoffrey Chaucer wrote the unfinished work, The Canterbury Tales.
It is considered one of the greatest poetic works in English. The Canterbury Tales became
his best known and most acclaimed work. He died October 25, 1400 in London, England,
and was the first to be buried in Westminster Abbeys Poets Corner
Chaucers 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
Chaucers 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. 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.

Literary Works
Roman De La Rose
The Book of the Duchess
The House of Fame
Anelida and Arcite
Parlement of Foules
Troilus and Criseyde
The Legend of Good Women
The Canterbury Tales
The Franklins Tale


The Franklins Tale is an example of a Breton lay, a brief romance with

supposedly Celtic origins that was popular in Brittany in the Middle Ages. Most Breton
lays, like this one, deal with romance and love and contain some supernatural element,
like magic.

The tale also seems to answer the question about mastery in marriage raised by the
Wife of Baths Tale and the Merchants Tale; it opens with comments that mastery has
no place in love. However, the tale itself doesnt focus on this problem, but rather on the
problem of what happens when one makes a rash promises and the importance of
keeping ones word.

The concept of trouthe, or giving ones word as a binding agreement, is central to the
agreement between Dorigen and Aurelius. When Aurelius accomplishes the impossible,
Dorigen must keep her promise to him, no matter how ill-conceived it was. Arveraguss
response to this situation makes sense in the context of medieval contracts, which were
typically oral (not written) and in which people were typically held to what they said
regardless of how foolish or impossible it was compare the pledging of the horse, cart,
hay, and summoner himself to the Devil in the Friars Tale.
George eliot (1819-1880)

Novelist George Eliot, a pen name for Mary Ann Evans, was born on November
22, 1819. She was a subeditor for The Westminster Review for three years. In 1851, she
met the philosopher George Henry Lewes. Lewes was already married, but she spent the
next 20 years of her life with him. She died in 1880.
She used a male pen name, she said, to ensure that her works would be taken
seriously. Female authors were published under their own names during Eliot's life, but
she wanted to escape the stereotype of women writing only lighthearted romances. She
also wished to have her fiction judged separately from her already extensive and widely
known work as an editor and critic. An additional factor in her use of a pen name may
have been a desire to shield her private life from public scrutiny and to prevent scandals
attending her relationship with the married George Henry Lewes, with whom she lived for
over 20 years

Contribution to English Literature

Throughout her career, Eliot wrote with a politically astute pen. From Adam Bede to The
Mill on the Floss and Silas Marner, Eliot presented the cases of social outsiders and small-town
persecution. Felix Holt, the Radical and The Legend of Jubal were overtly political, and political
crisis is at the heart of Middlemarch, in which she presents the stories of a number of denizens of
a small English town on the eve of the Reform Bill of 1832; the novel is notable for its deep
psychological insight and sophisticated character portraits. The roots of her realist philosophy can
be found in her review of John Ruskin's Modern Painters in Westminster Review in 1856.
Working as a translator, Eliot was exposed to German texts of religious, social, and moral
philosophy such as Friedrich Strausss Life of Jesus, Feuerbachs Essence of Christianity, and
Spinozas Ethics. Elements from these works show up in her fiction, much of which is written with
her trademark sense of agnostic humanism. She had taken particular notice of Feuerbachs
conception of Christianity, positing that the faiths understanding of the nature of the divine rested
ultimately in the nature of humanity projected onto a divine figure. An example of this
understanding appears in her novel Romola, in which Eliots protagonist has been said to display
a surprisingly modern readiness to interpret religious language in humanist or secular ethical
Literary works

Adam Bede, 1859

The Mill on the Floss, 1860
Silas Marner, 1861
Romola, 1863
Charlotte Bront (18161855)


Writer Charlotte Bront was born on April 21, 1816, in Thornton, Yorkshire,
England. Said to be the most dominant and ambitious of the Bronts, Charlotte was
raised in a strict Anglican home by her clergyman father and a religious aunt after her
mother and two eldest siblings died. She and her sister Emily attended the Clergy
Daughter's School at Cowan Bridge, but were largely educated at home. Though she
tried to earn a living as both a governess and a teacher, Bront missed her sisters and
eventually returned home.
The deaths of the Bront siblings are almost as notable as their literary legacy.
Her brother, Branwell, and Emily died in 1848, and Anne died the following year. In
1854, Charlotte married Arthur Bell Nicholls, but died the following year during her
pregnancy, on March 31, 1855, in Haworth, Yorkshire, England. The first novel she ever
wrote, The Professor, was published posthumously in 1857

Contribution to English Literature

Charlotte Bront was an English 19th century writer whose novel Jane Eyre is
considered a classic of Western literature. In 1847, Bront published the semi-
autobiographical novel Jane Eyre, which was a hit and would become a literary classic.
Her other novels included Shirley and Villette. She died on March 31, 1855, in Haworth,
Yorkshire, England.

Writer all her life, Bront published her first novel, Jane Eyre, in 1847 under the
manly pseudonym Currer Bell. Though controversial in its criticism of society's treatment
of impoverished women, the book was an immediate hit. She followed the success
with Shirley in 1848 and Villette in 1853.

Literary works

The Spell
The Secret
Lily Hart
The Foundling
Charles dickens (1812 1870)


British novelist Charles Dickens was born on February 7, 1812, in Portsmouth,

England. Famed British author Charles Dickens was born Charles John Huffam Dickens
on February 7, 1812, in Portsmouth, on the southern coast of England. He was the
second of eight children. His father, John Dickens, was a naval clerk who dreamed of
striking it rich. Charles Dickens mother, Elizabeth Barrow, aspired to be a teacher and
school director. Despite his parents best efforts, the family remained poor.
Nevertheless, they were happy in the early days. In 1816, they moved to Chatham,
Kent, where young Charles and his siblings were free to roam the countryside and
explore the old castle at Rochester.

In 1822, the Dickens family moved to Camden Town, a poor neighborhood in London.
By then the familys financial situation had grown dire, as John Dickens had a
dangerous habit of living beyond the familys means. Eventually, John was sent to
prison for debt in 1824, when Charles was just 12 years old.

Contribution to English Literature

In the same year that Sketches by Boz was released, Dickens started publishing The
Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club. His series of sketches, originally written as captions for artist
Robert Seymours humorous sports-themed illustrations, took the form of monthly serial installments. The
Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club was wildly popular with readers. In fact, Dickens sketches were
even more popular than the illustrations they were meant to accompany.

Around this time, Dickens had also become publisher of a magazine called Bentleys Miscellany. In it he
started publishing his first novel, Oliver Twist, which follows the life of an orphan living in the streets. The
story was inspired by how Dickens felt as an impoverished child forced to get by on his wits and earn his
own keep. Dickens continued showcasing Oliver Twist in the magazines he later edited,
including Household Words and All the Year Round, the latter of which he founded. The novel was
extremely well received in both England and America. Dedicated readers of Oliver Twist eagerly
anticipated the next monthly installment.

Literary works
Great Expectations
Oliver Twist
David Copperfield
A tale of two Cities
Bleak house
Jane Austen

Jane Austen was born on December 16, 1775, in Steventon, Hampshire, England.
While not widely known in her own time, Austen's comic novels of love among the
landed gentry gained popularity after 1869, and her reputation skyrocketed in the 20th
century. Her novels, including Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, are
considered literary classics, bridging the gap between romance and realism.
Contribution to American Literature
Today, Austen is considered one of the greatest writers in English history, both
by academics and the general public. In 2002, as part of a BBC poll, the British public
voted her No. 70 on a list of "100 Most Famous Britons of All Time." Austen's
transformation from little-known to internationally renowned author began in the 1920s,
when scholars began to recognize her works as masterpieces, thus increasing her
general popularity.
Austen was in the worldwide news in 2007, when author David Lassman
submitted to several publishing houses a few of her manuscripts with slight revisions
under a different name, and they were routinely rejected. He chronicled the experience
in an article titled "Rejecting Jane," a fitting tribute to an author who could appreciate
humor and wit.


Love and Friendship

The History of England
Lady Susan
Elinor and Marianne
Sense and Sensibility
John Milton (1608-1674)

English poet, pamphleteer, and historian, considered the most significant English
author after William Shakespeare. Miltons paternal grandfather, Richard, was a
staunch Roman Catholic who expelled his son John, the poets father, from the family
home in Oxfordshire for reading an English (i.e., Protestant) Bible. Banished and
disinherited, Miltons father established in London a business as a scrivener, preparing
documents for legal transactions. He was also a moneylender, and he negotiated with
creditors to arrange for loans on behalf of his clients.
He and his wife, Sara Jeffrey, whose father was a merchant tailor, had three
children who survived their early years: Anne, the oldest, followed by John and
Christopher. Though Christopher became a lawyer, a Royalist, and perhaps a Roman
Catholic, he maintained throughout his life a cordial relationship with his older brother.
After the Stuart monarchy was restored in 1660, Christopher, among others, may have
interceded to prevent the execution of his brother.

Contribution to English Literature

Milton is best known for Paradise Lost, widely regarded as the greatest epic poem in
English. Together with Paradise Regained and Samson Agonistes, it confirms Miltons reputation
as one of the greatest English poets. In his prose works Milton advocated the abolition of
the Church of England and the execution of Charles I. From the beginning of the English Civil
Wars in 1642 to long after the restoration of Charles II as king in 1660, he espoused in all his
works a political philosophy that opposed tyranny and state-sanctioned religion. His influence
extended not only through the civil wars and interregnum but also to
the American and French revolutions. In his works on theology, he valued liberty of conscience,
the paramount importance of Scripture as a guide in matters of faith, and
religious toleration toward dissidents. As a civil servant, Milton became the voice of the English
Commonwealth after 1649 through his handling of its international correspondence and his
defense of the government against polemical attacks from abroad.


Paradise Lost
Paradise Regained
The Divorce Tracts
Jonathan Swift (16671745)

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 (16741682), 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.

Contribution to English Literature

Jonathan Swift was an Irish author and satirist. Best known for writing Gulliver's Travels, he was
dean of St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin. 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.

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.

Literary Works

Gullivers travel

The Three worlds of Gulliver

Virginia Woolf


Born on January 25, 1882, Adeline Virginia Stephen was raised in a remarkable
household. Her father, Sir Leslie Stephen, was a historian and author, as well as one of
the most prominent figures in the golden age of mountaineering. Woolfs mother, Julia
Prinsep Stephen (ne Jackson), had been born in India and later served as a model for
several Pre-Raphaelite painters. She was also a nurse and wrote a book on the
profession. Both of her parents had been married and widowed before marrying each
other. Woolf had three full siblings Thoby, Vanessa and Adrian and four half-
siblings Laura Makepeace Stephen and George, Gerald and Stella Duckworth. The
eight children lived under one roof at 22 Hyde Park Gate, Kensington.

Contribution to American Literature

Several years before marrying Leonard, Virginia had begun working on her first novel. The
original title was Melymbrosia. After nine years and innumerable drafts, it was released in 1915 as The
Voyage Out. Woolf used the book to experiment with several literary tools, including compelling and
unusual narrative perspectives, dream-states and free association prose.
Throughout her career, Woolf spoke regularly at colleges and universities, penned dramatic letters, wrote
moving essays and self-published a long list of short stories. By her mid-forties, she had established
herself as an intellectual, an innovative and influential writer and pioneering feminist. Her ability to
balance dream-like scenes with deeply tense plot lines earned her incredible respect from peers and the
public alike. Despite her outward success, she continued to regularly suffer from debilitating bouts of
depression and dramatic mood swings.


1. Melymbrosia
2. The Voyage Out
3. Jacob's Room
George Orwell


Born Eric Arthur Blair in Motihari, Bengal, India, in 1903, George Orwell, novelist,
essayist and critic, went on to become best known for his novels Animal
Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four.
According to one biography, Orwell's first word was "beastly." He was a sick child, often
battling bronchitis and the flu. Orwell was bit by the writing bug at an early age,
reportedly composing his first poem around the age of four. He later wrote, "I had the
lonely child's habit of making up stories and holding conversations with imaginary
persons, and I think from the very start my literary ambitions were mixed up with the
feeling of being isolated and undervalued.

Contribution to American Literature

After leaving the India Imperial Force, Orwell struggled to get his writing career off the ground. His
first major work, Down and Out in Paris and London, (1933) explored his time eking out a living in these
two cities. Orwell took all sorts of jobs to make ends meet, including being a dishwasher. The book
provided a brutal look at the lives of the working poor and of those living a transient existence. Not
wishing to embarrass his family, the author published the book under the pseudonym George Orwell.
In December 1936, Orwell traveled to Spain, where he joined one of the groups fighting against General
Francisco Franco in the Spanish Civil War. Orwell was badly injured during his time with a militia, getting
shot in the throat and arm. For several weeks, he was unable to speak. Orwell and his wife, Eileen, were
indicted on treason charges in Spain. Fortunately, the charges were brought after the couple had left the


Animal Farm
Nineteen Eighty-Four
Down and Out in Paris and London